793.003/934b: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)38

4818. Department’s no. 4534, September 18, 5 p.m., no. 4423, September 12, 9 p.m., and related telegrams on extraterritorial jurisdiction in China.

[Page 297]
We anticipate that with the installing of a new Chinese Ambassador39 here, we may find the Chinese Government approaching this Government at almost any time on the subject of the Chinese Government’s desire to terminate the system of extraterritorial jurisdiction in China. As we have previously stated, one of the important reasons why we have felt it advisable to take some affirmative action in reference to the question of relinquishing extraterritorial rights in China at this time has been to show an initiative on the part of the United States and Great Britain and to keep the initiative in our hands.
With the foregoing considerations in mind, we believe that it would be advisable for this Government to inform the Chinese Ambassador here in strict confidence and for the British Government to inform the Chinese Ambassador40 in London in strict confidence for their report to the Chinese Government similarly in strict confidence, that the American Government and the British Government have been for a good many weeks giving intensive consideration to the question of making approaches to the Chinese Government directed toward the relinquishment of consular jurisdiction in China and that the study of the American and the British Governments has now proceeded to a point where the American Government and the British Government respectively expect to present within the relatively near future to the Chinese Government for its consideration draft treaties, the conclusion of which would accomplish the end described.
Please inform Mr. Eden at the earliest possible moment of the foregoing and say that I suggest that the American Government and the British Government orally inform the respective Chinese Ambassadors in Washington and in London in the sense indicated on Friday, October 9, the American Government’s communication to be in the forenoon and the British Government’s communication to be in the afternoon in order to take account of difference in time.
Please inform Mr. Eden also that the text of a brief draft treaty of the kind we have in mind, prepared after study of the British Foreign Office’s comments, the comments of Ambassador Gauss, and the comments which Ambassador Gauss has informed us the British Ambassador at Chungking has forwarded to the British Government, is being telegraphed in a separate message. Please communicate the text, when received, to Mr. Eden for the British Government’s information and such comment as it may wish to offer.
  1. On an attached note Mr. Welles wrote: “Plan approved by the President, Oct. 3—SW”.
  2. Wei Tao-ming, succeeding Hu Shih.
  3. V. K. Wellington Koo.