793.003/935: Telegram

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

4892[–94].43 Department’s 4818, October 3, 10 p.m.; Department’s 4819, October 3, 11 p.m.; and your 5573, October 6, midnight.

1. We are gratified to learn of the British Government’s wholehearted agreement with the general purport of the proposals made in our telegrams under reference and that it is prepared to make the suggested approach to the Chinese Government.

2. On October 9 we shall therefore inform the Chinese Ambassador—and the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs,44 who is also now in Washington—in the general sense suggested in our telegram 4818, and we understand that the British Foreign Minister will make a similar statement to the Chinese Chargé in London on behalf of the British Government. We shall also inform the Chinese representatives here that the brief draft treaty which this Government envisages would provide for the relinquishment of American extraterritorial and related rights in China, for the settlement of questions which would otherwise arise as a consequence of such relinquishment during the period prior to the conclusion of a comprehensive modern treaty of friendship and commerce, and for the negotiation at a mutually convenient time of such a comprehensive modern treaty.

3. With regard to the question of public announcements by the American and by the British Governments, we appreciate the considerations set forth in your telegram and we are in accord that announcements would be desirable. However, we consider that joint announcements might carry an implication of pressure upon the Chinese Government by the British Government and ourselves. Consequently, we believe that individual announcements by this Government here and by the British Government in London would be preferable to joint announcements by the two Governments. The text of the announcement which this Government therefore plans to issue on October 10 reads as follows:

“The President of the United States in the year 1934, and the Department of State on July 19, 1940,45 and on May 31, 1941,46 expressed the willingness of this Government, when conditions should be favorable therefor, to negotiate with the Chinese Government for the relinquishment of the extraterritorial and related rights and privileges hitherto possessed by the United States in China.

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On October 9 the Acting Secretary of State informed the Minister for Foreign Affairs of China and the Chinese Ambassador in Washington that the Government of the United States is prepared promptly to negotiate with the Chinese Government a treaty providing for the immediate relinquishment of this country’s extraterritorial rights in China and for the settlement of related questions, and that the Government of the United States expects in the near future to present to the Chinese Government for its consideration a draft treaty which would accomplish the purpose mentioned.

The Government of the United States has during the past several weeks exchanged views with the British Government in regard to this general question and the Government of the United States is gratified to know that the British Government shares this Government’s views and is taking similar action.”47

We assume that the British announcement will take a similar form. We regret that there is not sufficient time for us to confer with the British Government upon the wording of this announcement.

4. We plan to inform the Chinese representatives when we see them on October 9 that in view of the Chinese national anniversary we have in mind making on October 10 a public announcement.

5. The question of the timing of the public announcements in Washington and in London respectively will be the subject of a separate telegram.

6. Please communicate the foregoing to Mr. Eden at the earliest possible moment.

  1. Text of announcement quoted in paragraph 3 sent as telegram No. 4893, October 7, 5 p.m.; remaining paragraphs sent as telegram No. 4894, October 7, 5 p.m.
  2. T. V. Soong.
  3. For text of the July 19, 1940, statement, see Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 927.
  4. Ibid., p. 929.
  5. Text transmitted to the Ambassador in China in Department’s telegram No. 938, October 9, 9 p.m.