The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Gauss)
981. Your no. 1168, October 12, 1 p.m. The Department approves your taking up this matter with the Foreign Office along the lines which you suggest.
You may mention to the Foreign Ministry that we have for some time wished to increase our representation in China, especially in view of the close relations between China and the United States; and that in a country of China’s size and importance one consular office (Kunming) is not adequate to care for the varied interests of this country and of American nationals. In the light of the favorable attitude which this Government has adopted and is prepared to continue toward requests of the Chinese Government for the opening of Chinese consular offices in American territory, and of our need for the projected offices in China, it is hoped that the Chinese Government will not perceive objection to the opening of such offices not only at Kweilin and Lanchow but also at Chengtu, where there are important American interests, and at Sian.
You may also say that the projected offices may, if so desired, be regarded as temporary and provisional only; that it is contemplated [Page 687]that each of the staffs will consist of not more than one commissioned officer, one Chinese clerk-interpreter and the necessary messengers or additional minor employees; and that if, as regards Lanchow, the Chinese Government should prefer that the officer temporarily stationed there be an officer of the Embassy rather than a Consul, we should be agreeable thereto.
You may in your discretion point out that the opening of the new offices would offer evidence to the public in the United States and China, and elsewhere, of the developing of increasingly close relations between our two countries and of the importance which the Government of the United States attaches to those relations.
As you suggest, the forthcoming abolition of extraterritoriality not only provides additional reasons for the opening of the projected new offices but also raises the question whether the Chinese Foreign Office might not wish to detail to or designate representatives at important centers for the purpose of facilitating matters which may be expected to arise in connection with the opening of the offices and their functioning and with readjustment of the affairs of American nationals under the new conditions which will obtain when extraterritoriality is terminated. One of the functions of the new offices would be, of course, to assist American residents and travelers in adjusting their affairs to such new conditions. As the term “Commissioners of Foreign Affairs” may possibly have displeasing connotations to the Chinese Government, it would seem preferable to avoid that or any similar term in suggesting the assignment or designation of such Chinese officials.
The Department much appreciates the recommendations and suggestions which you have made in regard to this matter.