Memorandum of Conversation, by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck)

The Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Soong, called on me this afternoon by appointment at his request. On the occasion of his last call, a few days ago, Dr. Soong had asked for samples of our modern treaties of commerce. I gave Dr. Soong collections, in duplicate, of such treaties, chosen and made up by TD1 and TA;2 and I made certain comments in line with suggestions made by those Divisions. Having looked the collection over briefly, Dr. Soong inquired whether we had not made treaties with Great Britain, France and Germany. I replied that we had made a treaty in the early 20’s with Germany3 but not, I thought, any new treaties of commerce with Great Britain or France. I showed Dr. Soong the text of the treaty with Germany as it appears in the fourth volume of the Malloy (in continuation) collection; and I undertook to try to procure “separate” copies of that treaty for Dr. Soong.

Dr. Soong then inquired whether I had seen a bill that has been introduced in Congress by Mr. Kennedy.4 I inquired whether he was referring to a bill providing for the repeal of certain legislation. Dr. Soong replied that that was the bill that he had in mind, a bill bearing on the question of Chinese exclusion. I said that I had seen the bill and references to it in the press. Dr. Soong inquired what I thought of it. I replied that I had heard favorable comment with regard to it. Dr. Soong then made observations to the effect that the problems of a Minister for Foreign Affairs are many and complicated. I replied that it seemed to me that they were becoming more so, in both respects, every day; and that I wondered that any Minister for Foreign Affairs could keep in mind the many facts of which it is necessary that he have knowledge and the many problems to which it [Page 770] is necessary that he give attention. Dr. Soong then said that the best that one can do is to choose a few subjects, three or four, and delegate authority regarding the rest—hoping that they will be properly handled. I gained the impression that Dr. Soong is in process of making up his mind regarding the question of choosing the “three or four” subjects upon which he will try to concentrate. I am reasonably sure, from questions which he has brought up with me in past conversations and in the conversation of which record is now being made, and some questions which Dr. Soong’s right-hand man, Dr. Alfred Sze, has put to me recently, that two of these questions are going to be (1) the question of negotiating a new commercial treaty between China and the United States5 and (2) the question of Chinese immigration into the United States and matters relating to and connected therewith.

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]
  1. Division of Treaty Affairs.
  2. Division of Commercial Policy and Agreements.
  3. Signed at Washington, December 8, 1923, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 29.
  4. H. R. 1882, 78th Cong., 1st sess: “To grant to the Chinese rights of entry to the United States and rights to citizenship.”
  5. See pp. 710 ff.