The Department of State to the Embassy in China

No. 876

As of possible interest to the Embassy there is enclosed a copy of a memorandum of conversation51 between officers of the Department [Page 1081]and Dr. T. S. Wei52 concerning Chinese laws and regulations and their application to American nationals and firms.

It will be noted that Dr. Wei’s attention was called to the fact that the majority of China’s existing laws and regulations were drawn up before the abolition of extraterritorial rights and therefore take no cognizance of foreign nationals or foreign commercial enterprises. Specific reference was made to a number of laws and regulations which will have a direct bearing upon the operation of American commercial enterprises in China under the new legal conditions prevailing between the United States and China. It was pointed out that these laws contained many provisions which are ambiguous and onerous.

Dr. Wei said it was realized by the Legislative Yuan and other responsible organs of the Chinese Government that many of China’s existing laws needed to be revised; that a committee had been set up in the Legislative Yuan which was engaged in redrafting and revising certain laws which would be applicable to foreign nationals and foreign business enterprises; that the committee had already done considerable work and was continuing its labors and that the committee was receptive to reasonable and helpful suggestions regarding the revision of China’s laws.

Dr. Wei, who is a member of the Legislative Yuan, was one of the technical legal experts attached to the Chinese delegation to the United Nations Monetary Conference and is returning to Chungking in the near future. Dr. Wei indicated that he had been a member of the committee set up by the Legislative Yuan to revise Chinese laws but did not indicate whether he would continue to serve on the committee upon his return to Chunking. However, the Embassy might find Dr. Wei of assistance in obtaining information concerning the work being undertaken by the special committee mentioned.

  1. Not printed.
  2. A member of the Chinese Legislative Yuan.