793.003/11–1045: Telegram

The Chargé in China ( Robertson ) to the Secretary of State

1957. Mr. Leo Lamb, Chinese Counselor of British Embassy, called yesterday. He said events subsequent to Japanese surrender having anticipated procedure for handing over British Concessions at Shameen (Canton) and Tientsin, also International Settlements [at] Shanghai and Kulgansu (Amoy) and diplomatic quarter [at] Peiping, British Govt felt that time has arrived to regulate situation. Mr. Lamb [Page 1381] recalled that by 1943 Extraterritoriality Treaty British Govt undertook to cooperate with Chinese Govt to reach any necessary agreements with other concerned govts for transfer of places mentioned, including official assets, obligations, etc. Mr. Lamb said present situation is that Chinese authorities have already taken possession of premises of previous municipal authorities and are actually running their administrations (foreign representatives of previous municipal administrations being interned or abroad as evacuees at time of Jap surrender and thereafter). He said British Govt felt present situation is unsatisfactory and that urgent action is necessary to endeavor to regulate situation. He said that while handing over is agreed to in principle, 1943 treaty presupposes formal agreement between govts concerned; multilateral in case of International Settlements and bilateral in case of Concessions.

Mr. Lamb said British Govt has decided to take initiative in case of Tientsin and Shameen concessions, by informing Chinese Govt that, now that hostilities have ended and more normal conditions restored, they are ready to implement undertaking concerning transfer of concessions to China. He said at same time it seemed to follow that they should similarly indicate their willingness to implement undertaking to concert with Chinese and other interested govts in discussing machinery and form of agreement for transfer of Settlements and diplomatic quarter. He said that, in raising these questions with Chinese, they are touching matters which concern other nations with interests in Settlements and diplomatic quarter and who have negotiated similar treaties with China; he had therefore been instructed to inform American Embassy of action proposed by British. As questions will not be capable of solution without joint action between all interested powers, he inquired whether American Embassy was prepared to refer question to State Dept with view to making similar communication to Foreign Office.

We believe that U. S. Govt should inform Chinese Govt that we are now ready, in accordance with articles 2 and 3 of our 1943 treaty for abolition of extraterritoriality, to cooperate with Chinese Govt for reaching of any necessary agreements in connection with diplomatic quarter in Peiping and International Settlements in Shanghai and Amoy.3 Dept’s instructions are requested.

  1. In telegrams No. 2246 and No. 2247, December 30, the Chargé in China quoted translations of texts issued by the Chinese Government on November 27 of “measures for the taking over of concessions, settlements, and the Peiping Legation quarter” (effective November 24) and “organic regulations [of] liquidation commissions for official assets and official obligations and liabilities of settlements, concessions and of the Peiping Legation quarter” (893.102/12–3045).