Memorandum of Conversations, by the Deputy Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Stanton)66

In the course of a conversation yesterday afternoon with Dr. Wang Chung-hui, Delegate of China and Secretary General of the Supreme National Defense Council there was informal and general discussion in regard to the negotiation of a new commercial treaty. It was pointed out to Dr. Wang that American firms interested in resuming or developing trade with China after the war were naturally anxious to know on precisely what legal basis they could conduct their business operations. In this connection Mr. Stanton said that the activities of American business enterprises would be based on a new commercial treaty and upon Chinese laws and regulations applicable to activities of foreign companies and corporations and that therefore the negotiation of a commercial treaty and the revision of existing Chinese laws were of great importance to the development of satisfactory commercial relations between the United States and China. Dr. Wang agreed and stated he could well understand the desire of American business concerns to know precisely what commercial laws would be applicable to them and added that he could appreciate the difficulties they were experiencing in planning for the future. As regards the commercial treaty, Dr. Wang expressed his personal opinion that it would be desirable to proceed with its negotiation without too much delay, but added that he had not seen the draft treaty which was presented to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs just before he left Chungking. With respect to commercial laws, Dr. Wang stated that existing commercial legislation was being revised and that certain new legislation was being drafted. He also indicated that translation of Chinese laws into English were proceeding but said that progress on this work was slow.

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A few days previously Mr. Stanton had a brief conversation with Dr. Wang Hua-ch’eng, who is a technical expert attached to the Chinese Delegation and Director of the Treaty Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the subject of the commercial treaty. Dr. Wang said that neither he nor the members of his staff had had time to do more than glance through our draft before he left Chungking. He remarked, however, that our draft appeared to differ considerably from treaties the United States had concluded in recent years with other countries. Mr. Stanton replied that the draft presented did contain some changes and some new provisions but that in general it conformed with other treaties recently concluded. Further informal discussion was arranged with Dr. Wang, but he was suddenly ordered to proceed to London in connection with the activities of the War Crimes Commission and left Washington on May 27.

In view of the departure of Dr. Wang Hua-ch’eng and in view of the fact that neither he nor Dr. Wang Chung-hui have had an opportunity to study our draft it appears unlikely that Dr. Soong or other members of the Chinese Delegation will want to discuss provisions of the draft. It is believed, however, that we should continue to emphasize the desirability of the early consideration and negotiation of the treaty.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Ambassador in China in Department’s instruction No. 167, June 13.