740.00119 Control (Japan)/11–2146

The Department of State to the Chinese Embassy


Reference is made to a recent oral inquiry by a member of the staff of the Chinese Embassy concerning the status of Taiwanese in Japan, and the related question of their exemption, as United Nations nationals, from the jurisdiction of Japanese police and, in criminal cases, from the jurisdiction of Japanese courts. In this connection, it is understood that the Chinese Government now considers all Taiwanese to be Chinese, excepting only those who have executed before the proper authorities a declaration of unwillingness to acquire Chinese nationality.

It is the view of the Department that the removal of United Nations nationals from the jurisdiction of Japanese police and courts was a measure designed primarily to facilitate the work of the occupation authorities and to safeguard occupation personnel. Americans and most other nationals of members of the United Nations who are not engaged in occupational duties have in general been repatriated from Japan, and there do not exist there the facilities which would be necessary for properly maintaining order and administering justice were the privilege of exemption from Japanese jurisdiction to be extended to a large community of persons for whom it was not intended. In particular, it is considered that exemption from Japanese jurisdiction was not intended to be accorded the estimated 20,000 persons in Japan claiming to be Taiwanese; these persons throughout the war were enemy nationals and according to Japanese law still retain Japanese nationality, excepting only those who have individually divested themselves thereof in accordance with established procedure.

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The rights of the Taiwanese in Japan to this special treatment therefore would appear to rest upon the technical grounds of the extension to them under Chinese law of the status of Chinese nationals. It should, however, be pointed out that from the legal standpoint the transfer of Taiwan’s sovereignty remains to be formalized; assumably a treaty of cession will in due course be negotiated which will effect such transfer and which may contain provisions in regard to appropriate change in the national status of Taiwan’s residents. It is, of course, not now possible to state with certainty that the terms of such a treaty will effect a change in the national status of persons of Taiwanese derivation who have abandoned their Taiwanese residence and settled in other lands. Finally, it should be pointed out that a great proportion of the alleged Taiwanese in Japan are without Chinese certificates of identity and nationality.

In this connection, it would be most helpful if the Chinese authorities would undertake to screen all Taiwanese in Japan, repatriating those who are unable to establish that they have a legitimate means of livelihood and issuing suitable certificates of identity to the remainder. Should the number of individuals in Japan now claiming a special status as Taiwanese be reduced through such a process to a relatively small body of properly investigated and documented persons, it might be possible to extend to them the special treatment which now is claimed for them. In the meantime, this Government would be disposed to hold that the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan, on the basis of the aforementioned considerations and on the grounds of military necessity, would be justified in authorizing the Japanese police and courts to continue to exercise jurisdiction over Taiwanese in Japan.45

  1. On November 22 the Chinese Minister-Counselor of Embassy (Tan) telephoned the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Ringwalt) “a translation from the Chinese version of a report received in his Embassy from Nanking which was to the following effect: On April 20, in reply to an inquiry from General Chu, SCAP stated that Chinese nationals, ‘no matter whether from Formosa or other provinces of China’, would be treated as members of the United Nations without discrimination.” (740.00119 Control (Japan)/11–2146) Cf. paragraph 1 of memorandum dated April 2, p. 187.