The Consul General at Shanghai (Davis) to the Secretary of State

2034. Bryan and officer of Consul[ate] General yesterday called on Commissioner Shanghai Land Bureau for clarification procedure for registration American owned land and issuance new title deeds. Regulation of Executive Yuan notified to Consul General by Municipal Govt on October 14 mention[ed] in terms only issuance new deeds for perpetual [leases?] be regarded as legal owner, and stipulate issuance of new deeds to be without payment of fees. (Re Mytel 949, September 6.36)

Commissioner stated term “perpetual lease” in Executive Yuan’s regulations cover only perpetual leases, but pointed out that certificates of land ownership (Tu Di Cheng) have same legal effect, stating that holders of these two types of documents might apply for issuance new title deeds at once. With reference to holders other types of ownership evidence Commissioner stated they should first apply to Bureau for Registration of Land in their names, after which they might apply for issuance new title deeds. This procedure required of Chinese and foreigners alike and is necessary under Chinese Land Law to establish legal ownership; Commissioner stated specific approval of Executive Yuan not necessary for this.

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Commissioner also stated that in conformity with treaty, no charge whatever would be made against American owner in connection procedure of formally registering land in their names or with issuance new title deeds. In case American owners wish to transfer land to persons of other than Chinese or American nationality after date of 1943 Treaty, they must first apply to and obtain from Land Bureau, being proper agency to apply to for Chinese Government consent.

Commissioner agreed to procedure suggested by Consul General for certifying to American ownership of land, which is as follows:

American owners will be required submit evidence to Consul General they are real or beneficial owners;
American owners at same time will be required to make sworn statement they are real or beneficial owners;
On basis this evidence Consul General will then issue certificate to Land Bureau stating American owner, to best its information and belief, is all [real] or beneficial owner.

Other minor procedural matters discussed and complete agreement reached.

Full report follows by despatch.37

Consul General and Bryan believe this arrangement complies with article Four of treaty (despatch 276, September 6) and if Embassy and Department perceive no objection will advise American owners of land this district to apply for registration and issuance new title deeds in accordance procedure outlined above.

  1. See last paragraph of telegram No. 1660, p. 1329.
  2. Despatch No. 109, October 19, not printed.