The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 26—3:40 a.m.]
139. Since despatching Embassy’s circular telegram December 12,5 Embassy has been in communication with Foreign Office reference establishment uniform regulations applicable throughout China for registration American property rights and replacement documents pertaining thereto. Foreign Office has informed Embassy with reference registration American property rights that owners unable to present documents at time of registration may make declaration [that] documents will be supplied within specified time thereafter and in case owner is absent or whereabouts unknown, Consul may so notify local land authorities and obtain extension time limit. Embassy further understands from Foreign Office that articles 57 and 58 of Land Law provide land not registered within the period set by public notice will be disregarded [regarded] as without owner and upon [Page 1386] expiration time limit will be so proclaimed. A further period, specified in this proclamation but not less than 2 months, will be allowed in which owners may protest inclusion their land and submit evidence ownership. If upon expiration proclamation period, no protest has been filed, land will be registered as nationally owned. No fees will be charged for registration perpetual leases or documents granting similar rights to Americans. Foreign Office further states that local land authorities have been notified of foregoing.
Foregoing falls substantially short of uniform regulations, particularly with reference to replacement of existing documents, which Embassy hoped would be adopted. Hence Embassy will continue its efforts but fears negotiations may be protracted and indecisive. Furthermore, Department has stated in response to Embassy’s inquiry that U. S. Government not in strong position to insist that uniformity of regulations essential under treaty in view situation in U. S. concerning land holdings and has suggested that should it be necessary to protest establishment of time limit for registration, such protest stress unreasonableness of time allowed rather than argument that any time [limit] is inconsistent with treaty provisions.
In view of foregoing, Embassy is of opinion that holders of real property rights within areas where notices requiring registration have been published should register within time limit insofar as possible and desires Consulate lend appropriate assistance to this end. Instances in which registration procedure applied unreasonably or American owners deprived of rights under treaty should be brought to Embassy’s attention whenever local remedies have been inadequate.
Mission’s circular telegram to Consulate, repeated to Dept. as 139.
- Not printed.↩