793.003/2–347: Telegram

The Ambassador in China ( Stuart ) to the Secretary of State

191. Embassy has engaged in further discussion with Chinese authorities (Embtels 76 of January 15 and 139 of January 24) regarding promulgation of uniform regulations for registration of real property rights of Americans and replacement documents pertaining thereto.

Officials of FonOff and Land Bureau have informally taken view that provision in 1943 treaty re rights and titles acquired by fraud or fraudulent or other dishonest practices excludes from protection of treaty, rights and titles acquired by Americans in contravention or [Page 1387] evasion of Chinese law and that with exception of those acquired by missionaries all rights and titles acquired by Americans outside treaty ports were acquired in contravention or evasion of Chinese law.
Embassy is gravely concerned that this interpretation of treaty will place in jeopardy substantially all American real property rights, except missionary-owned, outside of treaty ports and is of opinion that intent of treaty was to legalize rights and titles of this nature, that provision of treaty referred to above means fraudulent or dishonest practices between the parties to the transaction under which the property was acquired and that the phrase should not be interpreted as equivalent to “illegally or extra-legally acquired”. Embassy believes that its interpretation is supported by the text of the treaty, by the documents inclosed with Dept’s secret instruction number 7 of August 2, 19466 and by practical necessity in applying the treaty.
Embassy believes that Chinese authorities have not as yet arrived at a firm decision regarding interpretation of treaty and that informal views above may have been in nature of “feelers” to determine U. S. Govt attitude. It appears desirable, therefore, that Embassy formally take a firm and unequivocal stand that treaty affords full protection to real property rights in question. Before taking this step, Embassy desires to have Dept’s approval of its interpretation of treaty together with any suggestions Dept may care to make and requests a reply by urgent telegram.

Repeated Shanghai 104.

  1. Not printed; it transmitted excerpts from memoranda of conversations and from documents exchanged with the Chinese during treaty negotiations. For correspondence regarding these negotiations, see Foreign Relations, 1942, China, pp. 268 ff.