711.9327/11–2047: Telegram

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

2261. Re Shanghai’s 1699, October 23,4 Embtel 2197, November 5, Deptel 1372, November 10.

Civil Air Attaché5 informally advised Lin, director international relations department Ministry Communications, U. S. glad consult with Chinese Government in accordance with article XI air agreement but Department desired be informed officially points on which consultation desired and reasons therefor.

In course conversation Lin stated if it appeared likely Chinese will be permitted operate to Tokyo he felt only subject Chinese Government will raise with view toward revision Sino-American Agreement matter of U. S. carriage Shanghai–Hong Kong traffic. Lin indicated China will advance following arguments in endeavor make case which will preclude U. S. carriers from movement Shanghai–Hong Kong traffic.

Agreement stipulates English and Chinese languages both equally authentic. Chinese text of paragraph (b) of note exchanged December 20, 1946 beginning “provided” and ending “agreement” means, according to Lin, “provided, however, that the designated U. S. carriers will not handle any regional traffic between Hong Kong and any one of the points in Chinese territory mentioned in the annex attached to the agreement”. Lin maintains Chinese characters do not spell out words “no shuttle service”.
Kowloon area on which Kaitak airport is located is sovereign Chinese territory under lease to the British and therefore U. S. carriers do not possess right to land Kaitak.
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Lin also said Chinese Government delegates to Geneva conference had been instructed to “go as far as possible” in support U. S. position if chairman U. S. delegation would agree to revision or interpretation of air agreement so as to preclude U. S. carriers from participating in carriage Shanghai–Hong Kong traffic.

With regard to 1 above Embassy considers Chinese have case if they insist on literal interpretation of Chinese text. But case is greatly weakened of course by reference to English text and oral understanding between parties at time agreement concluded and notes exchanged.

In accordance instructions contained in Deptel 1372, November 10, Embassy has prepared formal note to Minister Foreign Affairs and Department will be informed when official reply is received.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Francis G. Jarvis.