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

No. 779

Sir: I have the honor to refer to a meeting held this morning with the Commissioner of the Shanghai Land Bureau, Mr. Chu Ping, to discuss the status of American nationals in Court actions involving title to real property held under Consular deeds. It was pointed out to Commissioner Chu Ping that very few new ownership title deeds had been issued by his office in exchange for Consular title deeds submitted by American nationals (owners of property prior to 1943) although such land re-registration was contemplated by the Sino-American Treaty of 1943. Commissioner Chu Ping spoke of the heavy workload which had been superimposed upon his limited staff by reason of this re-registration, such re-registration activity being in addition to the performance of his normal functions.

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The Commissioner’s attention was drawn to the recent Chinese Supreme Court judgment (37th year, Series “Chang” No. 446) involving a Danish subject named A. Corrit as appellant and the New Asia Hotel in Shanghai as Appellee. (A translation of the judgment, unclassified, is attached.)12 Although the Appellant did apply on March 9, 1946 for registration of the New Asia Hotel, a new deed of ownership had not been issued and hence the Supreme Court sustained the action of the lower Courts (under Article 24 of the Land Law requiring registration) in finding that the appellant did not have legal title to the property and thus was not entitled to bring legal action against trespassers on such property. The Commissioner was advised that possible application of the principle involved in this judgment to litigation involving American nationals was a matter of considerable concern. Commissioner Chu then stated that, in event of litigation where the title of American nationals to property was involved, his office would issue a certificate of beneficial ownership having the same standing in court as ownership title deeds.

This undertaking on the part of Commissioner Chu should be treated as confidential since it is unlikely that the same consideration is being extended to other foreign nationals.

Present at the interview with Commissioner Chu Ping were American Consul Harry L. Smith, Mr. C. H. Tung of the American Consulate Staff and Mr. John Yen of Commissioner Chu’s staff.

Respectfully yours,

John M. Cabot
  1. Not printed.