893.801/7–149: Telegram

The Minister-Counselor of Embassy in China (Clark) to the Secretary of State

Cantel 673. Acting Foreign Minister George Yeh, who handed me text which is quoted below, in translation, of Chinese reply [to] our note 265, June 28, on blockade, Cantel 670, June 30, repeated Nanking 448, Shanghai 383, Taipei 52, London unnumbered, told me Chinese determined deny to Communists facilities ports involved. Chinese will do everything in their power to avoid incidents and they hoped we would cooperate. They felt their interpretation of the principles of international law involved is the correct one and plan to maintain their stand. Text which follows will be released to appear press Canton morning July 2.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China presents its compliments to the Embassy of the United States of America, and has the honor to refer to the latter’s note, No. 265, of June 28, 1949, setting forth the position of the United States Government with regard to the closure by the Chinese Government of certain parts of its territorial waters and the ports therein.

“In reply, the Ministry has the honor to state that the Chinese Government deems it within the sovereign right of a state to declare open or closed any part of its territories, whenever conditions necessitate. In fact, the Chinese Government has exercised in the past on more than one occasion the right to close some of its ports, and no question of legality has been raised by any government, including that of the United States. Fort Dairen, for instance, was declared closed at a time when it was not under the actual control of the Chinese Government. The closure order under reference is, in effect, of a similar nature and is, therefore, enforceable independently of a declaration of blockade, which has never been, and is not, under the contemplation of the Chinese Government.

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“In stating its position, the Chinese Government also wishes to assure the United States Government that in the execution of the closure order it will undertake to do its best to avoid any unnecessary hardship or loss to the nationals of the United States. The Chinese Government hopes, therefore, that in view of the friendly feelings happily existing between the two peoples, the United States Government will see its way to cooperate with it so as to prevent any untoward incident.

“The Chinese Government has the honor to request the Embassy of the United States of America to be good enough to transmit at its earliest convenience the above reply to the Government of the United States. June 30, 1949.”

Sent Department; repeated Nanking 451, Shanghai 386, Taipei 53, London unnumbered.