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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919
(1919)

China,   pp. 270-723 PDF (159.9 MB)


Page 280

FOREIGN RELATIONS, 1919, VOLUME I
B. FOREIGN
(1) Relations with foreign countries.
The Japanese question continues to dominate China's foreign re-
lations to the exclusion of practically every other consideration. As
in the past China's foreign policy-if such it may be called-is purely
passive: she pays scant heed to the development of trade or inter-
course with foreign nations, and considers foreign affairs only in
so far as they react on her domestic problems. Thus her foreign
policy throughout the war, which was instinctive rather than delib-
erate, was to stave off Japanese aggression as well as might be until
such time as the western powers could again come to her assistance
by reestablishing the equilibrium of foreign influence in China.
Apart from these special considerations, the result of conditions
brought about by the war, China desires a general revision of the
treaty engagements governing foreign residence and trade. This
desire has found expression in a number of suggested programmes
for adoption by the Chinese delegation to the Paris Conference, all
of which provide for the gradual abolition of extraterritoriality,
the return to China of all foreign concessions, settlements and leased
territories, and the removal of all treaty restrictions on complete
tariff autonomy. Unfortunately there does not appear to be the de-
termination to bring about that reform of China's judicial and ad-
ministrative departments which alone would justify the abandon-
ment of the peculiar privileges now enjoyed by foreign residents.
Not only is the present provincial administration the worst since for-
eign intercourse with China first began, but even where China has
had a special opportunity to demonstrate her fitness to assume the
rights and duties which she claims, she has failed to do so. For
example, the administration of the late German concession in Han-
kow, now being carried on by a Chinese Special Administrative
Bureau, is so inefficient as to have led to universal complaints from
the foreign residents in Hankow.
It has been stated that China's recent foreign policy has been
dictated by a fear of Japan, and it is believed that this is essentially
true, although the official history of the past year would appear to
contradict this assertion. The explanation lies in the exigencies of
China's financial position. As already remarked, as a result of the
extraordinary increase of military expenditure brought about by the
civil war, China is faced by a monthly deficit of upwards of $8,000,000
Mexican. As she has been unable to meet this by domestic loans,
and as no other Power was willing to lend her funds for the pro-
longation of the civil war devastating the country, the Government
turned to Japan for financial assistance, and negotiated the series
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