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Chapter 3 The Shanghai Opium Commission PDF Print E-mail
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Books - American Diplomacy and the narcotics traffic
Written by Paul Goldstein   

Down to 1939 two major considerations constituted the motive force behind American participation in the international campaign against the drug traffic. To the close of World War I the United States was primarily concerned with helping China rid itself of the vice. During the 1920's America's own problems of dope addiction came to the fore, and these were only remotely related to the situation in the Orient. In the thirties China's problem gradually regained a prominent place in American considerations as China became more and more the victim of a Japanese-sponsored drug traffic and also a source of illicit traffic to the United States. Throughout the movement, however, China held a leading place in American deliberations. It was to help China that the United States initiated the international movement. The problem in the Philippines was of importance in the American decision only in giving the United States justification for interfering in a matter in which it had previously expressed merely a moral interest.

On July 24, 1906, Bishop Brent addressed a letter to President Roosevelt suggesting the initiation by the United States of an international investigation of the Far Eastern opium question in which England, France, Holland, China, and Japan should participate. He cited America's responsibility in the Philippines as ample justification for the move, and the recent antiopium agitation in England as creating the proper climate for successful action. "The sole hope of the Chinese," he declared, "is concerted action." He believed that such a movement in pursuit of a common goal would tend to unify and promote peace among the Oriental nations and Western nations with Far Eastern possessions and dependencies.' Roosevelt heartily approved of the suggestion as one that might "do far-reaching good" and proceeded to take the matter up with Root and Taft.2 Taft expressed some skepticism as to British cooperation in such a movement, in view of that government's dependence on the revenue derived from opium in its Far Eastern possessions. Nevertheless, he suggested that the time was ripe for approaching Great Britain, in view of the change to a Liberal government in the recent parliamentary elections. He agreed with Brent that "the opium question in China is one of the most important in the improvement of Chinese and Oriental Civilization."3

The State Department, taking note of the influences likely to make the movement successful—the antiopium agitation in Great Britain, the consistent interest of the United States in China's problem, now fortified by America's concrete interest in the Philippines, and the impetus it would give to antiopium sentiment in China—also heartily approved of the suggestion. Another factor given consideration was the gratitude China would be likely to feel toward the United States for broaching the subject. The Department realized, however, that the acceptance of the proposition by the other powers would be dependent on the Chinese Empire's sincerity in seeking to suppress native production; therefore, it was suggested that a distinct pledge in this regard be obtained in advance from China.4

It was soon discovered that a pledge from China was unnecessary. Independent of importunings from the United States, the -Chinese authorities had decided to embark on a campaign against opium. The United States watched this movement with great interest and lent its moral encouragement. As mentioned above, two weeks before Brent's letter to Roosevelt, the State Department had instructed its minister in China to arrange a meeting between the Reverend Hampden C. Du Bose and the Chinese foreign office for a discussion, at Du Bose's request, of a movement to suppress the opium traffic in China. Minister Rockhill was further instructed to report on the opium situation in China and to advise the Department on the position of the United States should take in regard to it.6 Rockhill's reports, while reflecting skepticism about China's ability to carry out her reforms, nevertheless confirmed the sincerity of the government's efforts and urged the United States to give all possible support to the antiopium agitation in China which was being led by the Anti-Opium League.6 By the end of 1906 the United States was convinced that China was serious and communicated that conviction to the other powers. So sure was the United States that China would participate in an international movement that China was among the last of the nations approached in regard to the matter.

While American officials were approving with some alacrity Brent's suggestion, Brent himself was interceding with British religious leaders and was successful in getting such of them as the Bishop of China and the Archbishop of Canterbury to approach the British government.' Great Britain, of course, held the key to the fate of the launching of the movement. Therefore the first powers invited were Great Britain, because of its great stake in the opium trade, and Japan, because of its influential position in the Far East and its propinquity to the Philippines. They were queried on the feasibility of holding an international conference on the Far Eastern opium situation. The British Foreign Office immediately concurred on condition that the other powers invited would also agree, and that the proposed conference also consider the growth and trade in opium in China as well as in India.8 The Japanese likewise responded favorably to the idea on condition that assurances of China's sincerity in coping with her own domestic situation could be obtained!' Later, the interested powers agreed to the British suggestion that a commission investigate the facts of the opium situation in order to arrive at intelligent conclusions, lest an international conference -form an agreement which would not be based on a proper understanding of the matter.

In addition to the powers mentioned in Brent's letter, the United States initially approached Germany and Siam as well. By July of 1907 all of them but China had agreed to the investigative commission. The recalcitrance of China caught the State Department by surprise. In its notes to the various powers the Department had stated that the cooperation of China was assured as evidenced by her efforts to suppress domestic production and consumption of opium as well as the traffic in the drug.° Particularly emphasized was the point that the discussion would include an inquiry into the importation of opium into China. Thus when the Department finally got around to making a definite and formal inquiry of China as to whether it would participate in the proposed commission, it was taken aback by the discovery that China looked upon the proposal with something less than enthusiasm. China's refusal to participate would naturally kill any hope of international consideration of the question as well as cast serious doubt upon the sincerity of that nation's antiopium professions and activities.

China's procrastination was due to a misunderstanding of the nature and function of the proposed commission. The Chinese foreign office believed that the commission would travel throughout China investigating opium production and consumption. It feared that the commission might be exposed to physical attack in the remoter sections of the country, thus giving an excuse for a repetition of the military intervention of foreign powers which had become somewhat of a pattern in the past, the most recent and vivid experience being the Boxer incidents. Another consideration was the fear that the commission would inquire into China's financial methods and would make recommendations that would infringe on Chinese sovereignty." This would manifestly be a serious matter in the light of the current efforts of the Manchus to strengthen China against the Western powers so as to maintain the respect of the Chinese people and to repair their own shaken position. On being assured by Rockhill that each country would conduct the investigation of its own domestic situation and that commissions only made recommendations to the home governments, which were free to accept or reject them, the Wai-wu pu finally accepted in principle the idea of a joint commission.lz Thus by the end of August all the powers originally approached had agreed to a commission, and by December they were inquiring as to the time and place of the meeting.

It was not only the official representations of the United States that contributed to the favorable response of the nations invited. Again the missionaries entered the movement. Bishop Brent had marshaled the support of his counterparts in China and other parts of the Far East and in Great Britain. Fortuitously, the foreign missionaries in China held their periodic conference in April and May of 1907 at Shanghai. Bishop Brent attended their meeting for the specific purpose of getting their support for the proposed joint commission. In this he was successful, for the conference adopted essentially what he recommended. It presented a memorial condemning the Indian-Chinese opium trade and the production and use of the drug in general and commending China and Great Britain for their new attitude toward the problem as indicated by the Chinese efforts at repression and the British agreement to reduce gradually the export of Indian opium to China. For the change in public attitude toward the question the memorial credited the Philippine Opium Committee, the practice of Japan, and the experience of employers of Chinese laborers. It declared that no government or people would be justified in imposing the drug on China, regardless of whether China fulfilled her promises of reform or not.

The Missionary Conference adopted resolutions reaffirming the opposition to the opium trade taken by the Missionary Conference in 1877 and 1890; expressing gratification with China's present effort to deal with the problem and at the cooperation given by Great Britain through the Anglo-Chinese Ten Year Agreement; and taking note of the movement for an international commission, declaring it to be both timely and necessary. In addition, the conference urged that the opium question be brought before the approaching peace conference at The Hague and that all civilized governments prohibit the sale of opium and intoxicants among "non-Christian races in the mission fields."3 This action of the Missionary Conference served to focus public opinion on the American suggestion and was another example of missionary interest in the problem and the part it played in building up antiopium sentiment.

Besides the powers on the original list of those invited by the United States to participate, five more powers were invited to join the commission. At the suggestion of Bishop Brent and Hamilton Wright, members of the American delegation to the commission, Turkey and Persia, as two of the largest producers of opium, and Russia, because of her Far Eastern territorial possessions and large Chinese population, were invited to attend. Italy and Austria-Hungary asked to be invited, and the United States reluctantly extended an invitation to them after ascertaining that the other powers had no objections. Thus what was intended to be a gathering of countries with Far Eastern interests developed into a conference of nations whose interest in the drug problem extended beyond the Orient.

Although the invited powers agreed to participate in the commission, they were by no means united in their enthusiasm for it. Western powers with Far Eastern possessions in which opium played an important part in revenue only reluctantly consented. They were not prepared to enter into any binding agreement calling for any disturbance of that revenue. This was especially true of France,' the Netherlands," and Great Britain. The British had to take into consideration the uncompromising attitude of India—the government and most of the people, English and native—to any participation in an international movement that threatened India's valuable opium trade." Persia and Turkey were the only powers invited that did not have possessions in the Orient, but they played a great role in the cultivation of the poppy and the preparation of opium, much of which found a market in that area. Turkey flatly refused to send a representative to the commission. Persia agreed to be represented only after much urging by the American minister there, for the Persian government wanted no restriction on that country's opium trade. The American minister finally persuaded the government to send a representative by pointing out that the commission would meet anyway, even without Persia, that its decisions would merely be reported to the interested governments to act on as they saw fit, and that in any case Persia should be reprasented in order to make her views known»

The time and place of the meeting were set for January 1909 at Shanghai. The United States suggested that each country invited should come to the International Opium Commission prepared

(1) to devise means to limit the use of opium in the Possessions of that country;

(2) to ascertain the best means of suppressing the opium traffic, if such now exists, among their nationals in the Far East;

(3) to be in a position, when the various Commissions meet in Shanghai, to cooperate and offer jointly or severally definite suggestions of measures which their respective Governments may adopt for the gradual suppression of opium cultivation, traffic, and use within their Eastern possessions and thus to assist China in her purpose of eradicating the evil from the Empire.'8

In order to make sure that China would be properly prepared for the Commission, supplemental suggestions were later made to the interested powers to the effect that a full study should be made of the importation, manufacture, and consumption of all forms of opium and its derivatives, licit or illicit; the possibilities and extent of poppy cultivation; and the laws, national and local, dealing with the importation and use of opium and its derivatives."

To prepare the United States for the Commission and to represent the government at Shanghai, an American opium commission was named consisting of Bishop Brent, Dr. Hamilton Wright, and Charles C. Tenney. As the careers and personal interests of each of these men reflected the American orientation toward the anti-narcotic-drug movement, a brief description of their backgrounds is in place.

Charles Tenney's role in the antiopium movement was short, though not uninfluential. A native of Boston and a graduate of Dartmouth College, he went to China in 1878 as a missionary, having just completed a four-year divinity course at Oberlin Theological Seminary. In 1886 he gave up missionary work and became tutor to the sons of the Chinese statesman Li Hung Chang. In the same year he established a school ,in Tientsin for Chinese students and served as its principal until 1895. In this year he was appointed as the first president of the Imperial Chinese University at Tientsin, holding that position until 1906. Among other positions in the field of education which he held were those of superintendent of high and middle schools in the province of Chihli (1902-1906), director of Chinese government students in America (1906-1908), and lecturer on Chinese history at Harvard (1907-1908). He was long associated with the American foreign service in China. From 1894 to 1896 he served as vice-consul and interpreter to the American consulate at Tientsin At the time of his appointment to the American opium delegation he held the position of Chinese secretary to the American legation at Peking. He was considered so valuable a man to that legation that Minister Rockhill objected to releasing him for the opium work. He later served as American consul at Nanking, again as Chinese secretary to the American legation, and in various other positions with the legation. In 192 I he retired from diplomatic service.' He was sincerely pro-Chinese and passionately "antiopium," being very critical of the British for their part in creating China's opium problem. The Chinese trusted him, and in preparing for the Shanghai Commission they consulted him frequently.

Prior to "World War I the most energetic American participant in the antidrug campaign was Hamilton Wright. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1867 and divided the later years of his life between Washington, D.C., and Livermore Falls, Maine. He received his elementary and high school education in the public schools of Boston, and thereafter entered McGill University in Montreal to study medicine. In 1895 he graduated sixth in a class of sixty-seven and was soon after appointed registrar and neuropathologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. In 1895-1896 he visited the Far East to observe such tropical diseases as beriberi, the plague, and malaria, spending most of his time in China and Japan. Three years later, after having worked in clinical laboratories in Germany and England, he xeturned to the Far East under the auspices of the British government to organize a laboratory system and to investigate beriberi and malaria in the Federated Malay States and the Straits Settlement. He returned to the United States in 1903 and became engaged in research at The Johns Hopkins University, being made an honorary fellow of that university for the academic year 1903-1904. From 1904 until his appointment to the American opium commission in June 1908 he continued his research in both America and Europe. He wrote numerous articles on neuropathology and tropical diseases. It was because of his work on tropical diseases that he was recommended to serve on the American commission, an appointment which came to him unsolicited.

Wright's appointment to the American opium commission marked a turning point in his career. Virtually all the remainder of his life was devoted to the antinarcotics campaign. Up to the outbreak of the First World War he was almost continuously in charge of the State Department's antiopium work. He developed a rather possessive attitude toward American drug policy and practice. Not only was he largely entrusted with the framing and carrying out of American foreign policy in regard to the traffic in narcotics, he was also given the tedious task of drafting the domestic legislation dealing with the problem. Outspoken and dedicated, his colleagues in the State Department sometimes found his enthusiasm irritating, and because of this he did not always receive proper appreciation for his work or adequate financial compensation. It was because of personal differences with Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan that he was kept from attending the international conference on narcotic drugs which was held just before the First World War interrupted the movement. In a sense he himself became a casualty of the war; while engaged in civilian relief work in France in 1915 he was severely injured in an automobile accident and never fully recovered. He died of pneumonia in Washington on January 7, 1917.21 After the war the work in which he played so prominent a part was continued by his wife with the same dedication and zeal that he had shown. To him, more than to any other single individual, must go the greatest share of the credit for the success of American efforts in the antiopium drive in the first two decades of the twentieth century, for he built the groundwork of policy and practice upon which the international and domestic actions of the United States were based throughout the period covered by this study.

Bishop Brent was not originally considered for appointment to the American opium commission, but when Judge Thomas Burke of Seattle declined the appointment, it was realized that Brent, to whose inspiration the international movement owed its origin, would be the ideal man to head the American delegation.22 Brent was born in the town of Newcastle, Ontario, in April 1862. After graduating from Trinity College of the University of Toronto in 1884, he studied independently for the Anglican priesthood for two years while teaching school. He was ordained a deacon in i886. The following year he was ordained priest. From 1886 to 1901 he was engaged in religious work, first in Buffalo, New York, and later in Boston as first curate and later assistant minister of a church there. In 1901 he was elected Episcopal Bishop of the Philippine Islands, the first to hold such a position. Before leaving for his post he went to Washington and met President Roosevelt, Cabinet officers concerned with the Philippines, and William Howard Taft, the civil governor of the islands. Roosevelt told him to feel free to communicate directly with him whenever he wished, a privilege which Brent was subsequently to make good use of. He sailed for the Philippines in May 1902 in the company of Governor Taft. This contact was to be invaluable to him and to his work in the islands. Taft and others respected his views.

Brent's appointment as senior American commissioner to the Shanghai meeting was fortunate for the antiopium movement as a whole. A man of great moral conviction tempered by an ability to analyze issues realistically, he gave the international movement against drug abuse the character of a moral crusade. On speaking terms with political leaders in both England and the United States, he was able to exert considerable influence upon the course of the movement. His personal prestige was bolstered by the support he received from his and other religious denominations. He was a world religious leader, greatly admired and respected. He gave up his position in the Philippines in the latter part of 1917, and after serving with American troops in Europe in 1917-1918, he entered upon his duties in 2919 as Bishop of Western New York, a position which he held until 1929. During the 1920's he led a movement for Christian unity among the churches of tilt world. From 1926 to 1928 he was in charge of the Protestant Episcopal churches in Europe. Because religious work was his primary field of activity, he did not devote as much time to the drug traffic as did Wright. But because of his personal contact with people all over the world he was more widely known and could therefore exercise through these contacts an immeasurable influence on the antiopium movement as a whole. He and Wright made an ideal team, the one the strict moralist but patient realist and soother of ruffled feelings; the other an outspoken, impatient, and energetic master of details. Unlike Wright, Brent did not continuously participate in the antidrug campaign. Like Wright, however, he maintained a keen interest in the work until almost the day he died. One of his last major acts was in the interests of the movement. Two weeks before his death at Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 27, 1929, he sent a letter to President Hoover urging the continued leadership of the United States in the campaign.23

The American opium commissioners were instructed to make a general study of the opium situation in the Far East from both them foreign and American points of view, giving due consideration to the commercial, medical, and humanitarian aspects. A full study of the problem in the United States and the Philippines was also ordered.' The commissioners entered upon their duties in early July, 1908. Tenney confined himself to an investigation of conditions in China with particular attention to practical means by which China might be helped to suppress the vice. In pursuit of this objective he talked with Chinese officials, translated the imperial edicts and other official notifications and proclamations, read Chinese newspapers, and corresponded with American missionaries in all parts of China. In the course of his investigation he discovered the widespread sale and use of so-called antiopium remedies which themselves contained opium and morphine, and which he arranged to have collected and analyzed. He reported the results to the Chinese authorities, who conducted an investigation of their own, the results of which they placed in their report to the Shanghai Commission. Tenney prepared no report of his own on the Chinese situation, believing this to be the duty of the Chinese government, but as a result of his studies he was able to confirm the general accuracy of the Chinese report to the Commission, especially with reference to the statistics on the importation of foreign opium, the estimates of opium production and consumption in China, the danger of antiopium remedies, and the sincerity and extent of antiopium sentiment on the part of the government and people of China."25

Bishop Brent's major preparation consisted of a survey of the data in the State Department on the opium problem and a study, with the help of the Philippine Commission and other interested officials, of the situation in the Philippines. In December he and Wright toured the southern islands, visiting the principal ports and surveying local conditions. Their investigation confirmed in their minds the wisdom of the prohibitive system. They discovered that smuggling was the chief obstacle to the effective enforcement of the system."

Hamilton Wright performed by far the greater part of the work in preparation for the Shanghai meeting. Before reporting to the State Department on July t, he collected and mastered various documents, laws, international agreements, and other pertinent literature on the drug question. At the State Department he was given the diplomatic correspondence leading up to the calling of the Commission and also the correspondence on the Philippine opium problem. He then conducted a thorough inquiry into the nature and extent of the opium problem within the United States. Through correspondence and personal interviews with police officials, state health and pharmaceutical boards, drug manufacturers and their organizations, firms dealing in the various forms of opium, and members of the medical profession, he discovered that the United States had a considerable drug problem of its own.27 His work made him the best prepared of the American delegation on all aspects of both the international and domestic situation.

The revelation that the United States had a substantial domestic opium problem came as a surprise to most Americans, who had long viewed the consumption of the drug as a habit peculiar to the Orient. The problem in America stemmed from two main sources: the excessive importation of crude opium from Turkey for manufacture into morphine and other medicinal preparations, and the importation of smoking opium from the Far East, principally from Portuguese'Macao, to supply Chinese and other habitual opium smokers in the United States. It was estimated that the maximum annual needs of the American people for opium for medicinal use were r 00,000 pounds, whereas the actual annual importation of opium for this purpose was over 5 00, 000 pounds. From 70 to 8o percent of the crude opium imported was used to manufacture morphine, and it was estimated that from so to 70 percent of such morphine was used for improper purposes. The remainder of the crude opium was used in medicinal preparations such as laudanum and other extracts which were themselves subject to misuse.28

There was no legitimate use for smoking opium; yet its importation had been legal since 1840, either under the tariff schedule or on the free list. Prior to that time opium had not been separately taxed, but had been admitted under the title of "drugs, chemical, et cetera." Since 1900 the average annual quantity of smoking opium legally imported was 151,044 pounds. In addition a great deal had been smuggled in, much from Canada, where Chinese firms manufactured it; and some had been surreptitiously manufactured in the United States. Wright estimated that there were in the United States about 52,000 Chinese smokers—about 40 percent of our total Chinese population—and from oo,000 to 150,000 non-Chinese smokers in the American population." He further estimated that of the 650,000 pounds of opium in all forms, imported legally into the United States, 550,000 pounds were used for illegitimate purposes." The revenue derived from the tariff duties on such opium averaged nearly a million and a half dollars annually, constituting one-fifth of i percent of America's total revenue.3'

This discovery of an extensive internal drug problem served to strengthen the hands of the American representatives at Shanghai; it established a material interest in the international problem beyond the Philippines. In another sense, however, such a situation, if allowed to go unchecked, could very well vitiate American influence at the conference. Other powers could point to the extensive use of the drug in the United States, unencumbered by prohibitory federal legislation, as evidence of the insincerity or lack of seriousness about the problem on the part of the United States. The State Department realized that this might well be the case. In a memorandum dated August 13, 1907, William Phillips, second secretary of the American legation at Peking, pointed out that the importation of both crude and prepared opium into the United States had been steadily increasing, and that the transportation of opium from China on American vessels for subsequent sale to the Chinese in America was perfectly legal. To assume the initiative in helping China, he contended, the United States must first end the supply of opium to the Chinese in America and cease deriving revenue therefrom."

Aside from the tariff laws, the Act of 1887, and the Excise Act of 1890 placing a tax of $10 a pound on smoking opium manufactured in the United States and restricting its manufacture to American citizens, the only other federal law regulating the sale of narcotics in the United States prior to 1909 was the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906. This act, in addition to prohibiting the movement in interstate commerce of adulterated and misbranded food and drugs, required that the quantity or proportion of morphine, opium, heroin, or their derivatives and preparations in the substances within the package be stated on the label. To improve America's regulatory system relative to the drugs, the State Department, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, set about drafting a bill to regulate the importation and sale of opium and its derivatives in the United States and its dependencies. Some felt that the amendment of the Food and Drugs Act would accomplish the desired object. But as the date of the convening of the International Commission neared, it was decided to restrict the bill merely to the prohibition of the importation and manufacture of smoking opium, a prohibition which the importers and manufacturers of opium unanimously favored. A bill touching all aspects of the opium traffic—from importation to consumption—would manifestly be too complicated and controversial for hurried consideration by Congress. The object was to get a law passed before the convening of the Shanghai Commission. Thus Senator Henry Cabot Lodge introduced in the Senate a very simple bill, drafted by the State Department, prohibiting the importation into the United States of opium except for medicinal purposes. To the joy of the American commissioners, the bill was finally passed on February 49, 1909, just a little over a week after the Joint Commission assembled."

Thus the American representatives were able to point to this legislative manifestation of the American attitude toward the opium problem as a worthy example for the other nations to follow.

In the Far East also, the drive toward international consideration of the opium situation was productive of beneficent results even before the Commission convened. When China announced its intention to abolish the use of opium within ten years, most foreigners in China, and even many Chinese, doubted the sincerity of this profession. Those who accepted China's sincerity doubted the government's ability to achieve its goal. The Chinese government, however, encouraged by the United States, took stern measures to carry out its program. By 000 most impartial observers admitted the genuineness of the campaign undertaken and were no longer inclined to discount the possibility of its success. The United States had a considerable stake in the movement, for it realized that without concrete proof of China's sincerity the pending international deliberations would accomplish little. Therefore the American government threw its influence, moral and other, behind China's efforts.

Of particular concern to China was the growing morphine problem. The provisions of the commercial treaties of 1902 and 1903 with Great Britain and the United States, respectively, in which it had been agreed that China might prohibit the importation of the drug and the instruments for its injection, could go into effect only when the other treaty powers similarly consented to such a step. 34 China requested that the United States waive the right of most-favored-nation treatment and allow the prohibition to go into effect for Americans. This request was refused on the ground that unilateral action on the part of the United States and without concurrent action by China to suppress the domestic manufacture and use of the drug would be of no effect.35 The United States also initially refused to intercede on China's behalf with the other treaty powers on the matter, holding that China herself should approach them.36 By July 1908 all the powers but Japan had agreed to the prohibition. Rockhill reported on July 3o that the Wai-wu pu had approached Japan six times on the matter, but had received no reply. 37 He had, in the meantime, continually urged the Chinese to carry out their own obligations under the provisions of the treaties by framing and putting into effect the regulations needed relative to domestic production and use. Since the calling of the International Commission, Rockhill had redoubled his representations so that China would avoid creating an unfavorable impression in regard to the matter when the Commission met. But the Wai-wu pu was hamstrung by Japan's delay. Rockhill believed that because much of the morphine smuggled into China came from Japanese ports, and many of the instruments for its injection were manufactured in Japan, that nation wanted some quid pro quo for stopping the traffic. He himself had already approached the Japanese chargé d'affaires on the matter."8

Meanwhile several pressures were combining to force Japan to act.

First, she was placed in an unfavorable light by being the only treaty power which had not consented to the prohibition. Secondly, she would occupy an untenable position at the International Opium Commission, where the question would most certainly be raised, charged with refusing to aid China in a matter to which all the other nations had acceded. And thirdly, in response to repeated prodding by Rockhil1,39 the State Department finally decided to approach Japan on the problem, despite the fear by some in the Department that Japan might resent such intrusion as undue interference with her material interests.'

The first approach by the State Department to Japan on July i o through the Japanese ambassador in Washington brought no response." After a second approach on September 2 2 , the Japanese embassy informed the Department a few days later that Japan had agreed to the prohibition and would soon so inform China." On September 29 Rockhill reported that the Wai-wu pu had informed him that all the treaty powers had now consented to the morphine prohibition and that it would go into effect on January i, i 909."

In response to China's request, the United States also threw its influence behind China's efforts to have her regulations against the sale and use of opium enforced in the foreign settlements. The State Department ordered its consuls to give strong support to endeavors to suppress the use of the drug in the international settlements." One result of these actions was the decision by the international settlement at Shanghai to decrease by one-fourth, effective July 1, 1908,  the number of opium house licenses to be issued."

Perhaps the greatest influence that the prospective meeting at Shanghai had on the opium situation was its contribution to the framing and signing of the Anglo-Chinese Ten Year Agreement. The sensitivity of the British to the possibility that the Indian-Chinese opium trade might bear the brunt of denunciations at the forthcoming conference will be discussed more fully later." It is sufficient to point out here that although the British would probably have eventually signed such an agreement, even if there had been no call for international consideration of the opium question, the ease and speed with which an accord was reached was largely a result of the fact that the announced primary purpose of the forthcoming international deliberations was consideration of the Indian-Chinese traffic with a view to its abolition.

When the International Opium Commission began its discussions at Shanghai on February I, 1908, the groundwork had been carefully laid by the United States. The American commission, consisting of a missionary, a physician, and a diplomat, all quite familiar with the Far East and well versed in the opium problem, was quite prepared to exercise leadership in the deliberations. At the suggestion of the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, the other powers had agreed that Bishop Brent should serve as permanent president of the Commission. Twelve other nations were represented at the meeting: Austria-Hungary, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, and Siam. Only Turkey refused to attend. It was the second commission of its kind to meet since the formulation of the Hague rules of 1899 as to the functions of such commissions. The Commission therefore adhered to the rules formulated by the First Hague Conference relative to the nature and functions of such gatherings and operated under the rules of procedure of the Second Hague Conference.

In order that deliberations might be held in an atmosphere of equanimity, devoid of agitation and emotion, the American representatives decided to use the term "moral" as little as possible, to avoid "needless historical references" to the opium problem, and to urge no conclusion that could not be carried unanimously or by an overwhelming majority. They wished to avoid majority and minority reports.47 Therefore, in his opening speech as chairman of the Commission, Bishop Brent, while pointing out the difficulty and complexity of the opium problem and urging that the Commission face it with thoroughness and sincerity, stressed the view that the preliminary stage of agitation and emotion had passed and that the time for the consideration of "facts and solutions" had arrived. He urged the delegates that since they would not be committing their governments to the views expressed and the conclusions reached, they should give thorough consideration to all the questions presented and state their opinions frankly."

The American delegation's hope for a frank and full discussion of the opium question devoid of emotion was not to be realized. In the first place some of the delegations came unprepared for a full discussion." Despite the correspondence between the American government and other governments prior to the meeting, many of the delegations thought that the inquiry was to be restricted to the Orient, and they had therefore neglected to investigate conditions in their homelands. They obtained some information, however, during the course of the Commission's proceedings. In marked contrast were the American preparations, which in addition to a study of the situation in the United States and its possessions and in the Far East included information gathered by American diplomatic and consular officials on the nature, extent, and measures for the control of the traffic in the countries represented at the Commission and in other countries as well. Indicative of the initial confusion was the fact that the Japanese came prepared to discuss the scientific aspects of the problem by including two physicians in their delegation, while the French had instructions to consider only the trade and commercial side of the question. Thus a full and frank discussion was precluded from the start.

The principal barrier to a thorough consideration of the questions before the Commission was the determination of the British delegation that the Ten Year Agreement on the Indian-Chinese trade should not be discussed. While the commissioners were gathered in Shanghai, but shortly before the Commission convened, the British minister in China, Sir John Jordan, elicited an expression of satisfaction with the agreement from the Chinese foreign office. The American delegation got wind of this and cabled the State Department to find out if, as claimed by the British delegation, the Chinese had assured the British minister that the Agreement would remain binding and would not be discussed by the Chinese at the joint Commission. If this was true, they held, it would defeat the aims of the International Commission and tie the hands of the Chinese.50 The State Department immediately cabled Ambassador Reid in London to find out if the British delegation's claim was correct, and to assure the British government that while the United States had no intention of interfering with the Ten Year Agreement or of questioning its binding character, it believed that the British government was quite willing that all aspects and facts of the opium trade and habit be fully and frankly discussed in the coming conference." The British Foreign Office confirmed the fact that the Chinese had expressed their satisfaction with the Agreement, but that they had not said that the subject was withdrawn from discussion." Throughout the deliberations of the Commission, however, the British delegation insisted that the matter was not a proper one for discussion as the Chinese had expressed satisfaction with it. For the sake of harmony the American delegation refrained from disclosing to the Commission the specific statement of the British Foreign Office that the question was not closed to discussion.

Before the Commission convened, the American and Chinese delegations met to plan strategy. The Chinese confidentially informed the Americans that at first they had had no specific instructions, but that later the Wai-wu pu had instructed them not to initiate proposals, but to wait and see what the other delegations proposed. Tuan Fang, viceroy of Nanking, and the other Chinese commissioners had objected to this and had requested permission to advocate a government monopoly and a reduction in the time prescribed in the Ten Year Agreement for the prohibition of the importation of Indian opium. After consulting the Board of Revenue, the Wai-wu pu vetoed the first proposition but gave permission for the consideration of the latter. At the urging of Tenney, Tuan Fang had also suggested an imperial edict prohibiting poppy cultivation after 1939. This would have put pressure on the British relative to the Indian trade. The Board of Revenue and the Wai-wu pu advised against this idea, however, for fear that it would result in increased imports from India. Tenney later telegraphed Rockhill to request the Wai-wu pu to give the Chinese delegation the freedom to demand a change in the Anglo-Chinese Agreement, but Rockhill refused on the grounds that this would be improper interference on his part."

In order to avoid embarrassing the British and causing ill feeling, Wright and Tenney carefully reviewed the speech the viceroy had prepared for delivery at the opening of the conference and deleted all "historical references and disputatious points." Their efforts were nullified, however, when the chairman of the British delegation, Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, sent an emissary to Tuan Fang informing him that he should not refer to the Ten Year Agreement before the Commission as the Wai-wu pu had told Sir John Jordan that they were satisfied with it and therefore would not permit the Chinese delegation to bring it before the international gathering. This enraged the viceroy. He destroyed the draft revised by the Americans and prepared a new speech in which he included all the controversial matter that had been deleted.54 Thus, when the Commission convened, the British representatives were quite surprised and chagrined at Tuan Fang's statement. He reviewed the progress that China had made in suppressing opium production and consumption since the issuance of the imperial edict of 1906, and stated that there were great hopes that the consumption of the drug could be eliminated entirely before the end of the ten-year period. Repeatedly emphasizing the matter of treaties which hampered China in her fight against opium, especially its importation and consumption, he expressed the hope that the Commission would go thoroughly into the matter of such treaties. He concluded by thanking the United States for initiating the movement to aid China, and expressed appreciation for the steps taken thus far by the 'British in helping China in her antiopium campaign.55

The deliberations of the Commission took the form of a discussion of the reports and resolutions of the various delegations. Of these reports and resolutions the American, British, and Chinese were the most prominent. After discussion of the various reports the Commission settled down to the task of arriving at recommendations which the delegations could submit to their governments. As its program for the conference, the American commission submitted eight resolutions, which were the first ones considered. They embraced the following proposals:

1. That a uniform effort be made by the countries represented to restrict the use in their territories of the various forms of opium and their derivatives to what each country considered to be legitimate medical practice.

2. That no government should depend upon the production of the various forms of opium and their derivatives for an essential part of its revenue, and that such dependence should be discontinued as soon as possible so that the use of opium might be confined to legitimate medical practice.

3. That the manufacture, distribution, and use of prepared opium should be prohibited as soon as possible.

4. That countries which produced the various forms of opium should prevent at the ports of departure the shipment of such forms of opium to countries which prohibited their entry.

5. That as the use of morphine and its salts and derivatives constituted a part of the abusive use of opium, strict international agreements were needed to control the traffic in and use of these products.

6. That since no government could by its own national laws solve its own domestic opium problem without the assistance of all the governments concerned in the production and manufacture of the various opium products, a concerted effort should be made by each government to aid other governments in the solution of their internal opium problems.

7. That an international conference should be held to provide for international cooperation in the solution of the opium problem.

8. That "every nation which effectively prohibits the production of opium and its derivatives in that country, except for medical purposes, should be free to prohibit the importation into its territories of opium or its derivatives, except for medical purposes."56 The principle which ran throughout the American resolutions was that medical purposes constituted the only legitimate use of opium and its derivatives, and that the production, distribution, and use of opium for any other purpose, regardless of the problems involved, should be prohibited. The Americans asserted that private and governmental considerations of revenue constituted the main if not the only barrier to a proper solution of the problem. They felt that the problem was akin to that of the once vexatious slavery controversy in its economic and moral aspects. Therefore they urged that the governments concerned follow Great Britain's example in regard to that controversy by sacrificing finance in the interest of the physical and moral wellbeing of the peoples affected.57

The ensuing discussion of the American resolutions revealed that not all governments—particularly not those concerned with the revenue aspects of the opium problem—shared the American view of the legitimate use of opium and the necessity for the suppression of other uses of the drug. Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, the senior British delegate, objected to the first American resolution on the ground that on the basis of the experience in India, his government could not accept the view that opium should be confined to strictly medical uses or that its use for other than medical purposes should be proscribed. He declared that in India the people relied upon the drug as a common household remedy which the British government would not be justified in withholding from them. He maintained that the declared policy in India of regulation rather than prohibition was quite the wiser one. A policy of prohibition in India in the near future would be both impracticable and futile, for the use of opium was a national habit whose evil effects were minor and against which there was no strong Indian public opinion. Such a policy, he declared, could be effected only by the maintenance of a huge preventive force to guard the long inland frontier, a long period of preparation in which the consumption of opium could be gradually reduced, and adequate time in which a strong public opinion could be built up against the use of the drug. He admitted that financial considerations also constituted a barrier to a policy of prohibition, but only to the extent that sacrifices of revenue should not be contemplated until ordinary taxation had grown to the point where it could replace the revenue derived from opium transactions. Furthermore, in objecting to the second American resolution, he was careful to point out that without minimizing the financial difficulties involved, this aspect of the problem might not be as prominent as the other issues. A growing revenue derived from opium, instead of being the result of the widespread use of the drug, might well be due to the most efficient system for its regulation whereby more revenue is collected. In support of this point and in reference to the United States, he observed that even in countries where the drug was not extensively used a large revenue was acquired from an excise on it."

As a result of the objections voiced by Sir Clementi Smith the American delegation withdrew its second resolution and agreed to confer with the British on the first. A compromise proposal was subsequently adopted which constituted Resolution 3 of those finally adopted by the joint Commission.' The third, fourth, and fifth American proposals occasioned no great objections." The delegation agreed to a modification of their third resolution so as to embody the principle expressed by the British and Japanese delegations of the gradual suppression of the traffic in and use of prepared opium. Except for a minor revision in terminology suggested by the British, the fourth resolution was approved essentially as it was presented. The Americans withdrew their fifth resolution in favor of a similar British resolution on the same subject. The American proposal had called for strict international agreements to control the traffic in and use of morphine, whereas the British resolution proposed that the responsibility for this control be assumed by the governments concerned within their own territories and possessions.

The remaining three American resolutions were vigorously opposed by the British. Sir Clementi Smith asserted that the principle of the sixth resolution calling on governments to assist one another in the solution of their internal opium problem constituted "a direct interference with the internal administration of a country and was thus beyond the scope of the Commission's power."63 He pointed to the Opium Exclusion Act of 3909 as indicative of the ability of the United States to handle its own domestic situation. Wright replied that only with the assistance of other powers would the United States be able to make this and other laws effective, an assistance which the government thought it should get. Nevertheless, he agreed to withdraw the resolution with the understanding that it was the sense of the Commission that the principle was covered by the fourth American resolution which had been already adopted.32 It was obvious that the British objection to the controversial item stemmed from the desire to avoid accepting any obligation to aid the Chinese in the liquidation of their internal problem.

The seventh American resolution, calling for an international conference on the opium problem, was withdrawn after Sir Clementi Smith objected to it on the ground that he would not like to approach his government telling it what to do.63 Although raised again later, it was finally withdrawn in such a manner as to leave the American delegation with the impression that the other conferees understood that the United States would eventually issue a call for such a conference."

The eighth American resolution was the occasion for one of the most bitter and impassioned exchanges of the conference. This resolution had been drawn up by Tenney, and it was he who led the discussion on it. At first the American commissioners had considered drawing up a resolution urging the treaty powers to give China immediately and unconditionally full freedom to prohibit the importation of opium. Faced with the certainty that the British would vehemently oppose such a proposition, they formulated instead a resolution expressing the duty of the treaty powers to notify the Chinese government that they would consent to the total prohibition of the importation of opium and its derivatives when China had suppressed the growth of the poppy. Proof of such suppression should result in the abrogation of any treaty provision or agreement limiting China's freedom in this regard. Strong British objections to this phraseology led to the revision of the resolution so as to express merely the right of any nation which had effectively prohibited the production of opium to be free to prohibit the importation of the drug.65 The resolution was aimed squarely at the Anglo-Chinese Ten Year Agreement, which the British were determined should not be discussed by the Commission. In leading the discussions on the proposal, Tenney made a strong plea for the powers to deal fairly with China and to grant her a free hand to handle her opium problem. He castigated as a disgrace to modern civilization the paradox by which China, as the worst sufferer from the drug habit, was the only nation which was deprived by existing treaties of the freedom that a sovereign nation should have to protect its own people. He therefore demanded that Great Britain and the other treaty powers, without demanding the usual quid pro quo, allow China to help herself by exercising her rights as a sovereign nation.66

T'ang Kuo-an, the head of the Chinese commission, supported Tenney's resolution, but stated that he intended to introduce a similar one. This evoked an inquiry from the chairman of the British delegation as to whether T'ang was speaking with the approval of his government, which had already expressed satisfaction with the Ten Year Agreement. T'ang refused to answer this question on the ground that it was improper to put such a query to a representative of a sovereign state. However, he proceeded to assert that while China intended to adhere to all its treaties, the Ten Year Agreement included, and while it was satisfied with that agreement when it was signed, it looked upon the accord as merely a tentative step which did not preclude China's right to bring it up for discussion. Furthermore, in view of the progress which China had already made in suppressing opium production and consumption, his delegation felt that it was fully justified in seeking sympathetic consideration from the British as well as from the other delegations in shortening the period prescribed for the importation of the drug."67

The British, however, firmly resisted consideration of the question. Despite Tenney's plea that to refuse to grant China the right to prohibit importation whenever proof had been furnished that domestic production had been suppressed was "grossly unjust," they remained adamant. In this they were supported by the French and Japanese delegations. The latter delegation maintained that the question of treaties between Great Britain and China was a diplomatic matter and thus the Commission was not a proper place in which to discuss it. This contention was sustained by a vote of 8 to 3. The American, Chinese, and German delegations voted for the inclusion of the resolution within the compass of the Commission. Siam abstained." The effort of the Chinese delegation to reopen the discussion on the question in the presentation of their own resolutions was similarly thwarted."

The refusal of the British to permit the discussion of the Ten Year Agreement served, more than any other development at the conference,to strengthen the American prejudice against them and to foster the belief that on the opium question the British could not be trusted. The Americans felt that the British delegation had acted in bad faith in eliciting first an expression of satisfaction from the Chinese government in regard to the treaty on the eve of the conference, and then in insisting that the Indian-Chinese traffic, which was the major factor in the Far Eastern drug situation, be excluded from the scope of the Commission's work. While they recognized the right of the British to refrain from discussing the matter, they contended that this did not justify depriving the Chinese of the right to discuss it. Certainly, they held, China had as much right as a sovereign nation to bring the matter before the Commission as the British had in refraining from so doing. The expression of satisfaction by the Wai-wu pu did not make the issue a closed question. They pointed out that in the correspondence leading up to the conference the United States had made it clear that all aspects of the opium question would be considered. The British had made no reservations to this. Therefore their contention that the matter concerned only Great Britain and China and that its discussion threatened the sanctity of international treaties was untenable. Furthermore, as the power of the Commission was limited to study and recommendation, it could not directly affect the agreements mentioned. Thus in the mind of the American delegation the British refusal to permit discussion of the Ten Year Agreement was "prima facie evidence" that it was "too weak to stand criticism."7°

The American delegation withdrew from final discussion its first, second, third, sixth, and seventh resolutions, either because they had been modified or merged with other proposals or had been completely rejected by the conferees. The remainder of the work in the Commission was devoted to the propositions of the British and Chinese representatives. The British resolution giving unqualified recognition to the sincerity of the Chinese government in its efforts to root out the opium vice was unanimously and heartily endorsed." Also adopted with only slight modification was the British proposal that since the Commission was not competent to investigate the scientific aspects of the various forms of opium, their derivatives, and the so-called antiopium remedies, the individual delegations should recommend to their respective governments the undertaking of such investigations. This resolution arose out of discussions at the sixth and eighth sessions of the Commission when first Wright and later T'ang Kuo-an suggested the appointment of a committee to study the medical aspects of the opium question, including an investigation of the antiopium remedies.72 As China was then being flooded by these so-called antiopium pills which themselves contained opium, this was a most important matter. Moreover, an American, Charles C. Towns, who had come to China with letters from both the State and War Departments plus the endorsement of the government of the Philippines to try out his treatment for opium addiction and who reportedly had achieved striking success, had placed his formula before the Commission for consideration.73

Three of the delegations—the American, Japanese, and Chinese—were staffed with medical or scientific men. However, the British insisted that the Commission did not have a sufficient number of members of scientific training to investigate the medical aspect of the question. To this, Wright gave the cryptic reply that if the Royal Commission of 1895 had only one medical member and this was deemed sufficient, surely three members of the present Commission should be sufficient. The Chinese delegate also pointed out that the Commission could readily obtain competent men from the outside. But again the British remained adamant, and their proposal that each delegation recommend to its respective government the study of this aspect of the problem was adopted by a 7 to 6 vote. Voting for the resolution were Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, and Siam. Voting in the negative were Austria-Hungary, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.74

The real and obvious reason for the British opposition to a scientific study of the opium problem by the Commission was their objection to the view that the use of opium for other than strictly medical purposes was both physically and morally harmful—a vice. As most of the opium produced and used in their Far Eastern possessions and exported to China and other territories was used for other than strictly medical purposes, the British could not allow the Commission to place on record the conclusion that such use was injurious. The other nations which voted with her were similarly affected by the traffic in and use of the drug in the Far East. In spite of the refusal of the Commission to consider this aspect of the question, Town's formula was placed at the disposal of the delegations, and in their report the American delegation presented it to the American government with the endorsement that "the treatment . . . is the most successful on record for the use of the victims of the opium habit in any of its forms."75

As the British government had made their acceptance of the idea of an international investigation of the opium question dependent on thorough consideration of the matter of production in China, their representatives at Shanghai manifested keen interest in the Chinese report on the progress made. They expressed extreme skepticism about the accuracy of the statistics presented by the Chinese which showed a substantial reduction in the production and consumption of the drug:76 They therefore proposed that the Commission recommend that the interested governments enter into negotiations with China with the view to getting China to initiate more systematic methods of dealing with production. The Japanese delegation objected to this with the observation that the Commission, composed as it was of delegations from different countries with different traditions, forms of administration, and degrees of accuracy in taking statistics, should not pass judgment on the statistics presented by China." The Japanese point was well taken, for the statistics of no government in attendance at the Commission, including those of the British, gave a full and accurate picture of all aspects of the opium problem. The resolution was withdrawn. On this matter at least, the Japanese stood with the Chinese in refusing to admit the superiority of Western methods.

As a replacement for the first and second American resolutions an Anglo-American compromise recommendation was adopted which urged upon the governments concerned the desirability of reexamining their systems of regulation in the light of the general consensus that the nonmedical use of opium should be prohibited or carefully regulated. The American delegation went on record, however, as still adhering to the principle of total prohibition except for legitimate medical

Next to the American proposals, the Chinese resolutions were the most controversial. In his statement introductory to the presentation of these resolutions, T'ang Kuo-an stressed what he claimed to be the devastating economic effect of the opium traffic on China and on foreign trade. He estimated that the cultivation and importation of opium cost China 400,000,000 taels79 annually and resulted in an annual loss in the earning power of the Chinese people of 456,000,000 taels. All together, this constituted an annual loss to China of 856,000,000 taels. He pointed out that the leading commercial nations shared in this loss in that China's trade with them was adversely affected. For example, fifty years earlier, China's demand for foreign goods was confined principally to opium and silver. Now, he observed, it increasingly embraced such products as cotton goods, kerosene, flour, and matches. Moreover, whereas in 1867 opium formed 46 percent of China's imports and there was therefore a plausible reason for protecting the trade, it now accounted for only 71/2 percent of China's imports. He concluded therefore, that "no greater commercial folly can be imagined than that of fostering what is at present 7 IA percent of China's foreign trade at the expense of the almost infinite expansion of that trade. . . . The opium traffic is economically as well as morally indefensible."" T'ang sought to show that in addition to making "commerce a curse" and thus causing "misunderstanding and prejudice," the opium traffic's international significance was further magnified in that the traffic served as a barrier to the achievement of other reforms in China whereby international relations would be improved and China would be able to participate more fully in international affairs on a modern basis!'

As already mentioned, the first Chinese resolution urging the interested governments to promise their cooperation in reducing the importation of opium into China pari passu with the curtailment of poppy cultivation in China was opposed by the British and Japanese delegations and was therefore withdrawn. Their second proposal, aimed at the French, called on the foreign governments to close the opium shops and divans in their concessions and settlements in China. As the Chinese themselves had not closed the shops in the areas under their control, the French suggestion that the words opium shops be deleted from the resolution was accepted. The French effort to weaken the proposal further by the insertion of the words as soon as they may deem it advisable in relation to the closing of the divans, was finally rejected when the amended resolution substituting the word possible for advisable was unanimously adopted."

The third Chinese resolution urged the governments concerned to prohibit the sale of antiopium medicines containing opium or morphine or their derivatives, except on qualified medical advice, in their concessions and settlements. The French and Japanese objected to this proposal on the ground that this was a matter to be regulated by diplomatic negotiations between China and the powers concerned. The suggestion made by Hamilton Wright that the Commission should recommend such negotiations was offered as an amendment by the French and adopted."83

The fourth resolution offered by the Chinese called for the enactment of laws prohibiting the sale, except to medical practitioners, of morphine, its salts, and instruments for its injection by foreign nationals in China, and for the adequate punishment of violators of such laws. In consultation with Wright and Dr. Rossler of the German delegation, the Chinese revised their resolution to read "that. . . each Delegation move its Government to apply its pharmacy laws to its subjects in the consular districts, concessions and settlements in China."" As amended the resolution was unanimously adopted.

The only other proposals of note were those presented by the Dutch delegation. These called for a government monopoly of the opium trade and listed specific measures for the systematic regulation of all opium transactions. These resolutions were placed in the record as expressing the views of the government of the Netherlands, and the feasibility of their adoption was left to the discretion of the governments concerned."

The International Opium Commission finally adopted unanimously nine resolutions.

In Resolution i the Commission gave warm and emphatic recognition to the sincerity of the Chinese government and people in their anti-opium campaign and to the progress which they had already made.

Resolution 2 called on each government concerned to take measures "for the gradual suppression of the practice of opium smoking in its own territories and possessions, with due regard to the varying circumstances of each country concerned."

Resolution 3 expressed the desirability of each of the participating government's re-examining its system of regulation in light of the near unanimous agreement that the use of opium for other than medical purposes should be prohibited or carefully regulated.

Resolution 4 stressed the duty of each country to prevent the export of opium and its various products to countries which prohibit their entry.

Resolution 5 called for drastic measures by all governments in their territories and possessions to control the manufacture, sale, and distribution of morphine and other opium derivatives so as to curtail the grave and growing danger caused by these products.

Resolution 6 expressed the desirability of each government's conducting an investigation of the scientific aspects of antiopium remedies and of "the properties and effects of opium and its products."

Resolution 7 called on governments which had not done so to take steps to close as soon as possible the opium divans in their concessions and settlements in China.

Resolution 8 recommended negotiations between China and the governments concerned for the adoption of "effective and prompt measures" for the prohibition of the trade in and manufacture of anti-opium remedies in the foreign concessions and settlements in China.

The final resolution urged the governments concerned to apply their pharmacy laws to their subjects in the consular districts, concessions, and settlements in China.86

In general, these resolutions represented a position midway between the views of the Americans and Chinese on the one hand and those of the British and other Western powers with Far Eastern possessions on the other. The unanimity with which they were adopted is indicative of their compromise nature. Resolutions 4 and 9 were American proposals adopted without substantial modification, although Resolution 9 was an American substitute for a Chinese resolution of the same general import. Resolutions 2, 3, and 6 were the results of compromises between the proposals of the American and those of the British delegations, while Resolutions i and 5 were British offerings slightly modified at the suggestion of the Americans. Thus only one of the resolutions originally offered by the American delegation—Resolution 4—was adopted substantially as it was presented to the Commission. However, it was this one resolution which the American delegation regarded as the most important of all those adopted.67 Expressing as the sense of the Commission that it was the duty of countries to prevent the export of opium to countries which prohibited its entry, the resolution was particularly applicable to the problem of both China and the United States.

In the case of China, Resolution 4 came up squarely against the Anglo-Chinese treaties which by the application of the most-f avorednation principle gave other nations as well as Great Britain the right, if they had not renounced it, of exporting opium to China. Technically, therefore, the resolution did not touch the Indian-Chinese trade, as China was barred from prohibiting the entry of Indian opium by the Ten Year Agreement. The principle of the resolution, however, constituted an indirect attack on that trade. In view of British touchiness on the issue of the discussion of that traffic in the Commission, it is somewhat surprising that their delegation accepted the resolution.

Resolution 4 also bore directly on the main problem for the United States. As the importation of opium into the Philippines and the continental United States for other than medical purposes was strictly forbidden, the delegates in adopting the resolution put their countries under the moral obligation of helping the United States enforce this prohibition. The resolution soon bore fruit as several of Great Britain's Far Eastern possessions took tentative steps to prevent the shipment of opium from their territories to the Philippines."

Being merely declarations and recommendations, the resolutions were not binding on any country; whatever force they had was moral in nature. Moreover, they represented a rather cautious approach to the problem with which they dealt. The vested interest of the British and other Western nations in the opium traffic was responsible for this. They would not accept the view that the use of the drug was an unmixed evil, and they dismissed specific suggestions for its suppression as unwise and impractical.

The work of the Commission, however, was significant in several respects. First, what had been previously regarded as essentially an Anglo-Chinese question was now clearly a subject of international concern. The realization that the drug problem was not confined to the Orient, but was a growing menace in Western countries as well, underscored the need for cooperative action in combatting the evil. Secondly, the deliberations of the Commission contributed to a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the problem. The difficulties involved in effecting a solution were more clearly perceived, especially by the Americans, who were accustomed to regard the issue in rigid terms of right and wrong. Their appreciation of the difficulties did not cause them to modify their basic demands for immediate action to deal with the situation, however. Thirdly, in spite of the carefully phrased language of Resolution 3, there was general support for the principle that the consumption of opium for medical purposes was the only justifiable use of the drug, and that any other use constituted an abuse and should be prohibited.

In other respects too, in matters not confined to the specific problem of opium, the Shanghai deliberations were of consequence. The government and people of China were highly appreciative of the role played by the United States in this effort to help China." It was another demonstration, in addition to the Open Door policy and the remission of the Boxer indemnity, of American concern for the welfare of that nation. In the matter of the drug problem the two countries became virtual allies, and despite recurrent difficulties between them, they maintained this posture of cooperation to the end of the Second World War. Of equal importance was the fact that the Shanghai Commission constituted the first conference of foreign powers dealing with Chinese problems in which China was granted a status equal to that of the other powers and uncompromised by threats. In the words of a Chinese statesman, it was the first international gathering in China which "had not gone off with either a province or an indemnity.""

The public reaction in Europe and America to the work of the Commission was mixed. Much of the criticism of the lack of more substantial achievements and the failure to formulate stronger measures stemmed from a misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of the Commission—that its function was merely to investigate the opium situation and make recommendations, not to formulate binding agreements." Those who commended the Commission's performance regarded its achievements as only the beginning of more formal and effective action.92

In the United States the overall impression created was that the successes of the Commission were due to the efforts of the American delegation supported by the Chinese, while the failure to adopt stronger recommendations was due to the attitude and conduct of the British. The published report of the American delegation fostered this view. Because of this the British were moved to protest and correct point by point what they termed the "loose popular phrases" and exaggerations in the American report. For a brief period it appeared that the report would imperil further international action on the opium problem.93 The American representatives were even more critical of the British in their confidential report and private correspondence. The British were bitterly assailed for their refusal to permit a discussion of the treaties that deprived China of its freedom to deal as it chose with the opium traffic and for their opposition to a scientific study of the medical aspects of the drug. The Americans thought that by adopting a role of "passive resistance" rather than "constructive leadership," the British passed up a splendid opportunity to clear their country's name of the odium attached to it by their fostering of the opium traffic.94

The British deserved much of the criticism directed at them. Perhaps they were somewhat shortsighted in taking an adamant position on the Indian-Chinese traffic, a traffic which they were already committed to bringing to an end. The criticisms, however, tended to obscure the genuine efforts the British government was making to meet the problem of that traffic. Unlike the United States, they were caught between two conflicting currents of opinion. On the one hand public opinion in Great Britain, the United States, and China was calling for an abrupt end to the traffic. On the other hand the opium merchants in India and China, the opium producers in India, and the Indian government wanted the trade to continue indefinitely. Thus the British government had justifiable reasons for approaching the problem with a great deal of caution. This cautious approach, however, was responsible for an enduring distrust of British motives on the part of Americans throughout the period of this study.

Although the Shanghai Opium Commission was credited with only limited achievements, the State Department was satisfied with the results. In fact, more was accomplished than the Department had expected. Elihu Root, for example, had expected that bickerings and mutual recriminations would cause the Commission to break up.95 The fact that this did not happen facilitated the efforts of the American delegation to persuade the Department to take action to insure that the work of the Commission would result in more than what one critic had characterized as "pious words." The outcome was the issuance of a call by the United States for a conference to incorporate the Commission's declarations and recommendations in a treaty and thereby make them concrete and binding.


1. Foreign Relations, 1936, I, 361-362; also Brent Papers, Box 6.

2. Roosevelt to Brent, Washington, D.C., Aug. 28,19,6, Brent Papers, Box 6.

3. Taft to Roosevelt, Sept. 1, 1906, SDR 774/1.

4. Memorandum, Charles Denby to Robert Bacon, Sept. 7, 1906, SDR 774/1-2; Alvey A. Adee to Ambassador Whitelaw Reid (London), Sept. 27, 1906, SDR 774/3.

5. Foreign Relations, 1906, I, 352.

6. Ibid., p. 353; Foreign Relations, 1907, 1, 147-148, 151.

7. Foreign Relations, 1906, I, 352; Brent to the Archbishop of York, Manila, July 30, 1906, Brent Papers, Box 6.

8. Foreign Relations, 1906, I, 365.

9. /bid., p. 364.   

10. Foreign Relations, 1907, 1, 144-

11.Ibid., pp. 159, 164-165.   

12. /bid., p. 165.

13. China Centenary Missionary Conference Records, Report of the Great Conference Held at Shanghai, April 5th to May 8th, 1907 (New York: American Tract Society, 1907), pp. 387-392, 754, 750--760. For Brent's influence on this Conference see Brent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Manila, Feb. 28, 1907; Brent to John W. Wood, Manila, May zo, 1907; Brent Papers, Box 6.

14. Ambassador Henry White (Paris) to the Secretary of State, Aug. 16, 1008, SDR 774/306-307.

15. Minister Arthur M. Beaupre (The Hague) to the Secretary of State, Nov. 6, 1008, SDR 774/401-403.

16. Consul General William H. Michaels (Calcutta) to the Assistant Secretary of State, Oct. 22, 1008, Brent Papers, Box 8.

17. Minister John B. Jackson (Teheran) to the Secretary of State, Dec. 25, 1008, SDR 774/534.

18. Ambassador Reid to Sir Edward Grey, May 8, 1009, enclosed in Reid to the Secretary of State, Aug. 25, 1908, SDR 774/310-313.

19.Acting Secretary of State Adee to American Embassy (London), July II, 1908, SDR 774/245 B.

20. Dictionary of American Biography, XVIII, 371-373. For Rockhill's objection to releasing Tenney, see Rockhill to State Department, Jan. 3, l000, SDR, RG 43, E 33.

2I.DAB, XX, 552-553.

22. Bacon to Brent, Washington, D.C., July 8, 1938, Brent Papers, Box 7. Also in SDR 774/233'

23. Alexander C. Zabriskie, Bishop Brent, Crusader for Christian Unity (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1948), pp. 19-23, 44. For Brent's opium work, see chap. vii.

24. Root to Wright, June 20, 1908, SDR 774/2272; also in Brent Papers, Box 7.

25. "Report to the Department of State by the American Delegation to the International Opium Commission at Shanghai," Confidential, March i, 1000, SDR 774/606, pp. 32-38, Brent Papers, Box 37. Hereafter cited as Confidential Report of American Opium Commission.

26. /bid., pp. 25-26.

27./bid., pp. 27-31.

28. Report of Shanghai Opium Commission, II, 7, 8, 19. See also Hamilton Wright, "The International Opium Commission," AJIL, III (July, 1909), 652-653.

29. Report of the Shanghai Commission, II, 7-8, 19-20. Subsequent, more systematic investigations (see p. 125 below) indicate that Wright greatly exaggerated the extent of opium consumption in the United States. His figures are important, however, in that they provided the conceptual basis for remedial legislation regarding the problem in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

3o. Ibid., p. 19.

31. Ibid., p. zo.    32. SDR 774/146-147.

33. For the drafting and discussion of the bill in the State Department see Wright to Root, enroute to China aboard S.S. Siberia, Oct. 30, 1908, Brent Papers, Box 8; H. W. Wiley (Department of Agriculture) to Bacon, Jan. 2, 1908, SDR 774/146-147; Root to Senator Lodge, Jan. 6, 1909, SDR 774/521. For the consideration and passage of the bill by Congress, see Congressional Record, 6oth Cong., 2nd Sess., 1909, XLIII, Part 1, 449; Part 2, 1396-1400, 1681-1684, 2098.

34. See above, p. 24.

35. F °reign Relations, 1907, I, 140-144, 149.

36. Root to H. C. Du Bose, June 19, 1907, SDR 774/65.

37. Rockhill to the Secretary of State, July 30, 1908, SDR 774/323.

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid., Rockhill to the Secretary of State, July 15, 1908, SDR 774/246.

40. Memorandum by William Phillips to Bacon, July 15, 1908, SDR 774/323, Sept. 25, 1908, SDR 774/246.

41. Bacon to Rockhill, July 16, 1908, SDR 774/246.

42. Adee to Rockhill, Sept. 24, 1908, SDR 774/323; Sept. 25, 1908, SDR 774/246.

43. Rockhill to the Secretary of State, Sept. 29, 1908, SDR 774/35o.

44. Foreign Relations, 1907, I, 40-44.

45. Root to the American Consul (Shanghai), March 13, 1908, SDR 774/167; Consul Cloud to Secretary of State, March zo, 1908, SDR 774/168.

46. See below, pp. 64-65.

47. Wright, "International Opium Commission," op. cit., pp. 853-855.

48. Report of the Shanghai Opium Commission, Vol. L Report of the Proceedings, pp.

49. Confidential Report of the American Opium Commission, pp. 8-9.

50. Brent to the Secretary of State, Shanghai, Jan. 27, 1909, SDR 774/606; RG 43, E 36; Brent Papers, Box 37.

51. Bacon to the American Embassy (London) Jan. 27, woo, SDR 774/545.

52. Reid to the Secretary of State, Jan. 28, 1909; Bacon to Brent, Jan. 28, 1909, SDR 7741547; Brent Papers, Box 8. Reid to the Secretary of State, Feb. 17, 1909, SDR 774/547.

53. Confidential Report of American Opium Commission, pp. to, 35-37.

54. Wright to the First Assistant Secretary of State, Feb. io, 1000, SDR 774/604.

55. Report of the Shanghai Opium Commission, I, 9—io.

56. Ibid., PP. 44-48.

57. Ibid., PP. 43-44.

58. Ibid., pp. 48-51.   

59. See below, p. 76.

60. Report of the Shanghai Opium Commission, I, 51-52.

6i. Ibid., D. 52.   

62. Ibid., pp. 52-53.

63.lbid., p. 53.

64. Wright, "International Opium Commission," pp. 866-867.

65. Confidential Report of American Opium Commission, pp. 9—II.

66. Report of the Shanghai Opium Commission, I, 53-54.

67.1bid., pp. 55-56•   

68.1bid., pp. 56-57.

69.1bid., pp. 71-72.

70. Confidential Report of American Opium Commission, pp. 9-14,35-38.

71. Report of the Shanghai Opium Commission, I, 58-61, covers discussion of British Resolutions.

72. Ibid., pp. 31-38.

73. Confidential Report of American Opium Commission, pp. 22-23.

74. Report of Shanghai Opium Commission, 1, 37-39, 58-59.

75. Confidential Report of American Opium Commission, pp. 23-24. Brent to Towns, March 9, 1909, Brent Papers, Box 8.

76. Report of Shanghai Opium Commission, I, 27-30.

77. Ibid., p. 62.   

78. Ibid., p. 62.

79. The basis on which these estimates were made was as follows: cost of opium imported into China-3oo,000,000 taels; and value of a crop like wheat which would replace opium cultivation-15o,000,000 taels. Ibid., pp. 67-68.

80. Ibid., p. 68.

81. Ibid., p. 69.   

82. Ibid., pp. 72-74.

83. ibid., pp. 74-77.

84. Ibid., p. 77.   

85. Ibid., pp. 64-65.

86. Ibid., p. 84.

87. Wright, "International Opium Commission," p. 864.

88. See below, p. 92.

89. Wright, "International Opium Commission," pp. 867-868. See also "Delegates for China on the International Opium Commission to the Chief Commissioner of the United States Delegation," Shanghai, Feb. 27, 1909, Brent Papers, Box 8.

90. Hamilton Wright, "Report on the Opium Conference at Shanghai," Proceedings of the American Society of International Law (April, 1909), p. 94.

91. Representative of the criticism of the Commission is "The Fight Against Opium," The Nation, LXXXIX (July 29, 1909), 92-93. The misunderstanding on which such criticism was based is explained in Brent to Leonard Wood, May 28, 1909; Brent to Whitelaw Reid, June ro, 1909, Brent Papers, Box 66.

92. "A Conference of Poisons," The Outlook, XCII (June, 1909), 422; "The International Opium Commission," Missionary Review of the World, XXII (May, woo), 323; R. P. Chiles, "The Passing of the Opium Traffic," The Forum, XLVI ( July, 1911), 2 2-39.

93. State Department memorandum, Jan. 12, 5911, SDR, RG 43, E 38; Ambassador Reid to the Secretary of State, Dec. 27, 1910, SDR 511.4A1/956.

94. Confidential Report of the American Opium Commission, pp. I-14, 37-38; Brent to Bishop Laurence, Manila, May 7, 1909; Brent to Leonard Wood, Manila, May 28, 1909; Brent to Mrs. Reid, Manila, June so, l000, Brent Papers, Box 8.

95, Wright to Brent, May 14, 1909, SDR, RG 43, E 51.


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