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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 19, 1954

MINUTES OF THE TALK BETWEEN HUAN XIANG AND HUMPHREY TREVELYAN ON THE RETURN OF CHINESE AND US NATIONALS TO THEIR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES (EXCERPT)

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Trevelyan offered to mediate the issue of Chinese and American expatriates as a private person. Huan Xiang replied by affirming that US nationals were free to leave China while many Chinese were not allowed to leave the US. He declared to have no authority on the mediation request and would consult with related people.
    "Minutes of the Talk between Huan Xiang and Humphrey Trevelyan on the Return of Chinese and US Nationals to Their Respective Countries (Excerpt)," May 19, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Waijiaobu dang’anguan ed., Yijiuwusi nian Rineiwa huiyi (The Geneva Conference of 1954) (Beijing: Shijie zhishi chubanshe, 2006), 379. Translated by Yafeng Xia. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114705
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[…]

[Humphrey] Trevelyan: I discussed the aforementioned issues in the capacity as British representative to Beijing. Now I’d like to raise an issue as a private person. As you know, there are many US nationals in China who could not return to the US, and many Chinese nationals in the US who could not return to China. In the interest of both China and the United States, I’d like to serve as mediator for the resolution of the issue. I solemnly declare that I raise this issue only as a private individual. If China wants for me to serve as mediator, I’ll be willing to make efforts. If not, it’s all right with me.

Huan Xiang: Regarding this issue, China has not detained US nationals and has not prevented them from returning to the United States. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, US nationals willing to depart have already left China if there is no particular hindrance (such as debt disputes, criminal activities, illegal border crossing, etc.). Thousands have left every year. On the contrary, the US has detained many Chinese students, denying their return to their country. The Chinese people are indignant over this. Now Mr. Trevelyan says he would like to serve as a mediator. Since I’m not the official responsible for the matter, I can’t respond to your request now. I’ll respond after consulting with the relevant units and asking for instructions.

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