Informal Empire in Crisis: British Diplomacy and the Chinese Customs Succession, 1927-1929 (Cornell East Asia Series Volume 74)

The Inspector-General of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service was, without doubt, the highest-ranking foreigner in the Chinese Government. His position at the heart of China's fiscal, commercial and mercantile systems was crucial to the continued prosperity of the foreign business community in Shanghai and elsewhere. This work draws on unpublished British Foreign Office records and other contemporary sources to support its examination of the issues surrounding the appointment of a new Inspector-General in 1928, and the bitterness and intrigue which these issues engendered. The underlying debate between the British Legation in Peking and the Foreign Office in London illustrates the dilemma of a diplomatic establishment no longer able to rely upon the use of force to defend British interests in China.