American Concession

The United States never properly acquired a concession in Tianjin. It had been granted the right in 1860 under the 1858 Treaty of Tianjin and the 1860 Peking Convention, and an area was identified. A formal concession never materialized, although the US consulate exercised some jurisdiction until 1880, when the area was relegated to an uncertain status while the US retained a right in principle to take it over again. As neither the US nor the Chinese administration exercised control over the area, it became a refuge for foreigners trying to avoid the official concessions and for Chinese settlers. Large parts of the area were later purchased by the China Merchants Steam Navigation Company and the Chinese Engineering and Mining Company.

After the establishment of the German concession, the US consul contemplated handing American claims over to the Germans and in 1896, the State Department advised the consul again that all jurisdiction over the area was to be abandoned. But when a series of new concession was established after the Boxer crisis in 1900, the area was reoccupied following suggestions from the American Military Authorities. Plans for the eventual establishment of a concession were soon shelved again, not least as there was not much ground left to develop for American interests as virtually the whole area was the property of the two Chinese state companies.  In the end, American claims were relinquished. Sanitary and police control had been already handed over to the British Municipality in spring 1901. In November the US formally abandoned its claim and by proclamation of the Chinese Customs Daotai issued 23 October 1902, the area was added to the British concession as its Southern Extension.

A residual American interest was retained in that an understanding was reached between the British and Americans that US forces would have a right to use the area in case of an emergency, and it was expected that one place on the British Municipal Council would be filled by a US citizen, if available. This was included in the 1919 Land Regulations, but not those of 1928.