The U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission has negotiated with the People's Republic of China for the payment of $19 million to American church and mission groups for property confiscated by the Communist regime in 1949.
The reimbursement to the church groups is part of an $80.5 million package that the Chinese government agreed to pay American claimants, including commercial interests, who were forced to leave China at the time of the Communist take-over.
The reimbursement agreement, negotiated last week in Peking by U.S. Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal and Chinese Finance Minister Chang Ching-fu, represents 41 percent of the $197 million in claims filed originally by Americans.
Major beneficiary among the mission groups is the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, a consortium of Protestant mission schools, now headquartered at the Interchurch Center in New York City. The group will receive $9.5 million.
Others who will receive substantial amounts include the Roman Catholic Vincentian Fathers, who will get $2.5 million; Lingnan University, a mission school originally located in Canton whose New York-based trustees will now receive $2.3 million; the Young Men's Christian Association, $922,671, and the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, Emmitsburg, Md., $547,693.
The Southern Baptist Convention's Foreign Mission Board, which, according to a church statement, "holds deeds to millions of dollars in mission property in China," decided several years ago not to file a claim for reimbursement.
"It has been our hopw that ultimately we may be able to have access to the properties to use them for their original purpose," said Baker J. Cauthen, executive director of the mission board.