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The National City Bank of New York v.

Republic of China
348 U.S. 356 (1955)
Facts
a. Shanghai- Nanking Railway Administration, official government agency of the Republic
of China, deposited $200,000 in the National City Bank New York branch in 1948
b. China sought to remove the money and upon refusal by the bank, brought suit in a
Federal District Court of the United States. The bank made a counterclaim, but it was
dismissed on the grounds of sovereign immunity for the Republic of China in that the
counterclaims were not directly related to the subject matter of Chinas original claim in
bringing suit.
c. The Supreme Court granted certiorari on the matter.
d. Republic of China is admissible to judgment in the federal courts by bringing suit under
the law of the United States.
e. Republic of China is a sovereign government recognized by the Executive of the United
States.
Questions
a. Can the Republic of China claim sovereign immunity under FSIA in response to the
counterclaims against the financial activity of their government?
Decisions
a. The Court decided that Chinas claim of immunity was invalid under the circumstances
of the case, specifically that the fact of Chinas decision to bring suit in U.S. courts waves
immunity. The decision also rests on the matter of the continual business relationship
between the bank and China, as the counterclaims were found to be relevant on that fact
alone, again eliminating sovereign immunity in this case. There is no consent to
immunity by the court, the counterclaims are reinstated and the case is returned to
District Court for further evaluation.
Principles
a. The primary point of international law is sovereign immunity.
b. This case shows an exception to the absolute doctrine of immunity for states, as it does
not entitle immunity to those who are willing to be considered under the fair judgment of
our law. The decision also shows a use of the business relationship between the bank and
Republic of China, as a standard for the District Courts dismissal of the case, which was

largely ignored in evaluating the claim under the Republic of Chinas rights in our courts.
Conclusions
This case is interesting in the fact that sovereign immunity was waved on the simple
grounds of Chinas action in bringing suit to the United States. The opinion of the court
reads that if the United States brought claim in a Chinese court, they would expect to
receive fair judgment under the laws which they chose to be judged under. Had the
United States brought the original claim then China would be able to seek immunity, and
the investigation of the subject matter of the counterclaims would be extended to fairly
determine the application of that sovereignty. But because China was the original suitor
they are represented in our courts as one half of a business deal that is open to judgment.
Bibliography
National City Bank of New York v. Republic of China, 348 U.S. 356, 1955 US Supreme Court
Submitted
Amy Crosby October 8, 2009