Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.
Peking, China, May 12, 1904.
Sir: On the 3d instant the German minister, by a circular, informed his colleagues that the German consul-general at Shanghai, Doctor Knappe, had been appointed by his Government a permanent member of the Whangpu conservancy board, and that an engineer by the name of Schellhoss had been appointed as a supplementary member or substitute.
This would seem to be the creation of a permanent proxy for the German member, a proceeding for which the regulations make no provision, and for which I apprehend there is no precedent in the general practice of such organizations. I suggest that our member of the board be instructed in accordance with whatever view the Department may take of the question.
In this connection your attention is called to Article VI of the regulations, which fixes the term of office of the members designated by the several governments at one year. Should not, then, the representative of the United States be now reappointed?
The viceroy at Nanking recently promised Consul-General Goodnow that he would select the appointee to be named by the Chinese Government on or before May 13, which is to-morrow; but my experience with several positive promises of the same kind, made me by the foreign office here, does not inspire much faith in the fulfillment of this.
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I have, etc.,