Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.
Peking, China, June 8, 1904.
Sir: In continuance of my No. 1603 of May 12 last, concerning the Whangpu conservancy commission, I have the honor to report that upon receipt of the proposals of the Nanking viceroy, copy inclosed herewith, transmitted here by the consular body of Shanghai, the dean of the diplomatic corps circulated them among the representatives of the powers signatory of the final protocol. I inclose copies of the indorsements made on the circular by the German and British ministers, with which all the colleagues agreed except the French minister, who says he must ask his Government for instructions.
It seems to me, as I have heretofore written, that the organization [Page 187]of the commission need not await the Chinese appointment. If, at any time after the organization, a vacancy should occur, the commission would not stop business until it was filled. Why, then, should the failure of the Chinese to avail themselves of the privilege to appoint a member prevent the commission from doing business now? Besides, Article XI of annex 17 of the final protocol provides that four members shall constitute a quorum of the commission.
Unless I am otherwise instructed, I shall advocate this view with my colleagues and advise action in accordance therewith.
I have, etc.,