Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.
Peking, China, August 12, 1904.
Sir: Continuing the subject-matter of my No. 1639 of June 22 last, I have now the honor to confirm our recent telegraphic correspondence concerning the Whangpu conservancy.
I also acknowledge receipt by our last mail of Department’s instruction No. 814, of June 29, and inclose copies of my recent correspondence with His Imperial Highness Prince Ch’ing.
I have in private conference with my British and German colleagues clearly explained your position, and shall do so with others after the Chinese make a definite proposal, or, opportunely, before.
The British and German ministers personally agree with me and are consulting their governments.
The Chinese Government can, if it desires, furnish the funds and do this work promptly and satisfactorily, but it must be done under competent foreign supervision. I am not certain, however, that it is really desirous to have the work done, but am inclined to believe that this last proposal is only made to avoid having the work done under the arrangement provided for in the final protocol, which has always been very objectionable to the Chinese Government.
If it can be delayed by further deliberate negotiations, I apprehend they will be quite pleased.
In my judgment the only way to secure the early commencement of the work, or even to make the Chinese hasten in their efforts to conclude negotiations upon their new proposal, is to make them understand that the powers are in earnest in their insistence that the work shall be carried out in strict accordance with the provisions of the protocol, and that if the Chinese Government will not take hold, as by its terms they have promised, then the powers will at once organize the commission and proceed to its execution without it. Rather than this China will do anything possible.
However, the agreement of the powers is the first essential, and I am sure this can be much more easily secured directly by the home governments than by their representatives here.
Many of the ministers are at present away from the city for the summer, but will probably have returned by the time the Chinese are ready to present the full programme and plan demanded.
I have, etc.,