Ambassador Reid to the Secretary of State.

No. 283.]

Sir: Referring to your instructions, No. 297, of September 27, and No. 315, of October 13, I have the honor to report that the suggestion of an invitation by the United States to the Chinese Government to join it, together with Great Britain, France, Holland, and Japan, in a common investigation of the opium question was presented to the minister for foreign affairs on receipt of your first dispatch. He received it sympathetically, but said he would have to consult the other members of the ministry.

Yesterday, when I mentioned your later dispatch on the same subject, he told me he had been about to address me a letter, promising the ready concurrence of the British Government in such a conference as you proposed, with the understanding that the other countries named also agreed to it, and with the further understanding that the conference should take into consideration not merely the growth of and trade in opium in India, but also the similar conditions in China itself.

I have, etc.,

Whitelaw Reid.