File No. 774/197A.

The Secretary of State to Ambassador Reid.1


(Mr. Root directs Mr. Reid to inform the Government to which he is accredited that the Governments concerned have agreed to an investigation of the opium question in the Far East by a joint commission.

States that in answer to our inquiries no Government has expressed any preference as to the date or place of meeting of the commissioners, although Shanghai has been mentioned as appropriate, and the United States finds itself invited to suggest the date and place of meeting, and it therefore names Shanghai and January 1, 1909, believing [Page 87] that this will be found agreeable and convenient to the other powers concerned. Mr. Root says that the President will appoint as commissioners not more than three persons, familiar with the subject, Congress to be asked for an appropriation not to exceed $20,000.

Mr. Root informs Mr. Reid that our idea is that each Government’s commission should proceed immediately with the investigation of the opium question on behalf of its respective country, with a view (1) to devise means to limit the use of opium in the possessions of that country; (2) to ascertain the best means of suppressing the opium traffic if such now exists among the nationals of that Government in the Far East; (3) to be in a position so that when the commission meets in Shanghai, the representatives of the various powers may be prepared to cooperate and to offer jointly or severally definite suggestions of measures which their respective Governments may adopt for the gradual suppression of opium cultivation, traffic, and use within their eastern possessions, thus assisting China in her purpose of eradicating the evil from her Empire.

Adds that the Government of Portugal has also accepted in principle participation in the investigation.)

  1. Repeated to Paris, Berlin, The Hague, Tokyo, Peking, and Lisbon.