File No. 774/310–313.
Ambassador Reid to the Secretary of State.
London, August 25, 1908.
Sir: A reply has now been received from the foreign office to my notes of May 8 and July 12, written under your cable instructions of May 7 and July 11, and communicating your proposals about the approaching opium conference.
I hasten to inclose herewith a copy of this reply. It will be seen that while the British Government accepts your proposal for a meeting of the joint commission at Shanghai on January 1 next, and will nominate three British delegates, whose names are to be hereafter communicated, it thinks certain modifications in the scope and procedure of the commission desirable.
- The inquiry into the production, commerce, use, and disadvantages of opium in the Far East, named by you as one of the objects of the commission, should be, in its judgment, made prominent in the instructions.
- It believes the work would be hastened if the representatives were expected to study in advance the opium question in their respective countries, and come prepared to inform the commission at the outset as to regulations and restrictions in force there.
- This would require modifications of the instructions, which at present, in the view of the British Government, look to fuller investigation after the joint commission meets than time permits, and to proposals for changes in the administrative regulations of different countries before the commission has made these investigations or ascertained the precise present needs.
Finally, the British Government points out that it has itself already made such investigations concerning India and other British territories, and does not consider a fresh investigation necessary. When the representatives of other countries have done similar work it will be ready to meet them.
I have, etc.,