File No. 4002/110.

Memorandum from the Russian Embassy.

According to a telegram received April 26, last, by his excellency, Mr. Iswolsky, from the Russian consul general at Harbin, the United States consul at that place not only continues to maintain his original protest against the establishment of a municipal government at Harbin, but appears to be resolutely hostile in general to the exercise of administrative rights by the railroad and to the whole order of things which has been established for a long time in that locality.

Considering the Russian settlement of Harbin as a port open to foreign commerce, and taking the Portsmouth treaty as his basis, Mr. Fisher refuses to recognize the rights of a private company to exercise administrative authority over foreigners, and protests against the election to the municipal council of two members representing the railroad company, as well as against placing the municipal administration under the control of this company; he also categorically refuses to have any dealings with the municipal administration through the railroad company, as mentioned. According to him, the only authority who could act as intermediary in such a case is the consul general of Russia, who ought, in his opinion, to be at the head of the [Page 206] municipal administration as representative of the Russian Government independent of the railroad.

The American consul will likewise not admit that the Russian judicial and police authorities are to be permitted to conduct the preliminary proceedings in judicial actions in which the defendants are foreigners, nor to make searches in the houses of such foreigners, who are under the jurisdiction of their consuls, or, in default of such, of the territorial Chinese authority. He also considers that the police have no right to demand that foreigners be provided with passports. Deeming it illegal for foreigners to be compelled to sign a written pledge to submit to the regulations and taxes established by the municipal administration and by that of the railroad, Mr. Fisher declares that he can not lend his support to these institutions in this matter, and would even consider himself obliged to refuse his protection to American citizens who had undertaken such a pledge in writing.

Without entering upon a substantial discussion of the questions raised by the United States consul at Harbin, the Imperial Government can not refrain from stating that the uncompromising views of Mr. Fisher are not in conformity with the conciliatory tone which has characterized the exchange of views on this question between the two governments.

The Imperial Cabinet would consequently be glad to know to what extent the stand taken by the American consul at Harbin corresponds with the views of the Federal Government on this question.