File No. 4002/209–210.
Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.
Peking , May 19, 1909 .
Sir: In my cablegrams of the 20th of February1 and the 2d of March,1 respectively, I informed the department of the early arrival in Peking of Gen. Horvath, general manager of the Chinese Eastern Railway and acting consul general of Russia at Harbin and of the Tao-t’ai of Harbin, for the purpose of discussing the question of the administration of Harbin and the rights of China in the zone of the Chinese Eastern Railway Co.
Immediately on the arrival of Gen. Horvath in Peking on March 15 he and the Russian minister called on and asked me to state the objections of my Government to the present methods of municipal [Page 209] administration at Harbin and its suggestions concerning a satisfactory settlement of the question. This I did, basing my remarks entirely on the notes exchanged by the department with the Russian ambassador in Washington, copies of which the department had sent me. Gen. Horvath assured me that he had no objection to raise against the principle of an international settlement at Harbin and that he would be pleased to consider in a conciliatory spirit any propositions the Chinese might have to make on the subject, though he was not empowered at present to conclude any definite arrangement with the Wai-wu Pu.
The same day I went to the Wai-wu Pu and saw President Liang Tun-yen. He told me that he just had a conversation with the Russian minister and Gen. Horvath, and that they had readily agreed in principle to the creation of an international settlement at Harbin. He said he had told them that he would submit to them a draft of the Chinese Government’s views on the subject. He said that he did not anticipate much trouble in reaching a satisfactory agreement concerning Harbin, but that the questions of municipal administrations in other localities along the line of the Chinese Eastern Railway, where there were a few Russians only and a large Chinese population, was more difficult of adjustment, but he felt very hopeful/of reaching an understanding with the Russians.
On the 24th of April I was told by the Harbin Tao-t’ai that an understanding had been reached with the Russians. The signing of the arrangement was put off from day to day until the 11th instant, when it was signed by the representative of the Chinese Eastern Railway Co. and the Russian minister and by Liang Tun-yen, president of the Wai-wu Pu; the Tao-t’ai of Harbin, Sze Sao-ki (Shih-chao-chi), and Yu Szu hsing.
At the same time as the preliminary arrangement was signed notes were exchanged between the Wai-wu Pu and the Russian minister recognizing the principle, which Russia agrees fully to respect, of complete Chinese sovereignty over the leased territory and that the rights and privileges enjoyed by the subjects of other powers under the treaties between China and other nations are fully preserved to them in the same zone.
On the 14th instant a copy of the agreement and the text of the notes were sent me by the Tao-t’ai of Harbin, and on the 15th the Russian minister also handed me a copy of the arrangement.
I inclose herewith copy of the French text of the arrangement, with an English translation of the same, and copy of the text of the notes exchanged between the Russian minister and the Wai-wu Pu.
I have, etc.,