The Acting Secretary of State to Chargé Fletcher.

No. 688.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatches Nos. 12831 and 12841 of October 30 and November 2, 1909, respectively, on the subject of the proposed international settlement at Harbin.

The department is disposed to consider your criticism of this proposal as just. The city of Harbin—that is, all the most available sites or business purposes—would still remain under the administrative control of the Chinese Eastern Railway Co., and the proposed international [Page 227] settlement would probably, owing to its location, remain to a great extent unoccupied, or, if occupied, business houses there would be placed at a great disadvantage. Any such arrangement, moreover, would still be open to the objection which this Government has made from the beginning, that the exercise of municipal powers by the railway company is not in harmony with the convention of September 8, 1896, between China and the Russo-Chinese Bank. Any such arrangement would also be in violation of the extraterritorial rights of the treaty powers, as well as in violation of the principle of the open door and equal opportunity, to which the Government of Russia has repeatedly committed itself.

The department approves of the views expressed by you in conversation with Mr. Korostovetz, the Russian minister, as reported in your No. 1284 of November 2, 1909.

I am, etc.,

Alvey A. Adee.
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