File No. 893.811/31.
The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Calhoun.
Washington, August 17, 1910.
Sir: I have to acknowledge receipt of your No. 43 of June 23, 1910, with inclosures upon the subject of the conservancy of the Whangpoo River.
The department regrets to learn the attitude taken by the Chinese Government toward this very important work. Its claim that China has met all its obligations under the special Whangpoo conservancy agreement, because it has spent more than the amount originally estimated as the cost of the work, does not appear to be reasonable. The obligations of China with regard to this improvement are set forth in the final protocol of 1901 and were not reduced by the substitute agreement of 1905. The department approves of the position taken by the diplomatic corps in the letter of the Doyen of December 14 last, that “so long as the conservancy work of the Whangpoo River remained unfinished to the extent and within the limits stipulated in the final protocol of 1901, the Government of China could not be considered as freed from the obligations which it had assumed.”
The burden under which the Chinese Government is laboring is a very heavy one, but the powers signatory to the protocol of 1901 have never been unwilling that a fair share of the burden should be carried by the foreign interests concerned.
The department has no objection, therefore, to your joining with your colleagues in a conference to consider plans for raising the needed funds, provided that such plans be considered tentative and have the approval of this Government before becoming operative. You will, of course, keep the department fully informed of the progress of negotiations.
I am, etc.,