File No. 893.51/1282.

The American Minister to the Secretary of State.


No change in the situation. Bankers doing nothing. Ministers reticent, apparently awaiting instructions. Chinese received £750,000 Crisp loan, being advance on payment due February 15. This gives relief for the present. Prior to meeting of February 4 it was understood that the Chinese would name the Dane and the German. Ministers and bankers alike awaited such action. Within the last day or two I have noticed change in British Minister, who shows preference for appointees from nationals making loan on the ground it is necessary for latter to have direct support of Legations interested in loan service. His present attitude is apparently in accord with French and Russians. German Minister privately says that if British have [Page 153] both customs and salt administration it will give them undue influence; he also suspects French and Russian purpose is to force a situation that will make rupture with the Chinese inevitable and thereby terminate consortium; that British, French and Russians will then make new alignment excluding Germans and Americans but allow Japanese to trail along. This will secure French market and extend triple entente to China. There is much in the situation to justify belief that a big diplomatic game is on which may or may not be reflected here.