File No. 893.51/1311.

The American Ambassador to France to the Secretary of State.

No. 273.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s telegram of the 10th instant, 6 p.m., containing, for immediate delivery to the French Government the text of an aide mémoire relative to the appointment of foreign advisers to the Chinese Government in connection with the proposed international loan, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of the reply from the Foreign Office.

I have [etc.]

Myron T. Herrick.


In a note of yesterday, February 11, the Ambassador of the United States was pleased to make known his sentiment as to the advantage there would be, from the American Government’s viewpoint, for the purpose of expediting the conclusion of the Chinese reorganization Joan, in accepting the three advisers nominated by the Chinese Government with the reservation that the first two being a Dane and a German, respectively, the third one should be a Frenchman; an increase in the number of advisers would involve a claim of the United States in behalf of its nationals.

The French Government, which is not seeking exclusive advantages and never ceased to look upon the Chinese loan question in the light of the accord of the six powers and the interest of all, that is to say with the condition that real guaranties for the lenders and efficacious supervision of the disbursements should be secured from China, does not change its position, though it is ready to accept any method that would not affect the merits of the case.

In order to secure the guaranty and supervision that the powers unanimously demand, it is necessary and sufficient that the foreign advisers appointment be agreed upon by the powers and China, and that their powers be clearly defined in an incontestable instrument. It is logical, on the other hand, that the advisers should belong to the lenders nationality and that, in order to prevent difficulties among the six powers, the offices to be filled should number six, in which the Chinese Government has repeatedly declared itself disposed to concur. If the six Legations would arrive at an agreement on these very simple principles without discussing beforehand the distribution of the six officers, the Chinese [Page 158] Government would soon adopt them, as it is not practically in position to procure, outside of the consortium, the funds it urgently needs.

Admission of the Chinese Government’s pretension to select and appoint advisers, whether or not qualified, without assuming any precise engagement as to their powers, would in truth be tantamount to a failure of the six powers policy.

The essential principles once settled, the French Government has assented and continues ready to assent to any combination that may be proposed.

The latest, put forth by the Minister of the United States at Peking, consisted in proposing to the Chinese Government advisers belonging to the nationality of the lending powers (neutrals being no better qualified and less able to enforce observance of the Chinese engagements); the contract as offered by the groups implying the appointment of three advisers connected with the loan, the said advisers would be selected in the order of the quotas of the loan issue, that is to say: France, England, Germany, it being understood that the Legations would later endeavor to obtain from the Chinese Government three other adviser ships in the departments, in accordance with the propositions that might be offered, which office would be assigned, in order, to the United States, Russia, and Japan.

The American proposition was adopted by the other five concerned with an amendment providing that a fourth office of adviser should be asked in behalf of Russia, which invoked a formal engagement on the part of the Chinese Government in connection with the 1895 loan. The six Legations having thus reached an agreement, reported to their Governments; the English, French, Japanese and Russian Governments have accepted the distribution (an Englishman in the salt administration, a German in the loan bureau, a Frenchman and a Russian in the audit department); the German Government has expressed a desire to have the German adviser placed in the salt administration rather than in the loan bureau, which is a question that may be arranged through an agreement between the two countries concerned, England and Germany.

If the Government of the United States would also concur in the above stated propositions, the six Ministers of the powers at Peking could shortly resume with China the interrupted pourparlers and secure from her the supervision of the security and disbursements which from both the financial and political standpoint constitute the indispensable condition of the reorganization loan.