File No. 763.72/3256

The Minister in China ( Reinsch) to the Secretary of State


My telegram of February 6, 11 p.m. In a further [conversation] Minister of Finance stated that the Chinese officials are increasingly disposed to associate their Government with the action of the United States but are deterred by the fear that evident necessity for more adequate military organization might lead the Japanese Government to seek from the Allies mandate to supervise such organization: and that to avert the possibility of Japan’s creating such a situation the Chinese Government considers it to be of the utmost importance to have some assurance that means will be provided to enable it to undertake the requisite measures independently with American financial assistance and guidance. In view of his urgent request for some immediate assurance on which the decision of the Government can be made, before other influences can be interposed, I shall feel justified in addressing the Minister for Foreign Affairs as follows, if it appears that by doing so without delay a favorable decision may be obtained.

I have recommended to my Government, in the event of the Chinese Government’s associating itself with the President’s suggestion, the Government of the United States should take measures to put at its disposal funds immediately required for the purposes you have indicated, and should take steps with a view to such a funding of the Boxer indemnity as would for the time being make available for the [purposes?] of the Chinese Government at least the major portions [of] the current indemnity installments: and I have indicated to you my personal conviction that my Government would be found just and liberal in effecting this or other such arrangements to enable the Chinese Government to meet the responsibilities which it might assume upon the suggestion of the President. I should not be wholly frank with you, however, if I were to fail to point out that the exact nature of any assistance to be given or any measures to be taken must be determined through consultation of various administrative organs, in some cases including reference to Congress, in order to make effective such arrangements as might have been agreed to between the executive authorities of the two Governments: and I, therefore, could not in good faith make in behalf of my Government any definite commitments upon your suggestions at the present time.

I do, however, feel warranted in assuming the responsibility of assuring you in behalf of my Government that by the methods you have suggested, or otherwise, adequate means will be devolved to enable China to fulfill the responsibilities consequent upon associating itself with the action of the United States, without any impairment of her control of her military establishment and general administration.

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I venture the hope that this action which I shall take only under imperative immediate necessity will meet your approval and that my position in this matter may be strengthened by authorization to affirm the acceptance by our Government of the principle of affording China such financial assistance as Great Britain, for example, has given Russia.