File No. 763.72/3397

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


Department’s cipher telegrams of February 17, 4 p.m.,1 and March 2, 5 p.m.2 The Department appreciates action of China in awaiting the decision of this Government concerning the assurances which you proposed to give the Chinese Government on condition of action by it concurrent with that of the United States.

After careful reconsideration of the whole matter, this Government sees no reason to alter its decision communicated to you in the telegram of February 10, 4 p.m.3

The Department is supporting China’s efforts to obtain a loan in the United States. There are serious obstacles in the way but the approaching visit of Mr. Abbott4 to Peking may possibly remove them.

The United States is not in a position to guarantee China a voice in possible conferences but desires China to have such a voice and in so far as practicable will use its influence to that end.

It must be understood, however, that this Government is not bidding against the Entente for adherence of China to American course of action. There appears to have been on the part of the Legation a misunderstanding of the President’s circular invitation to neutral governments. All other important neutrals having declined that invitation, the adherence of China without other powers would be insufficient for purpose originally intended. But the Department is of course deeply interested in the welfare of China and can not but feel that if the Chinese Government will refuse to place itself in a position which will give others a reasonable excuse for demanding control of its military resources there will be no need to seek protection against such domination.

  1. Ante, p. 410.
  2. Ante, p. 412.
  3. Ante, p. 408.
  4. Vice President of the Continental and Commercial Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago; see Foreign Relations, 1917, pp. 125 et seq.