File No. 861.00/2619½

The British Chargé (Hohler) to the Secretary of State

No. 973


With reference to the communication made to Mr. Polk by His Majesty’s Ambassador on July 26 and to the “memorandum of conversation” handed to His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires by Mr. Phillips on August 17 on the subject of the United States mission to Siberia,1 His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires has the honour to inform the Secretary of State, by direction of His Majesty’s Government, that Mr. Harold Porter, Acting Consul at Harbin, has now been appointed British Commercial Commissioner at Vladivostok, Mr. Sly now being unable to accept the position. Mr. Porter will proceed to Vladivostok at once.

No satisfactory agreement was come to out of the negotiations with the representatives of merchants trading in the Far East which was mentioned in Lord Reading’s communication, but His Majesty’s Government has made arrangements with Mr. Leslie Urquhart for the establishment by him of a business organization which shall act as agent of His Majesty’s Government and which shall be under the control and supervision of the Board of Trade in the United Kingdom and of the commercial commissioner in Siberia in the operations connected with the supply of goods which was contemplated.

The name of the organization is The Siberian Supply Co. It will not trade on private account but will act purely as the agent of His Majesty’s Government by whom it will be financed and it will be [Page 142]instructed to conform with any directions given by His Majesty’s Commercial Commissioner on behalf of the inter-Allied commission which it is hoped to establish at Vladivostok as to the methods and terms of the distribution of supplies. All receipts, expenditure, etc., will be accounted for to His Majesty’s Government by the organization who will be remunerated for its services by a commission of one half per cent on the turnover, and by the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.

  1. Ante, pp. 134 and 136.