File No. 861.77/473
The Chargé in China (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 12, 9.16 p.m.]
When telling me yesterday that the proposal contained in your August 30, 4 p.m.,1 was under careful consideration by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs made the suggestion that the matter would be simplified if Stevens were to be asked by General Horvat to take over control of the Chinese Eastern Railway. Upon my remarking our Government would scarcely look to the head of the railway administration rather than to the Russian Government for authorization for Stevens to act, he stated to me in confidence that the Tao Yin of Harbin has reported to the Chinese Government statement made to him by Horvat, that within the past four or five days “the Japanese” have been strongly urging him to turn over control to them.
The Minister showed some anxiety to know what progress had been made in the negotiations with other Allies. To my question whether the Japanese Government had given the Chinese any indication of its attitude toward the project he answered that it had not, unless some such indication were to be inferred from a telegram received from the Chinese Minister at Tokyo inquiring whether the proposal had been suggested to the American Government by China.