File No. 861.77/489
The Ambassador in Japan (Morris), temporarily at Vladivostok, to the Secretary of State
[Received September 21, 10.08 a.m.]
Since my arrival here Japanese Minister Foreign Affairs has conveyed to me through a third party the information that the Japanese Government is willing to agree that the Stevens engineers take over the Chinese Eastern and Trans-Siberian Railways under military protection. He intimated, however, that his Government is greatly embarrassed by the apparent unwillingness of the British Government to agree to the plan. I can not understand this, as General Knox, Colonel Jack, the British engineer, and Mr. Allston, the diplomatic agent during Eliot’s absence, all profess the conviction that such a plan is the only possible solution of the critical transportation problem. If there is any serious British objection, it comes from a higher source.
Apparently all that is needed to carry into effect the plan suggested in my September 18, 10 p.m., is for Great Britain and France to associate themselves with our proposals. There is a practically unanimous desire on the part of representative Russians and Czechs that Stevens be given charge. I find the question of transportation even more serious than I anticipated. It should be solved promptly or all our efforts to aid Russia during the coming winter will be useless.