The Ambassador in Japan (Morris), temporarily at Omsk, to the Secretary of State
[Received August 4, 10:09 p.m.]
Our informal conference,78 including as in previous cases, Russian and Allied representatives and experts, met on July 26th to discuss the financial needs of the Russian railways, to reach an agreement if possible on a comprehensive plan to be submitted to our Governments. The conference unanimously adopted in Russian following conclusions:
- that it would be unwise and impracticable for the Associated Powers to undertake any direct control of, or responsibility for the internal financial arrangements of the Chinese Eastern or Trans-Siberian Systems. It was stated by the Minister of Ways and Communications that the receipts of the Chinese Eastern were probably sufficient to meet the expense of one, but that the Trans-Siberian roads would show a very large deficit which would have to be considered in the financial estimates of the Russian Government.
- that no reliable data was [were] at present available even to equalize [estimate?] the financial needs of the railways in European Russia.
- that for the present we should leave out of consideration all proposals for construction or both [sic] extensions.
The adoption of these general conclusions limited the investigation to the amount and character of the materials and supplies which it will be necessary to import in order to continue the operation of the main line from Vladivostok to the Ural Mountains.
The discussion revealed much confusion in regard to details: supplies already shipped, contracts already executed or partly executed, and additional materials required. It was decided therefore to appoint a committee consisting of Colonel Emerson, General Jack of the British Railway Mission, and Mr. Ostrougoff, to examine and report on the details. This committee is now sitting daily and as soon as the report is completed and approved by the conference I will submit the conclusion to the Department with my comments.