The Ambassador in Japan (Morris), Temporarily at Vladivostok, to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received March 3, 5.30 a.m.]
Both Mr. Stevens and I have had informal talks [with] Japanese representatives here covering Mr. Stevens’ tentative agreements for the operation of the railways and the policy he will adopt in using foreign experts as provided in the railway agreement.
Mr. Stevens has indicated in a general way that he contemplates requesting the Japanese experts to operate under his supervision the line from Changchun to Harbin and also all of the Amur Railway. On the main line of the Chinese Eastern and Trans-Siberian he proposes to introduce a unified and modern system of train despatching which will require in the beginning the supervision of the men of the Russian Railway Service Corps with whom, however, he proposes to associate Japanese and other foreign experts so that they may as quickly as possible learn the system and ultimately assume sole responsibility for some of the divisions into which he expects to divide the main line.
It seems to me that such an agreement is a full and generous compliance with the assurance which Mr. Stevens and I both gave to Viscount Uchida that due consideration would be given to Japan in the use of foreign experts and that we would welcome their help and cooperation. The Japanese representatives appear greatly dissatisfied [with] this general scheme and while not directly saying so have very definitely conveyed the impression that they desire and expect Mr. Stevens to turn over to their sole supervision a substantial portion of the Chinese Eastern. As Mr. Stevens has so often pointed out the main line cannot be placed under different systems of operation without defeating the whole object of the agreement. The agreement applies with equal force to the request of the Chinese Government in regard to control of the Chinese Eastern. We are holding firm to this position and hope that the Japanese representatives will recognize the reasonableness of it. In the meantime Mr. Matsudaira21 is urging delay: (1) that no formal acceptances have been [Page 602]received from France or Italy and (2) that China has refused to join in the agreement. As all the representatives including China’s will be here by Monday I am urging Mr. Ostrougoff21 to call a meeting at that time which I hope will proceed to formal organization without further delay.