The Ambassador in Japan (Morris) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received June 27.]
Sir: I have the honor to report that since my return from Vladivostok in the early part of March, last, Mr. Stevens and Mr. [Page 607]Smith have kept me fully informed by telegrams and reports of the progress made in the execution of the plan for the supervision of the Chinese Eastern and trans-Siberian Railways. Any facts reported which seemed to me of importance I have transmitted to the Department by cable. I am also aware that both Mr. Stevens and Mr. Smith have, as requested, communicated directly with the Department. It is not necessary therefore to attempt any detailed review of the progress made. It is my purpose in this despatch merely to supplement previous information and enclose a few selected documents taken from the Embassy files which I hope will throw additional light on the situation. I devoted the last few days of my stay in Vladivostok in an effort to find a ground of agreement between Mr. Stevens and Mr. Nagao in regard to the distribution of Japanese railway experts. Mr. Stevens’ view was that in the interest of efficient management the fewer Japanese experts he employed, the better. Mr. Nagao, on the other hand, was greatly embarrassed by the pressure of the Japanese military authorities who were persistent in their demands that he should stand firm for full control of the operation of the entire Chinese Eastern system as well as the Ussuri and Amur Railways. Mr. Nagao was not in entire sympathy with the position of his own military authorities because as a technical railway man he realized that the American engineers were far more experienced in “long haul” problems than any of the men under his direction. He was fearful however that if he conceded too much he could not face the antagonism of the military group or the resentment of the Japanese public. After many extended discussions I reached a general understanding with Mr. Nagao which met the approval of Mr. Stevens. It was agreed that matters of detail should be worked out between them without any further interference from me so I left Vladivostok on the day arranged for their final interview. The result of this interview is reported in Mr. Nagao’s letter and enclosure to me of March 11th which is attached herewith and marked “Exhibit No. 1”. I confess I was surprised to find in Mr. Nagao’s memorandum a reference to the possibility of changing the gauge of the line between Changchun and Harbin. This was never mentioned in our discussions. Mr. Stevens, however, seems to have fully protected his approval of this suggestion by the proviso which he added. …
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I have [etc.]