893.51/2906: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Davis) to the Secretary of State

1144. Your 773, July 23, 5 p.m.71 Foreign Office informs me that as Chinese Government inquired of our Legation Peking in latter part of June concerning consortium, it telegraphed British Legation June 30th agreeing in principle to joint note to the Chinese Government which should carefully outline scope of the consortium and emphasize that it is not a new consortium but a revision of the old. As detailed discussion concerning interchange of group letters is too technical to anticipate therefore it advocated that this should be a matter of negotiation between the groups.

Subsequent to July 3rd, on which date British Chargé d’Affaires reported that he was to prepare a draft for submission to his colleagues of the interested powers, nothing has been heard concerning the text or the action taken.

Foreign Office believes that this procedure should [be] either concluded or discarded before consideration of the text submitted by the Department and presumes that action in Peking was probably delayed by recent disturbances. It is also of the opinion that announcement should not be made before the Chinese Government is duly notified and the announcement might then well include the fact and possibly the text of such notification. It believes it dangerous to consider consortium as “an established fact,” in which Addis of British group agrees, as such will not be the case until the meeting of the groups in October and the formal interchange of agreements hitherto only initiated.

I am convinced that British Government is not seeking any pretext whatever for delay but merely desires to stand on unassailable ground. Addis reports a weakening of interest by French bankers in the matter, this rumor is not compatible with the acquiescence of French Government as recently reported by Embassy, Paris, in the Department’s note regarding payment of coupons referred to in your 686, June 29, 8 [5] p.m.,72 and to which British are withholding assent pending receipt of relevant correspondence. The Japanese would undoubtedly welcome French dissent. Paris informed.

  1. See footnote 66, p. 558.
  2. See footnote 5, p. 647.