861.77/1496: Telegram

The Consul at Harbin ( Jenkins ) to the Secretary of State

Referring to Department’s telegram of April 20, 6 p.m. Actual status of control Chinese Eastern Railway and municipal administration in the railway zone is so chaotic it is almost impossible to explain clearly to what extent Russian functions have been taken over by Chinese or others.

Chinese now have five members on board of directors and Russians five, instead of former representation of three Chinese and eight Russians. As several Russian members are absent Chinese actually control board at present. Legality of this board extremely doubtful as its members not elected by stockholders. Its functions also not clearly defined.
Chinese have abolished entirely Russian police force in railway zone and assumed sole powers of policing including occupancy of Russian police buildings.
Chinese Military Governor Pao, who is president board of directory [of] railway, has assumed certain powers formerly exercised by Horvat including responsibility [for] maintaining order and policing in railway zone. However, Pao does not appear to have undertaken Horvat’s functions as chief executive officer of railway.
Chinese have attempted to eliminate Horvat both as governor of railway zone and as chief executive of railway but latter refuses [Page 687] totally their authority to remove him. Meantime Pimenoff, Russian citizen, is acting chief executive of railway.
With the exception of Horvat and Russian military and police officials all other Russian civil and railway officials continue at their posts. No Chinese railway officials have yet been appointed but believe Chinese contemplate creating office of assistant chief executive to be filled by them.
As Horvat was recognized head [of] Russian civil administration in railway zone, his enforced suspension leaves Russians without any chief governmental officer, Chinese not having as yet announced their intention to regard Russian consul as such. All Russian civil governmental departments in zone including municipality continue to function as formerly but without any central head.
Chinese have expressed desire to abolish certain Russian courts in railway zone which are separate from consular court but this has not yet been done. All Russians arrested by Chinese police continue to be handed over to Russian courts for trial, though prisoners are actually held in custody of Chinese.
Chinese admit that as they are parties with Great Britain, Japan and other powers to agreement recognizing Harbin municipal government they cannot make any radical changes there, nor do the Chinese seem to have any clear idea of separating municipal government from railway civil administration. My personal opinion is British and Japanese consuls will endeavor to maintain status quo as far as municipal government is concerned.
Although Chinese announced they assumed military and police functions in railway zone Japanese have recently committed numerous acts at various stations along the railway which set both Chinese and Russian authority at naught, …
General Horvat has evidently been very active with Chinese officials at Peking and there are rumors which may prove true he will shortly return to Harbin and resume functions as director of railway and chief Russian official.