The Consul at Vladivostok (Caldwell) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 23—9:50 a.m.]
168. [From Smith:]
“Committee passed following: ‘As Allied military commands January 1919 fixed tariffs for military transportation and stated that transportation would be paid in accordance with such tariffs, that such bills have not all been paid and on account of this Chinese Eastern Railway, a private company, is now practically bankrupt, therefore we desire to call the attention of our respective Governments to this condition’.
If all Governments would pay their bills Chinese Eastern finances would be easy. America pays as fast as bills are presented and checked. Japan does the same but takes her long time to check bills. England owes some but will pay. Italy settled fully. France and Czechoslovakia have paid nothing and owe approximately $5,000,000; Czechs state Paris Council must decide regarding payment Czech bills. There is bill against Department of State for about $932 for train of Consul General Harris, which railway states is unpaid. Regarding correctness of bill I do not know, but if correct it should be paid. Committee granted no free transportation except Red Cross trains.
Claim has just been presented to Committee for coal from mines near Irkutsk owned by Polish citizen, amount about $4,000,000. Statements from Omsk Ministers accompanying claim show nothing was paid. Other claims may follow. These can be paid from amounts due for Allied transportation. Apparently Omsk paid nothing.
Railway inspectors have returned to Nikolsk temporarily. Russian railway employees working well and Japanese not interfering. [Page 693] Russians have requested Committee secure the return of line Nikolsk-Habarovsk from Japanese military. This has been taken up with Japanese command. Smith.”