The Minister in China (Crane) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received December 23—5:32 p.m.]
456. Under date of 17th Chinese Government announced to various Legations that the consent of Foreign Governments having been obtained maritime customs stations and native customs stations within radius of 50 li of former would begin to impose surtax after January 16th, funds thus collected to go to Famine Relief [Page 730]Bureau, Ministry of Interior, for audit and disbursement. Meeting of the corps 20th considered matter, certain Legations such as British and French demanded greater degree of foreign control over disbursements or would withhold assent as already notified Foreign Office. Matter now under discussion with the Chinese, probably will result in arrangement for disbursements through mixed commission [of] Chinese and foreigners. French also desire postponement of imposition [of] tax for further period.