The Minister in China (Crane) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 26—5:25 a.m.]
278. My 274.13 In spite of yesterday’s statement of Yen about next week [as time for detailed] mandates, arrangements have been made [for] Chinese commissioner to take over duties and functions [of] Russian consul, Tientsin, noon to-day. Upon learning fact and at urgent instance of American Chamber of Commerce and consuls, Tientsin, Hankow, who very apprehensive, I again inquired intentions Chinese Government and, tacitly assuming that installation Chinese commissioner unavoidable, I suggested as a tentative incomplete plan [for] administration of Russian concessions in which such important American interests located: (1) governing body to be a council elected by the tax payers of the concessions; (2) administration to be in the hands of council and the employees of its choosing and under its control; (3) aside from taxes payable to Chinese Government by all foreigners, taxation of property holders in the concession to be delivered as well as administered by the council and its employees; (4) veto as in [Shanghai?] to be in the hands of consular body. Foreign Office informs me in reply that the plan was to maintain former municipal government as far as possible including council, police and taxation system. Chinese commissioner to take the place of Russian consul in all matters to be [acted upon] on behalf of Russian Government, even in extraterritorial judicial jurisdiction which is otherwise to remain unchanged. Thus Chinese propose to [administer] justice in cases between Americans and Russians where Americans [plaintiffs against Russians;] other arrangements not fixed. This supervision meets my suggestions with the exception of point 4 [regarding] veto. [Supposing] plan conscientiously followed, American rights always appear to be substantially protected. I am not so certain about Russian interests although Government seems to realize its responsibility as conserver in the face of necessity for future strong relations with Russian people as distinguished from any particular [Page 768]Russian government. French and Japanese for strong stand to maintain Russian property under the Legations; British not, but British show no concern about Russian rights and property and Chargé d’Affaires ad interim has no instructions in that regard. Chinese feel that it is necessary for them to take charge of entire police protection, Harbin. General Mun authorized [to] keep on many of old Russian police but making three quarters organization Chinese.