Mr. Thomas W. Lamont to the Secretary of State
[Received March 12.]
Dear Mr. Secretary: I hand you herewith letter from the American Group of the Chinese Consortium,45 the initial draft of which I showed to you yesterday in your office. You are probably well aware of the fact that both in China and in this country a certain effort is now being made to defeat the Consortium, largely by methods of misrepresentation. There are large numbers of so-called vernacular newspapers published in China owned by Japanese interests, and these have been conducting a vigorous propaganda against the Consortium. Of course, I do not have to tell you that the investment interests represented in this effort have in the first instance undertaken this plan at the express approval of their respective governments, and as a measure of public service. While, of course, if loans are finally undertaken to China for constructive purposes they must be on a basis showing a fair interest return and a fair commission for handling; yet strictly on its merits, the investment groups would have preferred at the present time to undertake no responsibility in the matter. They have, however, undertaken a degree of responsibility, and very large initial expense, by reason of their belief—as more than once pointed out by the Department—that such a course would conduce to the upbuilding of general American interests in the Far East.