The Minister in China ( Crane ) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 5—2:17 p.m.]
143. Your 102, March 29th, 5 p.m.48 British Legation with this Legation feels very strongly need for more precise definition of scope of consortium activities. The information thus far available does not give answers to questions in my 15, January 9th, noon, and 133, March 29th, 1 p.m. These and other similar questions come up daily in concrete form and require early settlement to assure success of consortium and prevent friction among its members. British Legation inquires whether American principle of Open Door and equal opportunity is to operate to dispossess established foreign interests in China such as railways, mines, telegraphs, et cetera, even those of preferential character like Marconi contract,49 thus depriving foreign, for instance British, pioneering enterprises in China of initial advantages gained over competitors. It is respectfully suggested that the consortium Legations Peking might profitably be taken into consultation in formulating answers to questions above referred to bearing in mind always that China has not approved consortium. For example, British Legation is astonished to learn that Addis,50 without consulting Peking, has offered to the consortium double tracking of Peking–Mukden line. British Legation is concerned to know what Chinese Government may say to this. This Legation is also interested in this matter as affecting the attitude of China toward the consortium.