The Secretary of State to the American Group
Gentlemen: With reference to your letter of the twelfth instant51 with which you transmit minutes of the inter-group meeting held in London on January 30, 1917,52 to which meeting reference was made in minute XI of the conference of group representatives at New York last October,53 the Department desires to direct your attention to the implications which might be construed to attach to minute XI of the October meeting when read in connection with resolution No. 3 of the inter-group conference of January 20 , 1917,—particularly as regards the proposed taking over of the Chinese Land Tax by the Consortium, and its reorganization under a foreign chief inspector of Japanese nationality. It is noted that the inter-group conference of January 30, 1917, decided to submit their resolutions to their respective principals for approval; but it is not known whether this was actually done, or whether such approval was given. The Department desires to be informed more in detail on these points, and would also like to know whether the question was ever submitted for the approval of the interested Governments.
In this connection the Department would suggest that, in view of the intimate relationship existing in China between the administration of the tax on land, and the internal affairs of the country, it may be wise for the American Group to consider whether it should not take steps to dissociate itself from any proposal to administer that tax.
I am [etc.]