861.77/2494: Telegram

The Minister in China ( Schurman ) to the Secretary of State


120. My no. 118 of March 22 [25], 1 p.m. My British colleague tells me that London has asked him whether, considering Geddes’66 economy program, it was necessary to have British representative upon the Technical Board. Mr. Alston’s answer was that as there were virtually no British commercial interests in the Chinese Eastern Railway it was rather a luxury to maintain a British member on the Board but that as the question was political it should be decided in London. He also reported that the Chinese disliked the Technical Board although both the Chinese and the Russians found it useful as a buffer between them. Mr. Alston expressed [Page 892] the view that the expenses of the Technical Board should be a charge on the railway itself and that possibly the Chinese Government might be willing to pay all its expenses in case the suggestion put forward by the United States to increase the Board’s power were changed so that nominally the Chinese Government would be the employer of the Board. In reply Mr. Alston was told that his Government agreed that the expenses of the Technical Board should be met by the Chinese Government and he was instructed to sound out the American Minister. I told him that it would be necessary for me to receive instructions.

  1. Sir Eric Geddes, chairman of committee to advise on British national expenditure.