861.77/2494: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Harvey)

104. Minister Peking telegraphs he has been sounded by his British colleague as to possible withdrawal of the British member of the Technical Board at Harbin as part of the Geddes retrenchment program and British Minister has suggested as an alternative that the Board might be made instrument of the Chinese Government and cost of maintenance transferred. Please say to the Foreign Office that this Government would regard the withdrawal of the British member of the Technical Board as most unfortunate at this time, especially in view of the early return to Harbin of John F. Stevens and intimations that Japan intends soon to initiate discussion of future policy respecting the railway. Add that this Government will be ready to consider carefully the British Minister’s alternative suggestion a little later on but hopes that action can be deferred for a short time at least as any present manifestation of a lack of interest on the part of Great Britain would be most inopportune.