The Minister in China (Schurman) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 21—10 a.m.]
87. My 76, March 12, 11 a.m.; 78, March 13, 6 p.m.; and 81, March 17, 1p.m.
- Koo told me 19th immediately after expiration of Karakhan’s time limit that latter had wrong idea in regard to finality of agreements between him and Wang, since these had to be approved by the Government before ratification. Cabinet was considering them when Karakhan fixed time limit. This has made situation more difficult. But as Karakhan had declared his object was to establish friendly relations with China, Koo could not see that any other way than diplomacy was open to him.
- Chinese Government’s self-respect compelled them to ignore Karakhan’s time limit. Whether Karakhan imagined he could rush [Page 483] Chinese diplomacy or foresaw some eventual advantage in breaking off negotiations, is not clear. He professed to believe that Wang fully represented Chinese Government and claimed that it disavowed his official signature. Koo now explains that Wang has no such authority—Wang himself maintains silence. Doubtless Wang was ambitious to play the leading part in bringing about recognition of Russia.
- Koo asked Karakhan night[s] of 19th and 20th to withdraw time limit and continue negotiations. Karakhan declined to do so or to transmit such request to his Government.
- This morning’s papers publish long letter from Karakhan to Wang, dated 19th, justifying both of them and indicting the Chinese Government especially for its subserviency to the imperialistic powers (who hold it in servitude) in regard to everything affecting Soviet Russia. Letter says:
“Chinese Government was informed exactly of the course of negotiations including all the details and the Chinese delegate was acting with the full approval of his Government. However, suddenly, on the eve of the signing on March 12th an event took place which turned upside down all the work done theretofore; on the 12th instant France presented to the Chinese Government a warning and threatening note. This is the undeniable cause of the situation created. There are some other powers that have also conveyed a warning to China, but they did not do it in such an open way as France which of all the powers of the world is the one most hostile to us. … Agreement gives full satisfaction to the national and state interests of China in a measure which will never be filled voluntarily towards China by any other power. Chinese Government would certainly be most happy and thankful to any third power which would accord but a tenth part of the respect for China’s sovereignty [rights] and the national demands of the Chinese people embodied in the agreements signed on March 14th. … It suffices to point out our abandonment of the right of consular jurisdiction, of special rights and privileges relative to concessions, of the Boxer Indemnity. In vain did China strive at Versailles and Washington to get free of the humiliating fetters bound [with these] privileges. China got a promise at Washington that commission would be created to discuss the question of extraterritorial rights. However, until today this commission has not been created yet, for France is against it. … At Washington it was promised to China that the customs tariffs would be raised, but up to the present time this pledge has not been redeemed and yet in the agreements of March 14 we refuse to force upon China commercial and customs agreements and we establish in this matter the principle of equality and reciprocity. … With regard to the Chinese Eastern Railway, we have given more to the Chinese Government than it could in fairness demand. The Chinese Government is satisfied with our fairness and yet it passes over in silence its attainments in this matter.”
- In concluding, letter declares Russian Government will not renew discussions and will not hold itself bound by the conditions contained in the agreements signed on March 14, and will reserve full liberty of action with regard to future agreements with China, and “wishes to warn that henceforth the Chinese Government can resume negotiations only after it will have unconditionally and without any agreements established official normal relations with the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.”