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

No. 2242

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith enclosed a copy of a note which I addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the 3rd instant regarding the Chinese Eastern Railway pursuant to the instructions contained in your telegram No. 81 of April 26th, 6 P.M.

I have sent copies of this note to the British, French and Japanese Ministers for their information.

I have [etc.]

Jacob Gould Schurman

The American Minister (Schurman) to the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Wellington Koo)

No. 810

Your Excellency: With regard to the negotiations which I understand are taking place between the Government of the Republic of China and the Soviet Government, I am directed by my Government to recall to Your Excellency’s attention the Thirteenth Resolution adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at Washington at its Sixth Plenary Session, February 4, 1922, which reads as follows:

“The powers other than China, in agreeing to the Resolution regarding the Chinese Eastern Railway, reserve the right to insist hereafter upon the responsibility of China for performance or non-performance [Page 488] of the obligations towards the foreign stockholders, bondholders and creditors of the Chinese Eastern Railway Company which the Powers deem to result from the contracts under which the Railroad was built and the action of China thereunder and the obligations which they deem to be in the nature of a trust resulting from the exercise of power by the Chinese Government over the possession and administration of the Railroad.”

and to remind Your Excellency’s Government that China’s responsibility as Trustee for the Chinese Eastern Railway is an obligation that is not to be ignored or unilaterally invalidated by China in the course of any negotiations with other parties regarding the Railway. The Government of the United States of America stands for the protection of all interests in the Railway, including Russian, and could not approve a change of any kind in the status quo by whomsoever initiated unless the rights of all creditors and other parties in interest were adequately protected.

I take the opportunity afforded by the communication of the foregoing declaration and reminder to repeat to Your Excellency, what Your Excellency already knows from my earlier oral assurances, that the Government of the United States has no desire to prevent the conclusion of a Sino-Russian Agreement. The object of my Government is to prevent future embarrassments, specially for Your Excellency’s Government, by calling timely attention to the rights and interests as well as to the obligations which China is bound respectively to safeguard and to fulfill in performance of the duties she has undertaken in respect of the Chinese Eastern Railway, as set forth in the Resolution quoted above.

I avail myself [etc.]

Jacob Gould Schurman