500.A 4e 1/51: Telegram

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

77. I have received from the Minister for Foreign Affairs a note dated March 10th29 relative to special conference to be held Washington nine-power treaty30 which rehearses proposals of [Page 514] Chinese delegates at Washington and action taken; points out that because of the fact that all signatory powers have not yet given, approval, special conference has not been called and stresses difficulty of Chinese Government in reorganizing its finances and inability to pay internal and foreign obligations which they had hoped to do from surtax. Since conference cannot yet be called Chinese? Government hopes that a preliminary conference may first be held to make preparations for future formal conference. Preliminary; conference to decide tentative agenda for formal conference and investigate and decide questions to be presented to it. Representatives of signatory powers could exchange views and do in advance the work which would be referr[ed] to committees of future special conference. Hope is expressed that in putting surtax into operation condition of China’s finance will be improved and that both internal and foreign debts can be reorganized.

I imagine this move is the result of reports to Chinese Government of Yen’s commission for the readjustment of finances, see my 319 September 21, 10 a.m. 1923,31 and that its object is to obtain some specific promise from the foreign powers at the preliminary conference relative to imposition of surtax.

Other ministers have received identic notes and we shall hold meeting next week to consider proposal.