500.A 4e 1/52: Telegram

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

83. My 77, March 13, 4 p.m.

Following is a translation of the French text of an identic telegram to their Governments adopted at a conference today by the [Page 515] representatives of the signatory powers of the treaties of Washington Conference and of the powers which adhered to those treaties.

“The representatives of the powers signatory to the treaties of Washington consider that their Governments might in reply to the Chinese note of March 10, 1924, authorize them to examine with the Chinese Government the financial situation of China and the future “destinations” (purposes) of the surtax of two and a half percent but they should be instructed to demand that the Chinese Government communicate to them in advance the measures contemplated by it for the abolition of likin and the interim provisions to be applied prior to the time of such abolition.”

There were objections to the proposed preliminary conference and to the name which seemed too formal. All agreed that the proposal was inspired by the need of money and contemplated preeminently to determine the purposes to which the surtax revenue should be devoted. Representatives were of the opinion this question should not be considered without (1) examination of Chinese finances, and (2) receipt of Chinese plan for abolition of likin, etc.
While favoring the program suggested, I consider it my duty to point out to the Department that if it is carried out and the representatives cannot agree among themselves as to the purposes for which the surtax revenue is to be used that might hereafter be urged as an argument against the holding of the special conference itself.