493.11/1744: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Acting Secretary of State

550. Your 208, June 17, 2 p.m. and 212, June 20, 6 p.m. The following telegram has been received from Peck:

“June 21, 2 p.m.

On June 19, 5 p.m. Director European [and] American Department [Page 642] of the Foreign Office telephoned me that the reply to our note January 20 might be indefinitely delayed but that this delay was occasioned by the desire of Wang and Lo to persuade the Ministries concerned to consent to a favorable reply in place of the rejection which they now advocate. Director pointed out that the motive behind the delay was therefore favorable to us.
Other than above I have nothing to add to my previous reports. Everything considered I fear that strong pressure now would be disadvantageous but I respectfully suggest that it would be advisable for me to keep matter alive by occasional informal questions and observations.”

I have replied to Peck that I approve of his adopting the point set forth in the second paragraph. Legation proposes taking no action for the present in view of the foregoing and the fact that the Ministry of Railways made the following statement in a note to the Foreign Office in May which has now been communicated to Tientsin.

“Foreign merchants will, of course, be accorded equal treatment in the liquidation of debts owed by the Tientsin-Pukow Railway.”

Tientsin has been advised to suggest to Chinese Engineering and Development Company again to approach Ministry of Railways.

American claimants do not seem to be willing to act as a unit and it does not seem to me to be politic for me to advise them. I have notified all of them of the British settlement and have suggested to them separate or unified arrangement.