Memorandum of Conversation, by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck)

Mr. Lamont called me on the telephone from New York and asked whether he might read to me the text of a telegram which the responsible committee of the American Group in the China Consortium had prepared and were contemplating sending to London. Mr. Lamont then read a somewhat lengthy text of six numbered paragraphs. The long and the short of the statement was that the committee were stating that the American Group will continue its membership in the Consortium, until further notice, and gives notification, with reasons, of its unwillingness to continue payment of the annual fee of £750 to the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (see previous memoranda). Mr. Lamont said that he would welcome any comments which I might feel moved to make. I said that there was nothing in what I had heard which would seem to me to call for any adverse or destructive criticism; that I thought that the position taken by the committee was fully warranted; and that the only suggestion which I felt moved to make was that the statement of reasons might perhaps to advantage be made more brief. Mr. Lamont replied that the committee felt that the “people over there” seemed to have difficulty in understanding the American Group’s position, that the committee wanted to have [Page 729] everything on a friendly basis, etc.; and that he would give consideration to the suggestion which I had offered. I ventured the opinion that the “people over there” might perhaps be understanding better than they admitted. Mr. Lamont expressed concurrence in that view.

Stanley K. Hornbeck