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American Government "can only regard the reservation in the form proposed as an intermixture of exclusive political pretensions in a project which all the other interested Governments and groups have treated in a liberal and self-denying spirit and with the purpose of eliminating so far as possible such disturbing and complicating political motives; and it considers that from the viewpoint either of the legitimate national feeling of China or of the interests of the Powers in China it would be a calamity if the adoption of the Consortium were to carry with it the recognition of a doctrine of spheres of interest more advanced and far-reaching than was ever applied to Chinese territory even when the break-up of the Empire appeared imminent." Mr. Lansing pointed out that the inter-group agreement of May 12 specified that only those industrial undertakings are to be pooled upon which substantial progress has not been made and that "if Japan's reservation is urged with a view solely to the protection of existing rights and interests, it would seem that all legitimate interests would be conserved if only it were made indisputably clear that there is no intention on the part of the Consortium to encroach on established industrial enterprises."
The Japanese Government replied on March 2, 1920 denying that its proposal was prompted by a "desire of making any territorial demarcation involving the idea of economic monopoly or of asserting any exclusive political pretentions or of affirming a doctrine of any far-reaching sphere of interest in disregard of the legitimate national aspirations of China, as well as of the interests possessed there by the Powers concerned," but asserting that "the regions of South Manchuria and Eastern Inner Mongolia which are contiguous to Korea stand in very close and special relation to Japan's national defense and her economic existence," that "enterprises launched forth in these regions often involve questions vital to the safety of the country,'' and that these circumstances '' compelled the Japanese Government to make a special and legitimate reservation indispensable to the existence of the State and its people." The Japanese memorandum then proposed a new formula of acceptance of the consortium which stated that "in matters relating to loans affecting South Manchuria and Eastern Inner Mongolia which in their opinion are calculated to create a serious impediment to the security of the economic life and national defense of Japan, the Japanese Government reserve the right to take the necessary steps to guarantee such security," and appended a list of Japanese undertakings and options to be excluded from the activities of the Consortium. An identical memorandum was presented to the British Foreign Office on March 16, 1920. Since the replies to these memoranda have been accepted by Japan as an integral part of its acceptance of the consortium, the relevant portions of the American reply on March 16, 1920 is quoted textually. After stating that the right of national self-preservation is one of universal acceptance which does not require specific formulation and "that the recognition of that principle is implicit in the terms of the notes exchanged between Secretary Lansing and Viscount Ishii on November 2, 1917,'' the American memorandum states:
This Government therefore considers that by reason of the particular relationships of understanding thus existing between the United States and Japan, and those which, it is understood, similarly exist between Japan and the other Powers proposed to be associated with it in the Consortium, there would appear to be no occasion to apprehend on the part of the Consortium any activities directed against the economic life or national defense of Japan. It is therefore felt that Japan could with entire assurance rely upon the good faith of the United States and of the other two Powers associated in the Consortium to refuse their countenance to any operation inimical to the vital interests of Japan.
Similar assurances were given by Great Britain on March 19, 1920, and by France on May 25, 1920.
"With reference to the specific undertakings in Manchuria and Mongolia which Japan proposed to exclude from the operations of the consortium, both the United States and Great Britain filed objections and proposed that this question be settled in negotiations between representatives of the American and Japanese banking groups.
In memoranda dated April 3 and May 8, 1920, to the Department of State, and April 14 and May 10, 1920, to the British Foreign Office, Japan, after stating that she put forward her proposal "in order to make clear the particular position which Japan occupies through the facts of territorial propinquity and of her special vested rights," accepted the foregoing assurances in lieu of her formula, and authorized the Japanese banking group to enter the consortium on the same terms as the other groups and to settle with those groups the concrete questions as to which of the options Japan possesses in Manchuria and Mongolia were to be excluded from the consortium. The negotiations between the two groups were concluded at Tokio on May 11, 1920 and resulted in the following agreement:
1. That the South Manchurian Railway and its present branches, together with the mines which are subsidiary to the railway, do not come within the scope of the Consortium;
2. That the projected Taonanfu-Jehol Railway and the projected railway connecting a point on the Taonanfu-Jehol Railway with a seaport are to be included within the terms of the Consortium Agreement;
3. That the Kirin-Huining, the Chengchiatun-Taonanfu, the Changchun-Taonanfu, the Kaiyuan-Kirin (via Hailung), the Kirin-Changchun, the Sinminfu-Moukden and the Ssupingkai-Chengchiatun Railways are outside the scope of the joint activities of the Consortium.
So far as the published correspondence discloses, the first communication to the Chinese Government regarding the consortium was made on September 28, 1920, in a joint note of the American, British, French and Japanese Legations at Peking, setting forth its scope and object. China was told that "in the course of 1918 the United States Government informed the other three governments in question of the formation in the United States of America of an American group of bankers for the purpose of rendering financial assistance to China;" that "the principles underlying the formation of the American group were that all preferences and options for loans to China held by any members of this group should be shared by the American group as a whole and that future loans to China having a governmental guarantee should be conducted in common as group business, whether these loans were for administrative or for industrial purposes;'' and that the financial groups of the four Powers had agreed upon a draft arrangement embodying inter alia the principles of the American proposals, which arrangement "relates to existing and future loan agreements involving the issue for subscription by the public of loans having a Chinese Government guarantee subject to the proviso that existing agreements for industrial undertakings upon which substantial progress has been made may be omitted from the scope of the arrangement." The measure of support to be given by the respective Governments to their national groups or to the consortium as a whole was stated in substantially the same language as that hereinbefore given, and China was informed that while the new arrangement was not intended to interfere with any of the rights of the old consortium, the proposals envisaged a reconstruction and enlargement of it "so as to meet the larger needs and opportunities of China in a spirit of harmony and of helpfulness rather than of harmful competition and self-interest."
The final text of the consortium agreement was signed at New York on October 15,1920 and transmitted to the Chinese Government on January 13, 1921. A Belgian banking group was admitted to membership after signature of the agreement. The text of the agreement is printed in the Supplement.27
The new consortium differs from the old in one important particular, namely, in that it does not relate to a specific loan but applies with certain exceptions to public loans held or to be obtained by the members. In all operations undertaken pursuant to the consortium the respective governments pledge their "complete support." The meaning of the term quoted is not defined. It? is evidently more than the "good offices" which every government is ordinarily prepared to extend to any of its citizens in contract claims.28 The expression doubtless must mean that the gov
28"Good offices" consist merely in a direction to the diplomatic agent "to Investigate the subject, and if you shall find the facts to be as represented, you will secure an interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and request such explanations as it may be in his power to afford." (Moore, International Law Digest, Vol. VI, p. 710.)
ernments will be prepared to make official diplomatic representations. In this respect the promise of the American State Department goes beyond the traditional practice of the Department prior to Mr. Taft's administration. It will be noted that the support pledged is not limited to diplomatic support. It may mean, therefore, complete support of any kind necessary to protect the operations of the consortium. Such an interpretation would, of course, include military support. That an American Secretary of State is competent to commit the Government to such an undertaking in behalf of private contracts has been denied by Secretaries Marcy and Day, as above set forth.
There apparently is no intention of official participation in the securing of loans for the consortium; but in the event of competition the goverments will lend the support of their diplomatic representatives. To this extent, the action of the State Department under the new consortium will be comparable to the diplomatic support exerted by Mr. Taft's administration to secure American participation in the Hukuang Railway Loan.
To the appointment of foreign officials in China for purposes of supervision, which became such an objectionable feature under the old consortium as to lead to American withdrawal, the concurrence of the State Department has been given in advance in the correspondence and diplomatic notes of Mr. Lansing leading up to the formation of the new consortium. A measure of control to prevent the abuse of this dangerous expedient is retained by the requirement in the agreement with the bankers that they will follow the policies outlined by the Department of State and submit the terms and conditions of each loan for the approval of the Department. It will be recalled that the negotiations of the American group in the old consortium were carried on with the approval and under the direction of the Department of State, but the department, representing only one of a partnership of six, found itself entangled in embarrassing political negotiations from which it was only extricated by an inglorious withdrawal from the whole transaction.
A few. months after the new consortium was formed another change of administration took place in Washington, and on March 10, 1921, the representatives of the American group addressed a letter to the new Secretary of State, inquiring if the policy of the Department in encouraging American interests in the assistance of China through the operations of the international consortium was in accord with his views and received his approval. The letter stated that the operations of the consortium are in no way designed to interfere with the private initiative of Americans or other nationals in China, that it does not propose to undertake any mercantile, industrial or banking projects, but plans only to help China in the establishment of her great public utilities, such as the building of her railways, canals, etc., thereby assisting in stabilizing China economically and financially, and making that field a safer one for the initiative of our citizens in private enterprises in commerce, industry, etc.
In reply, Secretary Hughes, on March 23, 1921, informed the American group "that the principle of this cooperative effort for the assistance of China has the approval of this Government, which is hopeful that the Consortium constituted for this purpose will be effective in assisting the Chinese people in their efforts towards a greater unity and stability, and in affording to individual enterprises of all nationalities equality of commercial and industrial opportunity and a wider field of activity in the economic development of China."