1 SEPTEMBER 1917, Page 15


(To THE Emma or ear "Sazeraeoa."1 Sin,—As one of the few persona well acquainted with the great danger which Siam—eow ranged on the side of the Allies—ran cf passing practically under German control, I should like, with your permission, to explain briefly the very dramatic dream- etaneas under which that imminent peril was averted. It was in 1891 that tho Germans, after some years of patient effort on well- known lines of "peaceful persuasion," thought that the moment had arrived for obtaining for the first time a solid footing in the country, by means of which they might be able to undermine, end ultimately M supplant, the British and French influences which had been so long predominant. It had been determined, to establish a network of State railways, and the.King had been perauaded, ander strong pressure from Berlin, to appoint a Pruasitin Government engineer to the post of Director of the Railway Department, newly .created for that purpose.' Tenders were invited for the first section of the line; and- there came in only two, of which one was on the part of Jardine, Mathieaon, and Co., and the other from Krupp, of Essen—a sufficiently ;signifi- cant nome. wan supposed that, with some manipulation; and by judicious bribery, and by opening the tenders privately in the " Director's " Office, it would be possible to induce the Siamese to reject the English tender, which was roue!, more advantageous for them, and to adopt the other. Unluckily for this elaborate schemes there happened to be, in the same Railway Department, 11,9 "Secretaryof State Railways." and occasionally es Acting Director. is Danish subject, a Captain Rovsing, whom it had not been found possible to-bribe or to coerce. And this official, amongst the papers in the office, was fortunate enough to discover documents which exPaeed. the whole plot by which it had been expected to get rid summarily of the- British contractors who had tendered. Conse- queatly he insisted upon. the opening of the tenders in public; so that their respective merits were at once apparent, and the- well- planned designs of the' German Government and its agents were frustrated at the very moment when they appeared to be on the eve of succeeding.' Had the "Battle of the Tenders," as it was called, turned' out otherwise, who con doubt that, in the twenty- two years or more. neat preceding the present war, Germany would, working from the vantage-ground so gained. have extended her control over the other ways of communication, by land and by sea? Siam would have become the most convenient of bases for intrigue in South-Eastern Asia, and for the dissemination of discontent and sedition in the British and French Colonies, as Well as, ultimately, for military and mint operatione—I am. Sir, Fe.,

Gate Adviser to H 9 M's Cavornutentt