The Times of last Saturday states that both Russia and
Japan have refused to accept the American proposal, made by Mr. Knox: that the Manchurian railways shou:d be neutralised. Russia is willing to consider proposals for new railways on their merits, provided that they do not prejudice the safety of Russian territory. Japan returned an unqualified refusal, pointing out that the scheme would be of advantage neither to Japan nor to China, and that freedom of commerce was already guaranteed in Manchuria. Of course no other answers could have been expected. The construction of the -Russian and Japanese railways in Manchuria does not violate the Treaty of Portsmouth. Neutralisation would mean a large international financial enterprise, and probably—what would be most undesirable—a partial occupation of Manchuria by the Powers.