Reel 05: December 1911 - August 1917

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The first part of the reel is made up of correspondence during Straight's last months in China. On 22 December Straight confided to McKnight that he would prefer to deal with the most reactionary Manchu than with the rebel leader WuTing-fang. Telegrams sent the Straights at the holidays provide an index to their closest friends. On 12 January 1912 Straight wrote a memorandum of a conversation with Prince Pu Lun, and on the twentieth he wrote another about the objections of Russia and Japan to the Chinese Currency Loan Agreement. On February first Straight wrote William James Calhoun, U.S. minister to Peking, about talks he had in Shanghai with Dr. Chen Chin-tao, Thomas F. Millard, Sze, T'ang, and others. On the fourth he wrote the J. P. Morgan Co. an analysis of attempts by the Chinese to establish a stable government. On 24 February he summarized for Bland the loan negotiations with China, and praised American policy in the Philippines. A letter to Grenfell on 3 March describes the burning and looting of Peking that sent the Straights and other foreigners to the American Legation for safety. The passport issued for their journey through Siberia is dated 20 March 1912. A printed summary of negotiations for a Chinese reorganization loan is dated 23 June. Letters to Bland, Maurice Casenave, Fletcher, McKnight, Dr. Paul S. Reinsch, James Augustus Thomas and Charles T. Whigham attest to Straight's continued interest in Chinese investment, and on 14 November 1912 he spoke about the Chinese loan negotiations before an audience at Clark University. On 7 March 1913 Straight sent Paul M. Warburg a memorandum on American diplomacy, and on 9 December he wrote Daniel A. de Menocal that the American Group felt the Chinese should offer them any contemplated railroad loans, since their Chinchou-Aigun agreement had been disregarded. The few Straight letters in 1914 concern the National Foreign Trade Council, the development of India House as a club for men associated with foreign trade, and the plan to start publishing the New Republic in the fall. The first letter from editor Herbert Croly is dated 29 November 1914. Copies of Straight's letters through the next months indicate his continuing interest in the development of the magazine. Letters in the fall of 1915 explain his resignation from the J. P. Morgan Company and his move to the American International Corporation. Among letters written on shipboard on 17 March 1916 is Straight's note to George Kennan enclosing a nine-page article on E. H, Harriman's interest in the Far East. A Croly letter the next day mentions Vincent Massey and Lionel Curtis and their association with groups in Canada and England studying foreign policy. In March Straight and Thomas Nelson Perkins reported from London to Charles A. Stone about numerous foreign investment projects. After returning to the United States, Straight wrote letters to James Bryce and Gilbert Parker about the American attitude toward Britain. On 23 October 1916 he wrote a letter to appear in the New Republic disassociating himself from the magazine's endorsement of President Wilson. Notes in January 1917 refer to a report on the mobilization of the National Guard. On February fifth Straight wrote Dr. Reinsch of his hopes for American-Japanese cooperation in a Chinese canal project, and on the first of August he wrote Croly, "I'm about the only person still interested in fostering this idea of internationalizing Chinese finance — which is, I believe, the only safeguard for China's future."


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