Often the availability of new sources raises the need for reinvestigation of established historical events. This is true of the events that lead to the failure of the Far Eastern phase of railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman's proposed world-girdling transportation system, the most ambitious over-seas project ever envisioned by an American entrepreneur. In mid-October 1905, Harriman obtained tentative permission from the Japanese government for partial control of what he considered a vital link in the anticipated route—Japan's railroad in southern Manchuria. Two weeks later, to his bitter disappointment, the Tokyo authorities suspended the agreement, cancelling it in three months. Harriman's scheme in the Far East has been carefully studied by several writers, none of whom used the Japanese sources on the subject. To reinvestigate events in the light of these sources is logical; my attempt is to do so, and to suggest a possible reason for the failure of his plan in Japan that has not been considered in English-language literature.

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