Mr. Van Valkenburgh to Mr. Seward

No. 70.]

Sir: In regard to the opening of a harbor on the west coast of Japan, and to the matter stated in reference thereto in my No. 56, under date of October 22d, I have the honor to inform you that, in conjunction with all my colleagues interested therein by virtue of treaty stipulations, viz, those of France, Great Britain and Holland, I have assented to the opening of Ne-egata, together with the harbor of Ebisuminato on the island of Sado. For the reasons mentioned in my No. 69, and at the earnest request of the Japanese government, we have assented to a delay of three months in the opening of that city and harbor, being assured that by that time (April 1, 1868) all the necessary arrangements will be completed both at Ne-egata and Ebisuminato as provided in the agreement concluded November 26th, a copy of which I inclose, marked No. 1. The entire island of Sado is to be opened to foreigners for travel, with residences and storehouses at Ebisuminato, while there is to be no foreign concession or settlement at Ne-egata, but the whole city is open to them for residence and trade. A sufficient steam and lighter service is to be established between and at the two points, which we think will in a great measure remedy the want of sufficient harbor facilities at Ne-egata. A light-house is provided for at the mouth of the river, and sufficient buoys to mark the passage. Bonded warehouses are to be constructed at Ne-egata, and storehouses at Ebisuminato. I think the arrangements proposed by the Japanese government for the opening of these two places very liberal, and have no doubt they will be carried out. I inclose No. 2, copy of a notice I thought best to issue for the information of American citizens. Hoping that my action in this matter will meet the approval of the President and yourself,

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

No. 1.

Arrangements for the settlement of foreigners at Ne-egata and Ebisuminato.

Article I. The Japanese government will construct at Ebisuminato, in the island of Sado, proper warehouse accommodations in accordance with the requirements of the trade, in which foreign imports may be stored rent free for the space of thirty days.

Art. II. Efficient lighters shall be constructed for the landing and shipping of merchandise at Ne-egata and Ebisuminato. Lighters shall also be constructed for the safe conveyance of merchandise between Ne-egata and Ebisuminato. A fair charge shall be made for lighterage.

Art. III. In order to facilitate communication between Ne-egata and Ebisuminato the Japanese government will provide steamers for the conveyance of passengers and merchandise, as well as for the towage of lighters between those places. A fair charge [Page 606] shall be made for these services, but foreigners shall be at liberty to employ steamers and lighters of their own for these purposes.

Art. IV. In case it should be found inconvenient to land and ship merchandise on the sea-shore at Ebisuminato, the Japanese government will open a passage into the lake at the back of the town.

Art. V. The Japanese government will erect a suitable light-house near the mouth of the river at Ne-egata, and place therein a light of the first order. Marks or buoys will be placed on the bar, in order to facilitate the passage in and out of the river.

Art. VI. Bonded warehouses shall be erected at Ne-egata in the same manner as at the other ports, and a convenient landing place for the landing or shipping of goods shall be constructed.

Art. VII. Foreigners may freely rent or purchase from Japanese at Ne-egata and Ebisuminato, lodgings, residences, or godowns. They may also freely lease land for their lawful requirements at both these places. No special settlements will be constructed. At Ne-egata foreigners may lease lands within the limits formed by the sea and by the river on the north and east of the town, and on the south and west by the boundary posts of the present jurisdiction of the governor of Ne-egata. Rice fields, arable land, and other ground paying tribute to the government shall not be rented directly from the Japanese holders, without application first being made to the governor for his permission.

Art. VIII. At Ne-egata the limits within which foreigners may go shall be settled at 10 ri, more or less, in any direction from the governor’s official residence, according to the positions of the rivers and other natural objects. No limits will be fixed in the island of Sado.

No. 2.

Official Notification.

Citizens of the United States are informed that, in conjunction with my colleagues, I have made arrangements with the Japanese government by which the city of Yedo, the town of Ne-egata, on the west coast of the harbor of Ebisuminato, on the island of Sado, will be open to them for trade and residence, pursuant to treaty stipulations, on the 1st day of April next.

R. B. VAN VALKENBURGH, Minister Resident of the United States in Japan,