Mr. Bingham to Mr. Fish.
Yokohama, January 19, 1874. (Received February 21.)
Sir: On the 20th ultimo, Mr. Terashima Munenori, minister for foreign affairs, addressed a letter with inclosed memorandum (inclosures 1 and 2) to Sir Harry S. Parkes, who forwarded the same to me.
A perusal of the memorandum discloses the fact that the minister has pronounced only against the joint regulations proposed as the basis of treaty revision by my predecessor and others in September last, as appears by the following words in the closing paragraph of his memorandum: “We believe that the regulations recently proposed * * * are not satisfactory; neither do they give sufficient guarantees against the abuses and inconveniences herein signalized.”
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It is worthy of note that the foreign minister desires that some understanding may be had by which the independence of Japan can be maintained, while “effectual protection is secured to the foreign residents.” He says in the last paragraph of his memorandum, “We are disposed and ready to entertain and discuss with you any such proposals.”
You will notice that on the ninth page of his memorandum Mr. Terashima refers to the fact that it is the “opinion of some” that foreigners admitted to travel and trade should be considered to submit themselves to the obedience and observation of Japanese law, and that, on pages seven and eight, he says that the foreigner admitted to travel and trade would have the right to build houses and to lease lands in all parts of the country. With reference to this, Mr. Terashima complains manifestly in relation to the regulations proposed that “the foreigner would not be called on to observe either the laws and regulations of our (the Japanese) government nor yet to pay other taxes than those specified in the treaties.” I have only to observe that I deem it possible at least to satisfy the government of Japan that it is well to admit, under proper restrictions and treaty guarantees, such foreigners as may come accredited, to trade, travel, lease and occupy lands, &c., subject, for every violation of the laws and regulations of Japan, to answer, as I have before said, to the tribunals of their countries in Japan, and to the penalties prescribed by the laws of their respective countries or by the common law.
I am, &c.,