No. 181.
Mr. Bingham to Mr. Fish.

No. 274.]

Sir: It is with regret that I acquaint you that by public rumor in the press, and from private sources, I learn that war may be declared by Japan against Corea.

It appears from what has transpired to the public that a Japanese man-of-war was engaged in sounding off the coast of Corea and within its waters, and while so engaged was fired upon by a Corean fort and disabled. After retiring for repairs the Japanese vessel returned, attacked and took the Corean fort and captured its guns, some thirty in number, burned the village adjacent thereto, and returned to Nagasaki to await orders. Considering the relations of Corea and China, it seems to me, in the event of war between Japan and Corea, it would be proper to declare a strict neutrality touching both the powers as within the provision of the act of June 22, 1860, section 4090, Revised Statutes, treating both as powers with whom the United States are at peace.

Should the fact reach you by telegram of a declaration of war or the commencement of actual hostilities between the two countries, I pray to be advised at once if the views herein expressed as to my duties in the premises meet the approval of the Department.

I have, &c.,