Mr. Bingham to Mr. Evarts.
Tokei, Japan, August 11, 1879. (Received September 4.)
Sir:Herewith I have the honor to inclose the final correspondence, as published in the Japan Herald of the 7th instant, between his excellency [Page 666] Mr. Terashima Munenori, His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs, and his excellency Mr. von Eisendecher, the German minister resident in Japan, in relation to the quarantine regulations recently promulgated by the government of this empire to prevent, if possible, the importation of malignant Asiatic cholera into the ports of Yokohama and Tokei by the merchant or war vessels of Japan or of other nations.
It appears by the inclosed dispatch of Mr. Terashima to Mr. von Eisendecher that the German minister, in a communication to Mr. Terashima, had attempted to justify his order that the Hesperia should break the quarantine of the Japanese Government and enter the harbor of Yokokama, because, in the opinion of Mr. Von Eisendecher, “the quarantine regulations promulgated by the Japanese Government are not obligatory for German subjects and vessels unless they are sanctioned by the German consular authority,” To this pretension of the German minister, Mr. Terashima replies as follows: “I beg to state that the position taken by your excellency, as above stated, has never been and cannot be admitted by this government, as it is, in my opinion, in opposition to the existing treaty stipulations and to international law,” and therefore, his excellency further says, “I (he) regret to find that your excellency has been led to a proceeding which appears to me to have been executed with unnecessary haste, and without any just reason, and against which I consider it my duty to formally protest.”
To this communication of Mr. Terashima, dated the 31st ultimo, Mr. von Eisendecher in his note, dated the 1st instant, you will observe, makes answer that he will not fail to lay before’ his government a translation of Mr. Terashima’s dispatch. It remains to be seen whether the German Government, after its own recent and rightful quarantine against the introduction of pestilence into its own empire, will deny a like right of quarantine to Japan, save as its consuls may at their discretion determine.
It is in vain for Germany or any other power to say that Japan, by what is termed the exterritorial provision of existing treaties, has surrendered her right of self-protection against the importation of pestilence by the vessels of all nations into the habitations of her people. She surrendered no right of sovereignty by that provision, as our own government has uniformly declared, save the right to try and punish offenders against her laws in her own tribunals, and in accordance with her own methods of procedure, because the several treaty powers covenanted by treaty to try their subjects or citizens for all offenses committed by them in Japan against Japanese laws in their respective consular courts, and upon conviction to punish such offenders in accordance with the laws of their respective countries.
I have, &c.,