to Mr. Evarts.
Peking, October 11, 1880.
Sir: Recurring to our dispatch No. 4, of the 27th ultimo, in which we reported our arrival here, and the appointment by the Government of China of two commissioners plenipotentiary, we have now the honor to inform you that upon the 1st instant we met the two commissioners at the foreign office by appointment and exchanged our full powers. Those presented for our inspection by their excellencies Pao and Li were in the usual Chinese form, and consisted of the imperial decree appointing them, a translation of which is quoted in the dispatch of Prince Kung, which forms inclosure No. 1 of our dispatch referred to above. There were present on this occasion three prominent ministers of the foreign office in addition to the two commissioners.
Having thus exchanged our full powers, we laid before the commissioners a memorandum, a copy of which is inclosed, in which we stated in general terms the purpose of the government in our appointment, the difficulties which confronted it in consequence of the excessive immigration of Chinese, and its desire to secure such modification of existing treaties as should leave it free to deal with the questions growing out of the immigration of Chinese, as public interests might demand.
The commissioners and other ministers present, having read this paper, remarked upon the friendliness of its tone, and stated that they were desirous of reaching a solution of the questions involved at an early moment. They added that they would consult with Prince Kung and send us a memorandum in response at an early day. The interview then ended.
Upon the 7th instant we received the response as promised, a copy of which is herewith inclosed. We at once sought a further interview with the commissioners, and had purposed meeting them to-day, but, at their request, the interview has been deferred to the 13th instant.
We do not think it necessary at the moment to trouble you with the obvious reply to be made to this very inconsequential document. It will be forwarded at an early day. The Department may be assured that we shall not recognize the right of the Chinese Government to go behind the language of the representatives of the Government of the United States and assign motives and reasons for its diplomatic action other than those defined by itself.
We have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servants,
- JAMES B. ANGELL.
- JOHN F. SWIFT.
- WM. HENRY TRESCOT.