to Mr. Evarts
Peking , November 22, 1880. (Received January 17, 1881.)
Sir: Among the subjects which have long engaged the attention of the diplomatic body at Peking is that of “transit trade outwards.” It was considered at the conferences which were held here last spring.
My predecessor inclosed with his No. 673 of May. 1, 1880, a memorandum and a draft of rules submitted to the diplomatic corps by Mr. von Brandt, the German minister. The rules, after some revision, were placed before the Tsung-li Yamen for consideration.
On the 27th of September the Yamen sent to Mr. von Brandt a paper setting forth certain alterations which they suggested in the provisional rules recommended by the diplomatic corps. A copy of this paper is herewith inclosed.
Mr. von Brandt submitted this communication of the Yamen, with a memorandum upon it, to the ministers at a conference held here on October 25. In the discussion which followed most of the positions taken up by Mr. von Brandt in his memorandum were approved, but some changes were made in certain amendments which he proposed to make in the rules. I have thought I could best describe the details of the action of the conference by annotations on the margin of the memorandum, which is inclosed.
On the 19th instant the Yamen, in an interview with Mr. von Brandt, announced that the opposition of the provincial authorities to Rule II and Rule III, 1 and 2, was so strong that they could not see their way clear to assent to them. But they asked him to give them in writing his reasons for urging those rules.
At a conference held on the 22d instant Mr. von Brandt read to the diplomatic body a draft of the reasons which he proposed to send to the foreign office for desiring the two rules as well as the others.
The ministers, without formally adopting the whole paper, authorized him to close with the statement that his colleagues could not comprehend why Rules II and III should be unacceptable to them. Mr. von Brandt stated to his colleagues that, in the interview with the foreign office he received the impression that they were not willing to agree finally to the rules, but that they wished to be provided with reasons to press upon the reluctant provincial officers. He will present his communication to them at an early day.
I have, &c.,
- Insert after the word “barrier” the words, “on the shortest and most direct line.”↩