No. 113.

Mr. Young to Mr. Bayard.

No. 696.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a correspondence between the legation and the consul at Ningpo.

I have thought it well to say to the consul that as China and France are at peace with the United States, as we are officially informed that [Page 169] a state of war exists between the two nations, and as it is our duty to maintain an exact neutrality, he would be justified in refusing to enter or clear any vessels under the American flag supplying either belligerent with contraband of war.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 696.—Extract.]

Mr. Stevens to Mr. Young.

Sir: * * * As our nation is at peace with both France and China, I would regard it as a questionable right upon my part to enter and clear a ship flying the American flag loaded with contraband articles of war for either of the contending fleets, and more especially so if she had cleared for another port than this.

Upon this important point I should be much pleased to have your excellency’s instructions.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 696.]

Mr. Young to Mr. Stevens.

Sir: I have the honor, as a farther acknowledgment of your dispatch No. 80, dated February 27, 1885, to say that I have carefully considered the facts therein recited. I agree with you that it would be a questionable right, under existing circumstances, for a vessel flying the American flag to carry contraband of war for either of the belligerent powers. Such an enterprise can only be undertaken at the risk of the owners of the vessel. No consuls should in my opinion give sanction to what would be regarded by either China or France as a violation of the obligations of neutrality.

I am, &c.,