Mr. Foulk to Mr. Bayard.
Seoul, Corea, October 14, 1885. (Received December 7.)
Sir: I have the honor to report that Mr. S. Waeber, chargé d’affaires for Russia, has arrived and taken up his residence temporarily in Seoul. He came on board a Russian vessel of war which arrived at Chemulpo on the 3d instant.
I have learned that Mr. Waeber comes for the purpose of exchanging the ratifications of the treaty negotiated with Corea last year. However, he has entered into new negotiations with the Corean Government with the view of securing under the treaty the right of overland trade for Russia with Corea, to effect which the opening for trade with Russia of a trading post on the northeast border of Corea is requested.
The position of the proposed trading post desired by Russia is on the Tumen River, at some distance from the sea, and is thus probably placed to be the equivalent of the trading post of China and Corea at Ichow (Oichu, in Corean), on the Yalu River, the boundary between China and Corea.
At present the disposition of the Government towards Mr. Waeber’s proposition is guardedly favorable. However, in case a trading post is to be established, the Government proposes as its site one of the three places on the east coast of Corea, a little to the southward of the mouth of the Tumen River, the nearest one to Possiette, the southernmost Russian town of Eastern Siberia, being about 130 miles distant by the sea route.
Along the northeastern border of Corea, Russia and China are contiguous. A question as to the boundary separating them here has sprung up, and commissions have been sent by the respective Governments to settle the dispute by fixing the boundary line. Russia claims that the boundary maintained by China is placed too far to the eastward. This question has much bearing upon Mr. Waeber’s negotiations in regard to the trading post for Corea and Russia. Mr. Waeber’s manner of dealing with the Corean Government is mild and very satisfactory to it.
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I have, &c.,
Ensign, U. S. Navy, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.