Mr. McLane to Mr. Bayard.
Paris, June 24, 1885. (Received July 9.)
Sir: I have the honor to send herewith a copy and a translation of the treaty of Tien-Tsin between France and China, which was laid before the Chambers on the 22d instant. The treaty was signed on the 9th, and ratified shortly after by the Emperor of China. Mr. de Freycinet, in presenting it to the Chamber, said it was desirable that France should ratify it without delay, and asked that proper authority be given to the Government to that effect.
The treaty of Tien-Tsin is not ostensibly a treaty of peace, for the fiction that China and France have not been at war is respected in this instrument, which puts an end to the hostilities existing between the two nations; it is a treaty to improve the friendly and commercial relations existing between the two countries, and in fact it does improve materially these relations by securing to France commercial advantages which compensate for the sacrifices she has made.
China, however, does not acknowledge in words the protectorate of France over Annam, but she engages to respect all the treaties or arrangements made or to be made by France with Annam, and as the treaty of Hue establishes the French protectorate in the broadest terms, and stipulates that the diplomatic relations of that court will be conducted through the intermediary of France, her protectorate over Annam is as fully recognized by China as it can be.
Commissioners are to be appointed to determine the frontier line of the two countries, and when this frontier has been so determined no one will be allowed to pass from Tonquin to China without a French passport. This clause, coupled with another article providing that the rates of duties levied on all merchandise carried from Tonquin to the two provinces of Yunnan and Kuang-si, or from these provinces to Tonquin, will be less than the duty paid at the Chinese ports open to foreigners, practically places the whole of this region under the control of France.
In addition to the advantages thus assured to France, China agrees that when she builds railroads she will apply to French manufacturers and mechanics, and the French Government is to afford her every possible facility for the engagement of railway engineers. Although it is stated that this clause is not to be considered in the light of an exclusive [Page 371] privilege for France, it is plain that France will have special opportunities to turn it to her advantage, and as it is reported that the two Governments have in view the construction of a line connecting Canton with Hanoi, nearly one thousand miles, some hundreds of millions may thereby be expended in France.
In short, although the indemnity formerly so persistently claimed by France is now waived by her, she obtains by the treaty of Tien-Tsin full and undisputed possession of the whole of Tonquin, and exclusive privileges of trading which open to her commerce and industry the southwestern markets of one of the largest Empires of the world.
I have, &c.,