Mr. Bingham to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Tokio, Japan, February 28, 1885. (Received March 30.)
Sir: I beg leave to acquaint you that his excellency Count Ito, a member of the imperial council, has been appointed by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan to be ambassador to China, with full powers to negotiate and conclude a settlement with his Imperial Chinese Majesty in the matter of the action of the Chinese troops against Japanese subjects in the recent riot in Corea.
Count Ito sets out for his post of duty by this days steamer. His excellency called upon me yesterday and conversed freely with me on the subject of his mission to China. Impressed with the importance of an amicable settlement of the pending question between the two countries, I ventured to say to Mr. Ito that in the general interests of Japan, and the commercial interests of the United States as well, a war between China and Japan should not be inaugurated, if it can possibly be avoided, and that it seemed to me altogether probable that a peaceful settlement of the difficulties between the two powers could easily be reached if China and Japan would agree to withdraw their military forces from Corea, and recognize the rightful and exclusive autonomy of the Government of Corea within its territorial domain.
Mr. Ito, it gives me pleasure to say, concurred in the views thus expressed by me, and indicated a purpose to seek a settlement with China on that basis.
In conversation on the 26th instant with the Chinese minister at this court, in reply to an inquiry made by him of me touching the proposed mission of Count Ito, and the present strained relations between China and Japan, I expressed the opinion that the Chinese Government should accept any reasonable proposition of Japan and restore friendly relations between China and Japan.
His excellency expressed himself as exceedingly desirous that an amicable and satisfactory settlement might speedily be arrived at. I am assured that Japan will only insist upon what is just and reasonble in the premises, and I am not without hope that China will concede to Japan all that can reasonably be demanded.
I have verbally in a recent interview expressed to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, the hope that His Majesty’s Empire may be peace. I cannot allow myself to doubt that His Majesty sincerely desires to maintain peace with China by all honorable and peaceable means, and clearly recognizes the obligation of all nations to first fairly and honestly employ and exhaust all peaceable methods to redress national wrongs and settle national grievances before resorting to the arbitrament of war.
I have, &c.,