Mr. Denby to Mr. Gresham.
Peking, August 6, 1894.
Sir: On the 3d instant I received from the Tsung-li-Yamên a dispatch stating that China is at peace with all the world except Japan; that she undertakes the protection of missionaries and merchants within her borders, and asking me to inform the merchants and missionaries of American nationality that they are at liberty to pursue their usual avocations without anxiety because of the hostilities being carried on against Japan.
In a circular dated the 4th instant I requested the consuls to bring this announcement to the notice of the citizens of the United States within their jurisdictions.
In making acknowledgment to the Yamên of the receipt of this dispatch I considered it my duty to state to them that the obligation upon the Chinese authorities to protect peaceable Japanese, within their territory, was as great as that to protect other foreigners. Any reference to this obligation is pointedly omitted in the dispatch referred to. There were in China before the war 1,017 Japanese residents, while the Chinese in Japan numbered 5,540. Interest as well as duty dictates to China the protection of these Japanese. It is certain that outrages against them will lead to retaliation.
There are two places at which attacks upon Japanese were chiefly to be feared, viz, Tientsin and Chefoo. So strong was the feeling against them at the former place that the Japanese chargé d’affaires, who left there on the 4th instant, ordered them to leave with him. Not one now remains, I telegraphed yesterday to Chefoo advising all Japanese to leave that port also. Chefoo is a port on the direct line of communication between Korea and Tientsin. In case the Chinese experience a defeat at sea, fugitives will put into this harbor and it would be difficult to secure the safety of the Japanese against them.
The proclamation which I ask the Yamên to issue will be useful at Shanghai and other places, from which it is not praticable to advise the Japanese to depart.
I have, etc.,
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.