Mr. Gresham to Mr. Denby, chargé.

No. 950.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge receipt of your 1915 of the 6th ultimo, with which you inclose a copy of a note of the Tsung-li-Yamên of the 3d of August last, and of your reply thereto of the 6th of that month, together with a copy of a circular issued by you on the 4th of August, in which, in accordance with the request made in the note of the Yamén, you inform our consuls of the purpose of the Chinese Government to protect foreign merchants and missionaries, wherever residing in China, during the war between that country and Japan.

In your reply to the Yamên you advert to the fact that their note makes no reference to Japanese subjects peaceably residing in China, and recommend that a proclamation be issued with a view to assure them protection. This recommendation appears to have been opportune, and its adoption by the Chinese Government would be responsive to the action of the Government of Japan in respect to Chinese subjects peaceably residing in that country. The Department, however, [Page 130]assumes that when, in your reply to the Yamên, you say that it is in a greater degree their “duty” to make every effort to assure protection in the case of peaceable Japanese than of other foreigners, you refer to the occasion now existing for such efforts, rather than to the extent or the obligation of protection, which can not be less in the case of citizens or subjects of a neutral and friendly power than in that of subjects of a belligerent.

I am, etc.,

W. Q. Gresham.