Mr. Denby, chargé, to Mr. Gresham.

Sir: On the 6th instant the prince and ministers wrote to this legation, stating that they were informed that Japanese spies had been sent into the interior of China in disguise, and announced their intention of dealing severely with them if apprehended.

In replying to this dispatch, I considered it my duty to urge the Chinese Government to proceed with moderation and to be influenced rather by motives of humanity than by bitterness toward Japan.

I have, etc.,

Chas. Denby, Jr.
[Inclosure 1.]

The Tsung-li Yamên to Mr. Denby, chargé.

As Japan has commenced hostilities, all Japanese merchants and others residing in China have been placed Under the protection of the U. S. Government. The prince and ministers, on receiving, some time ago, a communication from the chargé d’affaires of the United States on the subject, addressed the high officers of the various provinces, and also sent a reply to the chargé d’affaires.

The Yamên have now received a telegram from the minister superintendent of northern trade to the effect that some twenty or thirty Japanese have been deputed from Tientsin as spies. They have changed their dress and shaved their heads and made their way secretly to various places for the purpose of prying into the condition of our military affairs.

By the rules laid down in international law, paragraphs 627 and 641, the most severe punishment is meted out to military spies. As relations of friendship have been broken off and war exists at the present time between China and Japan, merchants and others, natives of Japan, who are peacefully pursuing their vocations, will be protected as provided by treaty, but military spies do not come within the rule of being entitled to protection, and the most severe punishment will be inflicted upon them, as provided by international law.

The Yamên have addressed the Tartar generals, governors-general, and governors of the various provinces to take strenuous measures to secretly apprehend all who are engaged as spies, and, as in duty bound, the prince and ministers send this communication for the information of the chargé d’affaires Of the United States.

[Page 101]
[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Denby, chargé, to the Tsung-li-Yamên.

Your Highness and Your Excellencies: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of the 6th instant, with reference to the reported presence of Japanese spies in the interior of China, engaged in gaining information as to the military affairs of the country.

Should Japanese be found in the interior under such circumstances as to excite suspicion as to their character, it is to be hoped that a most careful examination will be made and every opportunity given them to prove their innocence before any action is taken against them. In such matters it would be easy to make mistakes whose consequences would be much to be regretted.

As there are no armed forces of Japan within Chinese territory, and as the war is being conducted entirely abroad, the infliction of extreme penalties would be unjustifiable. I respectfully suggest to your highness and your excellencies that the safety of China would be sufficiently guarded and sufficient punishment inflicted on Japanese found unlawfully or in disguise within the interior if they were taken to the nearest seaport and transported to their own country. I hope that your highness and your excellencies will be guided in this matter by humane motives and not allow your action to be influenced by feelings of bitterness toward Japan.

I avail, etc.,

Chas. Denby, Jr.