Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, With the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 5, 1898
Mr. Denby to Mr. Sherman.
Peking, March 9, 1898.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose a translation of a memorial to the throne which embodies a report of the recent demands made by Germany on China and the proposed treatment thereof by China.
The conventions made with Germany have followed or will follow the terms of this memorial.
I have, etc.,
Memorial presented by the Tsung-li Yamên setting forth the terms and conditions arrived at with the German minister in the matter of the lease of Kiaochou.
Whereas in November of last year two German missionaries were murdered in the jurisdiction of Tsaochou, in the province of Shantung, German vessels of war thereupon seized and occupied Kiaochou. The German minister, Baron Hey king, addressed the Yamên a communication in which he made six demands on the Chinese Government, and the situation of affairs looked as though peaceful relations might be broken off between the two countries.
The Yamên had already presented the above particulars for your majesty’s information, as well as copies of the correspondence and memoranda of the interviews had with the German minister on the subject.[Page 188]
The Yamên discussed with the German minister the course of action adopted by your majesty, pointing out to him the concessions and demands China would grant and those she would not grant.
The German minister pointed out in an official communication to the Yamên that the governor of Shantung, Li Ping-heng, had frequently disobeyed your majesty’s commands, and his refusing to listen to the instructions of his Government has resulted in the present serious case. He demands the degradation of Li Ping-heng and that he never again be allowed to hold office.
To this proposition your memorialists positively refused to give assent and decided that the four Chinese characters meaning that “he never again be allowed to hold office” should be expunged from the demand made; that your memorialists could only lay the wish expressed against a second appointment of the high officer before your majesty and await your decision in the matter.
The German Bishop Anzer is at Chi-ning Chou, where he has commenced the building of a cathedral, but as the Tsaochou affair has now happened, the German minister expressed the wish that to honor and protect the missionaries an Imperial honorary tablet should be erected, the cost of which to be defrayed by China. Your memorialists considered what law or precedent there was for such cases, and decided that the cathedral should be built with a tablet on it containing five characters meaning, “This cathedral is erected by the Emperor,” the estimated cost to be 66, 000 taels.
The murderers must necessarily be punished and an indemnity paid for loss of life to the missionaries.
The German minister has stated, however, that the two murdered missionaries have no relations to which an indemnity could be paid, and that the money be expended in the erection of two cathedrals, one in the city of Tsaochou and the other at Chang-Chia-chuang, in the district of Chu Yeh.
The land at each place to be given by the officials and not to exceed in area 10 mow.
The cathedrals to be erected the same as the one at Chi-ning Chou, at an expenditure of 66,000 taels each.
A tablet is to be erected on each cathedral with five characters on it meaning, “This cathedral is erected by the Emperor.” The tablets are to be put up at the main entrance to the cathedrals as evidence that the missionaries are to be protected. It is also agreed that the sum of 2,000 taels is to be paid for loss of property belonging to the missionaries. The German minister also represented that the places rented by the missionaries were very uncomfortable, and he suggested that 24,000 taels be appropriated by China for the purpose of building seven places for them, one at Chu Yeh, Ho Che, Yun Cheng, Shan Hsien, Wu Chili, Tsao Hsien, and Lu Tai, respectively, as a mark of sympathy for the two murdered missionaries.
The murderers have been punished and also the delinquent officials, but the German minister further demanded that China should guarantee that similar outrages should never occur again. Your memorialists stated to him that the treaties provided for the protection of missionaries and their churches, but outrages committed by outlaws happen suddenly and without warning; hence it is impossible to forever guarantee that outrages shall not occur again.
The German minister also requested that an imperial decree be issued ordering the officials to act in good earnest, in accordance with treaty stipulations, to protect the missionaries. As the Yamên has no record of the places where the German missionaries are located, the German minister has promised to furnish same. Your memorialists would further state that they informed the German minister that in the matter of the delinquent officials China alone must decide as to the form of punishment they should receive, whether they should be transferred to other provinces or degraded.
The German minister then brought up the question of commercial matters in connection with the missionary case. He requested that Germany should have the preference of building railroads in Shantung, if China should ever determine to build any, and also the preference to work mines near the railways. And, further, that a company (German and Chinese) be started to build the railways and work the mines near thereto in the whole province, his idea being to follow the plan of the Russian-Chinese Company. Your memorialists told him that they could only agree to a line being built from Kiaochou to the capital city, Chi Nan. The question of building other lines to connect with Chinese lines could be considered after the first line was built. Shares may be issued to Chinese as well as Germans, but it is distinctly understood that Germany will not encroach on any Chinese territory in Shantung, and. a separate agreement is to be drawn up to this effect. There is no need in this matter to follow the Russian system; the Chinese and German Governments are to arrange it themselves. The German minister further requested China to pay to Germany the sum of several million of taels to defray the expenses incurred by Germany in this case. This your memorialists refused to give assent, on the ground that it was an unreasonable demand, but, considering the friendship that has existed [Page 189] between China and Germany for several tens of years and of the assistance formerly rendered by Germany to China, your memorialists stated that other questions having no relation to the missionary case could be considered; these, however, must be regarded in the nature of a separate case.
In the matter of the payment of expenses incurred by Germany which your memorialists positively refused to agree to, the German minister said he would have s to refer the question to his Government. After a delay of about ten days, your memorialists approached the German minister on the subject several times, until he finally waived the claim for expenses in landing marines and withdrawing them, etc.
Considering that there has never been any disagreement existing between China and Germany, and that the German Government came to the assistance of China in securing the evacuation of the Liao-tung Peninsula by the Japanese for which she has never been recompensed; and further, as England, France, and Russia have taken maritime ports in the East, and as Germany has no port as a rendezvous for her vessels and for a coaling station, her position is not equal to the other great powers. Your memorialists have on several occasions received notes and telegrams from Hsu Ching Cheng, Chinese minister to Germany, stating that Kiaochou is the place that Germany has been longing for, hence in February of last year your memo rialists asked the sanction of Your Majesty to the building of a dock there. The question of devising some arrangements was therefore taken in hand. In November last the missionary case occurred, and Your Majesty issued a decree ordering Li Ping Heng to cause the arrest of the murderers. That the Germans were planning to get a maritime port, Your Majesty had received due notice of. As a result of the murder of the two missionaries the German vessels of war seized Kiaochou and sent detachments of troops on shore. They went straight to the district city of Chi Mo for the purpose of making observations. The German Emperor has deputed his brother to come to China in command of some vessels of war, and it is impossible to ascertain his purpose.
The German minister submitted in connection with the missionary case six demands which he insisted should be complied with on the part of China, but he would not say a word as to whether Germany would evacuate Kiaochou. Your memorialists corresponded and argued the question with the German minister. He finally stated that Germany wished to lease Kiaochou and territory inland, extending 100 li, upon the same conditions as the settlements and concessions at the ports, the rent to be paid annually; that the territory should be self-governing, i. e., under Germany, but still belong to China. He sent a communication on the question of leasing this territory, containing five articles, which in the general had for their object the preservation of friendly relations between the two countries. Your memorialists, after due consideration of the terms proposed, decided that the territory should be leased for a period of ninety-nine years, the boundary line inland to be fixed by officials duly appointed for the purpose by the two Governments, and to extend 100 li round on all sides.
Chinese vessels of war and merchant vessels can enter and leave Kiaochou at pleasure.
As there are dangerous sandbanks around the islands outside of Kiaochou, permission is granted to Germany to lay buoys. No dues shall be levied on Chinese naval and merchant vessels on entering and leaving port. Should Germany wish to hand over Kiaochou to China, China agrees to pay Germany the money she has expended on the place and China will select another suitable port for Germany. This refers to Kiaochou being handed over to China before the expiry of the lease. It is understood that during the term of the lease Germany shall not interfere or remove any of the Chinese lekin stations now established; these shall remain where they are located. Germany is to withdraw her troops stationed outside of the 100–li limit. As to the amount of rent to be paid by Germany, your memorialists will consider this question with the German minister, so that there may be no misunderstanding.
Your memorialists submit the foregoing to your majesty and reverently await your decision in the premises.
Your memorialists would further state that they have written to the governor of Shantung, so that he may devise all necessary arrangements. Germany commenced all this trouble, and many of the foreign powers have shown a desire to interfere in the matter.
The Chinese and foreign papers and telegrams have all contained comments on it, and your memorialists decided that China and Germany should alone discuss and decide the questions at stake, and that foreign powers should not be allowed to mediate in the matter, as it is certainly known that foreign powers are not sincere in their purpose to come to China’s assistance in the present emergency; it is in appearance only.
China has suffered a great deal, and there is just a possibility that foreign powers in their contest with each other are merely making China a battlefield, which renders it most difficult for her to do anything.[Page 190]
The present affair should therefore he brought to a speedy termination. Your memorialists present this their memorial upon which they implore Your Majesty will cast your sacred glance.