Mr. Adee to Mr. Conger.
Washington, August 26, 1899.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 228, of the 5th July last, wherein, complying with the Department’s instruction No. 168, of April 22, 1899, you report in relation to the arrangements for the extension of the international and French settlements at Shanghai.
The arrangement you report, by which, in addition to a definite demarkation of the extension granted to the so-called foreign or international settlement, a small extension of the separate French settlement toward the south is defined and marked, appear to be open to no valid objection on our part, inasmuch as the contemplated French extension is stated by you to include no American-owned property whatever, and to be, moreover, in substantial accord, so far as France is concerned, with the agreement reached by the diplomatic corps in 1896. It seems also to be in the line of the Department’s instruction to you, No. 168, of April 22 last.
In your later dispatch, No. 231, of July 12, you state that the amended land regulations fixing the boundaries of the extended international settlement, which were sent up to Peking by the Shanghai consular body for formal approval by the diplomatic corps, have been approved by all the corps except the French and Russian ministers. This course meets with approval so far as your action is concerned.
It appears from your dispatch No. 231 that the French and Russian ministers make their approval conditional upon the maintenance of the agreement made in 1896 for the extension of both the international and the French settlements.
The Department sees no present occasion for opposing the condition asked by the French minister. The opposition lately shown by this Government to such extension rested upon the fact that the land at first claimed by the French Government included the American-owned hospital, school, and missionary property designated on the map which you send; and our objection was based upon the undesirability of admitting exclusive jurisdiction by the French over such American property. As the line of the proposed French extension has now been [Page 150] drawn so as to carefully exclude the property mentioned, while no other American-owned property seems to be affected, that objection disappears, and the Department is unaware of any fresh objection on the ground of injury to present or prospective American interests. It is, however, without any information respecting any claim of the Russian Government to an independent Russian settlement at Shanghai, and is unaware whether any American-owned property is, or is likely to be, affected thereby. If there be any such property included in the Russian claim, the instructions heretofore given you in respect to the French claim will hold good, and you will be authorized to make specific objection on like grounds.
As was said in Mr. Hay’s instruction, No. 168, of April 22, the intention of this Government is that—
while reserving all rights of equality of treatment for the United States in whatever solution may be eventually arranged, any steps that you may adopt toward reaching such a solution shall be taken in a spirit of mutual consideration, giving to all ascertained foreign interests in the premises the same respect as you shall ask for the interests of the United States.
You will bear this in mind should you ascertain that the British objection to the French extension, the specific grounds of which you had not, at the time of writing, been able to learn, is one in which foreign interests, including those of the United States, may properly share. In the absence of knowledge on this point the Department is not able to instruct you more precisely at present, but leaves the matter to your good judgment, subject to instructions should the circumstances seem to you to require them.
I am, etc.,