Mr. Allen to Mr. Hay.

No. 213.]

Sir: Referring to Mr. Adee’s dispatch No. 136, September 12, relative to the opening of the port of Peng Yang to foreign trade, I have the honor to inform you that the Korean Government has failed to carry out its written agreement to fulfill that undertaking, and, having exhausted all reasonable measures in attempting to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion, the foreign representatives, at a recent meeting, decided to wait upon the foreign minister in a body and once more attempt to come to some amicabie and satisfactory agreement, failing in which we were to declare our intention of regarding the whole city of Peng Yang as open to foreign trade and residence, and to inform his excellency that we would protect our people in their right to enjoy these privileges in pursuance of the imperial decree opening the place to trade.

We waited upon the foreign minister on the 4th instant, but got absolutely no satisfaction whatever, even upon our announcement of the alternative to which we would be driven.

We therefore each addressed a note to the foreign minister in the same sense, citing the whole circumstances of the case and announcing our intention, in the absence of any suitable provision for a foreign settlement, of regarding the city of Peng Yang in the position as is Seoul, and of protecting our people in their right to reside and carry on trade at that place. I have the honor to hand you inclosed a copy of my note of the 16th instant to that effect.

I have, etc.,

Horace N. Allen.

Mr. Allen to the Foreign Minister.

Your Excellency: I have the honor to refer your excellency to the correspondence which has taken place between yourself and the foreign representatives at Seoul respecting the question of the opening of the city of Peng Yang, and to intimate to you the decision which myself and my colleagues have been reluctantly compelled to take in view of the failure of your excellency’s Government to give effect to the promise contained in your predecessor’s dispatch of the 29th of May, 1898.

Nearly eighteen months have elapsed since the Korean Government, in the above-mentioned dispatch, announced its intention of opening a trade mart in the city of Peng Yang. Nothing was done to fulfill this undertaking until the 15th of April last, when your excellency notified the foreign representatives of the selection of Sa Hou Chong as the site of the proposed trade mart. This place, which is some li (15 miles) distant from Peng Yang, was naturally rejected, and your excellency was reminded that this mart was to be established within the city. Notwithstanding this, you wrote two months later, on the 23d of June, [Page 491] proposing to substitute a place called Yang Chi Ko, also lying some distance from the city, and consequently liable to all the objections of the previous selection.

It was not until the 20th of July last, considerably more than a year after the date of the original undertaking, that your excellency finally admitted the propriety of locating the mart within the city but the admission was robbed of its value and virtually neutralized by your selecting a quarter of the city which was much too restricted in area, unprovided with water frontage, and otherwise entirely unsuited for the purposes of trade.

Anxious to meet the views of the Korean Government and to bring the question to a settlement, the foreign representatives, in their note of the 31st of July, submitted a counter proposal in the nature of a compromise, which, in its turn, was rejected by your excellency.

As a final effort, the foreign representatives, on the 8th of September last, suggested to your excellency that a member of the customs service should be dispatched to Peng Yang to select a suitable site.

Having received no acknowledgment of this communication, the foreign representatives waited upon your excellency at the foreign office on the 4th instant, and the Japanese minister, as doyen of the body, made various proposals with the view of arriving at an amicable solution of the question, all of which your excellency declined to entertain.

My colleagues and myself have exhausted all our efforts in endeavoring to induce the Korean Government to carry out their undertaking, and while still prepared to consider any reasonable proposals which you may offer, we can not acquiesce any longer in the denial by the Korean Government of the rights already granted to foreigners in Peng Yang.

The case seems to me to be analogous to that of Seoul, of which the British treaty, Article IV, section 1, says: “The city of Hanyang (Seoul) and the town of Yangwachin, or such other place in that neighborhood as may be deemed desirable, shall, from the day on which this treaty comes into operation, be opened to British commerce.”

Yangwachin or other place was never selected, and while no foreign settlement was ever laid out in Seoul, foreigners have, by virtue of the above provision, been allowed to reside and do business anywhere within the city limits and within the 10-li radius thereof.

In absence of any satisfactory arrangement for a settlement at Peng Yang, I am therefore, in pursuance of the decree of your Government opening that place to trade, compelled to regard Peng Yang in the same status as is Seoul, and allow American citizens to reside and do business anywhere within the city and treaty limits, and I shall protect them in such rights.

I am warranted in this action by definite instructions from my Government. Replying to a dispatch relative to the distant site Sa Hou Chong, my Government states that “the compromise is entirely unacceptable to this Government.” and I was instructed to “urge the fulfillment of the promise given in March last to open the port of Peng Yang. The excuse advanced for not doing so, that there is much property in that city belonging to the household’ appears to be inconclusive. The fact should have been known in March last and such interests, if established, could easily have been respected by marking out the boundaries of the proposed settlement.” A course which your excellency has so far declined to take.

I have, etc.,

Horace N. Allen.