Mr. Hay to Mr. Conger.


(Mr. Hay acknowledges Mr. Conger’s telegram of the 16th instant, and states that the Chinese propositions are, in the main, acceptable to the United States, with the incorporation of his suggestions and of points hereinafter expressed. If Mr. Conger’s seventh suggestion means placing Pekin on the footing of a treaty port, it is commendable.

The French proposition of terms, which was communicated to Mr. Hay on the 4th instant and replied to on the 10th, is probably now in Mr. Conger’s possession. The United States accepts the first article, taking the Chinese punishment edict as a starting point; additional names to be suggested by representatives of the powers when negotiations are begun.

  • Second. It is not understood that interdiction of importation of arms is to be permanent; its duration and regulation proper subject of discussion.
  • Third. All the powers desire equitable indemnity, intention of acquisition of territory being positively disclaimed by all. The United States would favor Russian suggestion to remit the question to The Hague arbitration court in case of a protracted disagreement as to amount of indemnity.
  • Fourth. While now maintaining precautionary legation guards, the United States is unable to make permanent engagement without legislative authorization.
  • Fifth. As to dismantling Taku forts the President reserves opinion, pending further information in regard to the situation in China.
  • Sixth. The United States can not commit itself to participation in military occupation of the road from Tientsin. It would require legislation, but it is desirable that assurance be obtained from China by the powers of the right to guard legations and to have unrestricted access when required.

Mr. Hay is advised that the French proposition has been acquiesced in by all the powers, with more or less reservations, which, like his, are not calculated to embarrass negotiations. French note received the 17th instant urges that the powers agree to show to China their [Page 218] readiness to negotiate by communicating, without prejudice to discussion of the points reserved as above, the French propositions, either severally or through the dean of the diplomatic corps. Mr. Conger is instructed to confer with his colleagues with a view to doing this. The United States is anxious to have the negotiations begin as soon as it and the other powers are satisfied of the Emperor’s ability and power to deal justly and sternly with the responsible offenders, and the President so replied to an appeal of the Emperor, communicated by telegraph yesterday.

During the negotiations no opportunity to safeguard the principle of impartial trade, to which all the powers are pledged, should be lost.)