Mr. Porter to Mr. Hay.

No. 690.]

Sir: In presenting to Mr. Delcassé your cables defining our attitude in China I found that he considered the situation about as we did. He expressed himself in like manner in the Chamber of Deputies, and [Page 313] I send you herewith a translation of statements he made in that body on the 3d and 8th instant, by which you will see that his definition of the policy of France in China substantially agrees with us.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

Horace Porter.

Statements made by Mr. Delcasse in the French Chamber, July 3.

M. Delcassé said: “I have in my previous declarations, particularly last month, clearly explained the tendencies of our policy in China. The chamber will remember that during the past two years I have repeatedly stated that France, as mistress of Indo-China, has no interest in provoking or desiring the break up of China which is, perhaps without sufficient reflection, spoken of. What I can affirm is that France has no wish for war with China, but she cannot evade the duty of protecting her citizens and of obtaining for her merchants the guaranties obtained by others. It is for this and this alone that the Government has taken the measures necessitating these credits. France is certainly anxious for the maintenance of the equilibrium in the Far East. She will see that it is not broken to her detriment, but she cherishes no secret designs. I know not, moreover, who could have particular objects. What I see is that a common peril demands a common aim, and this is comprehended by all the powers. This is the reassuring feature of the situation, the difficulties of which it would be as childish to deny as it would be to be disturbed by them. I descend the Tribune after repeating the assurance that France, whose efforts are already employed in facilitating the rapprochement of the powers, will continue to neglect nothing for maintaining and strengthening those sentiments of internal and humane solidarity which would prevent them, if necessary, from thinking of what might divide them.”

July 8, 1900.—“With reference to what is taking place in northern China, we are asked why we have not declared war against China, and why China’s representative in Paris has not received his passports. But against whom are we to declare war? As far as can be concluded from the information from divers sources, either the Imperial Government has already been swept away, or it is the prisoner of the insurrection, which seems to be, indeed, forcing upon it the decrees which it sends to the provinces, if it does not actually concoct them itself. But thus far it does not appear that the governors of the provinces, notably the southern and central viceroys, are disposed to obey decrees, the origin of which they suspect, and the authors of which they are inclined to regard as rebels, and the chamber has already seen, without my having to go into the matter in detail, that the consequences of an official declaration of war would be to make throughout China a union against the Occident, and thereby to oblige the Occident to redouble the efforts which the situation of the province of Pekin renders already considerable. Nor need I observe that such an act as an official declaration of war against China can not be the isolated act of any one power, but that all the powers, having the same object, should as far as possible maintain agreement as to the means to be employed to obtain this end, and that France, in particular, whose interests in north China are mainly general and common with those of the other powers, had no special reason for taking an initiative which might make it the object of suspicion as cherishing special aims which it absolutely rejects. This, however, does not prevent us from acting in Pe-chi-li with the other powers with all the decision and vigor required by a situation of which it is impossible and of which it would be culpable to hide from oneself the gravity and difficulty.