The Secretary of State to the French chargé d’affaires.


The Government of the United States agrees with that of France in recognizing as the object to be obtained from the Government of China appropriate reparation for the past and substantial guaranties for the future.

The President is glad to perceive in the bases of negotiation put forward in the memorandum of October 4 the spirit that has animated the declarations heretofore made by all the powers interested, and would be pleased to see the negotiations begun immediately upon the usual verification of credentials.

It may be convenient to enumerate the clauses of the memorandum and to add some observations dictated by the attitude of the United States in the present circumstances.

1. The punishment of the guilty parties who may be designated by the representatives of the powers at Pekin.

The Chinese Government has already indicated its intention to punish a number of those responsible for the recent disorders. The representatives of the powers at Pekin may suggest additions to that list when negotiations are entered upon.

2. The continuance of the interdiction against the importation of arms.

It is not understood that this interdiction is to be permanent, and the duration of it and the details of its regulation seem a proper subject of discussion by the negotiators.

3. Equitable indemnities for the Governments, corporations, and private individuals.

This is an object desired by all the powers. The Russian Government has suggested that in case of protracted divergence of views, this matter might be commended to the consideration of the International Court of Arbitration of The Hague. The President thinks this suggestion worthy the attention of the powers.

4. The organization in Pekin of a permanent guard for the legations.

The Government of the United States is unable to make any permanent engagement of this nature without the authorization of the legislative branch, but in the present emergency we have stationed in Pekin an adequate legation guard.

5. The dismantling of the forts at Taku.

The President reserves the expression of his opinion as to this measure, pending the receipt of further information in regard to the situation in China.

6. The military occupation of two or three points on the road from Tientsin to Pekin.

The same observation which has been made in reference to No. 4 applies also to this proposition. The President is unable to commit [Page 323] the United States to a permanent participation in such occupation, but he thinks it desirable that the powers shall obtain from the Chinese Government the assurance of their right to guard their legations in Pekin and to have the means of unrestricted access to them whenever required.

The President believes that the Governments of France and the other powers will see in the reserves we have here made no obstacle to the initiation of negotiations on the lines suggested, and he hopes it will be found practicable to begin such negotiations at an early day.