Mr. Thiébaut to Mr. Hay.


Mr. Secretary of State: The minister of foreign affairs has advised me that he has received from the ambassador of the United States at Paris communication of telegram which you addressed him on the 22d1 of this month, and of which you have been good enough to send me a copy for my personal information.

It seems to result from this communication of General Porter, as also from your memorandum of the 19th of October and the communication which you have given me in the course of recent interviews, that the minister of the United States at Pekin has only been authorized, in concert with his colleagues, to begin negotiations by communicating to the Chinese plenipotentiaries such of the points of the French proposition in regard to which no reserve has been formulated. Since then I have had the honor to submit to you by communication—to which it has been agreed verbally between us that your excellency would send no answer, your above-mentioned memorandum of the 19th of October having virtually done so in advance—a new reduction of our proposition which may serve as a text for an identical note which each representative of the powers should deliver to the Chinese plenipotentiaries. It differs, as you may have observed, from the original [Page 325] proposition which formed the object of my note of the 4th of October, in which my Government was careful to introduce the indications intended to give satisfaction to the reserves which have been formulated especially by the Government of the United States. On the other hand, I informed you yesterday that his excellency Mr. Delcassé was disposed to give to the sixth point an interpretation which was preferred by Lord Salisbury, and of which I left you the terms in writing, and I announced to you that the minister of Her Majesty would in consequence inform her representatives at Pekin that he had accepted the sixth point of the proposition. You will think it useful, doubtless, to inform Mr. Conger of this. The minister of foreign affairs is persuaded also that the Government of the United States will be, like the Government of the Republic, sensible to the advantage which there would be if the representatives of all the powers could present to the Chinese plenipotentiaries an identical note reproducing the sixth point of the French note in the amended form which I have recalled to you. Such a proceeding would have in fact, among other advantages, that of showing in an imposing manner that the Governments offended by China are animated by the same spirit. It is evident that the delivery of this identical note would not in any manner prevent the final examination of the points upon which the observations of certain cabinets are founded, as my Government has formerly remarked to you in the memorandum which I delivered to you the 17th of October, and the assurance of which I have several times reiterated to you.

Concerning the suggestions made in the last paragraph of your memorandum of the 19th of October, your excellency has long been aware that the sentiments of my Government are fully in accord with those of the Federal Government. France has in fact pronounced several times already for the principle of the open door in China, and very recently again in submitting to the powers its project of an identical note for the principle of the integrity of the Empire and the independence of the Chinese Government.

I am therefore authorized to inform you that my Government sees no objection to these two principles being, as you have suggested, proclaimed once more in conditions to be hereafter determined but which should not involve any delay for the opening of negotiations.

Pray accept, Mr. Secretary of State, assurances of my highest consideration.

  1. Circular telegram, printed p. 307.