Lord Pauncefote to Mr. Hay.

No. 208.]

Sir: I have the honor, by direction of Her Majesty’s principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, to communicate to you, for the information of the United States Government, the substance of a telegram which has been received in London from Mr. Warren, Her Majesty’s acting consul-general at Shanghai, dated July 22.

I have the honor to be, etc.,


Paraphrase of telegram of consul-general at Shanghai.

Mr. Warren states that in reply to the memorial of various viceroys and governors praying that the foreign ministers might receive protection, submitted to the Throne by the governor of Shangtung, an imperial decree was issued, dated July 18, of which the following is a translation:

[Page 351]

“In the Confucian work Spring and Autumn, it is written that envoys shall not be killed. How then can it be supposed that the Throne’s policy is to connive at allowing the populace to vent their wrath on foreign ministers? With the exception of the murder of the German minister, which offense is being vigorously investigated, the ministers have for a month past been protected by the Throne with a ceaseless energy and have fortunately suffered no harm.”

Mr. Warren reports that Sheng received on July 20 a telegram from the governor of Shantung, transmitting a message in cipher from the United States minister to his Government. This message was undated, though it was alleged to have left Pekin as late as the 18th. It was to the effect that Mr. Conger was in the British legation, wliich wafs under a fire of shot and shell.

Mr. Warren calls Lord Salisbury’s attention to the fact that while this date of the 18th given by the Chinese to Mr. Conger’s telegram coincides with the date of the above decree, the telegram does not confirm the assurances of safety contained in the decree.

Mr. Warren says that he telegraphed on the 21st to the governor of Shantung asking how a message from Pekin could have reached Chmanfu in two days, and how it was that no message had arrived from our minister at Pekin, to which he received a reply that the United States minister’s telegram had been sent by the Tsungli Yamen by a messenger traveling 600 li (roughly 200 miles) a day, but that there was no telegraphic communication; that he could not explain why Sir C. MacDonald had not telegraphed.

The governor added that he had already received several reliable messages that the ministers were all living and unharmed, and begged Mr. Warren not to be anxious.