Mr. Hay to Lord Pauncefote.

No. 1967.]

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 23d of October, inclosing the text of an agreement between Great Britain and Germany relating to affairs in China, which was signed in London on the 16th instant by the Marquis of Salisbury and the German ambassador on behalf of their respective Governments, and inviting the acceptance by the United States of the principles recorded in that agreement.

These principles are:

It is a matter of joint and permanent international interest that the ports on the rivers and littoral of China should remain free and open to trade and to every other legitimate form of economic activity for the nationals of all countries without distinction, and the two Governments agree on their part to uphold the same for all Chinese territory so far as they can exercise influence.
Her Britannic Majesty’s Government and the Imperial German Government will not on their part make use of the present complication to obtain for themselves any territorial advantages in Chinese dominions and will direct their policy toward maintaining undiminished the territorial condition of the Chinese Empire.

The United States have heretofore made known their adoption of both these principles. During the last year this Government invited the powers interested in China to join in an expression of views and purposes in the direction of impartial trade with that country and received satisfactory assurances to that effect from all of them. When the recent troubles were at their height this Government, on the 3d of July, once more made an announcement of its policy regarding impartial trade and the integrity of the Chinese Empire and had the gratification of learning that all the powers held similar views. And since that time the most gratifying harmony has existed among all the nations concerned as to the ends to be pursued, and there has been little divergence of opinion as to the details of the course to be followed.

It is therefore with much satisfaction that the President directs me to inform you of the full sympathy of this Government with those of Her Britannic Majesty and the German Emperor in the principles set forth in the clauses of the agreement above cited.

The third clause of the agreement provides—

III. In case of another power making use of the complications in China in order to obtain under any form whatever such territorial advantages, the two contracting parties reserve to themselves to come to a preliminary understanding as to the eventual steps to be taken for the protection of their own interests in China.

As this clause refers to a reciprocal arrangement between the two high contracting powers the Government of the United States does not regard itself as called upon to express an opinion in respect to it.

I have, etc.,

John Hay.

Note.—[A similar note, mutatis mutandis, was addressed on the same day by the Secretary of State to the Imperial German chargé d’affaires.]