Mr. Iddings to Mr. Hay.

No. 664.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy, in translation, of the informal memorandum received by me from the Italian foreign office on September 14, 1900, which is a response to my communication of August 30 informing this Government of your reply of August 29 to the Russian proposals of August 28 as to the withdrawal of the Russian legation and Russian troops from Pekin. I confirm also, in inclosure 2,3 my cipher telegram to you of September 15, transmitting to the Department the above memorandum.

I am, etc.,

Lewis Morris Iddings.
[Page 358]
[Inclosure.—Informal memorandum from the Italian foreign office in reply to Mr. Iddings’s note of August 30, 1900, received on September 14.—Translation.]

The Italian Government returns thanks for the communication made to it.

The Italian Government associated itself in the work, in common with the other powers in China, with those same intentions which obtained the adhesion of all the other governments, which it has the satisfaction of seeing reaffirmed in the memorandum of the United States. The Italian Government desires that the proper moment for opening peace negotiations with the Chinese Government may be hastened, which negotiations should give to the powers, together with just compensation for damages sustained by their citizens, the necessary guaranties for the safety of foreigners and their free and peaceful competition in commerce.

The Italian Government believes, as the United States believes, that under the present circumstances the purposes which all the powers have in view would be better subserved by prolonging still for some time the international occupation of Pekin under such conditions as the said powers might define. The Royal Government is not able to conceal its apprehension that a sudden and not sufficiently explained withdrawal of troops from Pekin maybe interpreted by the Chinese Government and people as a sign of weakness, and might revive the fanaticism of the rebels.

The Italian Government has always attached special importance to the maintenance of harmony among the powers, considering harmony as a necessary guaranty to prevent later complications and for obtaining a real and lasting solution of the problem of restoring order in China.

With this judgment the Italian Government, while waiting to learn the decision of (the) powers, has expressed the opinion that the commanders of the forces in China should be consulted upon the situation of the troops in Pekin, because it appears to this Government that military considerations may form a necessary element to be regarded in connection with any later decision.

In the actual state of the case this Government is firmly convinced that an eventual diversity of views as to the most opportune moment for ceasing to occupy Pekin would not imply a difference as to the ends which the governments are following in common accord in the Chinese Empire, and expresses the desire that those governments which have accepted in principle the withdrawal of the troops should not hurry the execution of the same, in order to give a chance for a later understanding among the powers.

  1. Not printed.