Mr. Buck to Mr. Hay.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of Japan’s answers to the last proposals of France and Germany respecting the course to be pursued by the powers in China, they having now been unofficially communicated to me.

Without instructions to obtain and telegraph these answers I have not felt authorized to incur the expense in doing so.

I have the honor to be, etc.,

A. E. Buck.
[Inclosure 1.]

The Government of His Majesty the Emperor have taken into careful consideration the programme elaborated by the Government of France in view of the contemplated negotiations with China. They cordially share the sentiments which inspired the project, and they unite with the Government of the Republic in the conviction that collective action on the part of the powers offers the best guaranty of a successful issue to those negotiations.

Accordingly, the Imperial Government are happy to be able at once to give their approval, generally speaking, of the proposals themselves. At the same time they are fully persuaded that they will most effectually contribute to that common understanding and accord among the powers, which is so desirable, if they frankly invite attention to those points which, in their opinion, call for reexamination.

The Imperial Government fear that some difficulty would be experienced in completely reconciling the permanent interdiction of the importation of arms (if such interdiction is contemplated) with the treaty obligations resting on China of protecting the lives and property of foreigners, not to mention the obvious duty devolving on her of restoring and maintaining peace, order, and good government. Such a prohibition, if it did nothing more, might, at least, furnish China an excuse for failure to fulfill those obligations and that duty.

Finally, while the Imperial Government fully recognizes the necessity of giving adequate protection to the several legations in Pekin, they are, nevertheless, apprehensive that an attempt to organize a body of troops composed of soldiers of different nationalities, speaking different languages, would, from a practical point of view, prove very difficult of realization. Consequently they are of opinion that the difficulty would be solved by the establishment of separate legation guards in such strength as might be agreed upon by the powers.

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[Inclosure 2.]

With reference to the proposal of the Imperial German Government, which is contained in the telegram sent from Berlin on October 1, 1900, a copy of which was handed by the Imperial German charge d’affaires to His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs, the Imperial Japanese Government are informed by their minister in Pekin that the foreign representatives there have held a meeting, at which categorical answers were made to the three questions which the Imperial German Government suggested should be presented to them for examination.

Those answers are of course already known to the Imperial German Government, and it therefore only remains for the Imperial Government of Japan to assure that of Germany that the action of the foreign ministers in holding the conference and in making the answers which they did, has the cordial support and approval of the Imperial Japanese Government, and they venture to hope that the Imperial Government of Germany will be pleased to accept that assurance as a full and satisfactory response to the proposal elaborated by them.

The Imperial Japanese Government take the liberty to add the suggestion that the sphere of usefulness of the foreign representatives in Pekin would be greatly enlarged if all the questions which are to serve as the bases of negotiations with China were to be presented to them for collective examination. Entertaining that view, the Imperial Japanese Government think the course suggested by the Imperial German Government is a step in the right direction, and they hope that that method may be given a wider application in the solution of the difficulties in China.