Mr. White to Mr. Hay.

No. 1721.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that it has been officially announced that the German Emperor received Prince Tschun Tsai-fong, a brother of the Emperor of China, at Potsdam at noon yesterday, and that Prince Tschun made a speech in which he expressed the regret of the Emperor of China at the murder of the German minister in Pekin, Baron Clemens von Ketteler, last year. The German Emperor received from Prince Tschun a letter from the Emperor of China, and made a reply to the speech. A translation of the speeches and of the letter is appended hereto, their text having been published in the official part of last night’s Imperial Gazette (No. 210).

Prince Tschun arrived in Potsdam on September 3 and was lodged in one of the royal palaces. Yesterday morning, in carriages provided by the royal stables, but without any escort, he proceeded to the “New Palace,” where, accompanied by the new Chinese minister as interpreter, he was received by the Emperor, who was surrounded by several German princes, Baron von Richthofen, the Imperial secretary of state for foreign affairs, and various high court, civil, and military officials.

On leaving the palace Prince Tschun was greeted with the military honors usually shown to an Imperial prince, and a military escort accompanied him to his residence. It is understood that, expiation having now been made, he will be shown the usual courtesies as long as he remains the guest of the Emperor—for a day or two.

The new Chinese minister has not yet been received as such, and diplomatic relations have not yet been fully resumed, no audience having been granted the departing minister to present his letters of recall.

I have deemed it advisable to make this report, in view of the fact that the sending of this “expiatory mission” was the result of the [Page 188] combined action of the several foreign representatives in Pekin, and because of the attention which has been given to it by the press generally and of the irresponsible reports which have been made with regard to the manner in which Prince Tschun was to have been received, and the reasons for his not having come through from Basle to Berlin about the 26th ultimo.

I am, sir, etc.,

Andrew D. White.

Berlin, Wednesday.—The letter from the Emperor of China, handed to the Emperor William by Prince Tschun, is to the following effect:

“The Great Emperor of the Chinese Empire to His Majesty the Great German Emperor, greeting.

“Ever since the Empires have been mutually represented by permanent legations we have stood in uninterrupted friendly relationship toward one another. These relations became still closer when Prince Henry of Prussia came to Pekin, for on that occasion we had the privilege of receiving the Prince frequently and of being able to hold intercourse with him in an intimate manner. Unfortunately, in the fifth month of last year, the Boxers rebelliously penetrated into Pekin and the soldiers joined them.

“The result was the murder of Your Majesty’s minister, Baron von Ketteler, a man who, so long as he occupied his post in Pekin, paid careful attention to the interests of our countries and to whom we were bound to pay our special acknowledgments. We regret most deeply that Baron von Ketteler met so terrible an end among us. The fact that we were not in a position to take due protective measures was painful to our feeling of responsibility. It was our feeling of responsibility which prompted us to erect a monument on the spot as a sign that the crime should not remain unexpiated.

“Further, we have sent to Germany with this letter, the Imperial Prince Tschun Tsai-fong, at the head of a special mission. Prince Tschun, who is our own brother, will assure Your Majesty how deeply the events of the past year have grieved us and how deeply the feeling of penitence and shame still animate us. Your Majesty sent your troops from a far distance to put down the Boxer rebellion and restore peace and the welfare of our nation. We have, therefore, commanded Prince Tschun to express personally to Your Majesty our thanks for your efforts in promoting peace.

“We cherish the hope that Your Majesty’s indignation has given place to the old feelings of friendship. That the relations between our Empires may be of an even more extensive, intimate, and beneficial character than hitherto is our firm assurance.”

Prince Tschun, in delivering the letter, spoke in the following terms:

“By order of the Great Emperor, my most gracious lord and master, I have the honor to deliver His Majesty’s letter into Your Majesty’s Imperial hands. After the rebellious movement in China in the past year, the Imperial court felt spontaneously no less than on the demand of the powers the obligation of expressing, by a special mission, its sincere regret at these events, and especially in the case of which Your Majesty’s excellent minister, Baron von Ketteler, fell a victim.

“In order to place the sincerity of this regret beyond all doubt His Majesty the Emperor designated a very near blood relation for the mission. I am in a position to assure Your Majesty that the Emperor, my most gracious master, stood aloof from these complications, which brought the great misfortune upon China and loss and care upon Germany, in the fullest sense of the words. Nevertheless, in accordance with customs existing for thousands of years, the Emperor of China has taken the blame for it upon his own sacred person. I have, therefore, the task of expressing to Your Majesty the most cordial feelings of the Emperor, my illustrious master, toward Your Majesty. In handing to you this letter, I am also charged to be the interpreter of this feeling of the Great Emperor of China toward Her Majesty the Empress, and the whole of the Imperial family, and to express the wish that Your Majesty’s house may flourish and enjoy health, happiness, and blessings in the fullest measure. His Majesty the Emperor of China hopes that the events of the past year were only a passing shadow, and that after the clouds have dispersed, the brightness [Page 189] of peace between the two nations of Germany and China may teach them mutually ever to understand and value one another better. This is also my most sincere wish.”

the emperor’s reply.

The Emperor then addressed the following reply to Prince Tschun:

“This is not a joyous or festive occasion, or the fulfillment of a simple act of courtesy, which has brought your imperial highness to me, but a deeply melancholy and very serious event. My minister at the court of the Emperor of China, Baron von Ketteler, has been slain in the capital of China by the murderous weapon of an Imperial Chinese soldier, lifted against him by superior command, an unheard-of crime, which is branded by international law and the usage of all nations alike. From the mouth of your imperial highness I have just received the expression of the deep regret of the Emperor of China.

“Concerning this event I readily believe that your imperial highness’ imperial brother personally stood aloof from the crime and the subsequent acts of violence against the inviolable legations and peaceful foreigners. All the greater is the guilt which falls upon his adviser and his government. These must not delude themselves into believing that by an expiatory mission alone they will have made atonement and obtained pardon for their guilt. This can only be done by their future attitude in conformity with the prescriptions of international law and the usages of civilized nations. If the Emperor of China conducts the government of his great Empire henceforth strictly in the spirit of these prescriptions, then will his hope be fulfilled that the sad results of the complications of the past year will be overcome, and that between Germany and China, as formerly, lasting peaceful and friendly relations will again prevail and conduce to the benefit of two nations and the whole of human civilization. In the sincere and earnest wish that this may be so, I bid your imperial highness welcome.”