Mr. Hay to Mr. Conger.
Washington, November 27, 1901.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch, No. 769, of the 11th ultimo, confirming telegrams from and to you on the subject of the recession to the United States of the former American concession at Tientsin, and reporting your negotiations with the Chinese Government in the matter.
In view of the unfitness of the alternatively offered tract for either commercial or military use by the United States, and recognizing the difficulties in the way of the restoration to us of the former concession, [Page 59]by reason of the tenancies which have been established therein since its abandonment by us, it seems undesirable to press the matter further at present. The Government of the United States will, however, expect to have equal favors and facilities with other powers for military purposes at Tientsin, should it at any future time become necessary to carry out the purposes of the protocol with respect to keeping open communication between Pekin and the sea; and if effective assurance in this regard be given we may leave the question of a commercial concession in abeyance until the development of commerce in that quarter shall make it necessary to claim privileges and facilities on the same footing as other powers. We would feel it a duty to reserve our right in such a case.
It is to be remembered that circumstances have materially changed since the United States relinquished its holding at Tientsin, and that we have entered into conventional arrangements, and engaged in contingent obligations which may make it not only expedient, but necessary to secure a position of equality at Tientsin in matters of commerce and international policy, if our purposes in the direction of enlarged intercourse and the maintenance of close relations of good will with China as well as with the powers are to be effectively carried out, and, consequently, that we can not neglect any step conducive to those beneficial ends.
I am, etc.,