Telegraphic instruction sent to the representatives of the United States in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, London, Rome, Tokyo, and St. Petersburgh.

The Russian chargé yesterday afternoon made to me an oral statement respecting Russia’s purposes in China, to the following effect:

That as already repeatedly declared, Russia has no designs of territorial acquisition in China; that, equally with other powers now operating there, Russia has sought safety of legation at Pekin and to help the Chinese Government to repress the troubles; that, incidentally to necessary defensive measures on Russian border, Russia has occupied Niuchwang for military purposes and, as soon as order is reestablished, will retire troops therefrom if action of other powers be no obstacle thereto; that the purpose for which the various governments have cooperated for relief of legations in Pekin has been accomplished; that, taking the position that, as the Chinese Government has left Pekin, there is no need for her representative to remain, Russia has directed Russian minister to retire with his official personnel from China; that the Russian troops will likewise be withdrawn; and that when the Government of China shall regain the reins of government and afford an authority with which the other powers can deal, and will express desire to enter in negotiations, the Russian Government will also name its representative. Holding these views and purposes, Russia expresses hope that the United States will share the same opinion.

To this declaration our reply has been made by the following memorandum: [Page 20]

Memorandum in response to the Russian chargé’s oral communication made on August 28, 1900, to the Acting Secretary of State touching the purposes of Russia in China.

The Government of the United States receives with much satisfaction the reiterated statement that Russia has no designs of territorial acquisition in China, and that, equally with the other powers now operating in China, Russia has sought the safety of her legation in Pekin and to help the Chinese Government to repress the existing troubles. The same purposes have moved and will continue to control the Government of the United States, and the frank declarations of Russia in this regard are in accord with those made to the United States by the other powers. All the powers, therefore, having disclaimed any purpose to acquire any part of China, and now that adherence thereto has been renewed since relief has reached Pekin, it ought not to be difficult by concurrent action through negotiations to reach an amicable settlement with China by which the treaty rights of all the powers will be secured for the future, the open door assured, the interests and property of foreign citizens conserved, and full reparation made for wrongs and injuries suffered by them.

So far as we are advised, the greater part of China is at peace and earnestly desires to protect the life and property of all foreigners, and in several of the provinces active and successful efforts to suppress the Boxers have been taken by the viceroys, to whom we have extended encouragement through our consuls and naval officers. This present good relation should be promoted for the peace of China.

While we agree that the immediate object for which the military forces of the powers have been cooperating, viz, the relief of the ministers at Pekin, has been accomplished, there still remain the other purposes which all the powers have in common, which are referred to in the communication of the Russian chargé, and which were specifically enumerated in our note to the powers of July 3.

These are: To afford all possible protection everywhere in China to foreign life and property; to guard and protect all legitimate foreign interests; to aid in preventing the spread of the disorders to other provinces of the Empire and a recurrence of such disorders; and to seek a solution which may bring about permanent safety and peace to China, preserve Chinese territorial and administrative entity, protect all rights guaranteed by treaty and international law to friendly powers, and safeguard for the world the principle of equal and impartial trade with all parts of the Chinese Empire.

In our opinion these purposes could best be attained by the joint occupation of Pekin under a definite understanding between the powers until the Chinese Government shall have been reestablished and shall be in a position to enter into new treaties with adequate provisions for reparation and guaranties of future protection. With the establishment and recognition of such authority, the United States would wish to withdraw its military forces from Pekin and remit to the processes of peaceful negotiation our just demands.

We consider, however, that a continued occupation of Pekin would be ineffective to produce the desired result unless all the powers unite therein with entire harmony of purpose. Any power which determines to withdraw its troops from Pekin will necessarily proceed thereafter to protect its interests in China by its own method, and we think that this would make a general withdrawal expedient. As to the time and manner of withdrawal, we think that, in view of the imperfect knowledge of the military situation resulting from the interruptions of telegraphic communication, the several military commanders at Pekin should be instructed to confer and agree together upon the withdrawal as a concerted movement, as they agreed upon the advance.

The result of these considerations is that, unless there is such a general expression by the powers in favor of continued occupation as to modify the views expressed by the Government of Russia and lead to a general agreement for continued occupation, we shall give instructions to the commander of the American forces in China to withdraw our troops from Pekin after due conference with the other commanders as to the time and manner of withdrawal.

The Government of the United States is much gratified by the assurance given by Russia that the occupation of Niuchwang is for military purposes incidental to the military steps for the security of the Russian border provinces menaced by the Chinese, and that as soon as order shall be reestablished Russia will retire her troops from those places, if the action of the other powers be not an obstacle thereto. No obstacle in this regard can arise through any action of the United States, whose policy is fixed and has been repeatedly proclaimed.

Alvey A. Adee, Acting Secretary.

Department of State,
Washington, August 29, 1900.

You will communicate the foregoing to the minister for foreign affairs and invite early consideration and response.