The Secretary of State to the Imperial German Chargé.

[Memorandum in response to the inquiries made of the Secretary of State, October 2, 1900, by the Imperial German chargé d’affaires, touching the Chinese Imperial edict in regard to the punishment of Prince Tuan and other high Chinese officials.]

The Chinese minister communicated to the Secretary of State, on the 2d instant, a telegram received by him from Director-General Sheng, conveying the purport of an Imperial edict, dated September 25, 1900, by which the degradation and punishment of Prince Tuan and other high Chinese officials is decreed.

The Government of the United States is disposed to regard this measure as a proof of the desire of the Imperial Chinese Government to satisfy the reasonable demands of the foreign powers for the injury and outrage which their legations and their nationals have suffered at the hands of evil-disposed persons in China; although it has been thought well, in view of the vagueness of the edict in regard to the punishment which some of the inculpated persons are to receive, to signify to the Chinese minister the President’s view that it would be most regrettable if Prince Tuan, who appears from the concurring testimony of the legations in Pekin to have been one of the foremost in the proceedings complained of, should escape such full measure of exemplary punishment as the facts warrant, or if Kang Yi and Chao Shu-Chiao should receive other than their just deserts.

With a view to forming a judgment on these points, the United States minister in Pekin has been instructed to report whether the edict completely names the persons deserving chastisement; whether the punishments proposed accord with the gravity of the crimes committed; and in what manner the United States and the other powers are to be assured that satisfactory punishment is inflicted.

It is hoped that Mr. Conger’s replies to these interrogatories will confirm the Government of the United States in the opinion which it now shares with the Imperial German Government that the edict in question is an important initial step in the direction of peace and order in China.