Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.
Peking, China , September 13, 1900 .
Sir: I have the honor to append hereto translations of your telegram of the 30th ultimo sent through the United States minister at Tokyo and my telegram of the 12th instant.
Some of the Russian troops have already been withdrawn. The minister told me yesterday that he should leave to-day, and that most of their forces were going at once, but he has not gone and troops that were ordered to move this morning are still held here. * * *[Page 34]
The weakness of the Imperial Government becomes daily more apparent, and the possibility of restoration of peace and order in this province under Chinese authority still more remote. We have now had possession of Peking for four weeks, and the only move made by the Chinese Government toward a settlement is to send Prince Ching herewith reputed full powers, but which have not been shown, and the statement that he is waiting for Li Hung-chang, who is to act with him. But a telegram received from Consul-General Goodnow of the 7th instant says, “Li Hung-chang will leave for the north in a week or so.” There is not, therefore, much prospect of any early propositions from them. I repeat that I am sure they will be unable to offer any feasible plan, and that the foreign powers will be compelled to devise the plan and China will be compelled to accept it.
The negotiations necessary, therefore, are those between the powers, and these can be conducted almost anywhere better than here.
No visible effort has been made by the Chinese Government for a suspension of hostilities. “Boxers” and Chinese soldiers are still in possession of most of the cities and villages of this province, and persecutions of Christians continue.
It does not seem to me advisable for the general conference of the powers to await the restoration of Chinese authority in and about this capital. But in my judgment the withdrawal of all troops from Peking would be a great mistake. The Chinese people would doubt our strength, we would lose one of the most potent levers with which to move the Chinese Government to an acceptance of our terms, and the thousands of Chinese Christians in this vicinity would be immediately massacred.
I have, etc.,