Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 459.]

Sir: I have the honor to confirm my telegram of the 24th instant, and to inclose % copy of the note setting forth the demands which it is proposed to present to the Chinese plenipotentiaries, either jointly or in identic notes. Some of the ministers have not been instructed whether to sign joint or identic notes. I am aware that ordinarily our Government is not in favor of joint action with European powers, but this is so plainly a world-wide question, and the necessity of strengthening our demands by unanimity, as well as by every other means, is so apparent, and being convinced that a joint note will be much more effective than separate notes, and will consequently hasten the final settlement which the President and yourself justly deem so important, I have felt myself authorized to sign a joint note, and shall do so if all the other ministers are so authorized. If not, we will send in identic notes.

[Page 50]

The agreement of the Russian minister to the last paragraph of demand No. 5 was obtained by employing the words “measures acceptable to” instead of “indicated by the foreign powers.”

There have been some concessions made by each minister, in order that we might reach an agreement. In consequence the demands are not exactly in accordance with the letter of your instructions, but are as near with their spirit as seemed possible to come to an agreement upon. I tried to have no names mentioned in connection with the death penalties, simply saying “all those mentioned in the decree of September 25, and such others as should be designated.” Then I tried to have the name of Tung Fu-hsiang left out, in order to have him and his soldiers to punish the others. I also urged the dismantling, instead of razing, the Taku forts. But I was almost alone on all these propositions, and to have insisted upon them would have delayed indefinitely the negotiations. Therefore, in order to facilitate negotiations and secure the agreement of my colleagues to other important propositions, so that negotiations might begin, I yielded on these. If, therefore, the Governments all approve and authorize their representatives to sign, we ought to be ready to meet the Chinese plenipotentiaries in a very few days.

Besides the commercial and other reasons for an early beginning of negotiations heretofore mentioned, it is important in order to stop the military excursions being continually made into the interior by the European troops. In my judgment most of these are not necessary, and are greatly injuring the prospects of any satisfactory settlement.

Although the note as inclosed has been definitely agreed upon, it is possible that by the direction of some of the Governments changes may be necessary. Should this, however, occur I will immediately inform you.

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Inclosure 1.—Translation of amended text.]

During the months of May, June, July, and August of the present year serious disturbances broke out in the northern provinces of China, and crimes unheard of in human history, crimes against the laws of nations, against the laws of humanity, and against civilization were committed under particularly odious circumstances. The principal of these crimes were the following:

On the 20th June H. E. Baron von Ketteler, minister of Germany, proceeding to the tsungli yamen was murdered while in the exercise of his functions by soldiers of the regular army acting under orders of their chiefs.
The same day the foreign legations were attacked and besieged, these attacks being continued without interruption until the 14th August, on which date the army of foreign troops put an end to them. These [attacks] were made by regular troops who joined the Boxers and who obeyed orders of the court emanating from the imperial palace. At the same time the Chinese Government was declaring officially through its representatives near the powers that it guaranteed the security of the legations.
A member of the legation of Japan in the discharge of an official mission was killed by regulars at the gates of the city. In Peking and in several provinces foreigners were assassinated, tortured, or were attacked by Boxers and regular troops, and only owed their salvation to their determined resistance. Their establishments were pillaged and destroyed.
Foreign cemeteries, particularly in Peking, have been desecrated, the tombs opened, the remains scattered.

These events led the foreign powers to send their troops to China to protect the lives of their representatives and their nationals and to restore order. In their march on Peking the allied forces met with the resistance of the Chinese armies and had to overcome it by force.

China having recognized its responsibility, expressed its regrets, and manifested the [Page 51] desire to see an end put to the situation created by the disorder referred to, the powers have resolved to accede to its request on the irrevocable conditions enumerated below, which they deem indispensable to expiate the crimes committed and prevent their recurrence:

1. (a) Dispatch to Berlin of an extraordinary mission led by an Imperial prince to express the regrets of His Majesty the Emperor of China and of the Chinese Government for the murder of his excellency the late Baron von Ketteler, minister of Germany.

(b) Erection on the place of the murder of a commemorative monument worthy of the rank of the deceased, bearing an inscription in the Latin, German, and Chinese languages, expressing the regrets of the Emperor of China for the murder.

2. (a) Death penalty for Princes Tuan and Chuang, Dukes Lan, Ying Men, Kang Yi, Chao Shu-chiao, Tung Fu-hsiang, and Yü Hsien and those whom the representatives of the powers shall later on designate. Exemplary punishment proportionate to their crimes for the other personages named in the Imperial decree of September 25, 1900, and for those whom the representatives of the powers shall later on designate.

(b) Suspension of all official examinations for five years in all the cities in which the foreigners have been massacred or have been subjected to cruel treatment.

3. An expiatory monument shall be erected by the Imperial Chinese Government in each of the foreign or international cemeteries which have been desecrated and in which the tombs have been destroyed.

4. Maintenance, under conditions to be settled between the powers, of the interdiction of the importation of arms as well as of material for the manufacture of arms and munitions.

5. Equitable indemnities for the governments, societies, and individuals, as well as for the Chinese who have suffered during the late events in person or in property on account of their being in the service of foreigners.

China shall adopt financial measures acceptable to the powers for the purpose of guaranteeing the payment of said indemnities and the interest on loans.

6. Right for each power to organize a permanent guard for its legation and to put the diplomatic quarter in a state of defense. Chinese shall not have the right to reside in this quarter.

7. The forts of Taku and those which could prevent free communication between Peking and the sea shall be razed.

8. Right to occupy militarily certain points to be settled on by an understanding between the powers for keeping open communication between the capital and the sea.

9. The Chinese Government shall have posted during two years in all subprefectures an Imperial decree stating—

Perpetual prohibition under pain of death from belonging to any antiforeign society.
Enumeration of the punishments which shall have been inflicted on the guilty, together with the suspension of all official examinations in the cities where foreigners have been murdered or have been subjected to cruel treatment.
An Imperial edict shall be made and published throughout the Empire declaring that the governors-general and governors and all provincial or local officials shall be responsible for order in their jurisdictions, and that in case of fresh troubles or other infractions of treaties, and in case of acts of hostility against foreigners which shall not have been immediately repressed and the guilty persons punished, these officers shall be at once removed from office and may not be recalled to new functions or receive new honors.

10. The Chinese Government pledges itself to negotiate the amendments deemed useful by the foreign representatives to the treaties of commerce and navigation, and upon other subjects relating to commercial relations with the object of facilitating them.

11. The Chinese Government pledges itself to reform the office of foreign affairs and to modify the court ceremonial concerning the reception of foreign representatives in the sense which the powers shall indicate.