Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.
Peking, China, December 12, 1900.
Sir: The Chinese plenipotentiaries have repeatedly assured various representatives of the powers that their full powers in due form would be exhibited at the proper time, yet we have recently learned that they have no evidence of same except decrees which they say they have received by telegraph. They have had three months in which to procure the fully authenticated documents themselves, and it is a great surprise to us all that they have them not. They have, however, promised to telegraph to the court a copy of the letters patent issued to Li Hung-chang for negotiations with Japan, and request the issuance of like powers now.
This morning I received from Prince Ching and Li Hung-chang a communication, copy of which I inclose, setting forth another telegraphic decree granting them full powers, and they again promise that when negotiations begin they will be able to present full powers, duly sealed and properly authenticated.
This decree is also published in the Official Gazette to-day.
It is therefore probable that satisfactory evidence of their full authority to act will be forthcoming in time to prevent serious delay in the negotiations.
I have, etc.,