Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 482.]

Sir: I have the honor to confirm herewith your telegrams of the 5th, 17th, 19th, and 21st instants, and mine of the 19th, 20th, and 22d instants.

I am gratified with and grateful for your permission to sign the note in the final terms agreed to, and I believe it will turn out better thus than if we had insisted to the end of opening up the whole question again.

I regret exceedingly the error in the transmission of your cipher telegram of the 5th instant. But for this all the late trouble and misunderstanding would have been avoided. As it arrived and was understood here, it instructed me to sign the note as the majorities desired—that is, retaining the word “irrevocable.” It is true this did not make a correct grammatical construction, and for this reason its repetition might have been requested; but it was such a direct reply to the inquiry, in which I used the word “majority,” that, after trying numerous other combinations, we had no doubt that you intended for me to accede to the wish of the majority and retain the word. This construction did not seem unreasonable, since I understood your strongest opposition to the word grew out of its use in connection with the demand for death punishments, the omission of which I had secured. As further strengthening this view, I apprehended that you had concluded that it was such a short step from “conditions absolutely indispensable” to “irrevocable conditions” that the latter might be used instead of the former. Hence, as I wired you, I immediately notified all my colleagues, on the 7th instant, that my Government instructed me to accept the word “irrevocable,” and we all believed the matter settled until the receipt of your telegram of the 16th instant. In the meantime all my colleagues had so wired their Governments, and none of them were willing, unless compelled to do so, to telegraph for further instructions. I therefore feel certain that your permission to sign, although reluctantly given, has greatly facilitated negotiations. I also hope and believe that no serious trouble can come from the retention of the word “irrevocable.”

A meeting of the ministers was held yesterday afternoon, in which I again clearly stated to my colleagues that my statement to them on the 7th instant, that my Government had agreed to the retention of the word “irrevocable,” was a mistake, resulting from an error in the transmission of a telegram, and that, on the contrary, you had been opposed to the word from the beginning, and still believed its use unwise, as apparently equivalent to “ultimatum;” but that in order not to unnecessarily delay or imperil negotiations, you had authorized me to sign the note with its retention. I therefore signed, and it was decided to request Prince Ching and Li Hung-chang to meet us at the Spanish legation at 10 o’clock a.m. on Monday, the 24th instant, when it will be presented to them.

I inclose herewith a copy of the note in French, that being the language in which it is written; and also a copy of the English translation agreed upon by the British minister and myself, which, together with a Chinese translation, will accompany the note. * * *

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Page 59]
[Inclosure—Dispatch 482.—Translation.]

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 unprecedented in human history—crimes against the law of nations, against the laws of humanity, and against civilization—were committed under peculiarly odious circumstances. The principal of these crimes were the following:

On the 20th of June his excellency Baron von Ketteler, German minister, proceeding to the tsungli yamen, was murdered while in the exercise of his official duties by soldiers of the regular army, acting under orders of their chiefs.
The same day the foreign legations were attacked and besieged. These attacks continued without intermission until the 14th of August, on which date the arrival 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 officially declared by its representatives abroad that it guaranteed the security of the legations.
The 11th of June Mr. Sugiyama, chancellor of the legation of Japan, in the discharge of an official mission, was killed by regulars at the gates of the city. At Peking and in several provinces foreigners were murdered, tortured, or attacked by Boxers and regular troops, and only owed their safety to their determined resistance Their establishments were pillaged and destroyed.
Foreign cemeteries, at Peking, especially, were desecrated, the graves opened the remains scattered abroad. These events led the foreign powers to send their troops to China in order to protect the lives of their representatives and their nationals, and to restore order. During their march to Peking the allied forces met with the resistance of the Chinese armies and had to overcome it by force. China having recognized her responsibility, expressed her regrets, and manifested the desire to see an end put to the situation created by the disturbances referred to, the powers have decided to accede to her request on the irrevocable conditions enumerated below, which they deem indispensable to expiate the crimes committed and to prevent their recurrence:
(a) Dispatch to Berlin of an extraordinary mission, headed 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, German minister.
(b) Erection on the place where the murder was committed of a commemorative monument suitable to 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.
(a) The severest punishment in proportion to their crimes for the persons designated in the Imperial decree of September 25, 1900, and for those whom the representatives of the powers shall subsequently designate.
(b) Suspension of all official examinations for five years in all the towns where foreigners have been massacred, or have been subjected to cruel treatment.
Honorable reparation shall be made by the Chinese Government to the Japanese Government for the murder of Mr. Sugiyama, chancellor of the Japanese legation.
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 graves have been destroyed.
Maintenance, under conditions to be settled between the powers, of the prohibition of the importation of arms as well as of material used exclusively for the manufacturing of arms and ammunition.
Equitable indemnities for governments, societies, companies, and private individuals, as well as for Chinese who have suffered during the late events in person or in property in consequence 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 and amortization of the loans.
Right for each power to maintain a permanent guard for its legation and to put the legation quarter in a defensible condition. Chinese shall not have the right to reside in this quarter.
The Taku and other forts, which might impede free communication between Peking and the sea, shall be razed.
Right of military occupation of certain points, to be determined by an understanding between the powers, for keeping open communication between the capital and the sea.
(a) The Chinese Government shall cause to be published during two years in all subprefectures an Imperial decree embodying:
Perpetual prohibition, under pain of death, of membership in 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 towns where foreigners have been murdered or have been subjected to cruel treatment.
(b) An Imperial decree shall be issued and published everywhere in the Empire declaring that all governors-general, governors, and provincial or local officials shall be responsible for order in their respective jurisdictions, and that whenever fresh anti-foreign disturbances or any other treaty infractions occur, which are not forthwith suppressed and the guilty persons punished, they, the said officials, shall be immediately removed and forever prohibited from holding any office or honors.
The Chinese Government will undertake to negotiate the amendments to the treaties of commerce and navigation considered useful by the powers, and upon other subjects connected with commercial relations, with the object of facilitating them.
The Chinese Government shall undertake to reform the office of foreign affairs and to modify the court ceremonial relative to the reception of foreign representatives in the manner which the powers shall indicate.

Until the Chinese Government have complied with the above to the satisfaction of the powers, the undersigned can hold out no expectation that the occupation of Pekin and the province of Chihli by the general forces can be brought to a conclusion.

For Germany,
A. Mumm.

For Austria-Hungary,
M. Czikann.

For Belgium,

For Spain,
B. J. de Cologan.

For United States of America,
E. H. Conger.

For France,
S. Pichon.

For Great Britain,
Ernest Satow.

For Italy,
Salvago Raggi.

For Japan,
T. Nissi.

For Netherlands,
F. M. Knobel.

For Russia,
Michel de Giers.