Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 483.]

Sir: I have the honor to confirm on the overleaf my telegram of to-day, and to say that at 10 o’clock this morning the representatives of the foreign powers met in formal session at the Spanish legation with Prince Ching, who came with his secretaries and interpreters. Li Hung-chang, who has for some days been suffering with a severe cold, was not able to be present.

The joint note heretofore telegraphed to you, and of which a copy was transmitted in my dispatch No. 482, of the 23d instant, was handed to Prince Ching by the Spanish minister, who read the brief remarks, copy of which I inclose. Prince Ching briefly responded in the few words, copy of which I also inclose. Prince Ching then delivered to each minister the full powers of himself and Li Hung-chang, which appear to be in proper form, duly signed with the Imperial seal. The sufficiency of the powers will be determined at the net meeting. I inclose a translation of them herewith. I also transmit herewith translations of the note of the Spanish minister of the 23d, inviting the Chinese plenipotentiaries to meet with us, and Prince Ching’s reply.

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Page 61]
[Inclosure 1.]

Remarks made by Mr. de Cologan on placing the joint note in the hands of Prince Ching, December 24, 1900.

I have the honor to hand you a joint note, in which the foreign representatives have set forth, in the name of their respective Governments, the conditions necessary for the reestablishment of friendly relations with China.

I beg you will transmit it to His Majesty the Emperor of China, and give us as prompt a reply as possible.

[Inclosure 2.]

Translation of Prince Ching’s address in reply to M. de Cologan, December 24, 1900.

Having received from their excellencies the ministers of the foreign powers the proposals for peace, I beg to say that I will at once send them by telegram to His Majesty the Emperor of China. On receipt of His Majesty’s decree I will send the foreign ministers a reply.

[Inclosure 3.]

Translation of powers granted Prince Ching and Li Hung-chang.

[An extraordinary Imperial mandate issued by His Majesty the Emperor of China.]

Whereas we are desirous of placing the relations between ourselves and the Government of the United States on an universal and friendly footing, we, for this purpose, specially delegate as our ambassadors plenipotentiary I-K’uang, an Imperial Prince of the first order, with the title of Ching, president of the Tsungli Yamen, and Li Hung-chang, a member of the first degree of the third rank of hereditary nobility, with the honorific appellation of Su-i, senior grand secretary, governor-general of the province of Chihli, minister superintendent of foreign trade.

They will meet and treat with the plenipotentiaries appointed by all the powers, and, availing themselves of their discretionary powers of action, in concert with them, draw up preliminary articles (of a treaty), absolute authority thereto to append their names and affix their signs manual being granted to them.

The said prince and minister are animated by feelings of loyal and disinterested patriotism, and their previous record of long and distinguished service gives us an assurance that they will display care and diligence in the exercise of their functions, and, by knitting together the ties of friendship which bind nations to each other, prove themselves not unworthy of the trust reposed in them.

We shall ourselves ratify such treaty as may be agreed upon, and, if found to be in proper and due form, proceed to ratify the same.

[Inclosure 4.]

Mr. de Cologan to Prince Ching and Li Hung-chang.

Your Highness and Your Excellency: In the name of my honorable colleagues, I have the honor to invite you to come to the Spanish legation on the 24th instant, at 10 o’clock a.m., for the purpose of having made known to you upon what conditions the representatives of the foreign powers consider that friendly relations between their Governments and China can be reestablished.

The representatives of the powers consider that this meeting should be limited to the delivery of the note containing the conditions to which I have just alluded, and that consequently there should be permitted no exchange of views upon the subject.

I content myself with communicating to your highness and your excellency the text of some words which I have been charged to address to you, and I will be grateful if you will, before the opening of the conference, furnish me with the text of the reply which you will make.

I improve the occasion to reiterate te your highness and your excellency the assurance of my highest consideration.

[Page 62]
[Enclosure 5.]

Prince Ching and Li Hung Chang to M. de Cologan.

Your Excellency: We have just received your excellency’s note, in which you invite us to meet at the Spanish legation on the 24th of December at 10 o’clock a.m., when will be presented to us in person the conditions upon which the representatives of the foreign powers consider that friendly relations between their Governments and China can be reestablished. Your excellency requests that we forward to you a copy of the address we will make at the meeting.

In reply we beg to state that it is right that we should be at the Spanish legation at the appointed hour. The grand secretary, Earl Li, however, is laid up with a cold and will not be able to be present, but the Prince, with his attachés and interpreters, will attend the meeting of the foreign ministers at the time named.

We inclose copy of the address which will be made at the meeting, which we beg you will peruse.