Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 495.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of the note in which the Chinese plenipotentiaries, embodying the Imperial decree, notified us of the acceptance of our demands, and requested that a date be fixed for the discussion of all questions.

It was the unanimous opinion of all the ministers that this was an absolute acceptance of our demands, but since the demands were not set out either in the decree or the note of the plenipotentiaries, we decided, in order to prevent any future misunderstanding or discussion, to require the signatures of the Chinese plenipotentiaries to a protocol setting forth in detail the demands, together with their letter of acceptance, after which we would be ready to discuss with them the questions of detail connected with the demands. This protocol was prepared in both French and Chinese, and a copy sent to them to be signed and returned to each minister. A copy of the decree of acceptance, which they had set out in their note, was also requested for each minister, duly authenticated by Imperial seal. A copy of this protocol will be transmitted in my next dispatch.

The protocol was not delivered to the Chinese plenipotentiaries until the 7th instant, In the meantime we were privately informed by them that * * * the Emperor had by another decree forbidden them to accept the demands without certain changes were made. Prince Ching and Li Hung-chang have telegraphed a strong protest against this last decree, and are awaiting a reply.

It will not do to abate one jot or tittle until these demands are formally and, so far as the Chinese are concerned, irrevocably accepted. If after that, in the discussion of details, some minor concessions are found necessary, they may be made.

The question of dismantling instead of razing the Taku forts may be taken up. It is also thought best not to touch upon the question of stopping military excursions into the interior until the above-mentioned protocol is signed. As soon, however, as it is formally signed attention will be given to this latter matter.

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Page 64]

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

Your Excellency: On the 24th of December the foreign ministers plenipotentiary personally handed to us the treaty in 12 articles which, after just consultation, they have adopted. We, the prince and minister, submitted by telegraph to the Throne the complete text of the Chinese translation, and on the 28th of December we received the following decree, dated 27th of December:

“We have duly perused Prince Ching’s and Li Hung-chang’s telegram, and it behooves us to agree to the whole of the 12 articles.”

As in duty bound we, the prince and the minister, send this communication to your excellency and beg that you will in turn transmit it to your colleagues. We have also to request that a time and place be fixed for an interview to discuss all questions. We beg that you will favor us with a reply.

The above articles having been agreed to by the Chinese Government, we would also further request that until evacuation by the troops takes place no further expeditions be undertaken by the troops of the powers to the departments and districts, to the end that the minds of the people maybe pacified and relations of friendship strengthened.