Mr. Hay to Mr. Porter.b

No. 976.]

Sir: I inclose herewith a copy of a notec from the Chinese minister, in which, in view of the fact that the Imperial Court has returned to Peking and that peace and order have been restored, and as Tientsin is the port of Peking and the seat of the vice-regal government of Chihli, the opinion is expressed that the city should be restored to the administration of the Chinese authorities, so that the viceroy may assume full charge of his office; and the request is made that I will use my good offices with the Governments of the powers to the end that a date may be fixed for the restoration of Tientsin and its suburbs to Chinese authority.

As early as May 28, 1901, Mr. Rockhill, special plenipotentiary of the United States to China, reported to the Department that the diplomatic corps at Peking believed “that the evacuation of the native city of Tientsin and the transfer by the provisional government to the Chinese authorities of the authority with which it had been intrusted by the commanders of the troops in North China during the period of disorganization resulting from the occupation of Tientsin, should be brought to a close as soon as possible.”

It is my understanding that the diplomatic body always adhered to the opinion that this occupation should be promptly terminated, without prejudice, of course, to the question of the presence at Tientsin of a military force for the purpose of assisting in maintaining open communication between Peking and the sea.

This Government inclines to think that the continued existence of the provisional government of the Chinese city and district of Tientsin, which interferes with the general administration of affairs in the province, hampers the efforts of the Chinese Government to control the people and administer the laws, and interferes with the collection of duties pledged to the payment of the indemnities, is not consistent with the terms of the final protocol for the withdrawal of the powers from Chihli, and that the restoration of the city and district to the Chinese authorities at the earliest day practicable would be conducive to the ends sought in the adjustment of the issues between the powers and China. This would in no wise affect the question of the presence [Page 186] of the detachment of troops of the powers for the maintenance of open communication between the capital and the sea.

You may make use of this instruction in ascertaining the views of the French Government in the matter, which I shall be pleased to have you report.

Similar instructions have this day been addressed to your colleagues at London, Berlin, Rome, and Tokyo.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.
  1. Also to embassies at London, Berlin, and Rome, and legation at Tokyo.
  2. Printed, ante.