Mr. Porter to Mr. Hay.

No. 965.]

Sir: Day before yesterday I had a conversation with Mr. Delcassé regarding the subject of withdrawing the foreign forces from Tientsin and turning over the city to the native civil government without affecting the question of the presence of troops there for the maintenance of communication between Peking and the sea.

He stated to me that he fully shares the views of our Government, that the time has come when it is advisable to take such action. His information is that a majority of the Governments interested are now of this opinion. He says that the reports from Tientsin are to the effect that the representative of but one of the powers has been interposing any active opposition, and he hopes that all may soon be in accord as to bringing about the desired action.

To-day I received from Mr. Delcassé a note stating that instructions had been sent to the French representative in China to confer with the other diplomatic representatives of the powers and directing him to give his assent to such a solution of the question as may receive a general approval and which will comply as soon as possible with the desire expressed by the Chinese authorities and by the United States. A copy and a translation of the note are herewith inclosed.

I have, etc.,

Horace Porter.

Mr. Delcassé to Mr. Porter.

In the course of last month the Government of the United States was good enough to apprise that of the French Republic of the reasons on account of which it esteems the maintenance of the provisional government instituted at Tientsin prejudicial to the efficient administration of affairs in general.

That question has several times and again recently, on the occasion of a proposition in which the new viceroy of Pechili took the initiative, been examined very attentively by the French Government. As a result instructions have been sent to the representative of the Republic in China authorizing him to consult with his colleagues on this subject and to agree to such a solution as, having obtained the common assent, shall meet, as far as possible, the desire expressed by the Chinese authorities, and to which the Federal Government associates itself; the only restriction which it has seemed advisable to specify, in case the diplomatic representatives should be unanimous in recognizing the advantages of a return to the former state of affairs, is that sufficient precautions assure the achievement of the works of general utility undertaken by order and under the supervision of the members of the provisional government.