Mr. White to Mr. Hay.

No. 1868.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch (No. 1866) of to-day’s date, I have the honor to inform you of the receipt this afternoon of the written communication promised me by Baron Richthofen with regard to the provisional government at Tientsin, China.

A copy of this note, which is in reply to a note addressed by me to the foreign office on the 12th instant, embodying the contents of your instruction (No. 1287) of January 29, as well as a translation of the same, is appended hereto.

I am, etc.,

And. D. White.

Baron von Richthofen to Mr. White.

In reply to his note of the 12th instant (F. O., No. 1108) the undersigned has the honor to inform his excellency the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America, Dr. Andrew D. White, as follows:

The Imperial Government is entirely in accordance with the views of the Government of the United States in looking upon the establishment of the provisional government in Tientsin merely as a necessary expedient which should be done away with as soon as possible. The Imperial Government, however, is in doubt as to whether the provisional government can be done away with at the present moment [Page 189] without making uncertain the early completion of the improvement of the river Peiho, which is indispensable for the safety of the foreign legations in Peking. Besides, the foreigners in Tientsin, as well as the Chinese there, especially the merchants, according to reports which have been received here, are satisfied with the provisional government on account of the advantages offered by an integrant administration. Nevertheless, in consideration of the wishes of the American Government, the Imperial Government is ready to state its willingness’ to fix a date, say about the middle of the current year, for the abolition of the provisional government. In doing this measures must be taken to insure the immediate carrying out of the regulation of the river bed up to Tientsin, including the removal of the bars before the mouth of the Peiho (for the safety of the foreigners in Peking, a matter of equal interest to all the powers), and to preserve to the foreign military element a certain amount of control over this work.

The undersigned avails himself of the occasion, etc.,