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Mr. Paddock to Mr. Hay.

No. 445.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that at a meeting of the foreign representatives held on October 29 last, an application submitted by Mr. Pavlow, then Russian chargé d’affaires, for the acquisition by his Government of a consular site in the general foreign settlement of Chemulpo, under the same conditions as those under which other governments had acquired such sites, was considered, and it was unanimously decided that there could be no objection to the same.

At a subsequent meeting Mr. Pavlow raised a question as to the anomaly which would exist in the case of governments and their consuls at Chemulpo, whose nationals did not hold land within the settlement, since under Article VI of the present regulations of the general foreign settlement of Chemulpo, such governments and their consuls, although owners of land, would not be entitled to representation on the municipal council and would therefore be less favored than private lot owners.

He pointed out that in 1897, owing to a number of similar faults discovered in the regulations of the Chemulpo settlement, on the occasion of the signature of the regulations of the new foreign settlements at Chemulpo and Mokpo, the foreign representatives decided to submit to the approval of their respective governments a proposal to substitute the new regulations for those or the Chemulpo settlement. This proposal was submitted to the Department of State by minister Allen in a dispatch (No. 38, diplomatic) of November 27, 1897, and was approved by the Department in a dispatch (No. 36) dated December 31, 1897. Such complete substitution of the new regulations for those of the Chemulpo settlement, however, has never been effected.

Mr. Pavlow then suggested, as the application to Chemulpo of the whole of the regulations for the new settlements mentioned would appear to be a complicated matter and require much time to arrange, that Article VI alone of the Chemulpo regulations be at once amen fled by the substitution for it of Article XIV of the regulations of the new settlements mentioned, viz, the municipal council to consist of:

1.
The Kamni or a Korean local official of suitable rank;
2.
The local consuls;
3.
Not more than three members elected by the registered lot holders. Article VI of the present Chemulpo regulations reads as follows:

The municipal council shall consist of a Korean local official of suitable rank; the consuls of the treaty powers whose subjects or citizens hold land in the settlement; and of three registered landholders, who shall be elected, etc.

[Page 734]

At a meeting of the representatives held February 22 and at a later meeting the matter was discussed and the question was raised as to whether the term “local consuls” might not be liable to misconstruction, since the present Chemulpo council has in its membership several consuls whose consulates are in Seoul, as in the case of myself. I suggested that the reading “local consuls” be made more explicit by adding that the term “local consuls” shall be understood to include those consuls whose consulates, located in the city of Seoul, are at present represented in the municipal council of Chemulpo.” My idea being that, while this would rectify the fault complained of by Mr. Pavlow, it would not increase the membership of the council by admitting thereto consuls whose consulates are at Seoul and who have no nationals holding land within the settlement, as is the case with the French and Belgian consuls. After some discussion, however, it was decided that Article VI of the existing Chemulpo regulations could be better amended by striking out the words “whose subjects or citizens hold land in the settlement,” so as to make the article read:

The municipal council shall consist of a Korean official of suitable rank; the consuls of the treaty powers; and three registered landholders, etc.

I approved of this change, but stated that I could not officially consent to it without submitting it to my Government, as it was not such a substitution of the new regulations as the representative of my Government had been authorized to make, as before mentioned.

The proposition was unanimously adopted by all the representatives who agreed provisionally to authorize the change in Article VI, pending sanction to be applied for from their respective governments. In the meantime a joint note, a copy of which is inclosed, was drafted, and sent on March 7 to the minister for foreign affairs of the Korean Government by Mr. Hayashi, doyen of the diplomatic corps.

The matter seems not so much one of importance as of convenience, for it is evident that any of the treaty powers having consulates at Seoul could at any time obtain membership in the Chemulpo council by having one of its nationals purchase a lot in the settlement. I therefore submit the proposed change in Article VI of the regulations of the general foreign settlement of Chemulpo for approval in accordance with action of the other representatives.

I have, etc.,

Gordon Paddock.
[Inclosure.]

Joint note to the Korean minister for foreign affairs.

Monsieur le ministre: Considerable inconvenience has been experienced in the working of the sixth article of the Chemulpo land regulations owing to the provision which it contains excluding from the municipal council those consuls of the treaty powers whose subjects or citizens do not hold land in the settlement.

At ports which were more recently opened to trade this defect has been remedied by the insertion of a stipulation in the regulations under which the right of membership to the municipal council is unconditionally vested in the local consuls.

At a recent meeting of the foreign representatives it was considered advisable to modify the above article of the Chemulpo regulations, so as to bring it more into conformity with the fourteenth article of the regulations of the foreign settlements at the new ports, and it was therefore decided to eliminate the words “whose subjects or citizens hold land in the settlement” from the article in question.

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Instead, however, of adopting the wording of the later regulations—“local consuls”—the foreign representatives preferred to retain the expression “consuls of the treaty powers,” in order to include those consuls who, though they reside in Seoul, exercise jurisdiction over Chemulpo.

This modification has been adopted by the foreign representatives subject to the approval of their respective governments, and in notifying it to your excellency, I have the honor to request that you will be pleased to signify your assent thereto, as required by the ninth article of the Chemulpo regulations.

I avail, etc.,

G. Hayashi,
Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps.