Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 1535.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 1507, of February 17 last, transmitting China’s published regulations to enforce neutrality, I have the honor to inclose herewith translation of a note from Prince Ch’ing embodying some additional regulations and also lists of articles declared contraband by Russia and Japan.

The statement of Japan regarding flour, mentioned in Prince Ch’ing’s note, was a complaint sent to the foreign office by the Japanese minister against certain large shipments of that article reported as being shipped or about to be shipped into Manchuria.

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Inclosure 1.]

Prince Ch’ing to Mr. Conger.

On the 18th day of the first moon Kuangshü XXX year (March 4, 1904), I received a report from Sir Robert Hart, inspector-general of customs, concerning the matter of observing neutrality, saying that on the 13th day of the first moon (February 28, 1904) he had received the thirty-five regulations adopted by China, whose observance he had been instructed to enjoin; that on the 15th day (March 1) he had received the statement of Japan regarding flour, against the violation of which he was to issue strict orders, and that on the 17th (March 3) he had received the list of contraband articles as prepared by Russia, which he had been instructed to transmit to his subordinates with instructions to make requisite examinations and prohibitions; that he had transmitted these various instructions to all ports with orders for their observance, but that although China was observing neutrality she still maintained friendly relations with both the belligerents and the various neutral powers, and that he noted that in the Russian list of contraband goods there was included not only articles of military equipment, but also food supplies which the Chinese and foreigners had been accustomed to importing and exporting, and that a distinction ought to be made in dealing with these two classes of goods; that aside from the action to be taken in accordance with the eighteenth, twenty-second, and twenty-fourth regulations adopted by China, there were three matters concerning which a declaration ought to be made:

In all commercial dealings between China and neutral powers only such articles should be regarded as prohibited, whether imports or exports, as are so prohibited in the treaties; that aside from such prohibited goods China and foreign neutral powers would as usual import and export all manner of goods, and that such action should not be considered a violation of law.
That when Chinese or foreign vessels were about to sail for a port in a belligerent country, and when an application should be made at the customs for a permit to load such vessels, the customs should make careful examination and if goods are found to be such as are included in the Russian contraband list they should refuse to issue the permit to load and should institute a careful search and prohibit (such export); that if a vessel should be seized at sea by one of the belligerents (it may be asked), what should be done about the cargo? The courts of the said country must try and decide the case in accordance with the regulations of neutrality; but that no matter whether the place in which they were seized be within the sphere of military operations or not the case would not be one affecting China’s maintenance of strict neutrality.
As to the transport of rice and other grains between the various open ports, this should be carried on in strict compliance with the provisions of the treaties, but that for the present they should not be allowed to be shipped to the ports of Manchuria, and that flour should be treated in the same way.

[Page 130]

I find that the proposals of the inspector-general of customs with regard to the three important matters mentioned are, upon the whole, in harmony with the intent of the regulations adopted by China. Besides instructing the inspector-general of customs to transmit orders to the various customs authorities to act as he has suggested, I, as in duty bound, send this dispatch to your excellency for your consideration.

A necessary dispatch.

[Inclosure 2.]

Japanese list of contraband articles.

An order of the Japanese navy department has been issued specifying what shall be regarded as contraband of war durng the present hostilities. The order is as follows:

1. The following articles shall be treated as contraband of war when intended to pass through the country of the enemy or destined therefor or when destined for the army or navy of the enemy:

Arms, ammunition, explosives, and other materials (inclusive of lead, saltpeter, and sulphur), machines for their manufacture, cement, uniforms of the army and navy, war equipment, armor plates, materials for building warships and other vessels, and equipping vessels, and any other articles which are used for war purposes.

2. The following articles shall be treated as contraband of war only in case they are destined for the enemy’s army or navy or being consigned to the country of the enemy can be considered as intended for the use of the enemy’s army or navy:

Provisions, liquors, horses, horse equipments, timber, currency, gold and silver bullion, fodder, wagons (sharyo), coal, and the material for the constructions of telegraph and telephone lines and railways.

3. Of the articles referred to in the preceding two clauses those which can be judged from their quantity and nature to be for the service of the ship carrying them shall not necessarily be treated as contraband of war.

[Inclosure 3.]

Russian contraband of war.

Firearms of every description (guns, pistols, cannons, etc.), armor plate (cuirasses), accessories of firearms, ammunition and material used in the manufacture of explosives; accessories of artillery trains, of engineers and of troops in campaign, barbed wire, pontoons, military equipments and uniforms, ships, even under neutral flag, bound for an enemy port for military purposes, marine engines, boilers, coal, petroleum, spirits of wine, railway, telegraph and telephone material; provisions, rice, horses and other animals, and generally all things destined for warlike purposes on land or sea.