At the beginning of the conflict between Japan and Russia an imperial decree was duly issued declaring the neutrality of China. This action was communicated to the governments of other countries, and orders were sent to the provincial authorities to maintain the strictest neutrality. Recently reports have been circulated in the newspapers intimating that China is inclined to favor one of the belligerents. Baseless rumors of this character may do a great deal of mischief. It is the fixed purpose of the Imperial Government to maintain the strictest neutrality to the last without the least intention of revoking the decree previously issued. You will please renew the above assurance to the Secretary of State.

Chinese Legation,
Washington, May 14, 1904.