Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

No. 1630.]

Sir: In continuance of my No. 1603 of May 12 last, concerning the Whangpu conservancy commission, I have the honor to report that upon receipt of the proposals of the Nanking viceroy, copy inclosed herewith, transmitted here by the consular body of Shanghai, the dean of the diplomatic corps circulated them among the representatives of the powers signatory of the final protocol. I inclose copies of the indorsements made on the circular by the German and British ministers, with which all the colleagues agreed except the French minister, who says he must ask his Government for instructions.

It seems to me, as I have heretofore written, that the organization [Page 187]of the commission need not await the Chinese appointment. If, at any time after the organization, a vacancy should occur, the commission would not stop business until it was filled. Why, then, should the failure of the Chinese to avail themselves of the privilege to appoint a member prevent the commission from doing business now? Besides, Article XI of annex 17 of the final protocol provides that four members shall constitute a quorum of the commission.

Unless I am otherwise instructed, I shall advocate this view with my colleagues and advise action in accordance therewith.

I have, etc.,

E. H. Conger.
[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Goodnow to Baron von Wahlborn.

Excellency: I am directed by my colleagues to inform you that His Excellency Wie, viceroy at Nanking, has requested us to lay before you his proposal to substitute the hereto attached five rules for annex 17 of the final protocol.

The following motion is now before the consular body: “The consular body of Shanghai decides in accordance with (1) paragraph b, Article II, of the peace protocol signed at Peking on September 7, 1901, and (2) annex 17 of the same protocol, to give notice to His Excellency the viceroy at Nanking that the first meeting of the Whangpu River Conservancy Board will take place on, say, July 1 next.”

We respectfully ask instruction of the diplomatic body on the above.

I have, etc.,

John Goodnow,
Consul-General, United States of America, and senior consul.
[Inclosure 2.—Translation.]

Proposed regulations, in five articles, with respect to the work of improvement of the Whangpu, submitted for the approval of the consular body with a view to the prompt commencement of the work.

I.

The vessels of the great powers having already paid customs dues, China would be embarrassed to call again upon foreigners who come to trade with her for contributions for the expenses of the Whangpu improvements. Therefore the Chinese Government will set aside from the customs revenues the sum of 230,000 taels upon its own account, and will assume the payment of the 230,000 taels which the foreign merchants have agreed to contribute, which will make a sum total of 460,000 taels (Haikwan) to be expended annually until the completion of the work.

II.

The work of the Whangpu improvement will be under the direction of the Tao-t’ai of Shanghai and the commissioner of customs; the commissioner of customs shall have the supervision of police, light-houses, etc., as well.

III.

Three months after the acceptance of these proposed regulations the Chinese Government will ask the representatives of the powers to name one or two engineers specially qualified for the work of river improvement, who will have charge of the work.

[Page 188]

IV.

Every three months a statement of the expenses of the work will be prepared and submitted to the consular body.

V.

The Chinese Government binds itself not to levy for the Whangpu improvements any tax whatsoever, either at Shanghai or elsewhere in the neighborhood, upon either vessels, cargo, or property.

[Inclosure 3.—Translation.]

Circular No. 100.

The dean has the honor to place in circulation a letter from the dean of the consular corps of Shanghai with regard to a proposition on the part of the governor-general of Nanking to change annex No. 17 of the final protocol relating to the work of improvement of the Whangpu and concerning the deliberations of the consular corps of Shanghai on the subject of calling a meeting of the Whangpu Commission.

Czikaññ.

Indorsement of the German minister.

The question of the improvement of the Whangpu is regulated by Article XI 6 and annex 17 of the final protocal of the 7th of September, 1901, signed by the representatives of China and of the foreign powers at Peking. Consequently it is not the province of the superintendent of southern trade to make new propositions and to submit them to the consular corps at Shanghai. The question in the order of the day is not a change of the provisions of the final protocol, agreed upon with “unanimity” by China and the powers signing this protocol, but the organization of the river commission. All the members of this commission, except the representative to whom China is entitled by virtue of Article IV ext. of the annex above mentioned, having been designated long since, this organization should take place at once. If China does not deem it expedient to name the delegates to whom she is entitled by virtue of her maritime commerce, this should not in any manner prevent the assembling of the commission which may deliberate when four at least of its members shall be present and of which two representatives of the Chinese Government, the taotai, and the commissioner of customs at Shanghai, are already members ex officio.

It seems to me that the dean of the diplomatic corps should reply to this effect to the dean of the consular corps, instructing him at the same time to notify the taotai and the other members of the commission to proceed at once to the organization of the river commission.

If after the organization of the commission the Chinese Government deems it expedient to submit to the powers interested amendments modifying the provisions of the final protocol, there is nothing to prevent the Wai Wu Pu from making overtures in this sense to the representatives of the powers signatory of the final protocol or that they should refer the matter to their respective governments. But it should not be lost to sight that until a new agreement may have been concluded with the unanimous consent of all the powers signatory of the final protocol the stipulations of this protocol hold good.

A. v. Mumm.

Indorsement of the minister of Great Britain.

I share entirely the opinion of his excellency the minister of Germany upon the subject of the communication made by the viceroy of Nanking to the members of the consular corps of Shanghai. My Government holds that the Chinese Government should execute the provisions of the protocol touching the improvement of the Whangpu and has given me instructions authorizing me to support every proposition tending to the organization of the commission, even in case the Chinese Government should persist in not naming a representative for her maritime interests. It seems to me little desirable, moreover, to take into consideration propostions presented in such an irregular manner.

Ernest Satow.