Mr. Hay to Mr. Takahira.
Washington, February 19, 1904.
Dear Mr. Minister: I have the pleasure to communicate to you the reply of the Imperial Russian Government to the proposal of the United States concerning the neutrality of China in the existing war, which I received this morning from the United States ambassador at St. Petersburg. It reads as follows:
The Imperial Government shares completely the desire to insure tranquillity in China; is ready to adhere to an understanding with other powers for the purpose of safeguarding the neutrality of that empire on the following conditions:
- Firstly, China must herself strictly observe all the clauses of neutrality.
- Secondly, the Japanese Government must loyally observe the engagements entered into with the powders, as well as the principles generally recognized by the law of nations.
- Thirdly, that it is well understood that neutralization in no case can be extended to Manchuria, the territory of which, by the force of events, will serve as the field of military operations.
I have instructed Ambassador McCormick to make the following response to the above communication:
The answer of the Russian Government is viewed as responsive to the proposal made by the United States as well as by other powers, and this Government [Page 421]will have pleasure in communicating it forthwith to the Governments of China and Japan, each of which has already informed us of its adherence to the principles set forth in our circular proposal.
I have transmitted this correspondence by telegraph to the United States minister at Tokyo for communication to the Japanese Government.
I am, etc.,