Mr. Newel to Mr. Hay.

No. 717.]

Sir: * * * I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of the correspondence that has passed between this legation and the foreign office on the subject of the neutrality of China, consisting of my note of the 11th instant, the reply of the minister of foreign affairs, just received, and a translation of the latter.

I have, etc.,

Stanford Newel.
[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Newel to Baron de Lynden.

Sir: Referring to my conversation with your excellency this morning with reference to the desirability and possibility of the neutral powers concurrently using good offices with Russia and Japan to induce them to respect the neutrality of China and in all practical ways to localize and limit, as much as possible, the area of hostilities, I have the honor to formally repeat that I was instructed by my Government to confer with you on that subject and to suggest that, if the idea is acceptable to the Netherlands Government, instructions may be sent to its representatives in St. Petersburg, Tokyo, and Peking to cooperate with the representatives of other neutral powers, so that undue excitement and disturbances of the Chinese people may possibly be prevented and the least possible loss to the commerce and the peaceful intercourse of the world may be assured.

Accept, etc.,

Stanford Newel.
[Inclosure 2.—Translation.]

Mr. Minister: On the 11th instant your excellency asked me if the Royal Government would be disposed, concurrently with the other powers neutral to the conflict in which Japan and Russia are engaged, to use its good offices with the belligerent powers and the Government of China with a view to assuring the neutrality of China and of limiting as far as possible the area of hostilities. This step, in the opinion of the United States, would serve to prevent excitement and disturbances in the Chinese Empire and to limit as far as possible the loss which the war may occasion to the commerce and peaceful intercourse of the world.

In your note of the same date your excellency confirms the verbal explanations kindly given me in regard to the views of your Government.

In reply I have the honor to advise your excellency that Her Majesty’s Government understands the first part of the proposition as having regard exclusively to the Chinese Empire, in its restricted sense, and not affecting in any way Manchuria.

Looking at it from this point of view, the Royal Government can not but applaud, from a humanitarian point, that which the United States expects to attain, and having reason to believe that this sentiment will be shared by all the governments interested, it is prepared to concur in the collective steps above indicated.

To this end it will be necessary that the representatives of the neutral powers shall receive identical instructions and that these powers agree as to the formula to be adopted.

It will therefore be of especial importance to me to be informed in due course of the text that your Government desires to suggest or in regard to which there perhaps exists already a preliminary agreement between it and certain other powers,

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Concerning the step to be taken in respect to the Chinese Government, it might be desirable to obtain the cooperation of the two belligerent powers, and I should be greatly obliged if your excellency would kindly let me know the views of your Government on this point.

In conclusion I deem it my duty to state that the Government of the Queen, in associating itself with the above-mentioned steps, does not undertake any obligation to cooperate in any measures whatever that the neutral powers might deem necessary in consequence of such steps.

Accept, etc.,

Bn Melvil de Lynden.

(Note.—See also circular of February 20, 1904, printed on p. 2.)