Chargé Coolidge to the Secretary of State.
Peking , May 27, 1905 .
Sir: I have the honor to confirm my telegram of May 22 regarding restrictions imposed by the Chinese Government on shipments of coal from Shanghai with a view to prevent the supply of belligerent vessels, and the Department’s reply.
I inclose a translation of the note on which the telegram was based and of the answer which I returned when instructions were received. On receipt of the formal note from the foreign office I wired its substance to Mr. Davidson for his information and later notified him that our government was favorably disposed toward this measure of precaution. The facts seemed to be that there have recently been shipments of foreign coal from Shanghai packed in small sacks, which could be readily handled even at sea, a condition which was unprecedented and is not justified by any requirements of legitimate trade. The conclusion is obvious, and the Japanese, who have taken every precaution to prevent the difficulty of their position from being increased through the rapacity of traders and the weakness of the local government, were probably the instigators of this measure. It would perhaps have been a better solution of the difficulty if it had been decreed that for the present nothing but bunker coal should be exported from Shanghai—that is to say, that steamers might take enough for their own supply in their own bunkers, but that no shipment of coal as cargo would be permitted.
I have, etc.,