Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.
Peking, October 27, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith translation of a note addressed on the 19th instant by the Waiwu Pu to the dean of the diplomatic corps. It relates to a divergence of opinion as to the amount of indemnity paid during the first six months of this year. This results from the adoption of different rates by the commission of bankers on the one hand and the Shanghai taot’ai, through whom the payments are made, on the other in calculating the value in gold of the amounts paid in silver. This difference amounts to £27,000, which the Chinese Government now proposes to split with the powers interested. The Chinese Government also asks that it be allowed on any surplus found due to it on this last half-yearly account interest at 4 per cent.
A meeting of the representatives of the powers interested was recently called to consider the proposal of the Waiwu Pu. Under the general instructions given me on the matter by the Department, I agreed to the Chinese proposals as equitable and just. The other ministers also agreed, subject to the instructions of their governments. The Russian chargé d’affaires, however, raised objections in view of his government having informed China previously that it would take its share of the indemnity in silver. He agreed finally to submit the proposals to his government, but I fear this small matter may drag for some time.
I have, etc.,