Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

No. 94.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit to you herewith a translation of an imperial edict which was published on the 15th instant, directing the board of foreign affairs, the board of commerce, the Viceroy Yuan, and the governor-general of Manchuria to jointly consider and report on the opening of more localities in Manchuria to international trade, the promoting of trade and commerce in the same region, and for other purposes.

The opening of a large number of localities in Manchuria to international trade is strongly favored by the Japanese Government and by the Viceroy Yuan, at least, (perhaps by others), in China.

I fancy this important step is taken at the present moment by the Chinese Government so as to show to the world that without any outside pressure it favors and is ready to carry out a progressive policy. China also firmly believes that the opening of localities to international residence and trade is the most efficacious method of preventing one nation acquiring preponderating influence in any given section of the Empire. I am disposed to think we shall shortly hear of a number of localities being opened to international trade in other parts of the Empire, especially Mongolia and Chinese Turkestan.

I have, etc.,

W. W. Rockhill.
[Page 164]

Imperial edict of September 15, 1905, looking toward the development of the Manchurian Provinces.

The board of commerce has memorialized us with regard to the encouragement of trade in the Manchurian Provinces, requesting that orders be issued for the preparation and submission of a suitable plan of operation.

The territories of the Manchurian Provinces are large, their products varied, and the people unacquainted with modern methods. It becomes urgently necessary therefore to determine and mark the boundaries of the subdivisions of the Provinces, open more ports of international trade, and develop international commerce, in the hope that all those nations with which we have treaties may share in the benefits to be derived, and that the local authorities be directed to inaugurate various industrial enterprises, so as to encourage trade.

Let the board of foreign affairs and the board of commerce consult with Yuan Shih-k’ai, the superintendent of trade for the north, and Chao Erh-hsun, the tartar general of Shengking, and make satisfactory regulations covering the whole subject, to be submitted to us, after which we will issue an edict directing them to be put into operation.

Respect this.