Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, With the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 5, 1905
The Acting Secretary of State to Minister Rockhill.
Washington, July 26, 1905.
Sir: Referring to your telegram of the 14th instant, reporting the answer of the foreign office that it has strongly urged on provincial and other authorities to restrain the boycott movement, I inclose for your information copy of a letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce and Labor, transmitting a report from the Chinese inspector and interpreter at San Francisco, in which mention is made of a proclamation issued by the Chinese consul-general stating the encouragement by the Chinese Government of the movement.
I am, etc.,
The Acting Secretary of Commerce and Labor to the Secretary of State.
Washington, July 25, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose for your information copy of report just received from Mr. Gardner, Chinese inspector and interpreter at San Francisco, having reference to the action of the Chinese Government regarding the boycott of American goods.
United States Chinese inspector and interpreter to the Commissioner of Immigration.
San Francisco, Cal., July 17, 1905.
Sir: In confirmation of my oral report previously made to you, I have the honor to report in writing that making it my business to observe whatever may appear from time to time on the bulletin boards in Chinatown or in the Chinese newspapers published in this city, in any way pertinent to the subject of Chinese exclusion or to our service in general, I saw yesterday an exceedingly important official proclamation issued by the Chinese consul-general stationed in this city, pursuant to cabled instructions from the foreign office in China in relation to the matter of the present Chinese boycott on American goods, the importance of which lies in the fact that it gives officially the true situation as it exists at present, insmuch as it is given by the Chinese foreign office, which represents the Chinese Government in China, to the Chinese consul-general in San Francisco, who represents China in this district, and through him to the Chinese people in California, where the majority of the Chinese in America are. The information becomes doubly important, in view of the Associated Press dispatch, which I saw in the daily papers of San Francisco on the 15th instant, reading, “Mr. Rockhill, the American minister at Peking, has cabled the State Department that the Chinese Government is vigorously opposing the threatened boycott of American goods.” On almost the same day cabled instructions are sent from the Chinese foreign office to the Chinese consul-general in this city, squarely contradicting the assurances reported in the press dispatch to have been given to Mr. Rockhill.
It is personally most gratifying to me that we at San Francisco are in a position to secure the true inwardness of the present Chinese situation as it is in Peking, as well as on this side of the Pacific.
The following is my translation of the proclamation referred to and of the comments appearing thereon in the Tai Tung Yat Bo, otherwise called “The Chinese Free Press,” of the 14th instant. The Chinese Free Press is one of four Chinese daily papers published in San Francisco. The proclamation was first on the bulletin boards in Chinatown and afterwards published in the paper mentioned.[Page 210]
[Translation of Chinese consul-general’s proclamation issued in pursuance of cabled instructions from the Chinese foreign office.]
“I, Chung, consul-general, stationed at San Francisco, issue this proclamation to make clear the following matter:
“A proclamation cabled by our foreign office has just been received, reading as follows: ‘The Chinese exclusion act of the United States is what Chinese merchants at all ports desire to retaliate against by means of a commercial boycott on American goods. The said boycott this department has never at any time prohibited or obstructed. Just at this time, when negotiations are being carried on with the American minister, with the hope of removing the more oppressive laws, a public petition is received from certain Chinese in California, making the misstatement that our department has prohibited our merchants from boycotting American goods, and furthermore making the threat in the words, “A strong man will be employed to kill you” which is, indeed, wildly disloyal. We trust that you will, issue a proclamation immediately, setting forth the facts of the situation clearly to the sojourning Chinese, to the end that they may not be influenced by idle rumors, and thus be made to misunderstand us.’
“In pursuance of this I issue this proclamation, conveying the words of the cablegram for the information of all Chinese. We of the Chinese Empire ought all to recognize the fact that the Prince and ministers of the foreign office have at heart the interest of our people sojourning abroad; that they have shown this interest for several years in the matter of the exclusion act, and at this very moment they are carrying on negotiations with the view of removing the more oppressive laws, and they have never at any time prohibited the boycott on American goods. All this they have done for the only purpose of affording protection to the 100,000-odd of our Chinese people sojourning beyond the seas. Now comes along certain ignorant person or persons with a petition sent to the foreign office, containing on the surface elegant phrases, but, as a matter of fact, wildly disloyal language, relying upon the fact of his or their isolated residence beyond the seas, but forgetting the fact that they still have families in China.
“In view of the above, this proclamation is issued for the information of all Chinese, in order that they may be fully acquainted with the beneficent intentions of our foreign office, and that they may not misunderstand the situation through listening to idle rumors, whereby they may be seriously involved.
“Kuanghsü, XXXI year, 6th month, 11th day (July 13, 1905).
“[Seal of consulate.]”
[Translation of extract from Tai Tung Yat Bo, otherwise known as the “Chinese Free Press,” of the 14th instant, in relation to the above proclamation.]
“The oppressive features of the exclusion act of the United States all Chinese of any enthusiasm at all can not but vigorously oppose and with might and main seek to retaliate against. At this writing all officials in China are of one mind in encouraging and aiding merchants in the matter of retaliation. We see also by its cablegram that the foreign office is not now hindering and never has hindered merchants in their boycott on American goods. Hence it is clear not only that our officials are not stopping or hindering the boycott, but, on the contrary, are helping it on. From this it is also apparent that the report in the American papers of a few days ago, to the effect that Governor Yuan had issued a proclamation against the boycott is without proper foundation.
“Were it a fact that the governor had become fearful as to himself or that he tried to hinder others, he should wake up, be penitent, and set himself right. It is not known who sent the anonymous petition, but whoever it was, he could only be a mischief maker.”
I have the honor to inclose herewith the extract from the paper referred to, together with the heading of the paper and the extract referring to the representations reported therein to have been made to Minister Rockhill.
The Chinese in California, quoting one of their own editorials, say, “The Chinese Government has no more power to prevent its merchants from refusing to buy goods from American dealers than the American Government has to oppose its own merchants’ preference to deal with traders elsewhere than in China. It is a matter of business entirely, involving the individuals only, and the government has no concern in it,” that their government can encourage the boycott, but not prevent it.