Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, With the Annual Message of the President Transmitted to Congress December 5, 1905
Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.
Peking, December 23, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose for the information of the Department a copy of a translation of certain new mining regulations adopted by the Chinese Government by which provincial bureaus of inspection [Page 236] are established. I beg to call attention particularly to a clause in Regulation VII, which provides that mining lands belonging to private individuals may be sold only to natives or the district in which such lands are located. As this provision is in direct conflict with Article VII of our last treaty with China, I have addressed to the Chinese foreign office a protest against the enforcement of said regulation, and I have the honor to inclose a copy of my dispatch relating to the matter.
I have, etc.,
Mining regulations establishing provincial bureaus of inspection, approved by imperial rescript November 27, 1905.
mining investigation office.—rules and regulations.
The board of commerce has drawn up 24 articles for the investigation of mines and mining interests in the provinces, which are to be in cooperation with those mining regulations sanctioned by imperial order some time ago.
- As the establishment of mining investigation offices is ordered by imperial command, the viceroys and governors of the provinces should take up the matter without delay. All offices in connection with mining, such as k’uang-wu, tsang chü (general bureaus of mines), ch’a k’uang kung sô (offices for inspection of mines), and others established previous to this should be converted into mining investigation offices for the sake of uniformity.
- The Tartar generals, viceroys, and governors should select and recommend officials of experience and uprightness, who are qualified to be directors, assistant directors, and engineers, to the board of commerce for appointment as consulting members of the board in mining matters.
- As soon as such consulting members have been appointed, they should begin to make surveys at once, with the assistance of mining engineers, and fill the report forms issued by the board of commerce. Officials who have made improvements in existing mines or developed new mines affecting the increase of revenue and benefiting the people will be recommended by the board for reward. Those who have failed to perform their duties or participated in private working or sales, if discovered, will be impeached and dealt with as a warning to others.
- All existing mines, whether under the management of officials,
the people, or Chinese and foreigners in cooperation, should be
thoroughly investigated and all particulars should be filled in
on the forms provided from year to year, and forwarded to the
board with samples and memorandums. In addition there are two
important points to be investigated:
- The way of levying and the amount of taxes levied with a comparison from year to year.
- The area of land and its ownership. In case the mines are owned or leased by foreigners, the area must be properly defined according to the regulations and agreement; plans and memorandums must be provided and forwarded to the board for reference.
- Other methods which are capable of doing away with evils, recovering rights—i. e., of government—and benefiting the revenue should also be adopted and reported to the board as well as to the viceroy or governor of the province.
- The Tartar generals, viceroys, and governors should instruct the magistrates to issue proclamations calling for reports of the location of mines. Anyone knowing the location of minerals should report to the office either in person or through the magistrate. The board of commerce should also be notified when natives are privately working the minerals which the local officials have taken no notice of, even after being informed by the gentry and merchants.
- When the office has been notified of or has discovered the whereabouts of minerals, samples should be obtained first for analysis, then a survey by engineers should follow, and report with maps, etc., be sent to the board of commerce.
- When minerals are found on government property the office should notify the local officials in accordance with the memorial passed on the 27th day, seventh moon, thirty-first year, and jointly issue a proclamation prohibiting the people from effecting private sales. Property belonging to the people is only allowed to be sold to a native of the same district in the presence of the official and witness, and the transfer is allowed only after satisfactory investigation that everything is in legal form. The local officials will be held responsible for any improper sales.
- All persons guilty of mining without authority, of illicitly selling mining properties, or transferring to others on his own authority, his permit to mine, as well as those rowdies who may oppose mining operations under the pretext of injury to the feng-shui or to the dragon influences, shall be reported at once to the board of commerce by the bureau of inspection as soon as the facts are known; and report of the same shall at the same time be made to the Tartar general, viceroy, and governor of the province concerned, who shall instruct the local authorities to severely punish the said persons, showing no clemency whatever.
- Should foreign mining engineers be employed, their powers must be limited in their contracts, and the agreement should only be signed after the approval of the board. If a foreign engineer is to go inland for mining affairs, the Tartar general, viceroy, or governor of the province should instruct the magistrates to accord him due protection. But the said engineer must behave himself and be attentive to his business. If he fails to control himself, and is so reported, the office should dismiss him. Traveling and other expenses should be provided by the office, and no supply should be called for from the local officials, nor trouble be given to the merchants and people. He should leave the place as soon as the work is done.
- Merchants and people who require the service of a mining engineer from the office should provide for all the expenses according to the distance and time, and particulars of the result must be recorded for reference of the office and reported to the board.
- The expenses of the mining investigation office should either be defrayed from the mining tax or a special fund, which should be arranged by the Tartar general, viceroy, or governor of the province, but on economical lines. An annual report of the accounts, showing the amount of grant, expenses, and names of the staff should be submitted through the provincial authority to the board of commerce.
- The consulting member of mining affairs of the province being in direct communication with the board of commerce, all investigations of mining matters ordered by the board, either directly or through the high officials, should be reported to the board at once or at latest within three months.
- A laboratory should be attached to each mining investigation office, consisting of a room for analysis and furnace for smelting, and necessary apparatus. All minerals should be carefully assayed previous to the survey, so as to save trouble.
- For the purpose of investigating, excavations are necessary, and if the land belongs to the people the owner should be notified to this effect, and no resistance should be offered on his part. Should any damage be done to his products, he will be indemnified by the office. The runners must not trouble the people.
- When the gentry, merchants, literati, or people of the province apply, in accordance with the mining regulations, for permission to work a certain mine, the office should at once depute officials to make investigation together with the local officials and report the particulars to the board. At the same time formal request for consideration must be made through the Tartar general, viceroy, or governor of the province. If the mine is to be worked by officials, the plans, memorandums, and other particulars should also be reported to the board for reference, and no omission should be made.
- The above fifteen rules are for the administration of the office.
- The following nine rules are connected with the actual investigations in the field:
- When a mining district is under investigation, a map of the district and the location of the mine, its distance from the city, and its neighboring town, its area, and how much belongs to the government and how much to the people, must first be made, and a report whether there is or not any irregularity in the title deeds. If the land is owned by the people, the title deeds must be examined in the presence of the local official as evidence; all the points must be distinctly recorded, plans and memorandums prepared and kept for reference.
- The nature of the land must be fully noted, with height above sea, also whether there is any spring near the mine, and, if any, at what depth from the surface of the ground water is reached, and its quantity. Reports on these points should be made to the board of commerce.
- Notes concerning the depth of the shaft necessary to work the mineral, its description, origin, direction, number of seams, distance between them, and their dimensions should be taken and reported to the board of commerce.
- The geological character of the soil in which the mineral deposits lie must be fully described and reported to the board of commerce. When any names of stones and ores can not be represented in Chinese, foreign languages may be used instead.
- Minerals and ores obtained must be assayed to find out the percentage of pure metal and other substances composing them, which should be noted and reported to the board.
- Special attention must be drawn to the line of transportation, whether by water or land, good or bad, distance from the mine to the market, cost of transportation; whether there is or not any large river in the neigh bordood of the mine, and by what means a light railway or steam launch could ply. All the above points should be taken into consideration and reported to the board of commerce.
- At the time of investigation the following three classifications should be observed: If the mineral is of best quality, transportation convenient, sale prospects large, coal or other fuel procurable, and machinery can be put up at the spot for working, the mine may be put down as first class. If transportation is inconvenient, coal or fuel scarce, as second class; and if the mineral lies at great depth and is largely alloyed with other substances, as third class. Estimates of cost of working various ores and their comparison should be carefully noted, and remarks made on the plan which kinds may be worked at once and which otherwise. These points should all be reported to the board of commerce for decision.
- Notes should be taken which mines require native methods and which mines require machinery for their working. Native methods should only be applied to mines where the mineral lies near the surface, the stone is soft, and water scarce, labor cheap, capital small, and there is less mixture of other substances. Machinery should be employed on mines of which the conditions are the contrary. A careful investigation should be made and reported to the board.
- Mines which have been worked by the people privately and those which have stopped working through lack of success should be thoroughly investigated, so as to find the number of pits, their depth, whether they were stopped on account of flood in the mine, or insufficiency of capital, or other cause. All the particulars should be noted in the form of plans and memorandums and reported to the board of commerce.
Any point which is not provided for here should be dealt with according to the mining regulations passed by the board of commerce. The Tartar generals, viceroys, and governors of the provinces should instruct the officials in charge of the offices and local officials to put in force these rules.
These have been approved by imperial rescript.
Minister Rockhill to Prince Ch’ing.
Washington, December 23, 1905.
Your Imperial Highness: I have the honor to call the attention of your imperial highness to Rule VII of the new mining regulations approved by imperial rescript on November 27 last, by which provision is made for the establishment of provincial bureaus of inspection.
In the article to which reference has just been made it is stated that “property belonging to the people may be sold only to a native of the district in which it is located.”
I need hardly remind your highness that this clause of the regulation is in direct conflict with the provisions of the treaty of 1903 between the United States and China, wherein it is distinctly stated that China “will permit citizens of the United States to carry on in Chinese territory mining operations and other necessary business relating thereto,” etc. and that the new regulations to be adopted by China “will be imposed by China on its subjects and foreigners alike.” It is further stated that the new rules “will offer no impediment to the attraction of foreign capital.”
Inasmuch as this regulation forbids the purchase by foreigners of mining lands by private individuals, it prevents the investment of American capital in such lands and refuses to citizens of the United States the permission allowed to Chinese subjects to carry on mining operations in China except on lands belonging to the government.
I must therefore, on behalf of the Government of the United States, enter a protest against the enforcement of this clause of Rule VII, and against the violation thereby of the solemn treaty concluded by our two governments.
I avail, etc.,