The Secretary of State to Minister Conger.

No. 843.]

Sir: I inclose herewith, for your information, a copy of a note from the German ambassador at this capital, suggesting that steps be taken to secure the postponement for a few months of the date on which the new Chinese tracle-marks regulations are to go into effect.

A copy of my note in reply is also inclosed.

I am, sir, etc.,

John Hay.
[Inclosure 1.]

The German Ambassador to the Secretary of State.

Dear Mr. Secretary: Understanding the importance you attach to a clear understanding as regards all questions connected with the trade of the Far East, I ask you to permit me to draw your attention to the following:

In connection with the new treaty between America and China, the Chinese Government, as reported by the German minister at Peking, has issued regulations concerning the protection of trade-marks.

My Government considers these regulations a marked improvement over the existing ones, and thinks that they contain certain passages which might lead to misunderstandings and difficulties among the trading communities.

As these regulations are not to come into force until October 23, my Government is of the opinion that it would be advantageous to have the date of their putting into force postponed for a few months in order to gain time to have certain explanations or amendments added which might save delays and misunderstandings in the future.

The German minister at Peking further reports that the American and English merchants in China earnestly favor this postponement.

I venture to suggest that if you may consider a postponement wise, the United States minister at Peking should be instructed to use his influence in arranging for a postponement, as indicated above.

Asking you to favor me with a kind reply, I have the honor to be, Mr. Secretary,

Yours, most sincerely,

[Page 241]
[Inclosure 2.]

The Secretary of State to the German Ambassador.

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: I have received your note of the 29th September, in which you inform me that your Government is of the opinion that it would be advantageous to postpone the date on which the regulations recently agreed upon between the United States and the Chinese Government for the registration of trade-marks should go into effect. This delay is thought advisable by the Imperial German Government so as to secure certain explanations or amendments which might save delays and misunderstandings in the future.

In reply, I have to say that the regulations in question have been formally recognized by the Chinese Government to be purely experimental and subject to change or addition at any time. While some of their provisions are perhaps burdensome and others too intricate, our minister at Peking is of opinion that great delay would undoubtedly occur, if, before these tentative regulations were put in temporary operation, they were subjected to general discussion and amendment. In this opinion I concurred, and it having been made perfectly clear to the Chinese Government that we accept the regulations as purely tentative and reserve the right to amend or alter them at any time, we have agreed that they be put into operation on the 23d of this month.

The American minister at Peking has informed me that his British and Japanese colleagues are quite willing that these regulations in their present shape shall be put in temporary operation, and our consul-general at Shanghai has reported that at a meeting on August 3 of the American business men of that city “the feeling was quite strong that it was very desirable to have some regulations at the earliest possible moment.”

It is with sincere regret, therefore, that I do not see my way to comply with the request of the Imperial German Government to postpone for some months the putting into operation of these trade-mark negotiations, but I trust that the reasons given above may convince it that future delay and misunderstanding will be probably best prevented by putting the regulations promptly on trial and correcting them as circumstances and conditions may subsequently prove to be desirable.

I am, my dear Baron von Sternburg,

Sincerely, yours,

John Hay.