Minister Conger to the Secretary of State.
Peking, China, October 13, 1904.
Sir: I have the honor to confirm my cipher telegram of yesterday, and your reply of the same date, as follows:a
The German and French ministers have both filed strong protests against the regulations being put in force on the 23d, as already decided upon, and have had several personal conferences with the wai wu pu upon the subject. They insist upon many changes and amendments, the most important of which are, that marks heretofore registered in foreign countries shall as a matter of course be registered in China; that all marks in general use in China for previous two years shall be entitled to protection without registration; that hong names (firm names) shall be registered without fees, and that one registry shall be sufficient for, and cover the use of, the same mark on every variety of articles in the same class; that foreign experts should be employed; that a provisional or tentative law would be worse than no law; that the Chinese Government is not prepared either with places, methods, or men to at present undertake the work, and that six months or even a year will hardly be sufficient for the necessary preparations.
I am told that Sir Robert Hart, inspector-general of customs, in whose department this work is to be begun, says that it is impossible to properly take up the work for some months.
I have to-day received a dispatch from Consul-General Goodnow, with inclosures, copy of which is transmitted herewith,b which more fully explains the general objections to the regulations and the position of the American merchants.
Most of the merchants, when they were urging treaty negotiations upon this question, believed they would be protected against the fraudulent use of their marks by persons of every nationality, but when they discovered that the protection is only against Chinese, except where special agreements exist between particular countries, and that one trade-mark can not cover all the articles handled by one firm, they concluded the present situation is preferable, and they do not wish or iieed trade-mark regulations at all. This applies more especially to European merchants than to American.
Having, as you know, urged upon the Chinese the necessity of compliance with the treaty by an early adoption of trade-mark regulations, I shall for the present take no part in the question of postponement, except in accordance with your telegraphic instructions. The Chinese Government have already officially declared that the regulations are put in force only tentatively.
I have the honor, etc.,