The Secretary of State to Minister Rockhill.

No. 136.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge receipt of your dispatch No. 178, of December 23, 1905, inclosing a copy of a draft of rules of the mixed court at Shanghai proposed by the superintendent of southern trade, [Page 399]the viceroy of Nanking. Your No. 213, of February 5, 1906, is also at hand, in which it is stated that “the solution of the question of the revision of the rules for the government of the mixed court, which bids fair to be reached shortly by the diplomatic body and the Chinese Government, and which will be substantially in agreement with amended rules accepted provisionally by the Department of State in its telegraphic instruction to this legation of April 15, 1902, will not give satisfaction to all the foreign community of Shanghai and the agitation for further liberties will continue.”

It is to be noted that the approval of the department of April 15, 1902, was of the draft proposed by the consular body, which differs in some material respects from the amended form proposed by the superintendent of southern trade. This would afford room for the assumption that the diplomatic body may have induced the Chinese Government to modify their amendments so as to be in substantial agreement, as you state, with the form approved by the department on that date. It is possible, however, that you refer to the rules as amended by the diplomatic body (Mr. Conger to the department, No. 1777, December 29, 1904), which were also approved by the Secretary of State (No. 879, February 13, 1905), in which case the apprehended dissatisfaction of the foreign community might arise from the prohibition to the sitting of a foreign assessor in purely Chinese cases (paragraph 4 a).

This department concurs in your view that this subject “will develop into a far-reaching one, affecting the whole status of the Shanghai international settlement in its relations with the Chinese Government,” and while the department is not disposed to support the extreme pretensions, such as you state are advanced in the local British press, it can not sympathize with aggressive tendencies on the part of the Chinese authorities which would be likely to inspire a large section of the Chinese people to attempt to deprive foreigners of all advantages which they have legitimately acquired in the past relations of foreign nations with that Empire.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Elihu Root.