File No. 2413/58 A.
The Secretary of State to the Chinese Minister .
Washington , June 15, 1907.
Sir: After the rescue of the foreign legations in Peking during the Boxer troubles of 1900, the note of the powers to China prescribing the conditions upon which the occupation of Peking and the Province of Chihli would be ended, dated December 22, 1900, required in its sixth article the payment of “equitable indemnities for governments, societies, companies, and private individuals, as well as for Chinese who have suffered during the late events in person or in property in consequence of their being in the service of foreigners.”
The final protocol under which the troops were withdrawn, signed at Peking, September 7, 1901, fixed the amount of this indemnity at $450,000,000 Haikwan taels, equivalent in round numbers to $333,000,000 United States gold. China agreed to pay this sum, with interest at 4 per cent per annum, by installments running through a period of thirty-nine years.
The share of this indemnity allotted to the United States was $24,440,778.81, and on account of the principal and interest of that sum China has paid to the United States, down to and including the 1st day of June, 1907, the sum of $6,010,931.91.
It was from the first the intention of this Government at the proper time, when all claims should have been presented and all expenses should have been ascertained as fully as possible, to revise the estimate and account against which these payments were to be made, and, as proof of sincere friendship for China, to voluntarily release that country from its legal liability for all payments in excess of the sum which should prove to be necessary for actual indemnity to the United States and its citizens.
Such a revision has now been made by the different executive departments concerned, and I am authorized by the President to say that, in pursuance of that revision, at the next session of the Congress he will ask for authority to reform the agreement with China under which the indemnity is fixed by remitting and canceling the obligation of China for the payment of all that part of the stipulated indemnity which is in excess of the sum of $11,655,492.69 and interst at the stipulated rate.
Accept, Mr. Minister, etc.,