File No. 4857/18–21.
The Secretary of State to Chargé Fletcher.
Washington,December 18, 1907.
Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 777, of the 2d ultimo, inclosing a copy of a note addressed to Minister Rockhill by the Chinese foreign office, with which was inclosed a copy of the new regulations governing the importation of firearms and ammunition into China. You also inclose a copy of a note from the dean of the diplomatic corps, addressed to the foreign office on the subject, and you point out wherein the regulations seem objectionable to you.
The department approves your action in joining in the protest of the foreign powers against the new regulations, on the ground that they make no exception regarding the importation of firearms for the use of the legation guards or foreign volunteer corps, nor of sporting rifles which visitors to China may wish to bring with them.
The department, however, is in sympathy with the Chinese Government in its desire to restrict at the present time as much as possible the importation of firearms which in all probability are smuggled into the Empire for revolutionary purposes.
It is to be hoped that the foreign representatives in Peking, in their refusal to accept the regulations in question, will not convey the impression [Page 206] that their governments are lacking in sympathy with the Chinese Government in its endeavor to prevent firearms from reaching undesirable persons.
I am, etc.,