File No. 4277/1–3.

Minister Rockhill to the Secretary of State.

No. 501.]

Sir: In continuation of my numbers 332,a 352,b and 482,c of June 26, July 16, and December 18, respectively, in reference to the selection [Page 219] of suitable localities to be set apart for international use and occupation at Mukden and Antung, I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of Mr. Coolidge’s instructions to the consul-general at Mukden, of November 5, in which he expresses the readiness of the legation to take up again the question of the establishment of settlements at the above ports, which, as reported to you in my No. 352, had been temporarily dropped.

I also have the honor to inclose a copy of my No. 1054, of the 8th instant, to the consul-general at Mukden, the inclosures to which were forwarded to the department in my No. 483, of December 16 last.a

I have requested Mr. Straight to close for the time being the discussion of the question, which will now be taken up by the legation with the Wai-wu Pu.

I have, etc.,

W. W. Rockhill.
[Inclosure 1.]

Chargé Coolidge to Consul-General Straight.

Sir: I have received your No. 40, of October 30, informing me that Mr. Oliver, of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs, has gone north to investigate conditions in connection with the opening of Fakumen, Tung-chaikou (T’ung-chiang tzu?), and Tiehling to foreign settlement and trade. You also ask for an expression of our policy in case negotiations are renewed with regard to the establishment of foreign settlements at Mukden and Antung.

The archives of the consulate at Niuchwang, with which you are familiar, contain records of all that has been done so far. The previous negotiations were discontinued because in the view of the Chinese Government the time had not yet arrived for a final settlement. Everything was still in so uncertain a condition that it was not possible at that time to make any definite arrangements. We acquiesced in this opinion, but are ready now or at any time to take up the question again. The settlement of this matter will devolve upon you, but everything which you do is subject to the approval of the Government. The underlying principle to be borne in mind constantly is that the United States considers that under the treaty of October 8, 1903, the cities of Mukden and Antung are opened themselves as ports. It is for the advantage of both foreigners and Chinese that there should be foreign settlements where foreigners may congregate and, as far as possible, regulate their own affairs, but these foreign settlements do not constitute the treaty ports. Their establishment does not deprive the American consular authorities of the right to fix their residence within the cities of Mukden and Antung, nor does residence within their boundaries deprive American merchants of their right to trade within these cities themselves.

With regard to the location and regulation of these settlements, you must be guided by previous instructions. The main thing to remember in the selection of the location is that it should be healthful and that it should be advantageously situated from a commercial point of view. As for regulations, the more self-government granted the better. Do not at the outset attempt to frame an elaborate system. Make the rules as few and simple as possible. Try to meet the views of the Chinese representative whenever you can, but do not let him forget that under the treaty the consent of the United States is indispensable to any arrangement.

John Gardner Coolidge
[Page 220]
[Inclosure 2.]

Minister Rockhill to Consul-General Straight.

No. 1053.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 69, of December 31, inclosing the reply of the tartar-general to the identic note which you and your colleagues sent him on the 22d of December in reference to the observance by foreigners of the regulations for general taxation in the province of Fengt’ien issued by his order.

This identic note was approved in my No. 1036, of December 31.

The draft reply to the tartar-general’s note of December 29, which you inclose in your dispatch under acknowledgment for the approval of this legation, is in accordance with the instructions heretofore sent Mr. Sammons (see my No. 773, of June 28, 1906), which have received the entire approval of the Secretary of State. As the question of “consumption tax” is now being discussed by this legation with the Wai-wu Pu, as I have already informed you in my No. 1034, of December 29 of last year, I would omit from your note to the tartar-general all reference to it. On page 2 of your draft you should therefore strike out from line 4 the portion of the phrase after the words “opened in this province,” to the end of the paragraph.

With this answer sent the tartar-general, I think you should let this question rest, as it is one which can not be settled locally but must be discussed with the Chinese Government here. The tartar-general’s views as shown in his note are of interest as his personal interpretation of the terms of Article XVI of our treaty of 1903 concerning Mukden and Antung, but they do not necessarily represent the views of the Imperial Government, which has not yet replied to the note which I sent the Prince of Ch’ing on the 28th of April of last year stating the interpretation by our Government of the provisions of the treaty concerning the opening of Mukden and Antung.

The legation agrees with your views as expressed in your dispatch under acknowledgment as to the problematic future of a special foreign settlement at Mukden, which, as you remark, like all the other inland marts opened or to be opened in Manchuria will be virtually a distributing point and depot for the collection of native produce destined for transshipment to the coast, where the headquarters of the foreign firms will remain located. If this is to be the commercial role of these places, the contention of the tartar-general that the rights of foreign trade at them should be restricted to a small area in proximity to each of these marts, would, if acceded to, deprive them of all value whatsoever. You will please send the legation at once a copy of the Chinese text of the viceroy’s note of December 28 and also of your reply when sent. All important papers received from or sent to the Chinese authorities should be sent to the legation in Chinese as well as in translation.

I am, etc.,

W. W. Rockhill.