File No. 16576/–2.
The Secretary of State to Minister Rockhill.
Washington, November 30, 1908.
Sir: The department acknowledges the receipt of your No. 1022 of the 8th ultimo, in which is transmitted with its inclosure a dispatch from the consul at Nanking, on the subject of the two proposed amendments to the regulations for the international settlement at Wuhu, the first reserving to foreign merchants exclusively the land within the settlements, and the second restricting the right of foreign owners of subletting to Chinese houses in the settlements.
No copy of the regulations of the international settlement at Wuhu has ever been received by the department.[Page 123]
The department appreciates the position taken by the British consul at Wuhu. This Government, however, has consistently held that American citizens are at liberty under treaty rights to frequent, reside, transact business, and secure property for commercial and. residential purposes in all the ports or localities of China which are now open or may hereafter be opened to foreign residence and trade, and that these specific rights apply with equal force whether the property possessed by any of its citizens be situated in an international settlement or in a foreign concession belonging to any single power or merely within the limits of an opened locality.
To accept the first amendment proposed, therefore, would be to discriminate against the missionaries in favor of those traders who desire, possibly, to reside within the limits of the international settlement but who are, equally with the missionaries, entitled to hold land outside such settlement limits and within those cities open to international residence and trade.
Furthermore, with regard to the second of the amendments suggested, since this Government has asserted that American citizens are entitled to reside and hold land, not only within the settlements which have been delimited at certain open cities in China, but within these cities themselves, the department considers that the exclusion of Chinese from these international settlements at treaty ports would be unwarranted, and would go far to justify the Chinese in their contention, which we have never accepted, that Americans and other foreigners are not entitled under the treaties to reside within the so-called native cities, but should be confined within the limits of their concessions.
The department feels that many of the difficulties which have arisen between Chinese and foreigners have been due to a lack of sympathy on the one side and to misunderstanding on the other. A better feeling between strangers and natives and a realization that mutual consideration alone will insure mutual advantage and profit may be secured only by the elimination of those differences which have been fruitful sources of trouble in the past. It is deemed unwise and undesirable, therefore, to concur in measures which might deprive certain American missionaries of their just rights and which make for further segregation and not for the growth of that international harmony which it should be the object of foreigners and Chinese alike to encourage. This Government, therefore, is unwilling to accept the proposed amendments to the regulations for the international settlement at Wuhu, and you are instructed so to inform the consul at Nanking.
I am, etc.,