File No. 763.72/7782

The Minister in China ( Reinsch) to the Secretary of State

No. 1672

Sir: I have the honor to enclose copies of a memorandum from the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Ministers of Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Italy, Belgium and Portugal, which was handed to the latter on October 6.3 It contains the answer of the Chinese Government to the joint memorandum of the Ministers, which was communicated to you with my despatch No. 1635 of September 27.4

It will be seen that the Chinese Government answers in a friendly spirit, but does not yet commit itself to specific action except in the matter of promulgating a tariff for countries without treaties, and the establishment of so-called Sino-Foreign trade marts in the old German and Austrian concessions at Tientsin and Hankow. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has stated to me that for the time being [Page 702] the Chinese Government will take only necessary measures of regulation with respect to resident enemy subjects; herein it will follow the practice of the United States and Japan, taking protective measures only, and reserving for the future more general prohibition of trade and the general internment of enemy subjects. The views of the American Government on this subject, as expressed in your telegraphic instructions of September 20, 4 p.m.,1 were at the time brought to the attention of the Chinese Government.

I have [etc.]

Paul S. Reinsch

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the British, French, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Belgium, and Portuguese Legations

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a memorandum stating that the Governments of the seven powers have severally agreed to the three measures proposed by this Government and to express the gratitude of this Government therefor. The eight measures which the seven Ministers proposed that the Chinese Government should put into force have been considered in detail and replies have now been drawn up as follows:

In reference to the promulgation of a general tariff for the countries without treaties—the same has been drawn up and is about to be promulgated.
Measures B and D are related. China now proposes to promulgate special regulations on the subject of the industrial enterprises and commercial establishments of enemy subjects. Where a Chinese inspection has shown that they should be closed they will be closed and officials appointed specially to administer them.
In reference to the matter of the Chinese Government taking strict protective measures against enemy subjects—if plots are discovered the plotters will be interned. It is now proposed to have the Ministry of the Interior draw up detailed regulations upon which all action will be based. In addition to the sequestration of enemy vessels and the confiscation at various times of wireless stations and contraband of war, severe measures will also be taken to prohibit the holding of meetings and the formation of societies.
The Chinese Government is now arranging to have the old German and Austrian concessions at Tientsin and Hankow thoroughly reorganized, so as to enable the nationals of the different powers residing therein to enjoy all commercial advantages as well as a system of local self-government, with the object of securing such [Page 703] a perfect organization as to constitute the said areas into model voluntarily opened Sino-Foreign trade marts. Attention will moreover be paid to the end of the war, in order to prevent the said areas from reverting to the status of special concessions.
The Chinese Government has already leased the detained enemy merchant vessels to the Ta Ta Kung Ssu. Except for those vessels kept by the Government for its own requirements, assistance will be given to the Allied powers to arrange special sub-leases from the Ta Ta Kung Ssu.
The Chinese Government in drawing up regulations will adopt the regulations now in force in the other countries in order to avoid a diversity of methods.
The Chinese Government will cooperate with the Allied powers to the extent of its power in respect to action in connection with the war.

The above measures having been decided upon by the Chinese Government will be separately put into force as conditions may determine, so that the wishes of the different powers may be met.

With compliments.

  1. A copy of the Chinese text was received in the American Legation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Oct. 12.
  2. Not printed; see the Minister’s telegram, Sept. 5, 12 p.m., ante, p. 685.
  3. Ante, p. 689.