File No. 763.72119/1247
The Department of State to the British Embassy
The Department of State has received the Memorandum No. 157 of February 5, 1918,1 from His Britannic Majesty’s Embassy, communicating a report of His Britannic Majesty’s Minister at Peking to the effect that the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs had informed him of the decision of the Chinese Government to deport to Australia all enemy subjects and had proposed an exchange of notes by which China would be guaranteed against any demands which the enemy might subsequently make as a result of the action decided upon and in connection generally with China’s entry into the war.
The report of His Britannic Majesty’s Minister at Peking further stated that the Chinese Government desired that, if possible, an assurance be added that the peace conference would grant favorable treatment to China. The opinion is expressed by His Britannic Majesty’s Government that the Allied Governments ought to agree to give the guarantee as requested and assure the Chinese Government that its interests will receive at the peace conference equal consideration with those of her allies. The memorandum states that hope is entertained by His Britannic Majesty’s Government that the American Government will concur in these views, and that the American Minister at Peking will be instructed to cooperate with the British Minister in preparing an exchange of notes on the lines indicated.
The American Government is sensible of the courtesy shown by His Britannic Majesty’s Government in the memorandum under acknowledgment and has noted with lively satisfaction the decision of the Chinese Government to deport enemy subjects to Australia.
The American Government is happy, too, to find itself sharing the opinion of His Britannic Majesty’s Government that the guarantees asked by the Chinese Government should be given by the other Governments at war with Germany and Austria.
The American Minister at Peking has already been instructed to assure the Chinese Government that in so far as the American Government is competent so to do the guarantees asked will be given. The American Government regrets to find itself unable fully to comply with the request of His Britannic Majesty’s Government. The Minister’s instructions do not permit him to participate in a [Page 632] joint note of guarantee. In accordance with the long-standing policy of the American Government he has been directed to arrange an independent exchange of notes, the purport of which, however, will be substantially as proposed by His Britannic Majesty’s Government. The American Government is glad to believe that such a measure of cooperation meets in effect the request preferred in the memorandum.
- Not printed; a note, in terms similar to those of the British memorandum summarized in this reply, was transmitted by the French Ambassador under date of Feb. 11, and was answered by a note, dated Feb. 20, in terms similar to those of the memorandum here printed. (File No. 763.72/8875.)↩