Memorandum by the Third Assistant Secretary of State (Long)

The Chinese Minister12 called today and discussed China’s program for the Peace Conference, which included the following:

The establishment and revision of the full territorial integrity.
Her political sovereignty and its full realization.
Her physical and economic independence.

[Page 510]

Program was further developed as follows:

1. Territorial Integrity

Their concessions and settlements; their abrogations. He said that the original reason for their establishment had ceased to exist; that they had been created to give occidental merchants some place of safety and security in the days when China was not conversant with Western ways and Western people, and that they had been found and developed in the settlements with political rights and that they each were an infraction upon the territorial integrity of China.
Leased territories and their relinquishment.

He said that they had been taken by force or by threat under various pretext and that they served to create a balance of power in China, but a balance of power not between China and other Governments but between different Governments who had interests in China. He felt that the abrogation of all of them would leave the same balance of power between the other Governments and would reestablish general political integrity. He further stated that they were in many instances strategically situated and constituted a hindrance to the development of China and to the free exercise of her sovereignty, because by reason of their situation and the political activities possible there which impeded or could be used to interfere with the exercise of China’s free will. He felt that they were separate and distinct territorial sub-divisions with political attributes used by foreign powers for purposes other than those which were entirely consistent with China’s ambitions; that they were really, as he expressed it, Imperia Imperium [imperia in imperio].

2. Sovereignty

The abrogation of Articles 7 and 9 of the Protocol of September [December] 22d, 190013 and the Protocol of September 7th, 1901, pertains to the Legation guards and private communications between Peking and the sea.
Exterritoriality; its abolishment as regards China.

He argued that China was different from Egypt, Turkey and Persia in that the exterritoriality in those countries was imposed by military and political situations which existed in the countries or in other countries near them and that had grown up and developed from mediaeval times but that in China exterritoriality was a recent development and had not [?] been imposed upon China by treaty. [Page 511] He felt that the same reasons did not exist and that it was also a hindrance to the free and full development of China.

3. Physical Economic Independence

(a) Freedom of tariff and administration.

He feels that the tariff is limited to a five per cent duty and based upon a valuation which was small enough many years ago at the time the population remained stationary. During a period of years in which the crisis generally has arisen and the revenue derivable from that source is not only totally inadequate to China’s needs but wholly inconsistent with the scale of prices of dutiable goods and with the revenues which other countries derive from the tariff.

(b) Spheres of influence; their renunciation.

He feels that it is quite anomalous for spheres of influence to exist in China and says that China has never consented to it; that they do not now but they have simply grown up by an agreement between other Governments as to what part of China they might set aside for themselves and in which each of them was to have special rights, both economic and industrial in this sphere which that power claimed for itself. I told him that we did not recognize that spheres of influence existed and that we were thoroughly sympathetic to his nation’s ambitions in that respect.

Breckinridge Long
  1. Dr. V. K. Wellington Koo.
  2. See joint note of the powers to the Chinese Government, Foreign Relations, 1901, Appendix (Affairs in China), p. 59.