The Secretary of State to the Minister in China (Crane)
180. Your 168, July 9, 11 p.m. We are concerned that you have apparently joined with the ministers in China of the other nations in sending to the Chinese officials a statement that they expect the Capital to be kept free from army movements and fighting. We are not fully informed as to the facts which perhaps warranted this action. The agreement following the Boxer troubles is to be interpreted in so far as it provides special arrangements for Peking as only safeguarding the diplomatic representatives from attacks against foreigners. It seems in view of cables from you, nos. 17918 and 18219, that the disturbance now taking place is to date only a domestic fight similar to that three years ago when the army of Chang Hsun was attacked in the Capital by Tuan and is not aimed at foreigners. We find it hard to see, therefore, that the foreign ministers should now deny the liberty of action to those fighting against Tuan which in 1917 they allowed him. To do so, it seems, would appear to be an act of intervention favoring one party. To seem to thus take sides might have the direct tendency to arouse hostility against foreigners and also would be a violation of the policy which all the leading nations have proclaimed in their relations with the country.
We therefore instruct you to be careful not to connect yourself with any joint diplomatic action which would be taking sides with any party either actually or seemingly.
Who made the suggestion upon which the ministers acted?