The Secretary of War (Weeks) to the Secretary of State

WPD 938

My Dear Mr. Secretary: With reference to the status of the troops of the Army serving in China under the final Protocol for the settlement of the disturbances of 1900, dated September 7, 1901,41 and which have heretofore been attached to the Philippine Department, I take pleasure in advising you that after the most careful consideration it has been decided to constitute these troops into a separate command, reporting directly to the War Department, and to be known as the American Forces in China. The desirability of the action indicated above is suggested by the special mission with which this force is charged, its peculiar relation to the State Department, as represented by the American Minister in China, and its distance from the Philippine Islands.

There are enclosed herewith for your information, copies of War Department orders42 creating the new command and assigning Brigadier General William D. Connor to command the American Forces in China. There is also enclosed an extract copy of a secret letter of instructions which has been furnished General Connor and in which the mission of his command is clearly outlined.

It is believed that the organization of this command on the above basis, with a clearly denned mission, will be in the interest of increased efficiency and will insure a more effective cooperation with the aims of the State Department and its representatives in China than has existed in the past. If the instructions contained in the above-mentioned enclosures meet with your approval, it is suggested that copies thereof be furnished the American Minister in China.

Sincerely yours,

John W. Weeks

Extract from War Department Instructions to the Commander of the American Forces in China (Connor)

With reference to the duties imposed upon you by General Orders, No. —, War Department, Current Series, you are further advised as follows:

Based on the authorization contained in the “Final Protocol for the Settlement of the Disturbances of 1900—September 7, 1901”, the military mission of the American Forces in China is: [Page 870]
In conjunction with the forces of the other powers, parties to the Protocol, to maintain open communication between the capital and the sea, that is, along the railroad from Peking to Shan-hai-kuan, as specified in the Protocol.
To assist in the defense of the legation quarter at Peking when called upon to do so by the United States Minister.
The reason for establishing this force in China with the mission above described, is to maintain national prestige and to support the policy of the United States in the Far East. It is therefore incumbent on the Commander of this force to establish the most cordial relations with the American Legation and to cooperate with the aims and policies of the American Minister. He should work in close cooperation with the naval forces in China or in Chinese waters and should make definite arrangements with the Commander-in-Chief of the Asiatic Fleet for joint action in case of trouble involving the employment of American Forces.