The Minister in China (Schurman) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 26—6:58 a.m.]
182. Foreign opinion in China unanimously and vigorously declares Lincheng outrage on foreigners (1) is the limit and (2) must be the last. Yet concessions to the bandits for release of foreigners, as was indispensable in Honan last winter and will this summer be indispensable in Shantung, encourage and stimulate fresh attacks. Furthermore, the existing military conditions of China as explained in my published report [apparent omission].
My colleagues and I are thinking and conferring about this problem. The remedies suggested in resolutions of Chamber of Commerce and public meetings by newspapers and responsible individuals include the placing of small foreign garrisons at strategic points on the Yangtze and on the coast in addition to Tientsin, the disbandment of Chinese troops with the aid of foreign military force, foreign control of the railway police by means of foreign officials (among whom a foreign accountant is often mentioned) and foreign supervision of Chinese finance with proper budget and audit system. Even the sweeping away of the Chinese Government and the setting up of an international regency is seriously discussed.
Some of the foregoing proposals aim at the direct protection of foreigners, others by strengthening public administration would, it is argued, indirectly protect foreigners. There is evidence, however, of a disposition to use the Lincheng outrage as a reason for reforming China generally as well as for the protection of foreigners.
Nevertheless, foreign life and property, treaty rights and lawful interests have for some time past been treated with growing disregard by the Chinese and they are now seriously menaced by lawlessness and by bandit outrages, which, if present conditions continue, are practically certain to recur with increasing frequency and probably with larger proportions and more disastrous consequences.
In my conversations with my colleagues on this subject it is highly desirable, in fact almost essential, that I should know whether my Government would approve of any scheme whatever which involved [Page 649] the extension of the use of foreign force in China for the protection of our nationals in the future. I have the honor to request, therefore, that I be given confidential instructions for my private guidance at your earliest convenience.