393.1123 Coltman, Charles/80: Telegram

The Minister in China (Schurman) to the Secretary of State


129. Your telegram 73, April 26, 5 p.m., was received April 28. On that day I saw the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and informed him that my Government could not accept his proposed settlement. It was a great disappointment to him and he urged me to cable the Department asking for reconsideration. I told him that I must refuse to telegraph again unless I had some new proposal, as I already had strongly presented his case. He replied that he would have to consult many people if he took the case up again and that the result would be uncertain. I remarked that as so much progress [Page 736] had been made already, I had hopes of a satisfactory adjustment of the two remaining points, the barring of the offending officers from Government employment in the future and a satisfactory personal apology by the Military Governor either at the Legation or at the Kalgan Consulate. The Acting Minister repeated his previous argument on the former point, that such exclusion was practically involved under Chinese law by dismissal. Personally I think that may not be much inferior to the Government’s promise that the officers will not be given service again. The Acting Minister finally agreed to take up with the persons concerned the question of an apology by the Military Governor.

On April 30 I went to Paotingfu early in the forenoon and returned to Peking about 2 o’clock the next morning. At Paotingfu I had lunch with Tsao Kun and we had a conversation lasting about five hours, of which more than a third was devoted to a private discussion chiefly concerning the Coltman case. I told Tsao Kun the salient facts, and outlined the progress of the negotiations with the Chinese Foreign Office. I stated that there could be no settlement without a satisfactory apology from the Military Governor and I invited him to cooperate in bringing that about. He made some inquiries, criticized the delay and mismanagement of the case by the Chinese Government, and promised to have the Military Governor offer a suitable apology at the Legation. I was assured by Tsao Kun that I need have no doubt regarding the agreement to this plan by the Military Governor as he was one of Tsao Kun’s followers. Tsao Kun promised to telegraph the Military Governor to come to Paotingfu immediately. Upon his arrival the matter would be explained to him and his consent obtained to what was wanted of him. I told Tsao Kun that I appreciated his cooperation in arriving at a settlement of the case.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .