The French Embassy to the Department of State42
The French Government is now concerning itself with the gravity of the situation in China. It may be presumed that on account of [Page 420] the great division of the parties a rather long time will elapse before there can be established in Peking a central power that would be recognized by the provinces and would be in position and inclination to see of its own motion that the international obligations of China are met. The fact that the latest Chinese Governments have been recognized by the foreign governments imparted some authority to them and the Peking Cabinet was thus placed in position to take advantage of the foreign diplomatic missions accredited to it without, however, caring to entertain the claims of the powers.
The Government of the Republic believes that to maintain longer this diplomatic situation without imposing certain precise conditions, would tend to work injury to all the Governments concerned: the said Governments on the one hand would assume a serious responsibility to their nationals and, on the other hand, would encourage the objectionable inclinations of the Government which is evading its international obligations and would readily sacrifice the rights of foreigners. This might in the future bring about a condition of affairs likely to be attended with grave consequences.
For that reason the French Government believes that it would be to the interest of the Governments concerned to make even now a survey of the situation hereinbefore referred to and agree that they will notify, when the time comes, the next Peking Government that it cannot be recognized by them unless it gives effective assurance that the treaty obligations of China will be carried out.
The French Government would be glad if the American Government would kindly take the suggestion under advisement and, if the suggestion should gain its approval, send appropriate instructions to the Minister of the United States at Peking.