893.05/237: Telegram

The Chargé in China (Perkins) to the Secretary of State

52. Legation’s 48, Jan. 16, 11 a.m.

I concur entirely in the opinion of our delegates, that, with the concessions already made, the points enumerated represent the extreme limit to which we can go and that the safeguards covered by these points are absolutely necessary and must be retained so long as the Settlement continues to function under its present constitution. In my opinion we should insist upon the retention of these safeguards even though a difference of opinion on the part of the foreign delegates should result in a discontinuance of the present negotiations (which I am far from being convinced will be the case). While I have not discussed with my interested colleagues the consideration of the telegram repeated in the Legation’s 47, Jan. 15, 3 p.m., or of that repeated in the telegram under reference, the ground covered is not new and I feel confident that they would not be disposed to consent to any substantial modification of these safeguards.
With reference to Jacobs’ confidential statement that the British, French and Dutch delegates attempted, in his opinion, to persuade the Council to adopt a less liberal attitude than it had previously taken, I must add that I have found nothing in my discussions with the interested Heads of Legation here to indicate that my colleagues would be disposed to sustain their delegates in insisting upon the retention of further safeguards than the Council itself deems necessary for the protection of the peace and order of the Settlement. In fact the British Minister before leaving for Nanking read to the interested Heads of Legation a telegram setting forth the views of the British Government which included a statement to the effect that the British Government did not consider that present conditions would justify the protection of Chinese against the oppression of their own courts and authorities and that it did not feel that the municipal authorities should intervene except in cases where the injustice would be so gross that the authorities could not with decency and self-respect lend their [Page 322] agencies to effect execution. The interested Heads of Legation apparently acquiesced in this view.
The Department’s instructions are requested at the earliest moment possible in order that I may be in a position both to instruct the American delegates and to discuss matters generally with my interested colleagues.
  1. Telegram in three sections.