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On the 5th instant I telegraphed you as follows: China proposes to Japan mutually to abstain from molesting merchant vessels. Have telegraphed the U. S. minister to Japan.

Should the proposed arrangement be definitely concluded, I shall promptly advise you. I have, etc.,

CHAS. DENBY, JR., Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.

Mr. Denby to Mr. Gresham.

[Telegram.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Peking, August 20, 1894. (Received August 21.) China and Japan were both willing to exempt merchant vessels of the other from seizure, but the negotiations have failed because Japan wished her merchant vessels to continue coming to China, and the Yamên could not revoke imperial order to destroy Japanese ships entering Chinese ports.

Mr. Denby to Mr. Gresham.

No. 1938.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Peking, August 22, 1894. (Received October 1.) SIR: Referring to my dispatch No. 1921, of the 11th instant, I have the honor to report that the negotiations between China and Japan for the exemption from seizure of the private ships of one another, which were being conducted through this legation and the U. S. legation at Tokyo, and which promised to be successful, have failed.

As stated in my dispatch above referred to, the suggestion to exempt merebant vessels from attack originated with China. The Japanese Government consented thereto, excepting vessels bearing troops or contraband of war and vessels attempting to break blockade. These terms were acceptable to the Viceroy Li, to whom I submitted them through the consul at Tientsin.

On the 7th instant the viceroy asked Mr. Read to telegraph me as follows:

Agree. Understanding China merchant's' steamers and Japanese subsidized lines as private vessels, but Japan must first detine contraband of war.

Japan, however, refused to define contraband of war, and inquired whether the exemption would include Japanese vessels visiting Chinese ports. The edict of the Emperor of China of the 1st of August, declaring war, orders that Japanese ships entering Chinese ports shall be destroyed, and the Japanese Government asked whether this order would be revoked.

On the 14th instant I visited the Yamên for the purpose of ascer. taining the views of the Chinese ministers on these questions. They

A large Chinese steamship company.

stated that they were willing to consent to the proposed exemption without a definition of contraband of war, but that they could not consent to admit Japanese vessels into Chinese ports, nor could any part of the imperial edict be revoked. They asked this legation to try to induce the Government of Japan to come to an agreement upon these terms. I asked them to put their statement into the form of an official dispatch, which they did, on the 17th instant. A copy of this dispatch I inclose herewith.

The day after this interview, viz, on the 15th instant, I telegraphed to Mr. Dun, United States minister at Tokyo, as follows:

Chinese Government consents exemption without defining contraband of war for coasting trade and foreign neutral ports. Japanese vessels will not be allowed to visit Chinese ports. To this telegram Mr. Dun replied, under date of the 19th, as follows: Government of Japan refuse proposals relative to exemption of private vessels from capture and withdraw from negotiations.

I communicated this answer, which puts an end to all negotiations, to the Viceroy Li, through the U. S. consul at Tientsin, and to the Tsung-li-Yamên in a dispatch, of which I inclose a copy herewith.

In the interview of the 14th instant with the Yamên, I stated, in reply to an inquiry, that it was not reasonable to expect Japan to undertake not to search Chinese ships for contraband of war in case the proposed agreement was made. The Chinese ministers, however, thinking that they had gained exemption of their merchant ships from capture, wished to go a step further and to be permitted to use them to carry munitions of war. The subject will be found referred to in the Yamên's dispatch inclosed herewith. I refused to submit such a proposition to the Japanese Government. The ministers of the Yamên gave two reasons for refusing to admit Japanese ships to their ports. Firstly, they asserted that the Emperor's decree ordering their destruction was irrevocable, and that the national dignity would be compromised should any part of it be withdrawn. Being asked to explain why vessels at sea might be spared and those coming on peaceful errands to their ports should be destroyed, they said that this decree did not mention Japanese vessels at sea and that they might be exempted without disobedience to it.

Secondly, they expressed fear of treachery, and said that Japanese men-of-war, disguised as merchantmen, might steal past their forts. After this decision of the Chinese Government an agreement became impossible. The only advantage Japan would have derived from it would have been the continuance of her steamship lines to Shanghai and Tientsin. This being refused, the agreement would have profited only her enemy. Under these circumstances her withdrawal from further negotiations was only to be anticipated.

I hope the Department will not disapprove my having consented to act as a means of communication in this matter. The Chinese Government naturally turned to this legation for the performance of a friendly act, and a refusal would have been misunderstood and would have caused much embarrassment. I have, etc.,

CHAS. DENBY, JR., Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.

(Inclosure 1 in No. 1938.)

The Tsungli-li-Yamên to Mr. Denby, Jr. No. 33.]

PEKING, August 17, 1894. YOUR EXCELLENCY: Upon the 7th of August the prince and minister had the honor to receive a communication from the chargé d'affaires of the United States (with reference to the exemption of Japanese and Chinese merchant vessels from seizure), wherein he stated that on the 5th instant he telegraphed to the American ininister at Tokyo asking whether Japan would enter into an agreement in the matter, and that he had this morning (7th August) received a reply from Tokyo saying that the Japanese Government would be willing to consent to exempt Chinese merchant. ships from capture, except ships carrying troops, contraband of war, or attempting to break blockade, provided the Chinese Government would guarantee like immunity to vessels of Japan, etc.

The Yamên telegraphed the minister superintendent of northern trade, asking him to consider the question. A reply has now been received in which the minister superintendent states that “the exemption from seizure of merchant'vessels of China and Japan would refer to those met at sea, but to allow Japanese vessels to enter Chinese ports free from attack can not under any circumstances be sanctioned. The Japanese propose that while merchant vessels at sea will be exempt from seizure, still the right to search them for contraband of war inust be permitted. They refuse to clearly define what articles should be regarded as contraband, and this being the case merchant vessels would still have many doubts and misgivings in the matter.”

In the communication under review there are three conditions speci. fied. So far as merchant vessels engaged in carrying troops or breaking the blockade sare concerned] both powers would have a perfect right to seize them, but with regard to the condition having reference to contraband of war, since it is not defined as to what articles should come under this heading, it would seem right and proper for both China and Japan to exempt mercbant vessels from being searched.

As to the telegram received from the U. S. minister at Tokyo, par. ticulars of which were left at the Yamên by the chargé d'affaires on the 14th instant, wherein the request is made that Japanese mercbant vessels be allowed to enter the ports of Shanghai and Tientsin, and also that the Emperor's commands in the decree (of August 1, 1894) to attack Japanese vessels entering Chinese ports be revoked, the prince and ministers have to say that such proposition can not under any circumstances whatever be acceded to. The Yamên clearly explained this to the chargé d'affaires of the United States at the interview.

The views expressed by the minister superintendent of northern trade in his telegraphic reply are the same as those held by the Yamên. But as to the question of the merchant vessels of China and Japan being exempt from seizure at sea, an arrangement may be clearly settled or drawn up and action taken in accordance therewith.

In addressing this communication for the information of the chargé d'affaires of the United States, the prince and ministers would ask him to consult with the Japanese Government upon the subject.

A necessary communication addressed to Charles Denby, jr., esq.

(Inclosure 2 in 1938.)

Mr. Denby to the Tsung-li-Yamên. No. 32.]

AUGUST 20, 1894. YOUR HIGHNESS AND YOUR EXCELLENCIES: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of the 17th instant with reference to the exemption from capture of the private vessels of China and Japan. On the 15th instant I received a telegram from the U. S. consul at Tientsin, stating that the Viceroy Li consented to the proposals of Japan, except that Japanese vessels would not be allowed to visit Chinese ports. This statement coincides with the position assumed by you at our interview on the 14th instant. Accordingly, on the 15th, I telegraphed to this effect to the minister of the United States at Tokyo. I have now received a reply from him in which he states that Japan refuses these terms and withdraws from the negotiation. This result is much to be regretted. I have, etc.,

CHAS. DENBY, JR.,

Chargé, etc.

Mr. Denby to Mr. Gresham.

No. 1999.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Peking, October 14, 1894. (Received November 19.) SIR: In my dispatch No. 1921, of the 11th August, I had the honor to report to you the seizure of 'the Japanese bark Tenkio Maru by the Chinese authorities at Taku. The proposed release of this vessel was put forward by the Viceroy Li as the basis of negotiations looking toward the exemption from capture of Chinese and Japanese merchant vessels. The history of these negotiations and their failure were reported to you in my dispatch No. 1938, of the 22d August.

When these negotiations failed, it was not supposed that any action with reference to this bark would be taken. It seems, however, that either from a recognition by China of the extreme harshness of her seizure, she having cleared before war was declared and having been laden with materials consigned to the Chinese Government railways, or in fulfillment of an implied obligation arising from China's original proposal, or for some other reason, the Chinese authorities finally decided to return her to her owners. It was proposed by the Viceroy Li that the vessel be sent to Nagasaki, with a Chinese crew and foreign captain. This proposal was accepted by Japan, and notice of such acceptance given through the legations of the United States at Tokyo and Peking.

On the ilth instant the Tenkio set sail from Taku. At the request of the Japanese Government, I telegraphed the American minister at Tokyo the date of her departure. She flies the Japanese flag and carries her original ship's papers. Her captain is also provided with a certificate, in the nature of a safe-conduct by Consul Read at Tientsin.

During her captivity the Tenkio became indebted to the Chinese authorities for certain sums of money expended on her maintenance. Advances for the payment of these sums, as well as for the expenses of her temporary captain and crew, in going to and returning from Japan, were made by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, at Tientsin. These advances were made without any assurance

of repayment, but with the faith that they would be promptly liquidated by the owners of the ship or by the Japanese Government. At the request of the Chinese authorities, I telegraphed Mr. Dun at Tokyo, asking an assurance to this effect.

The return of the Tenkio was a voluntary act on the part of China, as, notwithstanding the hardship of her seizure, I did not feel at liberty to make any protest in the matter. I have, etc.,

CHAS. DENBY.

Mr. Gresham to Mr. Denby, chargé.

No. 960.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, October 20, 1894. SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 1938, of August 22, last, and to approve your action in using your friendly offices to effect an understanding between China and Japan, exempting from seizure the merchant vessels of the two countries.

It is to be regretted that an agreement was not reached by the belligerent powers on the important question of defining what should be considered as contraband of war on the high seas. I am, etc.,

W, Q. GRESHAM.

Mr. Denby to Mr. Gresham. No. 1960.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Peking, September 10, 1894. (Received October 27.) SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a dispatch from the Japanese minister for foreign affairs to Mr. Dun, U. S. minister at Tokyo, explanatory of Japan's withdrawal from negotiations concerning the exemption of private ships from capture.

I also inclose herewith a copy of another dispatch from the same to the same, in explanation of the refusal of Japan to grant safe conducts to the vessels of the Chinese foreign customs service employed as light-house tenders. I have, etc.,

CHAS, DENBY, JR., Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.

(Inclosure 1 in No. 1960.1

Viscount Mutsu Munemitsu to Mr. Dun.

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS,

Tokyo, August 18, 1894. SIR: I have had the honor to receive your excellency's note of the 15th instant inclosing a further telegram from the U.S. chargé d'affaires at Peking

I beg to request that your excellency will have the kindness to inform Mr. Denby by wire that the Imperial Government definitely withdraw from the negotiations regarding the proposed exemption of private ships from capture.

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