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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1901, affairs in China
(1901)

Message from the president of the United States, transmitting report of William W. Rockhill, late commissioner to China, with acccompanying [accompanying] documents,   pp. 3-7 PDF (2.3 MB)


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REPORT OF COMMISSIONER TO CHINA. 
I reached Shanghai on the 29th of August and proceeded at once to 
Peking, where I discussed with our minister, Mr. Conger, the situation 
and the steps he proposed taking to hasten the restoration of order 
and for the protection of American persons and property, and I was 
pleased to be able to report to you that I fully concurred with him in 
all the measures he had been and was advocating. 
After a brief stay at Peking I returned to Shanghai and then visited 
the Viceroy Liu K'un-yi at Nanking, and later the Viceroy Chang Chih- 
tung at Wu-chang, for the purpose of thanking them, in the name of 
the United States, for the perfect manner in which they and the other 
viceroys had maintained peace, and the friendly spirit they and their 
provincial administrations were showing foreigners during these trou- 
blesome times. I wished also to ascertain their views on the question 
of the restoration of order and the return of His Majesty the Emperor 
to Peking. The courteous and friendly receptions given me by the two 
viceroys, and the personal relations which I was thus so fortunate as 
to establish, and which were kept up during the remainder of my mis- 
sion in China, did not a little, I think, in the interest of peace and the
common benefit of the two countries. 
After returning to Shanghai and conferring with the various Ameri- 
can commercial and missionary bodies there, I left again for Peking, 
where you had directed me to proceed to act as counselor and adviser 
of the American minister in the negotiations then begun. I discharged 
this duty, and, I am pleased to say, always in perfect harmony with 
our minister, until the 23d of February of this year, when Mr. Conger, 
having obtained from you leave of absence with permission to visit the 
United States, I was appointed by the President, under telegraphic 
instructions from you, plenipotentiary to continue the negotiations on 
the part of the United States. In this capacity I acted until Septem- 
ber 7, when the Final Protocol, embodying the results of the negotia- 
tions between the various powers and China, was signed. I then left 
for the United States and arrived at Washington on October 23. 
The different phases of the negotiations between the powers and 
China, which extended over a period of about fourteen months, are 
shown in detail in the correspondence of Mr. Conger and myself with 
the Department and also in the printed minutes of the various meetings 
of the conference at Peking. With these before you I shall not go over 
these questions again. I shall confine myself to summarizing the work 
of the United States in the conference. 
The circular note which you telegraphed on July 3, 1900, to our 
embassies in Europe and to our missions in Vienna, Brussels, Madrid, 
Tokyo, The Hague, and Lisbon defined the policy then already adopted 
by the United States in the settlement of affairs in China and from 
which they never departed. Bearing these instructions always in 
mind, the task of the agents of our Government in Peking was a com- 
paratively easy one. Throughout the negotiations our object was to 
use the influence of our Government in the interest of justice and 
moderation and in a spirit of equal friendship to the powers nego- 
tiating jointly with us and the Chinese nation. 
The twelve-demands made-by the powers on China, the accomplish- 
ment of which was deemed necessary for the restoration of normal 
relations with that country and which were embodied in the joint note 
of December 22, 1900, may be classified under four principal heads: 
(1) Adequate punishment for the authors of and those guilty of actual 
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