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Amazon and the Madeira are free rivers the Bolivians have the same right as any other nation to carry on freely and unimpeded their commerce on those rivers.

Since this question has now found its solution the minister for foreign affairs will probably have no longer any reason to hesitate about answering my protest dated January 20, a copy of which I had the honor to transmit to the Department in the above-mentioned dispatch.

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Ministerial decree abolishing transit duties on Bolivian commerce by way of the Amazon.


Rio de Janeiro, February 20, 1903.

I hereby announce to the chiefs of department of finance for their information that this ministry has, by means of telegrams of this date to the collecting agents of the Federal treasury in the States of Para and Amazonas, declared that, although there is no treaty or convention in force relative to commerce and navigation between Brazil and Bolivia, the tolerance of free transit by the Amazon of merchandise destined for Bolivia and of shipments from the river ports of that Republic destined for foreign countries, which formerly prevailed, is reestablished; the prohibition of the importation of war material to Bolivia through Brazilian rivers is, however, continued until further orders.

The circular of this ministry, No. 43, of August 8, 1902, is thus revoked. LEOPOLDO DE BULHOES.

Mr. Seeger to Mr. Hay.

Petropolis, March 3, 1903.

SIR: Referring to my unnumbered dispatch to the Department of February 22 and to my note to the foreign office of January 20, a copy of which was transmitted with my unnumbered dispatch of January 20, I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy and translation of a note from Baron Rio Branco, received yesterday, in reference to the reestablishment of free transit on the Amazon.

I have, etc.,

EUGENE SEEGER, Consul-General, in Charge of the Legation.


Rio de Janeiro, February 20, 1903.

I had the honor to receive the letter which Mr. Eugene Seeger, consul-general in charge of the legation of the United States of America, wrote me on January 20, in reference to the decision the Federal Government took on August 8, 1902, of suspending on the Amazon free transit to Bolivian import and export trade.

the Government of the United States could take any action against the arrangement being made between the Russian and Chinese Governments for the establishment of customs stations at Talienwan and some interior Manchurian points, or against the post-office service in the same country. The only point with which we can be concerned is. that the duties levied at these places do not exceed the regular tariff duties levied at all other points in the Chinese Empire open to foreign trade. That the customs stations to be created, should be under Russian commissioners is most natural. There being a number of Russians in the imperial maritime customs service, it would seem but natural that they, or some other Russians, should be employed in these offices.

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The letter of the Russian minister of foreign affairs to our ambassador at St. Petersburg, under date of the 18th of December, 1899 (see Correspondence Concerning American Commercial Rights in China, p. 17, a copy of which is herewith inclosed), defines pretty clearly the position of the Russian Government respecting the creation of customhouses in the leased territory in China.

You will watch the arrangements that may be reached between China and Russia on this subject, and should they in any way prove a menace to American interests and violate in any way the treaty provisions, you will take such action as the circumstances may require and your experience dictate.

I am, etc.,



Count Mourarieff to Mr. Tower.

December 18-30, 1899.

MR. AMBASSADOR: I had the honor to receive your excellency's note, dated the 8th-20th of September last, relating to the principles which the Government of the United States would like to see adopted in commercial matters by the powers which have interests in China.

In so far as the territory leased by China to Russia is concerned, the Imperial Government has already demonstrated its firm intention to follow the policy of "the open door" by creating Dalny (Ta-lien-wan) a free port; and if at some future time that port, although remaining free itself, should be separated by a customs limit from other portions of the territory in question, the customs duties would be levied, in the zone subject to the tariff, upon all foreign merchandise without distinction as to nationality.

As to the ports now opened or hereafter to be opened to foreign commerce by the Chinese Government, and which lie beyond the territory leased to Russia, the settlement of the question of customs duties belongs to China herself, and the Imperial Government has no intention whatever of claiming any privileges for its own subjects to the exclusion of other foreigners. It is to be understood, however, that this assurance of the Imperial Government is given upon condition that a similar declaration shall be made by other powers having interests in China.

With the conviction that this reply is such as to satisfy the inquiry made in the aforementioned note, the Imperial Government is happy to have complied with the wishes of the American Government, especially as it attaches the highest value to anything that may strengthen and consolidate the traditional relations of friendship existing between the two countries.

I beg you to accept, etc.,


No. 1228.]

Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.

Peking, March 6, 1903.

SIR: With reference to the question of the establishing of customs stations at Dalny and other Manchurian ports under Russian control, mentioned in my dispatch No. 1175, of December 17 last, which was the subject-matter of Department instruction No. 606, of January 3, and of which I hereby acknowledge receipt, I have the honor to report that the Chinese Government still refuses to agree to the Russian scheme, and as yet it has not been put in force.

The Chinese are insisting upon the adoption of the plan now operating at Ts'ing-tao, in the German-leased territory, to wit, a customs station under the management of the Imperial Chinese customs, but operated by German employees of the customs service. In this case the Chinese wish the stations to be under the direction of the imperial customs, but operated by Russians detailed from the customs service. The Russians insist upon having the entire management and are using every argument and pressure to make the Chinese consent, and threaten to establish the stations whether or not the Chinese Government agrees, claiming, under the provisions of their railroad agreement, that they can do so.

At present large amounts of cotton goods are arriving at Niuchwang, through Port Arthur and Dalny, without paying any import duties whatever, and considerable quantities of raw silk and other commodities are exported through the same way.

* * *

I inclose copies of two dispatches from Consul Miller upon the subject. I have, etc., E. H. CONGER.

[Inclosure 1.]

Mr. Miller to Mr. Conger.

No. 156.]

Niuchwang, February 20, 1903.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your dispatch, No. 1749, of February 16, 1903. In reply thereto I find that no customs have yet been established by the Russians either at Dalny or at any other place in Manchuria.

They have endeavored to engage the services of men here to enter the service at Dalny, but so far none have accepted.

Mr. Protassieff is established at Dalny with a force of men ready to begin the collection of customs duties, but is waiting for orders. I am inclined to the opinion that the Russians will make a demand that they have charge of the customs at Dalny and other points on the railway in return for turning over the customs at this port.

Agents of the Chinese Eastern Railway have been at work here recently endeavoring to secure contracts for carrying millet from here to Japan via Dalny. By this means they would evade the native customs. They have made some very cheap rail and steamer rates and some shipments have been made, but I have not been able to learn how much cargo has been engaged.

Quite a large quantity of goods are now coming into this place through Port Arthur and Dalny, and much is going that way into the interior without paying customs duties.

I am, etc.,


No. 158.]

[Inclosure 2.]

Mr. Miller to Mr. Conger.

Niuchwang, February 25, 1903.

SIR: I have the honor to report that during this month something over 5,000 bales of piece goods have come to this place through Dalny without paying any customs duties, and 2,500 bales of raw silk have been exported through Dalny without duty; also large quantities of millet have been exported to Japan.

The Russians have taken over some temples here and are fitting up a school to teach Russian to the Chinese.

It is also reported that they do not propose to turn over to the Chinese the temple grounds and buildings where their troops are quartered, but will retain them for purposes of their own. They acquired a large tract of land in the heart of the foreign settlement from the Chinese at nominal cost and have constructed a large and substantial building to be used as a consulate. This building is now about completed. I have, etc.,


No. 1233.]

Mr. Conger to Mr. Hay.


Peking, March 10, 1903.

SIR: I transmit herewith copies of a dispatch from Consul Miller, of Niuchwang, concerning Russian operations in Manchuria.

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SIR: I have the honor to report that the branch construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway into Mukden from the main line is completed and will be in operation in a few days. The survey from the main line of the Chinese Eastern Railway into Kirin, a distance of about 100 miles, has recently been completed and construction of the line will soon begin.

By these two branches the Russians will have direct communication with the two capitals of the southern provinces of Manchuria, viz, Shengking and Kirin. Surveys are under way for an extension of the Russian railway system into Korea, and it is rumored that construction will not be long delayed.

The Russian Government has established at Mukden a diplomatic officer with a rank equal to a consul-general, who will remain there permanently after withdrawal as the resident diplomatic representative.

His real duties will be those of adviser to the Tartar general. The headquarters of this official are to be at the railway station, just outside of the city of Mukden, where a Russian community is to be established, under the protection of Russian troops known as the railway guard.

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SIR: I have the honor to inclose copies of correspondence with Consul Miller, at Niuchwang, upon the question of the establishment of

FR 1903-1

Russian courts in Manchuria and restriction of the judicial jurisdiction of the Russian consul at Niuchwang.

In view of the growing importance of Manchuria and the prospect of rapidly increasing American interests there, would it not be well to attempt some more satisfactory arrangement of the matter directly with the Russian Government? E. H. CONGER.

I have, etc.,

[Inclosure 1.]

No. 165.]

Mr. Miller to Mr. Conger.

Niuchwang, March 17, 1903.

SIR: I have to report that the Russian authorities have established courts at sev eral places on the Chinese Eastern Railway in Manchuria for the trial of minor offenses and all civil cases not exceeding 1,000 rubles.

In addition to this they have established higher courts at Harbin, Vladivostock, and Port Arthur for the trial of greater cases.

The consular court jurisdiction of the Russian consul is restricted to the treaty port of Niuchwang. Any action to be brought against a Russian subject outside of this treaty port must be brought in these other courts. This agreement is permanent and is to remain after withdrawal or evacuation.

An American citizen has had a lease with a Russian for buildings lying just outside this treaty port; the Russian refuses to satisfy the demands of the American for payments in accordance with the lease; the Russian consul here refuses to consider the case and says the matter must be settled in the Russian courts at Port Arthur.

I cite this case at the present time simply to explain the situation, and ask for instructions. Must I advise American citizens that they must bring their cases in Port Arthur? The Russian subject is not a citizen of Port Arthur.

To my mind he is clearly a resident of Niuchwang, but as he is employed on the railway line the Russian consul claims that his residence is in the interior of Manchuria.

This will remove all opportunities for watchfulness and assistance on the part of the American consul over the affairs of American citizens in their relation with Russians for all of Manchuria, and in matters of great moment where appeal might be desired it would most likely remove the matter out of China altogether and probably send the case to St. Petersburg.

It would force a man to leave the territory in which he is amenable to the laws of his own country to go into the leased territory of Port Arthur, where his entire conduct, together with his person, would be under the control of Russian authorities governed by Russian law.

This would appear to me to be inconsistent with our rights and privileges here, and, unless directed by you, I do not feel like advising American citizens to submit to this condition.

Unless Russia will grant that the extraterritorial rights of our citizens extend over the leased territory they have no right to require our citizens to appear in the courts of that district to enter complaints against Russian subjects for cause of action that occurs in other parts of Manchuria.

No action has yet been brought, but it is advisable that I should be advised what information to give, as a case is pending along these lines, and I am afraid that a settlement can not be had, although I am using every effort to secure a private adjustment.

I have, etc.,

[Inclosure 2.]


Mr. Conger to Mr. Miller.


Peking, March 24, 1903.

SIR: I have received yours of the 17th instant, with information that the Russian authorities have established certain courts in Manchuria, along the Chinese Eastern

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