Mingchien Joshua Bau.

The foreign relations of China: a history and a survey online

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Kwangsi in 1914, 15 the United States Government was
not reported to have lodged any protest ; and in 1915 when
Japan made Eastern Inner Mongolia her sphere of influ-
ence and South Manchuria virtually her exclusive pre-
serve, the United States Government, while making a
general declaration reaffirming the Open Door policy and
reserving the right of exception to any agreements be-
tween China and Japan contrary to the principles of the
Open Door or the treaty rights of the United States, did
not make any specific representations of protest against
the provisions regarding Eastern Inner Mongolia and
South Manchuria.

\\ hat John Hay opposed was, not the exigence of
spheres of influence which had already existed before
the enunciation of his doctrine, but rather the closing of
tin- spheres t tin- trade of the world or the assertion of

claims to exclusive rights within the spheres. The three

provisions as postulated by John Hay were designed

to keep the doors open in the various spheres thnui-h

the recognition of vested interests ami the maintenance
of the Chinese treat) tariff and the uniformity of bar-


bor dues and railway charges; in other words, they were
to secure the equal treatment of foreign merchants within
the various spheres. In his original note to Mr. Choate,
United States Ambassador at London, 1 ' 1 John Hay said:

"While the Government of the- United States will in
nowise commit itself to a recognition of exclusive rights
of any power within or control over any portion of the
Chinese empire under such agreements as have within
the last year been made, it cannot conceal its apprehen-
sion that under existing conditions there is a possibility,
even a probability, of complications arising between the
treaty powers which may imperil the rights insured to
the United States under our treaties with China."

Again, in his protest against the proposed convention
between China and Russia respecting Manchuria, he
wrote : 17

"An agreement by which China cedes to any corpora-
tion or company the exclusive right and privilege of

opening mines, establishing railroads, or in any other
way industrially developing Manchuria, can hut he viewed
with the gravest concern by the United States. It con-
stitutes a monopoly, which is a distinct breach of the
stipulations of treaties concluded between China and for-
eign powers, and thereby seriously affects the- rights of
American citizens; it restricts their rightful trade and
exposes it to being discriminated against, interfered with,
or otherwise jeopardized, and strongly tends toward per-
manently impairing the sovereign rights of China in this
part of the empire, and seriously interferes with her
ability to meet her international obligations. Further-
. such concessions on the part of China will un-
doubtedly be followed by demands from other powers for

similar and equal exclusive advantages in other parts
of the Chinese Empire, and the inevitable result mu I be
the complete wreck of the policy of absolute equality

of treatment of all nations in regard to trade, naviga-
tion and commerce within the confines of the Empire."


Subsequently, when in 1903 Russia demanded, in her
Seven Articles, as conditions for the further evacuation
of Manchuria, 18 thai without the consent of Russia no
new treaty port be opened or consuls admitted (Art. 3),
and no foreigners, except Russians, be employed in
the public service of North China, thus extending author-
ity over the affairs of North China. John Hay protested
against the exclusion of other foreigners from public
service in North China, and as a measure of upholding
the Open Door in Manchuria, demanded the opening of
treaty ports in that region. 19 As a consequence, and in
conjunction with the Treaty of Commerce signed on Oc-
tober 8, 1913,-° Mukden and Antung in Manchuria were
opened to trade (Art. 12), thus successfully asserting
the Open Door doctrine and preventing Manchuria from
being closed to the trade of the world.

Thus the first principle of the Open Door policy, as
we have seen, is the equal opportunity of trade within
the various spheres of influence. Now let us consider
the second principle of the doctrine, which is equally
as important, if not more so: namely, the integrity of
China. In the first circular note of September 6, 1899,
John Hay did not make the preservation of the integrity
of China the primary object of his policy. What we
can gather from a close scrutiny of his correspondence
was that the integrity of China was to him an implied
condition of his policy, or a presumed prerequisite for
the successful operation of his policy. For should China
be partitioned or should tin- of influence

into regions of foreign control, there would he- a eon-
sequent closing oi the various regions and there would
thus he no room and no necessity for the Open Door
Doctrine. Quite in line with this reasoning, John May
said, in his first circular note:-'

"This Government . . . hopes also t « » retain there an
open markel for the commerce of the world, remove


dangerous sources of international irritation and hasten
thereb) united and concerted action of the Powers at
Peking in favor of the administrative n i urgently

needed for strengthening the Imperial Government and
maintaining the integrity of China. . . ."

"The declaration of such principles . . . would give
additional weight to the concerted representations which
the treaty powers may hereafter make to His Imperial

Chinese Majesty in the interest of reform in Chinese
administration so essential to the consolidation and in-
tegrity of the empire. . . ." M

Besides, the the second provision of his proposal was

"that the Chinese treaty tariff of the time being shall
apply to all merchandise landed or shipped to all such
ports as are within said 'sphere of interest' (unless they
he 'free ports'), no matter to what nationality it may
helong, that duties so leviable shall be collected by the
Chinese Government."

This provision of requiring the maintenance of the
Chinese treaty tariff and of collection thereof by the
Chinese authorities presupposes the existence of the sov-
ereignty and integrity of China.

During the Boxer Uprising, when China was threat-
ened with the peril of dismemberment, John I lay brought
to the forefront the second principle of his doctrine, the
integrity of China:

"The policy of the Government of the United States
is to seek a solution which may bring about permanent
safety and peace to China, preserve ( llinese territorial
and administrative entity, protect all rights guaranteed
to friendly powers by treaty and International law and

safeguard for the world the principle of equal and im-
partial trade with all parts of the Chinee Empire."* 8

In his reply to Great Britain concerning the Anglo-
( rerman agreement of October 16, 1900, he placed an


emphasis on the principle of the integrity of China equal
to that of equal opportunity of trade:

"During the last year this Government invited the
Powers interested in China to join in an expression
of views and purposes in the direction of impartial trade
with that country and received satisfactory assurances
to that effect from all of them. When the recent troubles
were at their height, this Government, on the third of
July, once more made an announcement of its policy
regarding impartial trade and the integrity of the Chinese
Empire, and had the gratification of learning that all
the Powers held similar views." 2i

From this time on, the Open Door policy of the United
States has been understood to consist of two leading prin-
ciples : namely, the equal opportunity of trade and the
integrity of China. In subsequent declarations or agree-
ments respecting the policy, these two principles are
always mentioned side by side. In his circular note of
January 13, 1905, issued in response to the request of
the then Kaiser, William II, to forestall any territorial
spoliation of China in consequence of the Russo-Japanese
War, John Hay said:

"For its part, the United States . . . has been grati-
fied at the cordial welcome accorded to its efforts to
Strengthen and perpetuate the broad policy of maintaining
the integrity of China and the 'Open Door' in the Orient,
whereby equality of commercial opportunity and access
shall be enjoyed by all nations." - : '

In the statements given to the press relating to the
neutralization plan for the Manchurian railways,'-'" there
was found the statement:

"As is well known, the essential principles of the Hay
policy of the Open Door are the preservation of the

territorial and jurisdictional integrity of the Chinese


Empire, and equal commercial opportunity in China for
all oatioi

In the Root-Takahara agreements, and recently in the

United States declaration in connection with Japan's
Twent) one Demands, and the Lansing-Ishii agreement,
the same principles were reiterated and reaffirmed.

1 [aving thus seen the essential principles of the Open
Door doctrine, let us analyze the meaning of the integrity
of China. By the integrity of China may be meant terri-
torial integrity, or sovereignty, or administrative integ-
rity. As to the first meaning — the territorial integrity
of China — there can be almost no dispute. John Hay's
circular note of July 3, 1900, clearly referred to the
preservation of territorial integrity :

"The policy of the Government of the United States
is to seek a solution which may bring about permanent
safety and peace to China, preserve Chinese territorial
and administrative entity. . . ." - 7

The reply to the British Government respecting the
Anglo-German agreement was given in response to the
request to concur in the principles of the equal oppor-
tunity of trade and that

"Her Britannic Majesty's Government and the Impe-
rial German Government will no1 on their part make use
of the present complication to obtain for themselves any
territorial advantages in Chinese dominions and will di-
rect their policy toward maintaining undimnished the ter-
ritorial condition of the Chinese Empire." 28

In subsequent agreements or declarations when the
phrase "the integrity of China" was employed, its mean-
ing as to territorial integrity was never questioned.

Respecting the second meaning — the sovereignty of
China — there is a general agreement among the Powers


that the integrity of China means the sovereignty of
China. In the Harbin case, when Russia attempted to
set up a municipal government in Chinese territory, the
United States Government protested, and contended that,
by the Treaty of Portsmouth, Russia had obligated her-
self to observe "a scrupulous regard for the sovereignty
of China," and that certain of the municipal ordinances
"would be a clear infringement upon the sovereignty of
China," -'■' and that

"this principle, which this Government concedes to be
the true one, is, in substance, that the only basis for the
exercise of governmental rights on the part of the offi-
cials of any country other than China within the Chinese
Empire should lie in the extraterritorial rights granted by
the treaties of China to the several Powers."

Thus, in this case, the United States Government took
the attitude that the sovereignty of China must be re-
spected, and that the exercise of any jurisdictional author-
ity must be based on extraterritorial grants. In the state-
ment given to the press with regard to the neutralization
of the Manchurian railways, the phrase "jurisdictional
integrity" of China was employed side by side with terri-
torial integrity :

"As is well known, the essential principles of the Hay
policy of the Open Door are the preservation of the
territorial and jurisdictional integrity of the Chinese Em-
pire, and equal commercial opportunity in China for all
nations." 30

In the IVanco-Japancse agreement of 1907, the Russo-
Japanese agreement of 1907, the Root-Takahira a
ment of 1908, and the Lansing-Ishii agreement of 1917,
the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1905 and 1911 w — in all
agreements the expression was used, "the independ-
ence and integrity of China,"

As regards the third meaning — the administrative in-


tegrity of China — there is no such unanimity of opinion,
hut rather a division of the same. It is claimed that
the Open Door principles do not apply to, nor include,
the administrative integrity of China. Reference is made,
as illustrations, to the Chinese Salt Administration and
the .Maritime Customs Service, which are all under for-
eign supervision. On the other hand, it is contended
that the Open Door Doctrine applies to, and includes,
the administrative integrity of China. For administra-
tive integrity is a necessary element of territorial entity
and sovereignty, the want of which will render the juris-
dictional authority nothing more than a name. In the
second circular of July 3, 1900, John Hay did mention
the preservation of the administrative integrity of China
as one of the objectives of his policy:

"The policy of the Government of the United States
is to . . . preserve Chinese territorial and administrative
entity. . . ." 32

In 1913, when Wilson withdrew the support of the United
States Government from the American group in the
Sextuple Consortium, resulting in the withdrawal of
the American hankers therefrom, he based his objection
on the ground that the reorganization loan touched the
administrative integrity of China. 33

"The conditions of the loan seem to us to touch very
nearly the administrative independence of China itself
and this administration does not feel that it ought, even
by implication, to be a party to these conditions. The
responsibility on its part which would he implied in re-
questing the hankers to undertake the loan might con-
ceivably go the length in some unhappy contingency of
forcible interference in the financial, and even the politi-
cal affairs of that great Oriental state, just now awaken-
ing to a consciousness of its power and of its obligations
to its people."


Although this policy of non-participation was reversed
later in 1916 34A and 1918,** D the reentrance of American
finance into China, now in the form of the New Inter-
national Banking Consortium, did not mean to infringe
or destroy the administrative integrity of China, but
rather to uphold and save the same from the consequences
of extravagance and corruption. This interpretation of
the Open Door doctrine as including the administrative
integrity of China does not, however, preclude the possi-
bility and probability of active intervention in the finances
of China, in case of bankruptcy or insolvency. In this
contingency, the supervision or control necessitated by
the situation would be undertaken, not in the spirit, or
with the intention, to infringe or nullify the administra-
tive integrity of China, but rather to uphold and save the
same with a view to restoring it eventually to the Chinese

Having thus seen the meaning of the Open Door doc-
trine with respect to the integrity of China, let us inquire
into another problem which has often been noted, and
that is, Does the Open Door doctrine apply to railways
in China? Is the principle of equal opportunity applica-
ble in their case? In the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of
1905 and 1911 M and the Lansing-Ishii agreement of
1917, ! ' ! mention was made only for the "equal opportunity
for commerce and industry in China." Railways were
not mentioned, unless by a liberal construction they were
included under the category of "commerce and industry."
On the other hand, railways are apt to control the eco-
nomic life of any territory through which they pass, and
Unless the powers obtain equal share in railways, the

trade of the regions are liable to be dominated by the
pou< r or powers controlling the railways. Furthermore,
as trade follows loans, railway loans musl be shared by
all in ord< lire the equal opportunity in supplying

materials and other i 3 for raihsa.


In spite of these conflicting opinions, it may be con-
cluded, however, that the Open Door doctrine does apply
to railways in China, with the reservation or condition

that vested interests are to be respected. This conclusion
conforms with the original doctrine as set forth by John
1 lav and the subsequent development and application of
the principles. To repeat, the first of the three provi-
sions as set forth in John Hay's Circular Note of Sep-
tember 6, 1899, was that each Government in its respec-
tive spheres of interest or influence "will in nowise inter-
fere with any treaty port or any vested interest within
any so-called 'sphere of interest' or leased territory it may
have in China." 3T Thus vested interests of whatever
nationality and in whatever spheres of influence are to
be respected. In applying this principle to railways, it
cannot mean any other arrangement than that those
already constructed or under construction in any spheres
of interest should be accorded due recognition and re-
spect. Except for this reservation, the Open Door doc-
trine applies to railways just as it does to commerce and
industry. In 1902, when Russia attempted to monopolize
the economic development of Manchuria through the
agency of a corporation, John Hay vigorously protected
against the proposed convention, in which he made the
specific mention of railways as being included within the
scope of his objection:

"Any agreement by which China cedes to any corpora-
tion or company the exclusive right or privilege of open-
ing mines, establishing railroads . . . can but be viewed
with gravest concern by the United States.'

In the proposal for the neutralization of the Manchurian
railways, Knox put the emphasis on their neutralization
as the most effective means of maintaining the principles
of the Open Door doctrine.

"First, perhaps the most effective way to preserve the

undisturbed employment by China of all political rights


in China and to promote the development of those prov-
inces under a practical application of the policy of the
Open Door and equal commercial opportunity would be
to bring the Manchurian highways, the railroads, under
an economic, scientific and impartial administration by
some plan vesting in China the ownership of the railroads
through funds furnished for that purpose by the inter-
ested powers willing to participate. . . ." 30

Although the plan, as is well known, was defeated
mainly by the opposition of Japan and Russia, it is
obvious that the Open Door doctrine does apply to rail-
ways. Besides, notwithstanding the failure of the neu-
tralization plan, in the formation of the New International
Banking Consortum, the United States Government pro-
posed :

"That not only future options that might be granted
but concessions already held by individual banking groups
Otl which substantial progress had not been made, should,
as far as feasible, be pooled with the Consortium ; that
working on these two principles, the operations of the
Consortium would serve to prevent for the future the
setting up of special spheres of influence on the conti-
nent of Asia. The United States Government laid great
stress on this latter point as being highly effective in
doing away with international jealousies and in helping to
preserve the integrity and independence of China." 4U

Thus, the United States Government proposed to re-
spect the vested interests of the existing railways and
the railways on which substaneial progress had been
made, hut at the same time to pool or internationalize all
future option-, and existing concessions in railway
which substantia] progress had not been made.

isoning from the neutralization plan and the policy
of the New Consortium with respect to railways, the
conclusion can be safely reached that the < >|>in Door
doctrine does apply to railways in China with the sole


reservation thai vested interests of the existing railways
will be accorded due respect. And derivable from the
same facts, a new principle, or corollary to the principles
of the Open Door doctrine, can also he obtained, and
that is the internationalization of these railways. Kail-
ways are usually monopolies. As such they are not
supposed to be subject to competition as the other forms
of economic enterprises, where competition is permissible
and wholesome. When and where they are subject to
competition, the inevitable outcome is either the destruc-
tion of both, or all lines, or their agreement and coopera-
tion, and in some cases, even combination. As the Open
Door principle of equal opportunity presupposes com-
petition, it meets the stone wall of this economic princi-
ple governing railways, that is, they are monopolies and
not open to competition. Confronted with this difficulty,
the exponents of the Open Door doctrine can either refuse
to apply it to railways, excluding them as being outside
of the field of competition, as evidenced by the demarca-
tion of the various spheres of influence for the construc-
tion of railways in China, or they must resort to the
only and inevitable alternative or solution, under which
the Open Door policy can be safely and beneficially ap-
plied, that is, the internationalization of Chinese railways.
It is for this reason that the neutralization plan was pro-
posed, and it is for the same reason that the New Con-
sortium adopted the policy of the internationalization
or the pooling of all railway options. The thesis may,
therefore, be proposed that henceforth the internation-
alization of railways in China, so far as the Open Door
doctrine is applied to them, will become a new princi-
ple, or corallory to the leading principles, of the Open
Door doctrine.

In addition to the internationalization of railways,
another question may be raised and that is as to how
the Open Door doctrine can be held to agree with a


recognition of Japan's special interest in China as em-
bodied in the Lansing-lshii agreement of November 2,
1917. That agreement provided that

"The governments of the Untied States and Japan
recognized that territorial propinquity creates special re-
lations between countries, and consequently the govern-
ment of the United States recognizes that Japan has
special interests in China, particularly in the part to
which her possessions are contiguous." 41

From a superficial examination of the Open Door doc-
trine and the principle of special interests, the conclu-
sion cannot be escaped that the recognition of such in-
terests is contrary, and inconsistent, to the Open Door
doctrine. For "special interests" must mean interests
which are special, or, in other words, exclusive to Japan.
Yet, the Open Door doctrine proclaims the gospel of
equal opportunity, barring any exclusive claims.

From a close scrutiny, however, of the agreement and
Secretary Lansing's testimony before the Committee on
Foreign Relations of the United States Senate, the im-
ion of inconsistency yields to a more sympathetic
conclusion that the recognition of Japan's special in-
terests was not inconsistent, but rather in consonance,
with the Open Door doctrine. Lansing recognized Jap-
an's special interest in China as of the same character as
the special interests of the United States in Mexico, or
Canada, or the Latin-American Republics. I lis own

testimony in the Senate clearly bears evidence to his in-
tention and interpretation:

"... I told him then that if it meant 'paramount
interest,' I could not discuss it further; but it he meant
special interesl based upon geographical position, 1 would
consider the insertion of it in the note. Then it was,
during that same interview, that we mentioned 'paramount
interest' and he made a reference to the Monroe Doc-


trine, and rather a suggestion that there should be a
Monroe Doctrine for the Far East.

"And I told him that there seemed to he a misconcep-
tion as to the underlying principle of the Monroe Doc-
trine; that it was not an assertion of primacy or 'para-
mount interest' by the United States in its relations to
other American Republics; that its purpose was to pre-

Online LibraryMingchien Joshua BauThe foreign relations of China: a history and a survey → online text (page 13 of 39)