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No. 296
April 26, 1906

To the Honorable

Elihu Root,
Secretary of State,
Washington, D.C.

S i r :

I have the honor to inform you that while at the Railway station on the evening of Monday the 23rd to bid good-bye to Baron von Mumm, the newly appointed German Ambassador to Japan, I was informed by the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Na-t'ung, that Her Majesty the Empress Dowager had that day ordered the Foreign Office to remit to me 100,000 taels as a personal contribution to the relief of the San Francisco sufferers by the earthquake and fire.

Her Majesty had at the same time ordered 40,000 taels sent to the Chinese Minister in Washington for the relief of the Chinese residents.

His excellency added that the contribution of Her Majesty would be handed me on the following morning.

On Tuesday morning an Under Secretary of the Wai-wu Pu brought me a note from the Prince of Ch'ing, a translation of which I enclose and handed me a 100,000 taels Treasury note.

I informed him that I had wired to you Her Majesty's intention, and while requesting him to convey to His Highness Prince Ch'ing the expression of my very high appreciation for Her Majesty's gracious sympathy, I said that I would call on the Minister for Foreign affairs as soon as I receive a reply to my telegram.

On receipt of your cablegram I wrote to the Prince of Ch'ing paraphrasing your instruction, and also asked His Excellency Na-t'ung to receive me yesterday afternoon, when I handed him the note to the Prince of Ch'ing and the bill for Tls. 100,000.

I explained to him the position of our Government in the matter and assured him that our gratitude was profound, and that Her Majesty's prompt and generous aid in this national calamity would be appreciated by all our people.

I finally made him thoroughly understand that it was not a slight put upon Her Majesty but that the President had decided that it was best to refuse all the numerous offers of aid from abroad which had been made.

He said that he would report the matter to Their Majesties and explain to them the reason for our declining foreign aid.

I confirm as follows my cablegram to you on this matter and acknowledge the receive of your telegram in reply to mine of the 23rd instant:

I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,

(signed) W.W. Rockhill
Enclosure No. 1 in Despatch No. 296


Prince of Ch'ing to Mr. Rockhill.
Foreign Office, April 23, 1906

Your Excellency:

I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that I have this 30th Day of the Third Moon (April 25, 1906) received Her Imperial Majesty's Edict, as follows:

"WE have received the commands of Her Imperial Majesty, Tzu-hai etc., etc., Empress Dowager, saying:- "The city of San Francisco, in the United States, has suffered a very serious earthquake shock, and this Court is filled with compassion.

"Let One Hundred Thousand Taels be appropriated from the Imperial treasury and sent by the Board of Foreign Affairs to the American Minister in Peking, to be by him at once transmitted by draft to the afflicted city for the relief of distress and as a mark of friendship between the two countries."

"Respect this."

My Board having now received One Hundred Thousand K'up'ing Taels from the Board of Revenue, I have the honor to send the same to Your Excellency, that you may immediately transmit the same, and that you may telegraph Your Excellency's Government in notification of this action.

I trust that you will kindly make acknowledgment, by which I shall be obliged.

I avail myself of the occasion etc. etc. etc.

Cards of Prince and Ministers enclosed.
Transcribed from the holdings of the Museum of the City of San Francisco
Go to the Telegraph Log of the American Legation,

or Return to the 1906 Earthquake Exhibit
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