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Since then we have had no intimation from you as to a compliance with our request for a joint interview, and we know of no steps having been taken looking to any arrangement regarding the matters of which we had to complain.
In view of this state of affairs; the apparent ignoring of our complaint; our failure to secure an interview with yourself, and the fact that our request for a joint audience remains unsatisfied, we are reluctantly compelled to inform your excellency that we will be unable to accept the invitation of the president of the ceremonial department to attend a ceremonial audience on New Year's day. We take this opportunity, etc.,
(Signed by the members of the Diplomatic Corps.)
Mr. Sik to the foreign representatires.
FOREIGN OFFICE, December 30, 1902. Your EXCELLENCIES: In reply to your excellencies' letter of the 29th instant, regarding the matter of deeds of property in this city and in the ports, in which you say that your excellencies would not be in the audience on January 1 next unless a day in the early part of January was fixed to settle the matter, etc.
I have the honor to inform you that I am very busy in the office lately and I can not spare a day before New Year's day to discuss the matter with your excellencies, so I name the day of 10th January, at 2 o'clock p. m., asking your excellencies to come to my office to discuss and settle the matter on that date.
I said in my previous answer that I would not trifle and delay the matter. Is what I said incredible? Your excellencies say in the letter to which this is an answer that I ignored the matter, which I did not expect from you, and in such a matter it must be discussed; so I said in my answer there was no necessity to have an audience. But you say that an audieuce was not granted, and that therefore you would not go to the audience to congratulate His Majesty on the New Year's day. This is also what I could not expect from you.
I therefore ask you to think of the amicable friendship and attend the New Year's audience. I have, etc.,
CHO PYUNG SIK, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Seoul, December 31, 1902. Monsieur LE MINISTRE: We beg to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency's dispatch of yesterday's date, replying to our joint note of the 29th instant.
In this dispatch you fix January 10, at 2 p. m., as the date and hour for receiving us at your office for the purpose of discussing and settling the questions mentioned in our joint notes, to which this is a reply.
As your excellency seems to be somewhat surprised at the action taken by us in our joint note, we wish to remind you that we had no intention of giving offense by our refusal to attend the ceremonial audience on New Year's day. Our action was forced upon us by our inability to secure the discussion of matters of serious importance relating to treaty stipulations.
In view of the fact that your excellency has arranged a date for the discussion and
HORACE N. ALLEN,
Your IMPERIAL MAJESTY: On behalf of the Governments and peoples we represent, as well as for ourselves, we tender to Your Majesty our sincere congratulations upon
the successful closing of another year and the beginning of this New Year, which we hope may be one of promise to yourself; to His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince and to the Princess, as well as to Your Majesty's Government and people.
During the past twelve months Your Majesty has entered the honorable stage of advanced age, having celebrated the close of the first cycle of the sixth decade of your honorable life.
You have also successfully passed the fortieth anniversary of your enthronement, in connection with which event the country has witnessed great celebrations. The extensive preparations for the celebration of this event by foreigners had to be abandoned owing to the presence of a dread scourge. Your Majesty's health was, however, preserved, and you have reached an age and a length of reign such as may be said to be unusual and, therefore, a subject for congratulation.
We wish you a continuance of health and peace and bespeak prosperity for your honorable country.
OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN LANDS IN THE GENERAL FOREIGN
SETTLEMENT AT CHEMULPO.
Mr. Allen to Mr. Ilay.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Seoul, January 28, 1903. Sir: As a matter of record, I have the honor to hand you inclosed copies of correspondence leading to the settlement of an important question relating to the general foreign settlement at Chemulpo, namely, the ownership of the northwest foreshore, now occupied by the Seoul-Chemulpo Railway.
When this railway was being built in 1897 the Korean Government allowed the American concessionaire, James R. Morse, to fill in an extensive tract of mud flats lying off the general foreign settlement on the northwest sea front.
After the railway had passed into the hands of the Japanese in 1898 the Chemulpo municipal council, on completion of the foreshore, very naturally attempted to collect taxes on the ground as a part of the general foreign settlement, and to reimburse them for caring for the same. The Japanese company, after much discussion and upon legal advice, declined to pay taxes, on the ground that the concession for the railway exempted them from any such responsibilities, and that the payment of the taxes in question should devolve upon the Korean Government, who seem to have been at fault in granting to the railway a portion of the foreshore of the international settlement.
This opinion met with the support of the foreign representatives at Seoul, and on February 22, 1902, the matter was laid before the Korean minister for foreign affairs, as per joint note of the foreign representatives of that date, of which I inclose a copy. With this note was inclosed a memorandum of what was proposed. I inclose a copy of this.
After considerable discussion, in which Mr. J. McLeavy Brown, commissioner of customs, was concerned, as he was largely responsible for the original grant of the foreshore to the railway company, the Korean Government, on December 23 last, accepted the responsibility for the payment of taxes to the amount of 100 yen per month; the building of a road and drains, and the handing over of the same to the municipal council, who are required to metal the surface of the road and attend to the policing, lighting, and maintenance of the same. (See letter from the foreign office, copy inclosed.)
On January 3, as doyen, I notified the Chemulpo municipal council of this settlement, and asked for their acceptance of the same. (Inclosure 4.) This they did on January 10, by previous arrangement, detailing the conditions as they understood them and as they were willing to accept them. On January 13, therefore, I addressed the minister for foreign affairs, accepting his proposal of December 23, in the language of the letter from the municipal council, and fully defining the present status of the railway foreshore. This letter was approved by all my colleagues. (Inclosure 5.) I have, etc.,
HORACE N. ALLEN.
Foreign representatives to minister for foreign affairs.
SEOUL, February 22, 1902. MONSIEUR LE MINISTRE: By the contract entered into between Mr. Morse and the Korean Government on the 29th March, 1896, for the construction of a railway from Seoul to Chemulpo, your excellency's government agreed to provide free of taxes the land needed for stations, sheds, etc., in connection with the undertaking. The Korean Government, apparently by misunderstanding, committed the mistake of granting to the concessionaire the western foreshore of the general foreign settlement at Chemulpo as the terminus of the railway line at that port, and the ground was in due course filled in, bunded, and made ready for the use of the railway.
The site which was thus granted and prepared passed with the other interests and obligations of the concessionaire to the present Seoul-Chemulpo Railway Company, but various questions connected with the reclamation and tenure of the ground, its liabilities to the municipal council, and the conditions under which, in the event of the purchase of the railway, it should revert to the Korean Government, have never been definitely settled. The matter having now been referred to us by the municipal council, we, the undersigned representatives of the treaty powers, have, after full consideration of all the circumstances, formulated the following arrangements as a definite solution of the whole question. These proposals, while carefully adhering to the terms of the agreement between the Korean Government and the original concessionaire, will be found, we believe, to afford a fair and equitable adjustment of all the interests involved in the enforcement of that agreement.
It is not our intention at present to enter into any account of the reasons which led in each case to the conclusion at which we have arrived. This, we consider, can be done much more satisfactorily in personal consultation with your excellency, and we would therefore ask you to be good enough to fix a day and hour at which we, or a committee of our body, may have an opportunity of laying before you a full explanation of the whole question.
In the meantime we desire to add that the scheme has been approved by the SeoulChemulpo Railway Company, who, in order to make their acceptance as little onerous as possible to the Korean Government, have intimated their readiness to allow the refund of the cost of constructing the sea wall, estimated by the company at 41.000 yen, to remain over until the expiration of the original concession or of any further term for which it may be extended.
We trust, therefore, that your excellency will have no difficulty in giving your adhesion to the proposed arrangement.
We avail, etc.,
Memorandum. I. That the filled-in ground on the western side of the general foreign settlement, now occupied by the Seoul-Chemulpo Railway, while being part of the general foreign settlement, and therefore subject to the by-laws thereof, shall be considered as granted during the term of the railway concession, or during any further period
for which the concession may be extended, to the said company for the use of the railway, by special arrangement between the Korean Government and the foreign representatives in the interests of the general foreign settlement.
II. That no title deeds shall be given for the filled-in ground during the term of the said grant.
III. That no tax or rental shall be paid for the filled-in ground during the term of the said grant.
IV. That the cost of constructing and keeping in repair the sea wall protecting the said land, in accordance with clause 3 of the land regulations, shall be borne by the Korean Government.
V. That in consideration of the fact that no taxes are to be paid for the land in question, the primary cost of metalling and draining the bund road, from the customs jetty to cemetery point, estimated by the municipal council at 2,900 yen, shall be borne by the Korean Government, and that the maintaining, lighting, policing, etc., of the said road shall be undertaken by the municipal council in consideration of a yearly payment of 1,500 yen, to be made to them by the Korean Government through the customs.
VI. That if after the expiration of the original term of the railway concession, or of any further term for which it may be extended, the Korean Government shall purchase the railway, the Korean Government shall have the right of using the filledin ground for the railway on the same terms under which its use is granted to the railway company by this arrangement (viz, that is, that no deeds are issued and no taxes paid), and in consideration of their paying to the railway company the actual cost incurred in filling in the ground and of their continuing to provide for the keeping in repair, lighting, policing, etc., of the bund road in the manner set forth under clause 5.
VII. That in the event of the railway company or the Korean Government (the latter after the purchase of the railway) removing the station from its present site the ground shall be taken over by the municipal council and dealt with in the same way as other unoccupied ground in the general foreign settlement; and further, in the event of the railway company removing the station the actual cost of filling in the ground shall be refunded to them from the proceeds of the land in question, viz, the upset price of the lots to be increased by the proportional part of the expenses incurred in filling in the foreshore in question, this and only this latter part of the price to be paid to the railway company on the sale of each lot.
[Inclosure 2.- Translation.]
Seoul, December 23, 1902. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellencies' joint note of the 220 February last, with reference to the western foreshore of the Chemúlpo settlement, which has been filled in for use as a railway station. In this dispatch you proposed that a sum of 3,000 yen should be appropriated for the present from the customs revenue to meet the expenses of policing and lighting the land surrounding the station and of building a bund road 15 meters in width.
The tract in question was originally surplus land adjoining the settlement, and remained waste so long as it was put to no use; but as soon as it was employed the municipal council ought to have assumed control of it. But some office or other, under the impression that the land did not form part of the settlement, granted it to the American concessionaire, Mr. Morse, on the understanding that rent and other expenses should be paid by the railway company.
Subsequently Mr. Morse sold the land to Japanese.
Under the terms of the original concession all land, official or private, required for the track, stations, etc., was to be provided by the Korean Government free of rent and taxes. The municipal council, inasmuch as they received no ground tax thereon, refused to expend money on its upkeep. These expenses should properly fall on the office which made a free grant of the land; as, however, the commencement of work and the collection of money is urgent, it would be useless to delay in order to discover the responsible office.
In order, therefore, to meet the circumstances of the case, the customs will assist the council, and from the 1st of January, 1903, a sum of 100 yen will be paid monthly from the customs revenue to meet the expenses of lighting and policing the area and of maintaining the road in repair. And further, the work of building a public road 15 meters wide along the bund will be taken in hand immediately, together with the provision of covered and uncovered drains, the estimated cost of which will be entirely paid from the customs revenues.
As soon as the road is completed it will be handed over, in accordance with the regulations, to the municipal council, who will bear the expense of metaling in order to keep the road in repair.
Should the Korean Government at any time resume possession of the station land the amounts advanced must be refunded to the customs, and the land itself will be given over to the council, who will be responsible for the expenses in connection with its maintenance.
(SEAL OF FOREIGN OFFICE.]
Mr. Allen lo secretary of municipal council.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Seoul, January 3, 1903. Sir: I have the honor to address you upon the subject of the railway foreshore at Chemulpo, which matter is now apparently arranged, pending your acceptance of the conditions in posed.
On February 22 last we, the foreign representatives, addressed a note on the subject to the minister for foreign affairs. With this note we presented a memorandum corering the case, and on December 23 we received a reply in which the Korean Government, through the customs, agree to a monthly payment to the municipal council of 100 yen, for the purposes of maintaining the roads of this foreshore. The Govern ment also agrees to make the road of proper width and build the drains. The road is to be handed over to the municipal council on completion, and the latter will be obliged to metal the same.
You will note from a perusal of this correspondence that the letter of the foreign minister is not a complete reply to ours of February 22. At the same time it seems to cover the points we raised, and I shall, under instructions from my colleagues, accept the same with your assent, at the same time calling the attention of the minister to the seeming omissions of his reply. I have, etc.,
HORACE N. ALLEN,
Mr. Allen to Mr. Sik.
SEOUL, KOREA, January 13, 1903. MONSIEUR LE MINISTRE: In reply to your letter of the 23d December regarding the matter of the railway foreshore at Chemulpo, I have the honor to inform you that, while your letter does not fully cover all the points raised in the joint note of the foreign representatives of February 22, 1902, the intention seemed to be satisfactory, and your excellency's note was accepted by the foreign representatives as corering the case, subject to acceptance by the Chemulpo municipal council.
On reference of your note to that body, together with the joint note of the foreign representatives of February 22 last, with the memorandum that accompanied that note, the municipal council accepted the propositions contained in your note with an elaboration of what they understand to be the full meaning of the same, and that your excellency's letter of December 23 does not imply any future obligation on the part of the municipal council to refund any amounts advanced by the customs; and that in view of the modifications thus introduced into the memorandum accompany ing our note of February 22 last, the arrangement now accepted by the Korean Gov. ernment, as well as by the representatives of the treaty powers, the municipal council, and the Seoul-Chemulpo Railway Company, has taken the following form:
1. That the filled-in ground on the western side of the general foreign settlement, now occupied by the Seoul-Chemulpo Railway, while being part of the general foreign settlement and therefore subject to the by-laws thereof, shall be considere! as granted during the term of the railway concession, or during any further period for which the concession inay be extended to the said company, for the use of the