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Memoirs of Robert Dollar
Vol. 1 - Chapter Sixteen. Commissioners Separate to Reunite Later

Our party then broke up, some going to Europe via the Suez, while others went to Manila and Shanghai, where we were to meet later. Mrs. Dollar and I went directly to Shanghai where we visited for ten days, and were tendered dinners and luncheons daily, the most notable being at the residence of Choa Chu Kuan, at which were present not only the ladies of his family, but other ladies, which was contrary to custom but which we thoroughly enjoyed. Among the men present, were the President of Kiangsu Provincial Assembly, the Governor of Mukden, Manchuria, and other Chinese notables. We had met the President of the Assembly at Nanking, and although our conversation was carried on through an interpreter. we had an interesting discussion on constitutional government—the all important subject before them at the present time They are all very anxious to learn from us all we know about the various branches of the legislature. To some extent they are in the dark as to exactly what they will ultimately do. They are working out the rules for both the Assembly and the Senate, but the exact relationship between them has not been determined.

But a much more important subject, on which there are various opinions, is the exact relationship between the Emperor and the Senate and the Grand Councilors. A great many holding high positions will have to step down and out, to make room for the constitutional government, as when it is in complete working order, the day of officialdom is over. That is, the official as he is at present and only understood by the Chinese themselves. And I am free to say I cannot understand why so many are employed and what many of them do to earn their money. In most cases.

the salaries they get are inadequate, and the balance that they require they have to make up on the outside. The feeling between officials and merchants is not very friendly, and I can see the breach has been widened very much of late.


Two days before leaving Shanghai I gave a banquet at the Palace Hotel to twenty-four of the principal merchants of Shanghai and other cities. One of the guests in a speech said there had never been such a party in China before. The Presidents of the following Chinese Chambers of Commerce were present: Shangha- Canton, Hankow and Tientsin, the four largest commercial cities, and three others were represented by their Vice-Presidents. The distance between the cities farthest apart, that were represented, was two thousand miles, and they had never been united thus before. At this banquet they decided to form a Consolidated or United Chamber of Commerce, so that all of them could act through a central organization in Shanghai. So, if our visit has done no more than to accomplish this, we are well repaid. This is the first and most significant move towards a United China. I made a short address, to which H. E. Chou replied and which was interpreted by Mr. Chu A Chi. He said, words failed him to tell me how much they appreciated my visit at this time, knowing that I had not long returned home. This visit necessitated Mrs. Dollar and myself coming to China twice in one year, traveling twenty-eight thousand miles to do it, and that I had consented to leave my business and home comforts at their written and cabled requests. He assured me of their high appreciation for what I had done to promote friendly relations between America and China. All of which they would not forget.

My address is below.

On behalf of the Commercial Commission, it gives me great pleasure to welcome here tonight such a representative body of merchants from so many different provinces—from Chili in the north to Kwang Tung in the south. It is a great satisfaction to me and it must be to you, to know of


the great success of our visit. I see, that in the Japanese papers, it is now admitted that our visit has greatly increased the friendship between the two nations. But what we will discuss at the meeting next Friday will be the final means to increase the trade between our countries. 1 wish to call your special attention to the reciprocal aspect of the case; for our trade relations to be lasting we must have free exchange of commodities. We must buy your products and you must buy ours. From a shipping or transportation point of view, it comes more forcibly home to us that, if we come to this country and load our ships with your freight and you do not buy sufficient from us and we, have to bring our ships from America empty, then we must charge you almost double freight, so you will see that you are as much interested as ourselves in furnishing cargoes both ways. The following will help our commercial relations:

1. The loaning of American money to your government.
2. The formation of a bank as proposed.
3. The establishment of exhibits in both countries with a competent man in charge.
4. The establishment of your merchant marine in foreign trade.

All those things will help, but the most essential is for your merchants and ours to visit each other's country and get acquainted and study each other's wants, and in no way can this trade be developed as by the individual efforts and energy which is essential to the development of commercial relations.

Immigration. I did not intend to mention this subject, but as my friend, the President of the Canton Chamber of Commerce. His Excellency Chang Pat Sze, Assistant Minister of Commerce, has brought it up, I must reply. Rut I cannot say more than I said in my address, which was published in all the Chinese papers. I can assure you, however, that no bona fide merchant will have trouble in landing in America.

I ask you to drink a toast, which at this time I consider appropriate, as I am addressing gentlemen from all parts of China—"A United China."

On November nth, as arranged, our party arrived from Manila. 1 called our meeting together and asked Mr Moore to preside, with His Excellency Chang of Canton to act as joint Chairman with him. This was a fortunate stroke as Mr Chang is a very distinguished man, comes from Kwang Tung Province in the extreme south, and is very popular with the Chinesej also on account of the immigration troubles. This made the meeting a success as it created enthusiasm 1 outlined the various subjects that during the past week 1 had discussed from time to time at various meetings, at which His Excellency Shen Tun Ho was the moving spirit, He has been most energetic.

The subjects for discussion were:

1. Bank: one-half Chinese capital and one-half American.

2. Exhibits in China and America.

3. Exposition

4. Reciprocity.

5. Merchants of both countries to visit each other.

6. Building a steamer: one half capital from each country.

7. Uniting the Chambers of Commerce of China.

The Shanghai Secretary, Chu Li Chi, read the report of the committee, composed of different Chambers, which is below. As to the first paragraph, half of the capital of three million taels was subscribed by the Chinese and our committee on banks agreed to submit, a report to the bankers on our side. The second paragraph was approved, and w ill be submitted to our Associated Chambers of Commerce at the January meeting.

Questions to be brought up for discussion at the conference :

1. Banking Corporation Scheme. To start an American-Chinese Banking Corporation with a capita) of say ten million Shanghai taels or Mexican dollars, one-half to be subscribed by Americans, and the balance by Chinese, and to be registered at Washington and Peking under American ordinances, with its head office in the most desirable port on the Pacific Coast. This said bank, besides doing its regular business in ordinary mercantile loans against delivery orders, can also be the agency of the Chinese Government loans for the construction of railways, organization of industrial enterprises, and the development of resources. It may also extend its business m the nature of a loan and trust company if the circumstances warrant. As China at present needs capital for developing her resources, and the rate of interest is higher in the Orient than in the Occident, and also owing to our system of government and the uncertainty of their banking laws, the wealthy Chinese and high officials would rather entrust their deposits with the foreign registered bank than with one purely Chinese. In view of these points there are enormous possibilities of profit to start such a bank, with no possibility of loss ;n the hands of honest experts. The matter, however, will be more fully discussed at the meeting.

2. Establishment of Exhibition Halls. With a view to promoting trade between America and China, it is desirable that the American Chambers of Commerce provide halls (at such ports along the Pacific Coast convenient for import from China) for the exhibition of Chinese products, to be sent from time to time by the Chinese Chambers of Commerce if they think it expedient. The said halls, under the supervision and assistance of the American Chamber, to be managed by an English-speaking Chinese whose duty is to give information and answer any questions regarding the products. He is also to correspond and report about the business conditions and markets, from time to time, between America and China, so as to keep the Chambers of Commerce of the two nations in close touch and well advised. On the other hand, the Chinese Chambers of Commerce will also provide a similar hall, say at Shanghai, to be governed and managed exactly in the same manner, for the disposal of the goods sent by the American Chambers of Commerce.

3. Appointment of Commercial Delegates and Canvassing Agencies. For the furtherance of trade between America and China, it is advisable to mutually send commercial delegates as canvassing agencies for the two countries. The American delegate will stay in China with headquarters, say at Shanghai, and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce will undertake to provide him an English-speaking assistant, an office and also letters of introduction. His business is to travel with samples of American products from port to port, for advertising ami securing orders from industrial merchants. The Chinese delegate will stay in America with his headquarters at the most desirable port along the Pacific Coast, and he will do in the same way and be treated in like manner by the American Chambers of Commerce.

These are practical suggestions which can be carried out economically with great success. We hope that the American Commissioners wil1 give them their favorable consideration and take prompt action.

Reciprocity was discussed, and it was made very plain to all that each country must buy from the other. To prosper, trade cannot be one sided. With the above object in view, merchants must visit each other's country and get acquainted so that trade may be increased.

The building of a freight steamer to fly the Chinese flag, for which one-half the capital should come from China and half from America, will be taken up by the Chambers of Commerce with the Minister of Commerce, to see what the laws are, and with the Minister of Communication to see if the grand ''chop" would be rebated.

Mr. K. P. ('hew, on behalf of the Exposition, spoke as follows:

When the Commissioners were in Nanking last month, this subject was roughly discussed and met with genera! approval among the merchants as well as the representatives of the Exhibitors' Association. Later on, the subject was again brought before the public by His Excellency Sheng Tang Ho. His articles ;n the local press at Shanghai and other ports have not only drawn the people's attention, but created interest throughout the Empire. It is now universally recognized that an institution of this kind properly managed would go a long way to promote the commercial relations of the two countries.

The visit of the members of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of the Pacific Coast to China is an epoch-making event n the history of commerce. Through their visits to our cities, they have gathered whatever facts that are necessary for their purposes. ()n the other hand, our merchants have, through their personal contact, acquired also valuable information from them. It is a mutual proposition, but it lacks a permanent character The International Commercial Museum would maintain not only what has been accomplished, but it would gather further information about the market and serve as a medium to promote commerce.

The scope of the institution must be broad. Several museums must be established in China and in the Pacific ports. In the museums there should be a complete exhibition of product, system of manufacture, method of transportation, etc. There should be a Bureau of Information where general information and specific information can be obtained by the merchants, as well as by the interested parties. There should be in each country, and in the respective languages, a newspaper as the origin for the development of American Chinese commerce.

The organization for administration of the museums should also be international. There should be a central board, whose members should be composed half of representatives of American Chambers of Commerce, and half of Chinese. By such organization, uniformity may be obtained.

Luncheon was served in the same room -n which we w ere having our meeting, but we were so busy with speeches and business we did not have time to finish and had to hurry, arriving on board the ship that was lying at Woosung ready to receive us, at the exact time she was scheduled to sail The Chinese came in a body to wish us ban voyage. Every one, Chinese aud American, was delighted with the great success of our visit from which we hope for great results


We find that the imports into China for 1008 were $248,538,000; for 1909, $263,666,000: an increase of six per cent, or $15,128,000. Of these amounts, imports from America were, for 1908, $25,984,000; for 1909, $20,541,000; a decrease of twenty-one per cent, or $5,443,000. Exports to America for 1908 were $15,009,000; for 1909, $20,440,000; an increase of thirty-six per cent, or $5,431,000. In other words, our sales to China have decreased twenty-one per cent, but our purchases from China have increased thirty-six per cent.

Our sales to China in 1905 were forty eight and a half million dollars, while last year they were only twenty and a half million dollars, a decrease of about one hundred and forty per cent; which illustrates the old saying, ''that trade follows the dag," as American ships last year only carried n>ne-tenths of one per cent of the commerce of China.

These figures bring out very forcibly the fact that we are buying more from China than they buy from us; and, while the trade is increasing with other nations, their purchases from us are rapidly decreasing. The question which has occupied the minds of the Commission is how this state of affairs can be changed. The conclusion we have come to is: For our merchants and manufacturers to send their best men to China to work up trade, or better still, for the print 'pals of the firms to go and make a personal investigation first, taking plenty of time, to thoroughly understand the conditions, then, if they decide that a profitable trade can be carried on. send the best men they have to work it up We cannot too strongly recommend this, as the possibilities are unlimited.

Please keep in mind that :ti going to China you are going to over one-quarter of the inhabitants of the world, and as they are just changing from the old to the new way of doing things, now is the opportune time. Other nations appreciate this far more than we do. For instance: France, Germany and Japan each subsidize a line of steamers flying their flags to engage in the coastwise trade between the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Hankow, not to speak of the subsidies they all pay for a direct mail service from their countries to China. That is how much they value the trade of China. The United States takes no interest in this trade, as to get a letter to or from China it has to pass through three Japanese ports; and the deplorable fact is, that, in the early days of the navigation of the Yangtsze River, Americans had all the trade, as all the steamers on the river were under the American flag; now there is not an American-owned steamer on the river.

To some of you the name of this river and our former prestige on it may not appear important, but when we say to you that one-sixth of the human race lives on this river and its tributaries, we hope you will see its importance as we have by personal examination. As to whether the trade is of sufficient importance to go after, we would call to your attention that no country in the past ten years has progressed as China has, and it is difficult to keep informed of the rapid changes that are taking place. Fifteen years ago they had ten miles of railroad, now they have six thousand miles; in 1908, the postoffice handled twenty-two and a half million pieces of mail, while in 19x4 it handled five hundred and forty-nine million pieces; China has adopted a constitutional form of government, our style of education, and reforms too numerous to specify here. The postoffice and the railroads are about the best barometers of trade, so the above figures are significant. Another example of the rapid development: Three years ago soya beans had never been exported to Europe; this year they expect to export one and a quarter million tons, valued at thirty-seven millions of dollars. Sessimum seed was unknown five years ago; this year Hankow will export over two hundred thousand tons of this valuable grain, bringing into the country over twelve million dollars. None of these products went to the United States.

From our observations on tins trip, we cannot overlook the important part missions have played in the development of trade in China. Unless they had pioneered and opened the way, the foreign trade would be a very negligible quantity. In this connection the thousands of Chinese young men who received their education in mission schools—many of them that we met occupying high places in Government and commercial positions—bear testimony to the great amount of trade and commerce.

In view of the foregoing we make the following recommendations:

First—It will only be by the individual, personal efforts of our merchants that we will get our fair share of the commerce of the Pacific.

Second—We respectfully demand of our Government a change in our navigation laws and inspection regulations, so as to permit us to use American ships in the development of this great trade, as. without ships, our commercial development is hopeless. If the Government will not assist, then the least it can do is not to hinder nor prevent us front getting our fair share of the trade, but, encourage rather than discourage us.

Third—Further, we would endorse and recommend our Government's policy of the Open Door and the integrity of China, as essential to our best interests and the development of our commercial relations.

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