The Open Door Policy
The “Open Door Policy” is a foreign affairs idea which refers to the policy in 1899 that was made so that all countries could use China to trade without taking control of China. The “Open Door Policy” with China was proposed in the open door notes of September-November 1899, by William Woodville Rockhill. The United States gained power of the Philippine Islands in 1898 and became an Eastern Power. When the Imperial Powers were closing down on taking over China the US felt threatened because they would be missing out on a large amount of trade that made up most of their economy.
United States Secretary of State John Hay sent notes to the major powers France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan, and Russia asking them to say that they would not interfere with the trading going on in China. The notes stated that all European nations and the United States were allowed to trade within China without restriction by other countries. Each nation tried to ignore the request saying that they could not commit until all of the other nations had complied, but in July 1900 Hay announced that each nation had granted consent. The only nations that voiced concern were Russia and Japan. The Open Door Notes was an important document, and it greatly benefitted China. Even though John Hay’s Open Door Notes were written to help America, they ended up greatly improving the development of China, as well as allowing the United States equal trade rights.
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