The Open Door Note and The Open Door Policy

What was the Open Door Note?

The Open Door Note was sent from the US Secretary of State, John Hay, to Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Italy and Japan in 1899 as a result of China’s lease of the port of Kiaochow and Shantung province to Germany.

John Hay is worried, fearing that US trade with China may suffer in this area as a result of the lease and wants reassurances that it won’t.

As a result, he proposes that all interested powers have equal access (free trade) to China.

Open Door Policy (1899)

  • Stopped the European powers from carving up China into colonies, but did allow them to establish spheres of influence.

  • Kept China open to free trade, meaning anyone could import and export into China, whilst also an "Open Door" meant anyone could freely visit.

  • The agreement was made between the imperial powers without consulting the Chinese government– they were simply informed of the decision!

Information from this page was primarily sourced from information provided to me by my previous teacher, Mr Joshua Tillott.