No. 410.
Mr. Hubbard to Mr. Bayard.

No. 264

Sir: In the Commercial Relations of the United States, 1884–1885, published by Department of State, I have the honor to acknowledge the compliment implied in the publication of extracts from a paper prepared by me on the subject of our trade relations with Japan, dated November 23, 1885, and the publication in full of my report on the foreign trade of Japan, dated April 22, 1886.

I refer to these papers now in connection with the inclosed copy of an editorial leader from the largely circulated and influential daily Japanese newspaper, the Chõya Shimbun.

The British press, the Mail and Herald, saw proper to take umbrage at the unpalatable facts and figures which were given in these trade reports, evidently and only because they showed, other things being equal, that the “balance of trade,” so long in favor of England and against the United States, ought to be reversed, or rather that the exports from the United States to Japan should increase, so as to bear some sort of reasonable proportion to the immense export trade of Japan to the United States.

I have, etc.,

Richard B. Hubbard.
[Page 656]
[Inclosure in No. 261.—Translated and abridged from the Chõya Shimbun.]

America and Japan.

It is literally true that the Dame of “American citizen” is an invisible passport in any part of Japan. A monument of gratitude to America stands erected in the hearts of 37,000,000 Japanese. Moreover, it is certain that America will be the future market of this country, and therefore every obstacle in the way of the commercial prosperity of our two nations should be removed. Not only on account of our historical relations and old-time friend ship, but also because of her geographical position, is America the country to which the eyes of our countrymen naturally turn. Taking the size, population, and rapid development of the United States into consideration, it is not too much to say that it will be the world’s future center of civilization. There is everything in America to excite our interest in commerce with her. We welcome her merchants and manufacturers here, and shall be happy to see them compete successfully with other nationalities. If American traders take up this matter with courage and an enterprising spirit they will certainly be the rivals of England or any other nation.

Minister Hub bard, in his trade reports, appears to find fault with Americans for not being keen enough in the pursuit of tradal advantages. But while he does this, it is plain that he regrets that Japan does not deal with his country in a more friendly spirit. His implied reproaches are not without reason.

Our Government is endeavoring to follow Germany in the field of politics, military affairs, and engineering. England and France have long since been the recipients of the Government’s favors, while the foreign advisers of our administration are taken chiefly from these three countries. We know not what secret motives the Government may have in so doing, but the Japanese people are far fonder of America than of any other nation.

Our Government may possibly be not so warmly attached to that country, yet the people are. Of course there is no reason to suppose that our Government has anything but a friendly feeling for the United States.

What surprises us most in this connection is the Japan Mail’s critique of Minister Hubbard’s trade report. The editor of that journal deems it ridiculous to suppose that international commerce is in any way a matter of friendship. Friendship and commerce are undoubtedly two different matters, yet international good-will has everything to do with the development of trade. Without taking recourse to the sword, America is trying to make prosperous her commerce with the Orient, and the attempt is one of which any country might be proud. Our relations with England, France, and Germany may be compared with the friendship of samuari in feudal times. At any moment they might quarrel and come to blows. But America’s pact with us is like that of Japanese merchants under the feudal regime. There was no fear of their fighting with each other.

Minister Hubbard states that America levies no duty on tea and silk, which are imported annually to the value of 11,000,000 yen.

In reply, the Mail says that America imposes no tax on these articles, because there is no danger of her ever competing with Japan in this direction. America’s kindness in this respect, continues the Mail, is apparent and not real. At any rate it is a great boon to Japan. Again, the Mail states that America enforces a protective tariff system, and that articles manufactured under such a system are necessarily very high-priced. This is a most narrow view. It is not true that everything is dear under the protective tariff. Some things are cheap, while others command a high figure. And so far as Japan is concerned, the cheaper products will find their way hither, though those that are dear may not go beyond the limits of the home market. In brief, the critique of the Mail is mere abuse, and does not lessen the value of Minister Hubbard’s trade reports.