Chargé Wilson to the Secretary of State.

No. 437.]

Sir: I have the honor to confirm the legation’s telegram of April 5 reporting the assurances which. I had received at an interview with the minister for foreign affairs on that day in regard to the enforcement by Japan of the “open door” policy in Manchuria, and also the telegram which I had the honor to dispatch to you last night, and wherein I stated that the Marquis Saionji’s written reply to the representations which I have made under your instructions confirmed the verbal assurances which I had laid before you in the previous telegram and emphasized Japan’s earnest adherence to the principle of equal opportunity in Manchuria. Copies of the readings of these two cipher telegramsa accompany this dispatch.

In the inclosed note from the minister for foreign affairs, which is dated yesterday, his excellency dwells upon the reluctance with which the Japanese Government have been compelled to impose certain restrictions upon the free entrance of foreigners and foreign vessels into the regions and seaports of Manchuria affected by their military occupation, on the ground of a necessity to safeguard military secrets and owing also to confusion due to the withdrawal of a large army from that territory. Stating that the withdrawal of the troops has steadily progressed, his excellency speaks of the desire of Japan to open Manchuria to foreign trade as soon as possible, thus adhering to the principle they have always maintained.

As stated in the legation’s telegram of the 5th instant, Antung and Ta-tung-kau are to be opened to foreigners and foreign vessels from the 1st proximo, from which date also consular officers may proceed to Antung. From the 1st of June Mukden is to be opened to foreigners and foreign consuls, as is to be all the remainder of Manchuria, with the exception of some localities in regard to which special military reasons might still make the presence of foreigners inconvenient. Owing to existing conditions in the interior of Manchuria, such as [Page 179] the presence of bandits and other lawless persons, it is pointed out that the Japanese Government can not hold itself responsible for the adequate protection of foreign travelers in this region.

The minister for foreign affairs states that preparations are now going forward for the opening of Dalny to foreign commerce and for the admission of foreign consular officers to that port. His excellency promises to make further communication on this subject.

Finally, it is pointed out that persons desiring to cross between the lines of the Japanese and Russian military occupation must comply with the terms of a memorandum which was signed by the representatives of the Japanese and Russian commanders in chief in Manchuria on the 30th of last October. This memorandum has not been published, but I have now been promised a copy. The Marquis Saionji’s allusion to the memorandum has reference to the provision which I had the honor to point out in the legation’s dispatch, No. 412, of the 15th ultimo, according to which foreigners are not permitted to pass between the zones in Manchuria still occupied by the two armies, except under special permits jointly granted by the Japanese and Russian commanders on the spot.

I have, etc.,

Huntington Wilson.

The Marquis Saionji to Chargé Wilson.

No. 23.

Sir: In pursuance of instructions from the United States Government, you have, on several occasions, made representations, verbal as well as in writing, with regard to the opening Of Manchuria.

It need hardly be stated that the Imperial Government have always entertained an earnest desire to uphold and carry out the principle of the open door and equal opportunity in Manchuria. But in view of the necessity for safeguarding military secrets and considering also the confusion incident to the withdrawal of a large body of troops, the Imperial Government have heretofore been reluctantly compelled, among other things, to impose certain restrictions upon the free entrance of foreigners and foreign vessels into the regions and seaports affected by their military occupation.

I now have, however, the agreeable duty to acquaint you that the withdrawal of the Imperial troops having steadily progressed, the Imperial Government, animated by the desire to open Manchuria as soon as possible to foreign trade in accordance with the principle which they have heretofore maintained, have resolved to permit from the 1st of May foreigners and foreign vessels to enter Antung and Ta-tung-kou and foreign consuls to proceed to the former place. As regards Fentieng (Mukden), owing to the confusion still prevailing there on account of the place being an important center in the process of evacuation, foreign consuls will be admitted thereto from the 1st of June, and from the same date foreigners will also be allowed to proceed thither as well as to the other portions of Manchuria affected by Japanese military occupation, except in cases in which objections may exist from a military standpoint.

Having regard, nevertheless, to the present condition of things in the interior of Manchuria, I trust you will readily observe that it would be practically impossible to give adequate protection and facilities to travelers in the interior, and you will also understand that the Imperial Government would in nowise be held responsible, even if such travelers should suffer in anyway at the hands of the Chunchuses or other lawless persons.

As to Tairen (Dalny), it is the intention of the Imperial Government to open the port to foreign commerce as soon as possible and to permit foreign consuls to reside there. As preparations looking to that result are now under consideration, [Page 180] I shall have the pleasure to make, in due course, further communication on the subject.

I beg to add for your information that the persons desiring to proceed from the line of the military occupation of Japan to that of Russia, or vice versa, are required, regardless of the arrangements mentioned above, to comply with the provisions of the memorandum signed at Sz-ping-kai on the 30th of October last between the representatives of the commanders in chief of the Japanese and Russian armies in Manchuria.

Accept, sir, the renewed assurances of my high consideration.

Marquis Saionji,
Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  1. Supra.