The Japanese Ambassador to the Secretary of State.

[Memorandum received December 6, 1906.]

On November 10 the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs answered the note of the Russian minister in Tokyo on the subject of the proposed Second Peace Conference. The reply of the Imperial Government is in the following sense:

In reference to the subject of the proposed conclusion of a protocol among the signatory powers of the convention of The Hague for the peaceful adjustment of international differences, the Japanese Government understands from the note of the Russian minister that the South American republics are the only states which Russia intends to invite to the Second Peace Conference besides the powers that were represented at the First Peace Conference. Therefore, upon the understanding that the invitations to the proposed conference are to be so limited the Japanese Government withdraws its objection and signifies its approval of the proposed protocol relating to the adhesion of states not represented at the First Conference.

With reference to the programme of the conference as proposed by Russia in the note of May 4, 1906, of the Russian minister in Tokyo, the Japanese Government accepts the same in principle as the basis of discussion. The proposed programme includes many important subjects on which widely divergent views are entertained and on which practice greatly varies. It is the sincere hope of the Japanese Government that all conflicting issues may be freely discussed and satisfactory solution arrived at. Nevertheless, the Imperial Government can not dispel apprehension that such discussion might in some cases take undesirable direction. In order, therefore, to provide for such eventual possibilities the Japanese Government reserves the right to abstain or withdraw from any discussion not likely to lead to useful results.

On the other hand, the Japanese Government believes that some questions which are not enumerated in the Russian programme, but which have become prominent of late years, might very appropriately be included in the programme. One important example of such subjects would be the questions relating to the rights and duties of neutrals and, correlatively, the duties and rights of belligerents.

The Japanese Government, believing in the efficacy of international understanding on such subjects, reserves the right to suggest hereafter, but within a reasonable time in advance of the meeting of the conference, such subjects as appear to them to be appropriate for the examination and deliberation of the conference.

The above is the résumé of the reply of the Japanese Government to the Russian note.

The Japanese Government has no objection to the proposal of the United States Government to submit to the deliberations of the forthcoming conference the question of the reduction or limitation of armament.