Colonel E. M. House to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: This is the correspondence about which Frank Polk spoke to you and which I am enclosing for your information and files.

I think of you every day, but do not try to reach you directly as I know the burden you are carrying.

Sincerely yours,

E. M. House

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[Enclosure 1]

The Japanese Ambassador (Sato) to Colonel E. M. House

My Dear Colonel House: For your kind reception and open-hearted talk which I had the pleasure of enjoying in New York, I wish you to accept my warm and sincere thanks.

According to your suggestion, I have since prepared a memorandum succintly setting forth the point which found [formed?] a part of our conversation and I am taking the liberty to send it to you for whatever you may see fit.

Mr Oscar S. Straus called on me two days after I had the pleasant interview with you, and he was telling me about his idea of making the most of the present trend of things for fostering better relations between our countries. It is indeed gratifying to find evidences indicating that a more serious interest in our relations is actually being taken in this country and especially among men of great influence.

With high regard [etc.]

Aimaro Sato

Memorandum by the Japanese Ambassador (Sato)

The Japanese-American question which calls for an immediate adjustment, is that of the treatment of the resident Japanese in this country. What Japan desires is nothing more than the enjoyment of the most favored nation treatment. That desideratum may be attained, in my personal opinion, by the adoption of some of the following means.

1. By Treaty.

a. By concluding an independent treaty, mutually guaranteeing to the citizens and subjects, the most favored nation treatment, in matters of property and other rights relative to the exercise of industries, occupations, and other pursuits. Negotiations in this line, were for some time conducted between Secretary Bryan and Ambassador Chinda, which, however, for reasons I need not here state, have since been in abeyance.

b. By revising the existing commercial treaty between our two countries, so as to conform, in its stipulations, to similar engagements between Japan and various European powers, which guarantee in principle, the most favored nation treatment, in the enjoyment of property rights and in all that relates to the pursuit of industries, callings and educational studies.

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2. By American legislation.

Although the subject is not fit for international discussion, it may be mentioned that a constitutional amendment restraining any state from making and enforcing any law discriminatory against aliens in respect to the property and other civil rights, will prove a far-reaching remedy. In fact a resolution with the same object in view has, I understand, been introduced in Congress lately.

In this connection, I may state the fact that the provisions of racial distinction in the present naturalization law, were, in a number of instances, made use of for the purpose of depriving Japanese subjects of the rights and privileges of a civil nature. Although the wisdom of the law is in itself a matter of national and not international concern, the unfortunate circumstance that certain provisions of that law furnish a pretext for the impairment of alien rights, should, I may be allowed to remark, constitute a fit subject for legislative attention.

The comparative merits of each means should be studied by both Governments in the light of expediency and feasibility. Whether the adoption of any one means will be sufficient to cover the whole ground is a matter upon which precaution forbids me to pass a final judgment at present, but I am strongly convinced that each means will go a long distance towards a complete solution of the question.

Before concluding, I desire to touch upon the subject of immigration. The question whether Japanese laborers shall be admitted or not, has been consummately solved by the continued faithful observance by Japan of the so-called Gentleman’s Agreement. So far as the Japanese Government is concerned, it is no longer in the realm of living questions, and in my view, it would serve the best interests of both nations to leave the question as it is.

[Enclosure 2]

Colonel E. M. House to the Japanese Ambassador (Sato)

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: Thank you for your letter of May 8th enclosing the memorandum.

I shall take up the matter informally with Washington when the time seems opportune. At the moment, I am afraid, it could not be given that calm consideration which its importance justifies.

Please be assured that I shall always do what I can to help maintain the good relations which exist between our two countries.

I shall remember with much satisfaction our conversation of the other day, and I shall look forward to seeing you soon again.

I am [etc.]

[File copy not signed]