The Secretary of State to President Wilson

Dear Mr. President: If it meets with your approval I propose to request Viscount Ishii to file with his note of confirmation completing [Page 445] the exchange a confidential memorandum such as the one here enclosed.

I am hastening this matter as rapidly as possible because it takes him several days to communicate with his Government.17

Faithfully yours,

Robert Lansing

Draft of Confidential Memorandum to Accompany the Reply of the Japanese Government in Proposed Exchange of Notes

In the preliminary draft note dealing with questions relating to the Republic of China, which are of mutual interest to Japan and the United States and which, on September 26, 1917, was submitted by the Government of the United States to the Government of Japan for their consideration, there appeared, following the declaration by the two Governments of their adherence to the so-called “Open Door” policy, a further declaration “that they will not take advantage of present conditions to seek special rights and privileges in China which would abridge the rights of the citizens or subjects of other friendly states.”

For certain reasons of expediency, which have been orally explained to the Government of the United States, the Government of Japan considered it to be unwise to include the above-quoted declaration in the proposed note, and it was, therefore, stricken out by mutual consent.

In order, however, to avoid misconstruction being placed upon this amendment of the note, the Government of Japan desire to affirm that by doing so there was no purpose on their part to assert a contrary principle or policy, and that the elimination of the declaration has no significance whatsoever in determining the terms of the note as finally agreed upon by the two Governments.

  1. In an undated memorandum received by Secretary Lansing on October 22, President Wilson replied: “Dear Mr. Sec’y: This seems to me to meet the case and has my approval. Woodrow Wilson.”