Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conference With the Japanese Ambassador on Special Mission (Ishii), October 29, 1917

At my request the Viscount called this afternoon and I informed him that I had given careful consideration to the proposed protocol which he had handed me on the 27th23 and that I had also discussed the matter with the President, who agreed with my conclusions. I said to him that I should like to have changed the last paragraph so that it would read:

“It was, however, well understood that the principle enunciated in the clause which was thus suppressed was in perfect accord with the declared policy of the two Governments in regard to China.”

I said to him that the objections to the clause as originally drawn were First, that it did not apply to the future and might be open to serious criticism; and, Second, that the words “actually pursued” would undoubtedly be discussed and very probably criticized both in Japan and in the United States, as some Japanese might question what [Page 449] policy was actually being pursued by the Government of the United States, and, on the other hand some Americans might criticize the policy Japan was actually pursuing.

The Viscount said he understood thoroughly the objections and that he would immediately cable his Government and present our views as to the changes which should be made.

  1. See footnote 21, p. 447.