File No. 811.52/292.

The Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador.

Excellency: You were good enough to hand to me on the 10th instant a communication which you had received from your Government relative to the question resulting from the law enacted last year by the Legislature of California respecting alien land tenures in that State.

In the communication you were informed that the Imperial Government are disinclined to continue the negotiations looking to the conclusion of a convention on the lines of the project which has been under discussion, but that they prefer to recur to the correspondences which were interrupted by these negotiations.

The Government of the United States, without discussing the advisability of the course pursued in withdrawing the project which had formed the basis of the pending negotiations, defers to the express desire of the Imperial Government to bring to an end the negotiations for a conventional settlement of the controversy.

The Imperial Government, in expressing its preference to recur to the correspondence which the negotiations interrupted, add that they will now look for an answer to the note which you handed to me on the 26th August last.

Your excellency will recall that prior to the 26th August, you had submitted to me for consideration the project of a conventional agreement, which was, in the month of December following, superseded by another project, the one now withdrawn. Your note being delivered after the first project had been submitted, it was natural to conclude that it was intended only as a formal answer to my note and aide-memoire of July 16, 1913, and not an answer upon which [Page 428] the Imperial Government relied to meet the arguments and contentions contained in my communications. A reexamination of your note confirms that conclusion in that little matter is introduced and no reasons are advanced which had not already been presented in your excellency’s note of June 4, 1913. After a general summary of the grounds of complaint by your Government, you stated in the note of 26th August: “The Imperial Government reserve for the present the further discussion of the question at issue.” But one inference, in view of the circumstances, is to be drawn from that statement. It is that, since negotiations had been instituted to settle the dispute by treaty stipulations, the Imperial Government did not think it opportune to traverse in detail the contentions urged in my note and aide-mémoire, but considered it sufficient for the time to restate their grounds of complaint and to advert to certain assertions in my aide-mémoire, which in their opinion, tended to weaken those grounds.

In view of the desire now expressed by the Imperial Government to reopen the study of the question and in view of the reservation made in your excellency’s note of August 26, 1913, it is the opinion of this Government that the Imperial Government should submit a detailed answer to my note and aide-mémoire of July 16, 1913, in order that this Government may be fully advised as to those contentions and arguments advanced by it, to which the Imperial Government take exception.

In the reopening of the correspondence, which was interrupted last August by the submission by your excellency of the project for a conventional settlement of the dispute, the Government of the United States considers that its note and aide-memoire of July 16, 1913, remain substantially unanswered, and it will, therefore, be pleased to receive such comments as the Imperial Government may desire to make upon the position of this Government as set forth in those documents, reciprocating the hope of the Imperial Government that in renewing the study of the case a solution of the question at issue may happily be found.

I cannot conclude this note without giving expression to the sincere regret which I feel that the Imperial Government should lay so much emphasis on the element of racial discrimination in this discussion. I desire in behalf of my Government to repeat the assurance made in the previous correspondence that the legislation of which your Government complain rests upon an economic basis, as does legislation of other countries, including your own, affecting immigration and the ownership of land by aliens.

Accept [etc.]

W. J. Bryan