File No. 761.94/109
The Secretary of State to Ambassador Guthrie
Washington, August 16, 1916, 4 p.m.
Your No. 562. Please communicate textually to the Foreign Office the following:
The Department of State has received through the American Ambassador at Tokyo a copy of the official French text of the Convention between Russia and Japan signed on July 3 last relating to the mutual protection of the territorial rights and special interests in the Far East of the High Contracting Parties.
The Department is happy to note that the purpose of the Convention is declared to be the maintenance of constant peace in the Far East. The American Government has in the past repeatedly shown its deep concern in all that tends to promote friendly relations among the nations interested in the Far East and, specifically, by an exchange of notes signed on November 30, 1908,4 [Page 443]by the Honorable Elihu Root, then Secretary of State and Baron Kogoro Takahira, at that time His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Ambassador in Washington, joined in a declaration of the common aim and policy of our two Governments in the region of the Pacific Ocean of which Paragraphs 4 and 5 are as follows:
They are also determined to preserve the common interest of all powers in China by supporting by all pacific means at their disposal the independence and integrity of China and the principle of equal opportunity for commerce and industry of all nations in that Empire.
5. Should any event occur threatening the status quo as above described or the principle of equal opportunity as above defined, it remains for the two Governments to communicate with each other in order to arrive at an understanding as to what measures they may consider it useful to take.
Since the American Government has received no intimation from the Imperial Japanese Government as provided in Article 5 of the notes just quoted, of any occurrence looking to a change in the status quo as described in these notes or affecting the principle of equal opportunity as defined in them, the American Government is convinced that, while this latest convention between Japan and Russia does not repeat the declaration made by them on July 30, 1907,5 to wit—
The two High Contracting Parties recognize the independence and the territorial integrity of the Empire of China and the principle of equal opportunity in whatever concerns the commerce and industry of all nations in that empire, and engage to sustain and defend the maintenance of the status quo and respect for this principle by all the pacific means within their reach,—
there is no desire on the part of either of the High Contracting Parties to withdraw from the engagements then made, that, on the contrary, the Imperial Japanese Government is desirous of maintaining unimpaired the territorial integrity and administrative entity of China and the principle of equality of opportunity in that country for the trade of all nations.
The American Government will be glad to have its understanding, thus expressed, confirmed by the Imperial Japanese Government.
The vernacular newspapers of Japan report the existence of certain articles supplementary to the recently signed convention, providing, among other things, for the transfer by Russia to Japan of a portion of the Chinese Eastern Railway and the sharing by Japan of Russia’s right of navigating the Sungari River.
The Department of State would appreciate very highly the courtesy of the Imperial Japanese Government if they could find it possible to furnish a copy of these supplementary articles.