File No. 761.94/115
Tokyo , August 21, 1916, 3 p.m.
Your telegram of August 16, 4 p.m. Made communication as instructed. Minister of Foreign Affairs received it in the most cordial spirit and frankly stated to me that there is no intention of deviating in the slightest degree from the policy of the Root-Takahira notes or the preceding convention with Russia; that Japan adhered to the policies, the independence of China and equal opportunity for commerce of the whole world. He said that the agreement with Russia in relation to the transfer of a portion of the Chinese Eastern Railway had not been perfected, that the towns [terms?] had not been agreed to and that until that had been settled no transfer could be made; that so far as the Sungari River was concerned Japan’s contention had always been that China’s grant of the rights of navigation to Russia automatically ensued to the benefit of Japan and all other nations having most favored nation treaties with China; that Russia has now agreed not to nullify this claim but the matter had not yet been communicated; the agreements not having been perfected, they had not been published but as soon as completed publication would be made.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs assured me that written answer would be sent me in accordance with this statement not later than tomorrow. He requested me however to communicate his verbal answer at once.
[Note.—A paraphrase of the above was transmitted to the Embassy at Petrograd (No. 129) and to the Legation at Peking (No. 490) August 22, 1916.]