File No. 793.94/523
Ambassador Guthrie to the Secretary of State
Tokyo , September 11, 1916, 7 p.m .
Your telegram of September 6, 2 p.m. I called upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs and presented to him a paraphrase of the demands reported to have been made by Japan on China. The Minister told me that although certain ones of those items telegraphed to the Embassy by the Department were approximately correct, the whole list of demands was so full of untruths and exaggerations as to give it an entirely false color. He stated definitely that the Root-Takahira agreement was in no wise impaired by the demands made and that there was no intention of infringing the sovereignty of [China], and [Page 245] he said that the Chengchiatun affair was particularly serious, since it was in reality a clash between Chinese and Japanese troops, and that the civil authorities were in no wise responsible. The Japanese Government felt that they must make a recurrence of such affairs impossible. A guaranty had therefore been demanded of the Chinese Government to this [end] in addition to proper apologies and compensation for the wrong done. To this end Baron Hayashi had been also instructed to request that the Chinese Government voluntarily replace the German instructors in the Chinese Cadet School with Japanese officers whom the former had replaced; that the Chinese Government should ask for Japanese officers who were to be stationed in Chinese garrisons in South Manchuria and Eastern Mongolia for advice in matters affecting the Japanese, and, as an extension of its extraterritorial rights, the Japanese Government should be permitted to station Japanese policemen in those towns where the Japanese settlements were large in the same manner in which Japanese Consulates in the same region had policemen attached to them, this to be done for the safety of the Japanese residents; and the Minister said he believed South Manchuria as Eastern Mongolia had no cities of such a nature at present. In order to make it easier for the Chinese authorities with their own people, it had been suggested that these guaranties should be offered by them. In conclusion the Minister [said] that Baron Hayashi had been instructed to communicate to the American Minister at Peking or any other colleague who asked for information the substance of the demands in question.
Before making any statement the Minister for Foreign Affairs asked me why I made these inquires, saying that as there was nothing conflicting with the Root-Takahira Convention, he could not recognize [the right] on our part to interfere; but that he should be willing to discuss the matter with me personally and confidentially as he preferred to avoid a misunderstanding. He gave me a full account of the occurrence and said that the Chinese Governor at Mukden had voluntarily offered to send his chief of staff to apologize in person.