File No. 793.94/570

The Japanese Ambassador to the Secretary of State

This paper bears the following marginal note: “This the Japanese Amb read to me as an oral communication. It is not to be considered a document. June 15/17 RL”]

That Japan has special and close relations, political as well as economic, with China, is well and has long been understood by the American Government. In a note dated March 13, 1915,54 addressed to Viscount Chinda, my predecessor, by Mr. Bryan, the then Secretary of State, he recognized this state of affairs and declared that the activity of Americans in China had never been political. Reposing confidence in this statement, the Japanese Government has attached no importance to the recent rumor repeatedly finding its way to the press despatches from China to the effect that the American Minister at Peking was more or less involved in the present political crisis in China. Again, with regard to the recent important representations made by the American Government to the Chinese Government relative to the political situation in China without previously consulting Japan,55 the Japanese Government does not entertain the slightest doubt as to the fair and unselfish motives of the United States Government. However, it is constrained, much to its regret, to recognize as a fact that, since the Japanese public is specially sensitive toward Chinese problems, this action of the American Government, in conjunction with the rumor aforementioned, has generated in the minds of a certain part of the people a feeling of uneasiness. In such circumstance, the Japanese Government believes that if the United States Government sees its way by some appropriate means to confirming the statement made by Mr. Bryan and clearly reasserting its friendly attitude toward Japan in respect of Chinese problems, it would leave a good impression on the minds of the Japanese public and would certainly contribute in no small measure to the friendly relations between our two nations, and accordingly it now communicates its conviction most frankly to the American Government and desires to be informed of the latter’s opinion.

  1. For. Rel. 1915, p. 105.
  2. Telegram of June 4, 1917, to the American Minister at Peking, printed under Political Affairs, p. 49.