File No. 793.94/570
The Acting Secretary of State to Chargé Wheeler
Washington, July 10, 1917, 6 p.m.
On June 15 the Japanese Ambassador read to me an informal communication the substance of which is as follows:
It is well understood that Japan has special and close relations, political as well as economic, with China. In a note dated March 13, 1915, from Mr. Bryan to Viscount Chinda,59 the former recognized the special position above-mentioned and declared the activity of Americans in China had never been political. Relying on this statement the Japanese Government has placed little faith in the rumors frequently current in 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, in connection with the representations made to the Chinese Government by the American Government without first consulting Japan, the Japanese Government has no doubt of the unselfish motives and fairness of the Government of the United States.60 The Japanese Government, much to its regret, is constrained, however, to recognize as a fact that, since the Japanese public is sensitive towards Chinese problems, the action of the American Government in sending the note to China generated in the minds of a certain part of the people of Japan a feeling of uneasiness. The Japanese Government believes, under these circumstances, that if the Government of the United States sees its way by some appropriate means to confirm the statement made by Mr. Bryan and to reassert its friendly attitude towards Japan with regard to Chinese problems, a good impression would be made on the minds of the Japanese public and the friendly relations of the two nations would be strengthened. Accordingly, the Japanese Government [Page 263] frankly communicates its conviction to the American Government and desires to be informed of the latter’s opinion.
In reply to Ambassador Sato’s informal representations I handed to him on July 6 an informal memorandum the substance of which is as follows: [See note of July 6, 1917, to the Japanese Ambassador above.]