File No. 861.00/1242

The Ambassador in Japan (Morris) to the Secretary of State


Emerson telegraphs from Harbin under date of March 5 confirming report that Trans-Baikal Railroad between Manchouli and Irkutsk has been cut in several places, that the Cossack Semenov has engaged the Bolsheviks in the vicinity of Chita, that small additional detachments are leaving Harbin daily to join Semenov, that five field guns were loaded on March 4 under charge of Semenov’s men and that they have secured fifteen rapid-fire guns. I understand that Emerson’s chief sources of information are the leaders of the railway workers with whom he and his associates have established close relations. The Japanese naval authorities credit the persistent rumor that German submarine boats shipped in parts as agricultural implements have reached Vladivostok. I have traced this rumor to French sources and therefore doubt its accuracy as most of the alarming rumors in reference to Siberia during the last two months have same origin. Japanese special consul sent recently Irkutsk reports that German officers have arrived there and that Germans have established there an espionage center. Japan’s military preparations are being completed rapidly, reserves [Page 72] have been notified, troops are concentrating at west coast ports, two divisions already have been sent to Korea but attitude of the Government as well as public opinion has undergone marked change during last week. I am convinced that a majority of the present Ministry have withheld last part Motono’s plans for immediate intervention. The majority which includes Goto and the Premier are now urging caution. Goto who called upon me Sunday summarized the majority opinion thus: “The previous Ministry declared war on Germany too soon; in this crisis we must insist not to act too soon again.” The special meeting of the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs has been indefinitely postponed. Have repeated to Knight and Spencer.