File No. 861.00/3430

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


Referring to Department’s telegram December 11,1 regarding suspicion towards the United States, and to Department’s November 15 [16], 1918,2 regarding railway situation and excessive Japanese forces in Siberia, please confer frankly with the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding Japanese political policy in eastern Siberia. Reports from many different sources in Siberia show that Japan has not only supported General Semenov in the past, but is now backing him against Admiral Kolchak; has also encouraged General Kalmykov near Khabarovsk and seems generally to be pursuing a policy to prevent the establishment of a united orderly government in Siberia.

Department has evidence that command of Amur detachment was transferred from adherent of Kolchak to the followers of Semenov upon demand of the Japanese; also that General Kuroki has advised Semenov not to cooperate with Kolchak because Kolchak is not regarded favorably by Japan.

You are already aware that General Graves reports all barracks and troop accommodations east of Irkutsk occupied by Japanese, rendering it impossible for him to winter at Harbin or anywhere in eastern Siberia save on the line between Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. Further reports not quite so circumstantial indicate that the Japanese are using monopoly of Chinese Eastern not only for troop movements, but for transporting merchandise for Japanese merchants to the exclusion of others. Also that exclusive military control is being taken advantage of to enable Japanese merchants and Japanese capital to be established to the exclusion of other [Page 463] foreign merchants and capital. The evidence regarding the support of Semenov appears conclusive and you may say that this Government is surprised that Japan should support any one group of loyal Russians against another. The Government of the United States believes that the present policy of Japan is fraught with possibility of dangerous consequences for Russia and desires you to discuss the question in the most free and frank manner pointing to our mutual understanding to join in rendering assistance to Russia and our desire that all of the Associated Governments should take part whereever it proves necessary or practical.

This Government expects that the Government of Japan is prepared to discuss this matter with you frankly and in that spirit of friendship which is the basis of our present cordial relations.

It is not to be understood that this Government desires to support Admiral Kolchak as against General Semenov, but merely its purpose to see that loyal Russians be allowed to manage their own affairs.

Is there any foundation for report that Japan contemplated withdrawing all its forces from Siberia relinquishing further support of Semenov?