File No. 861.00/3539

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

[Telegram]

Minister for Foreign Affairs to-day handed to me the following confidential memorandum which he advised me is being telegraphed to Viscount Ishii for formal communication to you: [Page 465]

The Japanese Government in their declaration of August 2, 1918, made it clear that the primary object which they had in view in undertaking a military expedition to Siberia was to relieve the critical situation of the Czecho-Slovak troops in that region due to the pressure of German and Austro-Hunganan armed prisoners, and of certain Bolshevik forces under Teutonic influence and command. Soon after the advance of a Japanese detachment to Trans-Baikalia occupied with the operations conducted by the Allied forces in the Ussuri and Amur districts, the Czecho-Slovaks who had been isolated in the interior of Siberia succeeded in reestablishing communication with their comrades and Allies at Vladivostok and elsewhere. The grave danger that had once threatened their existence has thus been averted and the primary object of the military activities undertaken by Japan in Siberia in cooperation with the powers associated against Germany has now been successfully achieved.

At the same time the Japanese Government fully realize that the immediate and complete withdrawal from Siberia of Japanese or Allied troops at the present moment would be calculated to produce serious consequences, more especially as regards the maintenance of order and security in the localities in which those troops are now operating. Nor do they feel that the number of Japanese troops so far maintained in north Manchuria and eastern Siberia is wholly unwarranted by any necessity as was remarked by Mr. Lansing in his conversation with Viscount Ishii on November 16.

They are, however, quite ready to reexamine the Siberian situation in the light of changed circumstances, and, having regard to the expressed views of the American Government, they have decided to effect as much reduction in the number of Japanese troops in Siberia as the absolute requirement for the preservation of public order in the localities will permit. Already 13,800 men of those troops had been withdrawn up to end of November, and it is now intended to proceed to a further withdrawal of 34,000 men in due course.

Morris