File No. 861.00/1155½
The Diplomatic Liaison Officer, Supreme War Council (Frazier), to the Secretary of State
[Received February 20, 11.25 a.m.]
9. For the Secretary of State and Colonel House:
General … officer on General Foch’s staff, showed me to-day in confidence a paper which had been submitted by the British War Office to the French General Staff for its consideration. The subject of this paper was Japanese intervention in Siberia and it was dated the 15th instant. The substance is as follows:
A resolute Japanese intervention in Siberia by taking possession of the Trans-Siberian Railway from Vladivostok to Chelyabinsk would: (1) reenforce the national element in Russia and Siberia to the detriment of the forces of anarchy; (2) save Rumania; (3) prevent the Germans from withdrawing their troops to the western front.
The Japanese are ready to act and would require only six and one-half divisions. They only stipulate that they shall be allowed to act alone in order to obtain the consent of the nation to this operation. Great Britain and France have accepted the principle of the operation and are desirous of overcoming the attitude of hesitation on the part of the United States.
The paper opposes the argument that the appearance of Japanese troops in Siberia would unite all Russian elements against the invaders by the statement that according to information from Siberia and Russia described as certain all the orderly elements in these two countries demand an energetic intervention and that all classes of Russian society have appealed for a Japanese intervention, many Russian officers having even asked to serve with the invading Japanese forces.
The paper concludes with the observation that if German domination over Russia and Siberia is a great, danger, a German-Japanese domination over the entire world would be a still more formidable peril which could be eliminated by bringing Japan effectively and directly in opposition to Germany, a thing which the Japanese seem to have avoided since the beginning of the war. [Page 50] As a disadvantage the paper admits that Japanese prestige would be increased at the expense of French, British and American prestige in the Orient by such intervention but that Japan would gain no material benefit as her people are not psychologically constituted to dominate or administer foreign populations as the history of the Japanese occupation of Korea and Formosa demonstrates. In this connection I heard yesterday from a reliable source that France is contemplating sending a special Ambassador to Siberia.