File No. 861.77/466
The Ambassador in Japan (Morris) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 9, 11.28 a.m.]
Immediately upon receipt of your cable1 I communicated the contents orally to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. [He has] replied that he this morning received practically the same advices from Viscount Ishii who had reported fully a conversation with you upon the same subject. He was at a loss to account for the report that such an order had been issued by the Japanese General at Vladivostok, denied all knowledge of it, could not credit it, and thought it must be due to some misunderstanding. He offered as an explanation the familiar suggestion that the report arose through mistranslation. It might be that Japanese troops had taken over the protection of the railways or some portion of them and that an order to this effect had been so translated as to indicate control of operation. He had this morning telegraphed to Vladivostok to ascertain the facts and hoped an answer some time to-morrow when he would promptly advise me. Until he received the answer there was nothing more he could say.
… Recent events seem to support the statement constantly repeated that the General Staff has a definite policy in Siberia and that it proposes to pursue this policy leaving to the Foreign Office and Viscount Ishii the task of explaining after the event. I say this [Page 246]with great hesitancy and I hope it is not true but we must keep it in mind in watching developments.