Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/112


Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Tuesday, April 22, 1919, at 11:30 a.m.

  • Present
    • United States of America
      • President Wilson
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
    • Japan
      • H. E. Baron Makino
      • H. E. Viscount Chinda
      • M. Saburi
      • M. Kimura
Secretary—Lieut.-Col. Sir M. P. A. Hankey, K. C. B.
Interpreter—Professor P. J. Mantoux.

President Wilson explained that M. Orlando had written to say that he was unable to be present.

(1) Japanese Claims in Regard to Kiau-chau and Shantung Baron Makino read the following statement:—

In January last I had the privilege to present and explain before the Supreme Council Japan’s claims which we deemed as just and fair in the light of the circumstances which led Japan to take part in the war and of the actual situations created or found in the regions to which the claims related.1 I wish to take advantage of the opportunity now offered me to explain more fully that part of our claims which relates to the leased territory of Kiao-chow and Germany’s rights in respect of Shantung province. As will be remembered the Japanese Government sent an ultimatum to Germany on the 15th of August 1914, inviting her to unconditionally hand over the territory to Japan which she intended to restore to China.2 Germany failed to give answer within the specified time limit and this obliged Japan to have recourse to military and naval forces. In all those steps we acted in consultation and co-operation with England.

The German stronghold at Kiaochow was captured on the 7th of November, 1914, and has, together with the Shantung Railway, remained to this day under Japanese occupation.

Looking to the eventual termination of the war, Japan approached China in January, 1915, with a view to reaching beforehand an agreement as to the basis of the restitution to China of the leased territory [Page 124] of Kiaochow and of disposing other German rights in relation to Shantung, so that Germany might find no pretext to refuse acquiescence in Japan’s demands at the final peace conference and that she might not find it possible to recover her influence in China, thereby becoming again a grave menace to the peace of the Far East.

As a result of the negotiations that ensued, a treaty respecting the Province of Shantung, accompanied by an exchange of notes, was signed on the 25th of May, 1915.3 In that treaty China engaged to recognise all matters that might be agreed upon between the Japanese Government and the German Government respecting the disposition of all the rights, interests and concessions, which Germany possessed vis-a-vis China in relation to the Province of Shantung.

By the exchange of notes, Japan declared to China her willingness, in case she acquired the rights of free disposal of the leased territory of Kiaochow, to restore it to China on the following conditions:—

Opening of the whole of Kiaochow as commercial port;
Establishment of a Japanese settlement in the locality to be designated by the Japanese Government;
Establishment, if desired by the Powers, of an international settlement;
Arrangement to be made, before the return of the said territory is effected, between the Japanese and Chinese Governments, with respect to the disposal of German public establishments and properties and with regard to the other conditions and procedures.

These terms explain themselves, but a few words on some of the points may be found useful. The Japanese settlement, or concession, whose establishment is provided for under condition 2, refers to only a part of urban District to be set apart from the settling of Japanese as well as other nationalities, including Chinese, under a special system and jurisdiction that are found in many of the principal open ports or marts of China.

In reference to the words “the other conditions and procedures”, found in condition 4, I may state that they refer to those minor working conditions and procedures to be determined and observed in effecting the restitution of the Leased Territory to China.

Early in the year 1917, Japan began, in conjunction with her Allied Powers, to direct her efforts in inducing China to sever relations with, and if possible to declare war against Germany. China severed her diplomatic relations with Germany on the 14th of March, 1917, and finally on the 14th of August of the same year, she declared war against the latter; that was more than two years after the signing of the aforementioned treaty between Japan and China had taken place.

Later, on the 24th of September, 1918, more than one year [after] the declaration of war by China and more than three years after the conclusion of the agreement of the 25th of May, 1915, the Chinese Minister at Tokyo exchanged with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan a series of notes, the translations of which have already [Page 125] been presented to the Supreme Council.4 The notes provide, among other things, for the withdrawal of the Japanese Civil Administration, the management of the Tsingtao-Chinan Railway as a joint Sino-Japanese undertaking upon determination of its ownership, and the guarding and policing of the Railway.5 The Chinese Minister also solicited the aid of the Japanese Government in the matter of arranging for loans for building two railway lines connecting with the Tsingtao-Chinan Railway and practically coinciding with the lines projected by Germany. To this, the Japanese government consented. The preliminary contract covering these loans was made between the Chinese Government and the Japanese bankers,6 and the Chinese government actually received from the bankers an advance of twenty million yen according to the terms of this contract.

From the afore-mentioned facts which I have attempted to lay out as clearly as possible, it will be seen:

  • First,—That Japan has undertaken to restitute Kiaochow to China on conditions, none of which can be regarded in any sense as unjust or unfair, considering the part Japan took in disloading [dislodging?] Germany from Shantung.
  • Secondly,—That the declaration of war by China against Germany could have no relation whatever to the validity of the treaty and the appended agreement which was concluded between Japan and China more than two years prior to the declaration of war, nor could it alter or affect in any wise the situation in connection with which the aforesaid treaty and agreement were made.
  • Thirdly,—That the arrangements of September 1918, which were made more than one year after China’s declaration of war, could not have been entered into without presupposing the existence and validity of the treaty of May 1915. Some of the provisions of the former dealt with the subject-matters or furthered the aims, set forth in the latter. In fact, the arrangements of 1918 were intended to be, and are, a supplement and sequel to the treaty of 1915. It is to be noted that China has actually received the advance of twenty million yen according to the terms of the above arrangements.

To those summaries and deductions, I may add that as between Japan and China there is a well-defined course laid out, for effecting the restitution. Any other course, could be against the definite arrangement which has been agreed to between the two governments concerned. What Japan now seeks is to obtain from Germany the rights of free disposal of the leased territory and Germany’s rights, privileges and concessions in relation to Shantung for carrying out the provisions of the treaty of 1915 as well as of the arrangements of 1918.

It is claimed that the declaration of war abrogates ipso facto treaties of lease of territory. Such a claim can not be regarded as warranted [Page 126] by the established rules of International Law. From the very nature of the Lease Convention,7 which provides for the exercise by Germany of rights of Sovereignty within the territory the lease of Kiaochow may be regarded as a cession pure and simple with the exception of the time limit of 99 years. And it is commonly accepted principle that a declaration of war does not abrogate a treaty of cession or other territorial arrangements.

I feel firmly convinced that full justice will be done to the claims of Japan based upon her sacrifices and achievement and upon the fact of actual occupation, involving the sense of national honour.

I now beg to submit to you a draft containing the clauses to be embodied in the Preliminary Peace Treaty with Germany. (Appendix I.)

Baron Makino then handed round a draft of the clauses which the Japanese Delegation wished to have included in the Peace Treaty with Germany. He said it has been based on similar clauses inserted in other treaties.

President Wilson asked whether the following cables, mentioned in Article I were referred to in the original concession by China of Kiauchau to Germany, viz:—

Tsingtao-Shanghai and Tsingtao-Chefoo.

Baron Makino replied they were German concession, though not in the original concession. He said they were Government cables.

President Wilson asked if they were submarine all the way to Shantung.

Baron Makino said they were the same line—a continuation of the same line.

President Wilson said that he had already taken the liberty of describing as well as he could to M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George what happened in his conversation with Baron Makino and Viscount Chinda. Their minds, therefore, were in the midst of the subject. He had laid what was in his own mind before all present. He did not know what was the impression formed by Mr. Lloyd George and M. Clemenceau.

Mr. Lloyd George said that so far as Great Britain was concerned they were in the same position towards Japan as towards Italy. They had a definite engagement with Japan, as recorded in the Note of the British Ambassador at Tokio, dated 16th February, 1917. (Appendix II.) Hence, so far as Great Britain was concerned, there was a definite engagement. The only doubt he felt was as to whether the ultimate destination of Kiauchau was a matter for inclusion in the Treaty with Germany.

[Page 127]

In the case of the other German possessions in the Far East the Japanese Government had undertaken to support the British claims South of the Equator, and the British Government had undertaken to support the Japanese claims in the islands North of the Equator. So far as Great Britain was concerned, it was not proposed to press for the immediate allocation of the mandates for these islands, but only for their surrender by Germany to the Allied and Associated Powers. The allocation was left for settlement afterwards.

When the time came, we should have to press the claims of Australia and New Zealand to the islands South of the Equator.

Baron Makino said that Japan had expressed her willingness to support the British claims.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that if the Japanese claims for the surrender of Kiauchau by Germany were put in the Treaty, Australia might demand the same treatment as regards the islands South of the Equator, and South Africa might make the same claim as regards German South-West Africa. There was hardly time to settle all these details before the treaty with Germany.

Viscount Chinda said that he did not know if Mr. Lloyd George had in mind that the leased territory of Kiauchau should be put on the same basis of the mandatory system as the South Pacific Islands. In that case the Japanese Delegation thought that Kiauchau ought to be on a definite basis. The mandatory system rested on the basis that those islands were in a state of civilisation which necessitated their being taken care of by other people. This did not apply to the case of Kiauchau.

Mr. Lloyd George said that was true.

Viscount Chinda, continuing, asked if it was merely proposed to postpone this question: to put it in abeyance? The Japanese Delegation were under an express order for the case that the question was not settled. The Japanese Government had a duty to perform to China in this matter, and they could not carry out their obligation to China unless Kiauchau was handed over to them. The Japanese Delegates were under an express instruction from their Government that unless they were placed in a position to carry out Japan’s obligation to China, they were not allowed to sign the Treaty. Consequently, they had no power to agree to a postponement of this question.

Baron Makino said that if the Treaty were ignored, it would be a very serious matter for Japan.

Viscount Chinda said it seemed to them to be a very simple question in its nature. No long deliberations were involved. They could not persuade themselves that the question was one that ought to be postponed.

[Page 128]

President Wilson asked if it would be possible for the Japanese Government more particularly to define the arrangements she would expect to maintain with China in the Shantung Province. In the paper he had been given, the statements were sufficiently explicit as regards the town of Kiauchau and the bay of Kiauchau, but not so explicit in regard to the railway and the administration.

Viscount Chinda said that the notes explained that the administration of the railway would be a joint undertaking.

President Wilson said it was not very explicit. Some further definition was required of the term “joint administration”. The document was explicit about the establishment of a police force by China towards the cost of which the railway would make a contribution. He understood that at each station, by which he supposed was meant railway station, as well as at the training school, there would be Japanese. The document did not explain the position to be taken by these Japanese.

Viscount Chinda said he thought they were only intended to be instructors. He pointed out that there were many foreign instructors in the Chinese administrations.

Mr. Lloyd George said there were, in the Customs, for example.

President Wilson said this was part of a series of things which had been imposed on China.

Mr. Lloyd George said they had asked for the Customs officials.

President Wilson said they had done so after a certain experience. He was fairly clear about the railway concession. He asked if there were not included in the lease to Germany certain concessions about exploitations.

Viscount Chinda suggested mines.

Baron Makino said the mines were amalgamated into the railway.

Viscount Chinda said there were three mines.

Baron Makino said that the mines had not paid, and had therefore been amalgamated in the railway, mainly for the use of the railway. The coal was not of very good quality. Germany had given up their concessions. One of the mines was not of much value.

President Wilson asked if there were any great iron deposits.

Mr. Lloyd George suggested they had not been made much use of.

President Wilson agreed, not up to the present.

Mr. Lloyd George said he feared that if this arrangement was included in the Treaty, the question of mandatories would have to be settled. This might create difficulties and delays. Other interested parties might complain if this were not done when the Treaty handed over Kiauchau to Japan.

President Wilson said that Viscount Chinda’s answer to this had been that the islands were in such state of development as to require [Page 129] someone to look after them, whereas Kiauchau was the case of a concession in a self-governing country. He asked Viscount Chinda if the railway was a joint enterprise with China.

Viscount Chinda replied in the affirmative.

Baron Makino said that Japan had already worked joint undertakings very well with China. In the case of the Sino-Japanese Timber Company, for example, where Japan and China had the same number on the Directorate and where the dividends were paid in equal proportions. There were several similar concerns, the directorates always consisting of equal numbers of both nationals.

President Wilson asked if there were any restrictions on these railways? His interest was to keep open the door with China.

Baron Makino said there was nothing in the agreement with China against the open door.

President Wilson pointed out that, as had happened in many instances, he was the only one present whose judgment was entirely independent. His colleagues were both bound by Treaties, although perhaps he might be entitled to question whether Great Britain and Japan had been justified in handing round the islands in the Pacific. This, however, was a private opinion.

Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that there [they] were only the German islands.

President Wilson pointed out that in the circumstances he was the only independent party present. He would like to repeat the point of view which he had urged on the Japanese Delegation a few days before. He was so firmly convinced that the Peace of the Far East centered upon China and Japan that he was more interested from this point of view than any other. He did not wish to see complex engagements that fettered free determination. He was anxious that Japan should show to the world as well as to China that she wanted to give the same independence to China as other nations possessed; that she did not want China to be held in manacles. What would prejudice the peace in the Far East was any relationship that was not trustful. It was already evident that there was not that relationship of mutual trust that was necessary if peace was to be ensured in the Far East. What he feared was that Japan, by standing merely on her treaty rights, would create the impression that she was thinking more of her rights than of her duties to China. The world would never have peace based on treaty rights only unless there were also recognised to be reciprocal duties between States. Perhaps he was going a little too fast in existing circumstances but he wished to emphasise the importance in future that States should think primarily of their duties towards each other. The central idea of the League of Nations was that States must support each other [Page 130] even when their interests were not involved. When the League of Nations was formed then there would be established a body of partners covenanted to stand up for each other’s rights. The position in which he would like to see Japan, already the most advanced nation in the Far East with the leadership in enterprise and policy, was that of the leader in the Far East standing out for these new ideas. There could be no finer nor more politic role for her. That was what he had to say as the friend of Japan. When he had seen the Japanese Delegates two days ago he had said that he was not proposing that Kiauchau should be detached from the treaty engagements but that it should be ceded to the Powers as trustees with the understanding that all they were going to do was to ask how the treaties were to be carried out and to offer advice as to how this could best be done by mutual agreement. The validity of treaties could not be called in question if they were modified by agreements between both sides. What he was after was to attain a more detailed definition as to how Japan was going to help China as well as to afford an opportunity for investment in railways etc. He had hoped that by pooling their interest the several nations that had gained foothold in China (a foothold that was to the detriment of China’s position in the world) might forego the special position they had acquired and that China might be put on the same footing as other nations, as sooner or later she must certainly be. He believed this to be to the interest of everyone concerned. There was a lot of combustible material in China and if flames were put to it the fire could not be quenched for China had a population of four hundred million people. It was symptoms of that which filled him with anxiety. Baron Makino and Viscount Chinda knew how deep-seated was the feeling of reverence of China towards Shantung which was the most sacred Chinese Province and he dreaded starting a flame there because this reverence was based upon the very best motives and owing to the traditions of Confucius and the foundations of intellectual development. He did not wish to interfere with treaties. As Mr. Lloyd George had remarked earlier, the war had been partly undertaken in order to establish the sanctity of treaties. Although he yielded to no-one in this sentiment there were cases he felt where treaties ought not to have been entered into.

Baron Makino, referring to President Wilson’s remarks in regard to the larger ideas of international relationship, said that the best opinion of Japan was at that point of view. For China, the best opinion in Japan wanted equal opportunities or the “open door”. He had convinced himself of this and was very glad of it, for he felt it would be to the advantage of both countries. He recalled, however, that international affairs in China had not always been conducted on very just lines.

[Page 131]

(Mr. Lloyd George interjected that this was undoubtedly the case.)

He did not want to go into past history or to enquire where the responsibility lay, but this had been the source of the present situation. Once the unjust methods had been begun other nations followed. The best opinion, however, in Japan based itself on fairness and justice. Before he left Japan he had had a conversation with one of their older statesmen, who had remarked to him that Japan would have to enter into a good many joint undertakings with China and must content herself to share equally, half in half, in them. This had been one of the most influential men in Japan and he himself shared his views.

President Wilson said that he was satisfied on that point and he hoped Baron Makino would not interpret him to have expressed any doubts. He wanted that principle, however, to be shown in a concrete way to China.

Baron Makino then referred to the President’s remarks on Shantung. There, Japan had only entered into an agreement, whereas Germany had assumed almost complete sovereignty. All Germany’s concessions over and above the agreement between Japan and China would now fall through. There remained only the concession mentioned in the Treaty which had already been discussed. Reverting to the larger views expressed by President Wilson he said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, in a speech made at the opening of the session (in January he thought), had sketched the line of policy which was proposed towards China. He had said that the Japanese Government was ready to help and contribute towards anything just that was proposed in China. As regards more concrete matters by which he meant such matters as extraterritoriality, maintenance of foreign troops, spheres of influence and the Boxer Indemnity—the four principal points which China had most at heart—on these matters he gathered from the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs that the Japanese Government was ready to discuss them with the Great Powers. These were concrete matters which could be worked out with the Great Powers. If this could be done it would do much to allay the feelings of injustice and bad tradition that still were lurking in China. Japan would be glad to discuss these questions. Extra territoriality was a matter which would take some time. Japan had accomplished it and China could follow her footsteps. In the matter of prisons, for example, considerable progress had already been made in China. As soon as the Powers felt that they could trust Chinese Courts there need be no delay in rectifying matters.

President Wilson asked what was the idea of Japan as to extra territoriality in the settlement contemplated at Kiaochow.

Baron Makino said that as matters stood extraterritoriality was [Page 132] considered as an established principle all through China. If, however, the principle changed, Kiaochow would form no exception.

President Wilson said that he felt that he realised the situation in a fuller light than ever before. He asked whether the Japanese representatives would prefer to draw the Chinese representatives into conference in which they would take part or would they prefer that their colleagues should see them separately, as China was a full member of the Peace Conference final judgment could not be passed without seeing them.

Baron Makino said that he did not in the least object to China being heard but he did not want to enter into discussion with them. It was difficult to discuss with people who had preconceived [ideas: to remove these needed time and it was difficult] to dispel them in one or two conversations. He greatly regretted that they should exist.

Viscount Chinda represented that Japan had the right to be present when the Chinese Delegates attended although her Delegates did not wish to be drawn into discussion.

After some further discussion it was agreed that:—

Japan would not exercise her right to be present and that the best plan would be for the discussion with the Chinese representatives to take place in their absence.

The General Questions in the Peace Treaty. Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the opportunity of the presence of the Japanese delegates should be taken to refer to some of the general questions relating to the Treaty with Germany in which Japan was interested. Up to now the Supreme Council had concerned itself almost entirely with questions of European interest, such as the boundaries of Germany and related questions, the Saar Valley and Dantzig. Other more general questions, such as the League of Nations and Labour had been discussed outside in Commissions. Japan had been consulted about the question of breaches of the laws of war. The great outstanding question was compensation and indemnity.

M. Makino said that Japan was interested in this question. She had lost ships and would have a considerable claim. She had representatives on the Reparation Commission.

Mr. Lloyd George said that the Reparation Commission have found great difficulty in reaching agreement; these questions were now being discussed by a special Committee.

President Wilson suggested that the Japanese Delegation should place themselves in communication with Mr. Norman Davis, who was the American representative on a Committee which also included Loucheur, Lord Sumner and M. Crespi.8

[Page 133]

M. Makino undertook to do this.

A few further explanations were given of the progress made in the Treaty of Peace.

M. Makino said that before the end of the Meeting, he wished to say one word about the form of restitution of Kiau Chow to Japan. The Japanese Government attached supreme importance to the form which had been submitted that morning. To-day, fresh instructions from Government have been received and he could not lay too much stress on the matter.

(The Japanese representatives then withdrew.)

Villa Majestic, Paris, 22 April, 1919.

Appendix I to IC–175C

Special Conditions Relative to Shantung Province

Article I

Germany renounces, in favour of Japan, all the rights, titles, or privileges—particularly those concerning the territory of Kiaochow, railways, mines and submarine cables—which she acquired, in virtue of the treaty concluded by her with China on the 6 March, 1898, and of all other arrangements relative to Shantung Province.

The Tsingtao-Tsinan Railway, including its branch lines together with its accessories of all kinds, stations, shops fixed materials and rolling stocks, mines, establishments and materials for exploitation of the mines, [are], and shall remain, acquired by Japan, together with the rights and privileges appertaining thereto.

The submarine cables of the State of Germany, from Tsingtao to Shanghai and from Tsingtao to Chefoo, with all the rights, privileges and properties appertaining thereto, shall equally remain acquired by Japan.

Article 2

The rights of movable and immovable properties possessed by the State of Germany in the territory of Kiaochow, as well as all the rights which she is entitled to claim in consequence of the works or equipments set up, of the expenses disbursed, or of the contracts concluded by her, either directly or indirectly, and concerning the territory, are, and shall remain, acquired by Japan.

[Page 134]

Appendix II to IC–175C

[The British Ambassador in Japan (Greene) to the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Motono)]

Monsieur le Ministre: With reference to the subject of our conversation of the 27th ultimo, when your Excellency informed me of the desire of the Imperial Government to receive an assurance that, on the occasion of a Peace Conference, His Britannic Majesty’s Government will support the claims of Japan in regard to the disposal of Germany’s rights in Shantung and possessions in the Islands North of the Equator, I have the honour, under instructions received from His Britannic Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to communicate to your Excellency the following message from His Britannic Majesty’s Government:—

His Majesty’s Government accede with pleasure to request of Japanese Government for an assurance that they will support Japan’s claims in regard to disposal of Germany’s rights in Shantung and possessions in Islands North of Equator on occasion of Peace Conference, it being understood that Japanese Government will, in eventual peace settlement, treat in same spirit Great Britain’s claims to German Islands South of Equator, I avail myself of this opportunity Monsieur le Ministre, to renew to your Excellency the assurance of my highest consideration.

Conyngham Greene

H. B. M. Ambassador
  1. See BC–12, vol. iii, p. 738.
  2. See telegram of August 15, 1914, from the Ambassador in Japan, Foreign Relations, 1914, supp., p. 170.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1915, pp. 171 and 197.
  4. These notes are printed in The Claim of China for direct restitution to herself of the leased territory of Kiaochow, the Tsingtao-Chinan railway and other German rights in respect of Shantung province (Paris, 1919), pp. 78–84; and David Hunter Miller, My Diary at the Conference of Paris (New York, 1924) vol. vi, pp. 202–209.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1919, vol. i, pp. 571572.
  6. ibid., p. 574.
  7. Convention between China and Germany respecting the lease of Kiaochow, March 6, 1898, American Journal of International Law, supp., vol. 4, p. 285; The Claim of China for direct restitution to herself of the leased territory of Kiaochow, etc., p. 25. Text in part in Foreign Relations, 1900, p. 383.
  8. French, British, and Italian representatives, respectively, on the Commission on Reparation of Damage.