Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/131
Notes of a Meeting Held at President Wilson’s House in the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris, on Wednesday, 30 April, 1919, at 12:30 p.m.
- The United States of America
- President Wilson.
- M. Clemenceau.
- The British Empire
- The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, M. P.
- Baron Makino
- Viscount Chinda
- The United States of America
|Sir Maurice Hankey, K.C.B.||Secretary.|
I. In reply to questions by President Wilson—the Japanese Delegates declared that:—
Kiaochow and shantung “The policy of Japan is to hand back the Shantung Peninsula in full sovereignty to China retaining only the economic privileges granted to Germany and the right to establish a settlement under the usual conditions at Tsingtao.
The owners of the Railway will use special Police only to ensure security for traffic. They will be used for no other purpose.
The Police Force will be composed of Chinese, and such Japanese instructors as the Directors of the Railway may select will be appointed by the Chinese Government.”
(At this point there was a more or less prolonged conversation between President Wilson and the Japanese Delegates which at a certain point developed into a general discussion. It is only possible to record the salient features of the general discussion.)
Viscount Chinda made it clear that in the last resort, if China failed to carry out the agreements—if for example, she would not assist in the formation of the Police Force or the employment of Japanese Instructors, the Japanese Government reserved the right to fall back on the Agreements of 1918.
President Wilson pointed out that by that time Japan and China would be operating under the system of the League of Nations and Japan would be represented on the Council of the League. In such an event, he asked why should not the Japanese voluntarily apply for the mediation of the Council of the League of Nations.
Viscount Chinda said that even if the case was sent to the League [Page 364] of Nations, nevertheless Japan must reserve her right in the last analysis to base her rights on her special Agreements with China. If the Chinese Government acted loyally, such case would not arise, but if the Chinese Government refused to do so, the only course left to Japan would be to invoke the agreement.
President Wilson said that what he wanted to urge was this; he did not want a situation to arise which would prove embarassing. As the Japanese representatives knew, the United States Government had been much distressed by the twenty-one demands. These negotiations were based on the Notes of May 1915, and this exchange of Notes had its root in the negotiations connected with the twenty-one demands. In the view of his Government, the less the present transactions were related to this incident, the better. He would like, as a friend of Japan, to see no reference to the Notes of the last few years. If an occasion such as Viscount Chinda had postulated should arise, he hoped that the Japanese Government would not bring it before the Council of the League of Nations with a threat of war, but merely for friendly council, so that the Council of the League might make the necessary representations to China.
Baron Makino said that this was a possible eventuality but that so far as Japan was concerned, if the Chinese people co-operated with goodwill, he thought no such eventuality would arise. So far as Japan was concerned, she looked to the engagement with China, but hoped that no difficulty would arise.
Viscount Chinda said that the difficulty was that President Wilson on his side did not admit the validity of these Agreements but Japan did. He only mentioned the fact so as not to be morally bound not to invoke these Agreements. In the meanwhile he hoped that there would be no occasion for the refusal of the Chinese to carry out the Agreements.
President Wilson said that frankly he must insist that nothing he said should be construed as any admission of the recognition of the Notes exchanged between Japan and China.
Viscount Chinda said he had mentioned the point in order to remove any moral engagement on behalf of Japan not to invoke the Agreements in question.
President Wilson said that the Japanese representatives proposed to make public the policy declared at the outset of this discussion by means of an interview. He supposed he was at liberty to use the part of the declaration that most concerned him as he understood it.
Baron Makino said that the Japanese representatives attached the greatest importance to no impression being given that this decision was forced. They wished it to be clear that this was a voluntary expression of the Japanese Delegates’ interpretation of the policy of their Government in regard to the restitution of the Province of Shantung. He hoped that this would be made quite clear.[Page 365]
President Wilson said that the following point had occurred to him. He had not appreciated from the map which had been shown him whether the Forts which Germany had built were taken over in the area of the settlement.
Viscount Chinda drew a sketch to illustrate the exact position and showed that the settlement would be part of the Town of Tsingtao and would not include the fortifications.
In reply to President Wilson, Baron Makino and Viscount Chinda gave an assurance that the Japanese troops would be withdrawn as soon as practicable.
Sir Maurice Hankey asked what he was to send to the Drafting Committee.
Viscount Chinda produced a revised draft of the clause to be inserted in the Treaty of Peace which included the alterations agreed to on the previous day. (Appendix I.) He gave the following explanation as to the reasons of the various alterations that had been made:—
“The instructions of the Japanese Government state expressly that the surrender of the German public property should be unconditional and without compensation. Compliance with the above instruction makes it absolutely necessary to modify the Articles I and II of our claims by adding at their ends the phrase: ‘free of all charges and encumbrances’, in order to exempt them from the general application of Article IX Financial Clauses.
As regards our claim upon the Tsingtao-Tsinan Railway, the Japanese Government regard the railway as German public property, but contention may possibly be advanced claiming it to be private property. In case the contention should be well established, the Japanese Government would be willing to pay for the same. In the meantime, the question is left open. This explains why the addition of the same phrase as above is not proposed in respect to the second paragraph, Article I of our claim.”
(The Articles in the Appendix relative to Shantung Province were approved. Sir Maurice Hankey was directed to forward them to the Secretary-General for the information of the Drafting Committee.)
II. Japanese Representation on the Reparations Commission Mr. Lloyd George handed to the Japanese representatives the following proposal which had been made by an Expert Committee, to which the question had been referred:—
“Belgium shall sit, as originally proposed, as one of the five members of the Commission for all general discussions and for all other questions except those relating to damage by sea, for which Japan snail take her place, and those relating to Austria-Hungary, for which Serbia shall take Belgium’s place. This Commission will thus always be limited in number to five, and the Japanese and Serbian representatives, on the occasions on which they are entitled to sit, will have the same power of voting as the delegates of the other four Powers.”
M. Makino said that the arrangement should be altered to provide that the Japanese should be represented on the Commission (wherever their interests were concerned). There were a certain number of Japanese interned in Germany.
Me. Lloyd George said that this was not a matter for the Reparation Commission.
Viscount Chinda pointed out that the necessity for such provision arose in connection with Article 13 in the Financial Clauses.
(After some discussion, it was agreed that Japan should be represented on the Permanent Reparation Commission whenever questions relating to damage by sea were under consideration (as already provided) and in addition whenever Japanese interests under Article 13 of the Financial Clauses were under consideration.)
III. Cost of Maintaining prisoners Viscount Chinda drew attention to Article 16 of the Financial Clauses which is as follows:—
“The High Contracting Parties waive reciprocally all claims on account of the expenses of all kinds incurred by them in connection with enemy prisoners of war.”
He pointed out that there were between 4,000 and 5,000 German prisoners in Japan. These have not been used for any sort of work as had been possible in European countries, but had been maintained at the expense of Japan under the provisions of the Hague Convention.1 It had been entirely a one-sided expense. In view of the fact that in the case of most other countries, the numbers of prisoners had been fairly well balanced, Japan stood in an unique position and was therefore entitled to an exceptional treatment in this respect.
Mr. Lloyd George said that this was not the case in regard to civilian persons interned. The British had had four or five Germans to maintain for one British maintained in Germany.
Viscount Chinda said that German prisoners in Japan had been military. They had constituted the garrison of Kiaochow and had been in Japanese hands ever since the early stage of the war.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that Japan had inherited the German rights in Kiaochow which might be set off against the cost of maintaining these Germans.
M. Makino said that that had not been taken into the calculation.
Mr. Lloyd George pointed out that everytime one country or another brought up some new point difficulties arose. The sums mounted up and up and Germany would not be able to pay for reparation. Hence it had been decided hitherto to stick rigidly to the principles. Japan would, of course, receive a share of reparation for pensions.[Page 367]
M. Makino said that Japan had lost less than 2,000 lives and would not receive much on this account.
Mr. Lloyd George said it was very awkward to put in a special claim for one country as then all other countries would wish to put in their claims.
M. Makino said that if great difficulties would be created, Japan would not press her demand.
Mr. Lloyd George, President Wilson and M. Clemenceau thanked M. Makino for this declaration.
Villa Majestic, Paris, 30 April, 1919.
- Convention respecting the laws and customs of war on land, October 18, 1907, Foreign Relations, 1907, pt 2, p. 1204.↩