The Minister in China (Reinsch) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received May 31, 10.20 a.m.]
President Hsu has requested me to approach the President and the American Mission with the request if possible to induce Japan to make to the Great Powers, or for all conjointly to issue, a definite statement as to the Shantung arrangements, particularly as to the date of the return of the leased territory and of the withdrawal of the Japanese troops from the Shantung Railway, the exact arrangements [as to] Shantung Railway and German mines there, and assurance of definite extension of general economic preference [sic] in Shantung. If the Chinese is [sic] to sign the treaty, popular disapproval would be less violent if these arrangements were definitely stated. As to present, it is feared that Japan will still claim indefinite preferences [throughout] Shantung and that the settlement of the details with the Chinese Government will be made the occasion for exacting further privileges. Public confidence here can be restored only by a definite statement which Japan ought to make if her purposes are honest. The statement made by Baron Makino is altogether too indefinite to meet the situation.
Referring to [your] press telegram sent to Tokyo [about] May 23. It is important that the American public should not be misled by talk of Ishii, Goto, Iyenaga concerning return of Shantung or Kiaochow to China as the return of this is a mere empty form leaving Japan opportunities to make Shantung closed Japanese territory similar to Manchuria. The phrase “returned with full sovereignty” is also misleading as China had admitted [sic] ceded sovereignty to Germany.[Page 696]
In view of the last paragraph of the Lansing Ishii notes22 I assume that it is understood that Japan lays no claim [to the] general economic preferences in Shantung formerly claimed by Germany.