The Japanese Embassy to the Department of State27
While discontent at the Shantung settlement is the avowed and ostensible cause of the anti-Japanese agitation which has been going on in various parts of China, there is no doubt that back of the whole movement there are at work divers motives of internal politics. The agitation at any rate has ceased to be a mere demonstration against Japan and is fast becoming a menace to the general peace and order in China.
To the extent that this movement is due to the Shantung question and any other matters of mutual concern between Japan and China, the Japanese Government are confident that the just and equitable policy of Japan which will before long be confirmed by facts will prove conducive to a quiet state of things. In that belief the government and people of Japan, as the American Government must be aware, are showing an unexcited attitude toward the Chinese situation. Nor are the Japanese Government inclined to accept readily the repeated rumour that some of the Americans in China are directly or indirectly supporting the agitation against Japan. Even if there be anything in the rumour, the Japanese Government have no intention whatever to take up the matter with the American Government, for they are not unaware that the conduct of individuals is in most cases outside the scope of proper interference by the government.
The Japanese Government, however, cannot but attach a certain degree of importance to the nature of the resolutions of the Peking Anglo-American Association of June 628 and of the American Chamber of Commerce in China of May 21,29 respectively, and they deem it advisable frankly to lay before the American government the information they have received in this connection.[Page 704]
The Japanese Government are given to understand that the Anglo-American Association counts among its members the American Minister to China and the members of the American Legation, one of the latter being an official of the Association. It might be conceived that this circumstance, in the eyes of the Chinese, will have given a peculiar meaning to the said resolution which is reported to have passed unanimously. Apart from any comment on the contents of the resolution, it must be pointed out that it was calculated to stir in the minds of the Chinese people antagonistic feelings against Japan and mistrust of the Peace Conference.
As for the resolution of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, not only does it contain a grave slander upon Japan, but the report that the President of the United States assured the Chamber of Commerce through the American Minister that the resolution should be given the most attentive consideration30 was taken as giving a special significance to the matter.
The Japanese Government are deeply concerned lest these reports exercise a considerable influence upon the Chinese people and, at the same time, cause an undesirable effect upon the most cordial relationship between the United States and Japan.