711.94/306: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Morris) to the Secretary of State

The report received yesterday that the Senate voted in favor of reservation in regard to Shantung, while not unexpected, has added to the irritation and resentment here.6 The newspaper comments which have appeared thus far are reserved but there is a notable growth of a spirit of answers [antagonism?] to America and Americans. The newspaper campaign which has continued with slight interruptions for almost a year is beginning to tell and I am receiving reports from various parts of Japan of actions toward Americans which indicate that popular feeling is running strongly against the United States. It appears to me quite clear that the military party is using the United States as the future menace, not sincerely but as a justification for increased army and navy appropriations. For the moment I do not consider the situation serious but if Governor Stephens should be forced by public opinion to convene the California Legislature in special session, it would at once assume a very serious aspect. [Page 417] I have deemed it my duty to point out that the question of discrimination against the Japanese people in California is one which profoundly affects Japanese pride and sentiment and any action by California at this time when public feeling in Japan is generally antagonistic would lead to an extremely serious crisis.

In a recent conversation Mr. Hanihara7 expressed to me the concern he personally felt about the California situation and his fear that Governor Stephens might not be able to withstand the popular agitation now going on. He further stated that Viscount Uchida8 was also greatly disturbed and worried. He explained that in his judgement it would be possible for Japan to remove some of irritating factors in the present situation if Governor Stephens would persist in his refusal to call an extra session of the legislature and thus allow a year for discussion and voluntary action. He spoke in particular of the question of picture brides and said that only recently at a special meeting of the Japan[ese] Association of California a resolution was passed by which, while recognizing the legality of the socalled photograph marriage, nevertheless in view of the feeling and customs of the American people, the Association practically stopped of its own accord the further immigration of picture brides. This resolution, Mr. Hanihara said, would receive without formal action the tacit and effective support of the Japanese Government. He pointed out that the resolution gave the Japanese Government an excellent opportunity to support a movement of its own people in a case where it could not act under pressure from outside.

  1. See the section, under China, dealing with the Shantung question, vol. i, pp. 686 ff.
  2. Masanao Hanihara, Japanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, September, 1919.
  3. Viscount Yasuya Uchida, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs.