The Ambassador in Japan (Morris) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 7—1:37 p.m.]
4. Supplementing my December 27, 10 a.m. For two weeks Government officials have been awaiting impatiently the outcome of Ambassador Shidehara’s conversations with you on the Russian situation. The delay appears to have embarrassed the Foreign Office in formulating a Siberian policy and in resisting the pressure of the military authorities who are more eager than ever to send reenforcements promptly. The first Cabinet meeting of the new year was held [Page 487] on the 6th and was devoted almost entirely to a discussion of the Siberian problem. General Tanaka again urged immediate independent action; but the more conservative view prevailed and the meeting adjourned without reaching any decision.
Newspapers this morning carry a semiofficial report to the effect that the Government has received a communication from Shidehara stating that although Secretary Lansing is favorably inclined toward the proposed despatch by Japan of reenforcements to Siberia, the time is not opportune for the resumption of negotiations with the American Government.
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The Cabinet meets again tomorrow and it is probable that the military will again urge immediate action. For some reason the General Staff seems very anxious about the safety of the Japanese troops now in Siberia. Their reports however coincide in all essential particulars with the reports, repeated to me here, which Stevens, Harris, Smith and Macgowan are sending to you. Latest reports indicate that Koichak has not succeeded in reaching Irkutsk; that the Czechs have taken over the railway station there; that all the foreign representatives have moved east, Harris going to Verkhneudinsk and Ambassador Kato to Chita; that Japanese troops are guarding the Baikal tunnels; and that Semenoff is endeavoring with only moderate success to exercise authority over the eastern provinces. The Red army is resting near Taiga although reports indicate that no organized body of troops is now opposing its further advance.