The Japanese Embassy to the Department of State


The Japanese Ambassador did not fail to call the attention of his Government to the reports mentioned in the informal Memorandum of the State Department dated June 18, 1921, relative to certain proceedings of the Japanese military authorities in Eastern Siberia. In answer to the points raised in that communication, he is now informed to the following effect:—

The War Office at Tokyo telegraphically inquired of General Ogata at Port Arthur the nature of the speech which he is alleged to have delivered on the occasion of the dinner given by General Semenoff in that City towards the beginning of this year. General Ogata in reply has submitted a report, by which it is made clear that his speech was entirely misrepresented in the newspapers, and that he made no remarks in encouragement of political or military plans of General Semenoff.

On the contrary, the Japanese military authorities at Port Arthur have consistently discouraged all activity of General Semenoff in that direction. When it was known in the latter part of January last, that he was contemplating departure from Port Arthur to join with the group of the late General Kappel at Vladivostock, the [Page 711] Japanese authorities gave him a warning in disapproval of such a scheme. Upon the warning being unheeded, they sent him a notice in unequivocal terms that he could no longer count on Japan even for the protection of his personal safety. It was not possible for them, within the limits of law, to proceed any further, by way of placing him under arrest or detention in Port Arthur.

In disregard of all restraining counsel, he finally made his way to Vladivostock. There he was met with a protest from the Japanese military command against his landing at that port, which would have no doubt added to the complications of the situation.

These are the facts. The insinuation in the press reports which are quoted in the Memorandum of the State Department is entirely misdirected, and does injustice to the correct attitude of the Japanese military authorities towards General Semenoff.

It is true that the extraordinary military expenditures of Japan for the current fiscal year include those connected with the stationing of her troops in the Russian Province of Sakhalin and the administration necessary for the effective occupation of certain points in that Province, as well as the building of barracks and the improvement of the means of communication in the occupied districts. The position of Japan in the matter of such occupation is defined at some length in the Memorandum of the Japanese Embassy dated July 8, 1921. The occupation naturally carries with it the exercise by the occupying forces of certain administrative functions within the districts in question. It is further evident that the rigor of climate, the sparseness of population and the inefficiency of the means of communication in the occupied territory make it absolutely necessary for Japanese troops to be provided with barracks and with better telegraph service and roads, if the occupation, however temporary, is to be maintained. Expenditures for such purposes cannot be avoided.

Nothing is known in Tokio about the League to Combat Communism, mentioned in the Memorandum under review. The War Office is, however, satisfied that General Tachibana has never allowed himself to take part in, or to give approval to the formation of the League.

Reference is further made in the Memorandum to the plans which the Japanese military authorities are reported to have in mind for a concerted action with Generals Ungern-Sternberg and Chang-Tzo-Lin and certain anti-Bolshevik leaders in Siberia. The reports are as unfounded as they are mischievous.

Japan is materially interested in an early stabilization of the situation in Eastern Siberia. Continued disorder in the territory close [Page 712] to her border only tends to aggravate her own difficulties. Nothing can be more repellant to her aims and policy than to create and maintain unrest in that region as an argument for delaying the withdrawal of her forces.