The Japanese Ambassador (Shidehara) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: I have just received from Tokio a telegraphic communication bearing on the situation in Eastern Siberia. It being the desire of my Government to keep you informed of the general line of action which they propose to take on the Siberian situation, I venture to enclose herewith a Memorandum giving a paraphrase of the communication. The information which it contains is not intended for publication, and I shall feel much obliged if you will consider it as confidential.

Believe me [etc.]

K. Shidehara
[Page 714]

Memorandum by the Japanese Embassy

In the Memorandum of the Japanese Embassy dated July 8, 1921, reference was made to the fact that already a year ago the Japanese military forces had been completely withdrawn from the Trans-Baikal and the Amur Provinces, soon after the fulfilment of their mission of rendering assistance to the homeward departure of Czechoslovak troops from Siberia. It was further explained that only in the southern portion of the Maritime Province the actual conditions which then prevailed compelled Japan to continue for the time being the stationing of a sufficient number of troops to provide against the impending menace to the security of her Korean frontier and to the lives and property of several thousands of her nationals who had long established themselves in and around Vladivostock. It was added that in the meantime, Japan was looking forward to an early opportunity which would enable her to carry out with assurance the recall of her troops from the Maritime Province.

Towards the fall of last year, a number of independent local authorities who had formerly held their own in various parts of Eastern Siberia amalgamated and developed into a unified body known as the Far Eastern Republic, with the seat of its Government at Chita. That Government has convoked a constitutional assembly and has declared itself in support of a system of non-communistic democracy. Evidently it has not yet gained substantial stability, but it represents at the present moment the sole de facto authority of any organized form in Eastern Siberia. It recently approached the Japanese Government with overtures to open negotiations looking to the establishment of the relations of amity and commerce between Japan and Eastern Siberia. The Japanese Government, willing to join in any reasonable attempt to put an end to the present unsatisfactory situation in Siberia, have decided to accept the invitation and have appointed a delegation to meet with the representatives of the Chita Government. A conference will shortly be held at a convenient place in the Kwantung Province.

The proposed conference has essentially in view the conclusion of commercial arrangements, the removal of the existing menace to the security of Japan and to the lives and property of Japanese residents in Eastern Siberia, the provision of guarantees for the freedom of industrial undertakings in that region and the prohibition of Bolshevik propaganda over the Siberian border. These negotiations are in no way intended to secure for Japan any right or advantage of an exclusive character. They are solely actuated by a desire to adjust provisionally some of the more pressing questions by affecting Japan’s national safety and welfare.

[Page 715]

Should the conference succeed in arranging suitable provisions on the line above indicated, the Japanese Government will at once proceed, in pursuance of their declared policy, to the complete withdrawal of Japanese troops from the Maritime Province.

The question of redress for the massacres at Nikolaievsk is admittedly one which the Chita Government, under existing conditions, is in no position to take up. The settlement of that question has therefore to be reserved for a later occasion.