The Chief of the Division of Russian Affairs, Department of State (Poole) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: Mr. Saburi, the Japanese Chargé d’Affaires, called at the Russian Division this afternoon and informed me that he had just received a cablegram from Tokyo announcing the final failure of the Japanese-Russian negotiations at Changchung. He said that Matsudaira, the chief Japanese delegate, had sensed for some time that the Russians had determined to break up the conference and awaited only an opportune manner of doing so. They had found a good propaganda point in the demand that the Japanese evacuate Sakhalin at once and insisted upon this, in spite of the fact that this was contrary to their preliminary agreement.

This preliminary agreement to which Mr. Saburi referred, appears to have been effected through an exchange of notes between the [Page 858] Japanese Consul at Changchung and the Chita authorities whereby, according to Mr. Saburi, it was arranged that a so-called basic agreement should first be made between Japan and the Far Eastern Republic relating only to Far Eastern questions and that later on Japan might make with Moscow such a trade agreement as Great Britain made in 1921 and take up also the Nikolaievsk affair and the eventual evacuation of Sakhalin.

The determination of the Russians to break up the Conference was attributed by Mr. Saburi to their disappointment at being unable to secure political recognition from Japan at once. Japan had conceded the inclusion of the Moscow delegate, Yoffe, in the negotiations, but insisted that the agreement to be arrived at should be only between Japan and the Far Eastern Republic, whereas the Russians insisted that the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic should be mentioned as well as the Far Eastern Republic. After much discussion on this point as well as the question of Sakhalin, Mr. Matsudaira was instructed to say to the Russians that Japan had made every reasonable effort to come to an accord with them and that if the conference now failed the blame was on them.

Mr. Saburi said that his Government felt that it had gone very far with the Russians, especially in offering to conclude a trade agreement on the British lines, in case an agreement could first be concluded with the Far Eastern Republic. He intimated that public opinion in Japan had been influenced by the action of Great Britain in concluding its trade agreement and by Italy’s attitude, and that the Government had felt it necessary, in order to satisfy public opinion, to go further in meeting the Russians than it would have itself been inclined to do. …


D. C. Poole