The Japanese Ambassador (Matsudaira) to the Secretary of State

No. 5

Sir: In your note of December 12th, 1925,26 you were good enough to forward to me a note from the German Ambassador at this capital setting forth the desire of his Government for the transfer at an early date of the Yap–Menado cable to the Netherland Government in accordance with the Washington Arrangement. While requesting me at the same time to furnish you with the views of my Government in regard to the action to be taken in response to the request of the German Government, you gave me to understand that you were ready to take the necessary steps for the definite conclusion of the proposed arrangement relating to the former German cables in the Pacific tentatively accepted at the Washington Conference.

I took steps immediately to communicate to my Government the contents of your communication under acknowledgment in order to ascertain its views on the subject, and I have now the honor to state pursuant to instructions from Tokio that so far as the Japanese Government is concerned, it has no objection to the definitive conclusion of the arrangement entered into between the Governments of the United States and Japan in the course of 1921 in regard to the disposition of former German cables in the Pacific.27 In fact it will give great satisfaction to my Government if this arrangement be made a final and conclusive one at the earliest possible moment.

In bringing the above to your knowledge, I am charged to observe that when the question of the disposition of the former German [Page 777] cables was taken up in 1921 by the Powers to whom Germany ceded them, it was intended at first to effect their distribution by lines among these Powers. The Japanese Government therefore put forward claims for allocation to Japan of three cable lines centering on Yap Island. But in arriving at the arrangement with the United States above alluded to, Japan agreed to waive her original claims and remain satisfied with the cession to her of only the Yap-Shanghai line. In the meantime, however, a tentative plan regarding the disposition of the former German cables in the Atlantic was laid by the American Delegation before the 17th session of the First Committee of the Preliminary Conference on Electrical Communications, in which it was proposed that the estimated value of the cables in question should be distributed equally among the four Powers, the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy. This proposal was made apparently on the assumption that the provisions of the Versailles Treaty regarding the cession of the former German cables are capable of being construed to mean that the Allied and Associated Powers should share equally in the distribution of these cables. The Japanese Government therefore deemed it just and equitable to suggest that the total estimated value of all the former German cables should be distributed equally among the five Powers, namely the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan.

Accordingly, the Japanese Government gave instructions to its representative at Washington to make a suggestion at the following meeting of the said Committee with a view to amending the proposed plan to make it conform to its wishes. As you are aware, however, no meeting of this Committee has been held since the one before which the American proposal was made and no suitable opportunity has presented itself for the carrying out of these instructions.

In these circumstances, I am instructed to avail myself of this opportunity to remark that in the event of any plan looking to the equal distribution of the total estimated value of the former German cables being adopted at the coming meeting of the First Committee of the Preliminary Conference on Electrical Communications, the Japanese Government would like to see it so formulated that Japan will receive an equal share in the distribution of these cables according to their estimated value.

I beg to add that in making this observation at this juncture, the Japanese Government has no intention, so far as the allocation of the cable lines is concerned, to claim any other line than the Yap–Shanghai line as agreed upon in the tentative arrangement concluded between our two Governments.

Accept [etc.]

T. Matsudaira
  1. See note to the British Ambassador, Dec. 12, 1925, p. 774.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. ii, pp. 287 ff.