The Chargé in Japan (Neville) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 19—9:10 a.m.]
64. Embassy’s telegram 62, June 11, noon.18 The Prime Minister asked me to call on him this afternoon. He told me that the investigation committee of the Privy Council had accepted the following declaration:
“The Imperial Government declare that the phraseology, ‘in the names of their respective peoples,’ appearing in article 1 of the Treaty for the Renunciation of War, signed at Paris on August 27, 1928, viewed in the light of the provisions of the Imperial Constitution, is understood to be inapplicable in so far as Japan is concerned”,
and the following phraseology for the instrument of ratification:
“By the grace of Heaven, Emperor of Japan, seated on the Throne occupied by the same Dynasty changeless through ages eternal,
To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting!
Having examined the Treaty for the Renunciation of War, signed at Paris by Japanese plenipotentiary, together with the plenipotentiaries of the powers concerned, on the 27th day of August, 1928, regarding which treaty the Japanese Government on the (blank) day of the (blank) month of the 4th year of Showa issued a declaration concerning a phrase contained in the first article thereof, We, maintaining the said declaration, approve, accept and ratify the same.[Page 249]
In faith whereof, we have signed this instrument and caused the Great Seal of the Empire to be affixed thereto at (blank), this (blank) day of the (blank) month of the 4th year of Showa, being the two thousand [five hundred] and eighty-ninth year from the enthronement of the Emperor Jimmu.”
He said that this would be presented to a plenary session of the Privy Council at which the Emperor would preside, on the 26th instant, and that while it would unquestionably be approved he could not officially inform me of the ratification of the pact until after the full meeting of the Privy Council and actual ratification by Emperor. He asked me to communicate this confidentially to my Government.
He said that the wording of the instrument [of] ratification had been the cause of much difficulty, not because of the substance of the treaty but because of the peculiar phraseology of the Japanese Constitution. He assured me that the Japanese Government and people were in full accord with the substance of and objects of the treaty, and that it was a matter of regret to him that so few of his countrymen were fully conversant with foreign languages, which caused great difficulty in matters of treaty phraseology. He felt, however, that in view of the sincere opinions held in Japan on questions touching the Emperor’s prerogative, the Government would have to give consideration to them. He wished to make it plain that the Japanese Government adhered fully and completely to the substance of the treaty and that the declaration and the form of the instrument of ratification did not imply any reservation to the treaty. He further requested that his conversation with me and the declaration and instrument of ratification be kept confidential until formal notice of ratification was given.
- Not printed.↩