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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919

Addendum,   pp. 877-878 PDF (619.8 KB)

Page 877

The Japanese Charge (Debuohi) to the Secretary of State 2
The Honorable the Secretary of State in the course of his conver-
sation with the Japanese Charge d'Affaires at Washington on July
28 called the attention of the Japanese Government to the informa-
tion received from the American Minister at Peking to the effect that
the Japanese Government have opened negotiations with the Chinese
Government for the restitution of Kiao-chou on the basis of the
Sino-Japanese agreements of 1915 and 1918. Secretary Lansing
understood that it had been agreed at the Paris Conference that the
question of Shantung was finally to be adjusted independently of
and without reference to the arrangements of 1916 and 1918. He
therefore asked for explanations respecting the reported action of
the Japanese Government which seemed to him to be inconsistent
with the understanding reached at Paris.
The Japanese Government desired to point out in reply that it is
not true that negotiations had been opened at Peking for the restitu-
tion of Kiao-chou. In their statement issued to the press on August
2 they have made it clear that such negotiations could only be entered
into after the treaty of peace with Germany shall have been ratified
by Japan.
At the same time, they confirm that, in response to the desire of
President Hsu, informally conveyed to the Japanese Minister at
Peking toward the latter part of May, Mr. Obata expressed his read-
iness to address an official communication to the Chinese Acting Min-
ister of Foreign Affairs in the sense that the Japanese Government
were prepared to enter into negotiations with the Chinese Govern-
ment as soon as practicable after the ratification by Japan, China and
Germany of the Treaty of Versailles, in pursuance of Japan's en-
gagement to China.
It will be recalled that the legal obligation undertaken by Japan
toward China to return Kiao-chou originates from the arrangement
of 1915. Japan is firmly determined to abide by her pledged word
consecrated in that arrangement and it was this sincere determina-
' To be read in connection with the Department's memorandum of Aug.
27, 1919, printed on p. 720.
'Note on margin: "Handed me after reading aloud by Japanese Charg6.
Aug. 22/19 R[obert] L[ansing]."
63412-34                                         877

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