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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 878

tion that Mr. Obata's proposed communication was intended to re-
affirm. Nor was any exception then taken by the Chinese Govern-
ment to the substance of the communication thus suggested. These
informal conversations were, however, eventually abandoned by the
Chinese themselves owing apparently to the change of the situation
caused by their failure to sign the Treaty of Versailles.
The question now raised by the Secretary of State seems further
to rest on the presumption that it was admitted by the Japanese
delegation in Paris that the validity of the Sino-Japanese arrange-
ments of 1915 and 1918 was at least questioned. Careful research
of the reports so far received in Tokio on the proceedings of the
Paris Conference has failed to disclose anything which indicates
such an admission on the part of the Japanese delegation. On the
contrary, Viscount Chinda at the close of the discussion on the Shan-
tung clauses on the 30th of April defined the position of Japan in the
matter " to remove any moral obligation on behalf of Japan not to
invoke the agreements in question."
Contentions are often advanced in this connection that China was
compelled to accept the arrangement of 1915 under conditions which
deprived her of a free choice of any other alternative. It is, how-
ever, evident that if such contentions were adopted to challenge the
validity of treaty solemnly entered into by a sovereign power, dan-
gerous precedents would be set with grave consequences upon the
stability of the existing international relations.
In offering foregoing explanation, the Japanese Government are
happy to believe that the spirit of entire frankness and confidence in
which it is submitted will not be misunderstood by the American

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