« PreviousContinue »
domestic politics. In order to understand the situation it is necessary to bear in mind that the prime minister and his cabinet are not absolute in their power. The consent of the Emperor must be obtained before any important measure or policy can be definitely determined upon. The Emperor never makes an important decision without first consulting the men who are called the "Elder Statesmen" of the Empire. There are four or five of these "Elder Statesmen," but Marquis Ito and Marquis Yamagata are the two whose words carry the greatest weight. The Elder Statesmen" are not an organized official body created by the constitution, but the Emperor gives their advice such great consideration that they are quite as effective and quite as much to be considered as if duly and legally constituted a part of the Government. * * *
We have no knowledge here as to how a proposition by Japan to discuss the Manchurian question would be received by the Russian Government.
Mr. Griscom to Mr. Hay.
LLOYD C. GRISCOM.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Tokyo, July 20, 1903.
(Mr. Griscom reports, in continuation of his telegram of July 14, that he is credibly informed Japan will propose to Russia:
First. Integrity of China, and Chinese sovereignty in Manchuria to be maintained.
Second. Russia not to administer Manchuria nor keep troops therein except necessary guards near railroads.
Third. Japan to recognize all Russian rights in Manchuria based on treaties and conventions now published.
Fourth. Russia to recognize that Japan is interested in a peculiar degree politically as well as commercially and industrially in Korea, as already stated in Anglo-Japanese treaty alliance.)
Mr. Griscom to Mr. Hay.
UNITED STATES LEGATION, Tokyo, July 22, 1903. SIR: I have the honor to confirm my telegram of the 20th instant. The above message supplements my telegram of the 14th instant, wherein I stated that I had been credibly informed that Japan would shortly make overtures to the Russian Government at St. Petersburg with a view to opening up a discussion of the situation in Manchuria. Since the 14th instant I have been placed in possession of a little more detailed information concerning the nature of the proposals which Japan will make, and I therefore deemed it advisable to telegraph you further. The information reached me from the same source referred to in my dispatch of the 14th instant, and, is unofficial, but in my opinion worthy of full credence.
It appears that the Japanese Government will approach Russia in a friendly spirit and will begin by asking if Russia is willing to open a discussion of the Manchurian question. If Russia gives a favorable reply Japan will then propose a discussion on the basis of the propositions set forth in my telegram. It will be seen that Japan will suggest an exchange whereby it will recognize the rights already possessed by Russia in Manchuria, based on treaties or conventions now published, and in return that Russia recognize that in Korea Japan is "interested in a peculiar degree, politically as well as commercially and industrially." I quote article 1 of the Anglo-Japanese treaty of alliance, as my information is that Japan will demand a very general recognition of her special interest in Korea, on the same lines as explained in article 1 of the treaty of alliance. I am not informed as to whether Japan's proposals include the remainder of article 1, in which it is stated that it will be admissible for either of them to take such measures as may be indispensible in order to safeguard those interests, etc." The Japanese Government is anxious to have the discussion proceed on very broad and general lines, and to avoid details, such as open ports in Manchuria, quarantine commission, the right to appoint consuls, etc.
In the event of Russia refusing to admit of a discussion of the question it is impossible to predict the course which the Japanese Government will pursue. I am inclined to think that if the present Government continues in power it would take some decided action. Public opinion in Japan, without being bellicose, is strong for some settlement of the disturbed situation in the Far East. The Japanese press is practically unanimous on the subject.
I have, etc.,
LLOYD C. GRISCOM.
JAPANESE LEGATION, Washington, September 12, 1903. (Handed to Mr. Adee, Second Assistant Secretary of State, by the Japanese minister, September 12, 1903, who said that the Japanese Government, appreciating the interest the United States Government have shown in the Manchurian question, would be pleased to know what the latter Government think of the Russian proposal.)
Substance of the new demands made by the Russian Government on or about September 6, 1903:
1. Assurance to be given by China that she shall never cede to any foreign power the three provinces of Manchuria, and that no land therein, large or small, shall be leased for years, pledged, or disposed of in any manner whatever.
2. The river routes of the Sungari and the main roads of Tsitsihar, Mergen, and Blagovestchensk are especially important to facilitate access of merchandise from different parts of Manchuria to Chinese eastern railways, in whose revenues Chinese Government are also greatly interested. Russia therefore to construct wharves at different points along the river Sungari, and to post there necessary troops for the protection of vessels plying on the river and the telegraph lines along the river, thus insuring the safety of loading and unloading cargoes. Russia also to establish stations at different points on the roads between Tsitsihar, Mergen, and Blagovestchensk.
3. No special heavy duties to be imposed on goods brought into Manchuria by railway. The duties on them, when being transported
from one station to another, not to be heavier than those levied on goods carried overland or by river.
4. The branch offices of the Russo-Chinese Bank in Manchuria to be protected by the troops of the Chinese military governor upon the withdrawal of Russian troops, and the expenses for the former to be defrayed by the Russo-Chinese Bank.
5. For the prevention of importing plague from Niuchwang, China to adopt necessary measures, after the plan adopted in Shanghai and Tientsin. Russia also to adopt necessary measures in all territories appertaining to the Chinese Eastern Railway. In order that these measures may be in accord with each other a Russian physician to be employed in a place under charge of a Chinese taotai.
Russia agrees to restore Manchuria to China and to withdraw her troops in the following order:
1. Military forces in the province of Shing-king, namely, at Nin chwang, Feng-huang-Cheng, Sha-ho-tzñ and Liao-yang will be withdrawn immediately.
2. Military forces in the province of Kirin, namely, in Kirin-Cheng, Yi-tung-Chow, Fun-Ching-Tsz, Mu-Sha-tzu, and To-lai-chiu, will be withdrawn within four months.
3. Military forces in the same province, namely, in Ninguta and Sha-ho, and those in the province of Hei-lung-Kiang, namely, in Tsitsihar and Kailar, will be withdrawn within one year.
(The spelling of the above Chinese names is subject to correction.)
Mr. Griscom to Mr. Hay.
UNITED STATES LEGATION,
SIR: * In my telegrams of July 14 and 20 I informed the Department that Japan was about to open up negotiations with Russia at St. Petersburg for the amicable settlement of the Manchurian question. The negotiations were begun a few days after my second telegram, and in my recent interview with the minister for foreign affairs he officially confirmed the fact. I asked him what progress the negotiations with Russia were making, and he replied, "They are making no progress at all. The only desire of the Russian Government seems to be to delay matters." I asked him if he considered the situation critical. He replied, "Yes; it is very serious. The Japanese people are getting into a very excited condition." I said, "But the Government is able to control them," and he replied, "Yes; we can control them, but the fact remains that something must be done-some action must be taken." I report this interview somewhat in detail because of its serious nature. Baron Komura evidently wished to give me the impression that his Government is determined on a firm line of action, and that its patience is nearly exhausted.
Mr. Griscom to Mr. Hay.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Tokyo, December 18, 1903.
(Mr. Griscom, referring to his dispatch of September 21, reports that the Japanese minister for foreign affairs has informed him that the Russian reply has been received, and that it is most unsatisfactory, that it treats solely of Korea and ignores Manchuria, and that the Japanese Government will request Russia to reconsider.)
JAPANESE LEGATION, Washington, December 21, 1903. (Copy of a telegram received from the minister for foreign affairs December 21, 1903, left with the Secretary of State.)
You are hereby instructed to communicate the following information to the United States Government:
The development of affairs in Manchuria threatening the principle of equal opportunity and endangering the territorial integrity of China has seriously dissappointed all the powers having commercial and political interests in the Far East, who had been led to entertain, with regard to the future of Manchuria, more or less hopeful views by the repeated and unequivocal declarations of the Russian Government. But what is of still more serious concern to Japan is that the indefinite occupation of Manchuria by Russia would be continual menace to Korea, whose independence Japan considers absolutely essential to her own repose and safety.
It was with the object of removing this just and natural anxiety, caused by the unsettled conditions in Manchuria as well as in Korea, and of adjusting in an amicable manner the mutual interests of Japan and of Russia in the region where those interests meet, that the Government of Japan approached the Russian Government last August in a spirit of frankness and conciliation.
On the latter's signifying their willingness to enter upon negotiations Japan proposed as the basis of the negotiation:
1. The definition of the interests, respectively, of Japan in Korea and of Russia in Manchuria.
2. Mutual agreement as to the measures which each may take for the purpose of protecting the defined interests.
3. Mutual agreement to respect the independence and territorial integrity of China and of Korea and to maintain the principle of equal opportunity in the two Empires for the commerce and industry of all
Russia presented to Japan her counter proposal on November 3 last. In it Japan was asked to declare Manchuria and its littoral as entirely outside her sphere of interests and to make the stipulation applicable exclusively to Korea, the Chinese Empire being left entirely untouched. Moreover, Russia proposed to make the territory of Korea lying in the north of the thirty-ninth parallel a neutral zone into which neither of the contracting powers should introduce troops.
That this counter proposal fell short of the object which the Imperial Government had in view in inviting the Russian Government, as above
mentioned, need hardly be stated. The Japanese Government found it impossible to understand the difficulty which prevented Russia's stipulation to respect the independence and territorial integrity of China as well as the treaty rights in Manchuria, such stipulation being so entirely in consonance to her repeated declarations.
The Japanese Government was therefore compelled to propose amendments insisting upon the joint agreement by Japan and Russia to respect the independence and territorial integrity of China as well as those of Korea, and not to interfere with the commercial and residential rights and immunities enjoyed by Japan and Russia, respectively, by virtue of their treaties with China and Korea. The Imperial Government agreed to the establishment of a neutral zone in the northern part of Korea provided that a similar zone of equal extent be created in Manchuria along the Korea-Manchuria frontier. They also proposed, respectively, to declare Manchuria and Korea as outside of their special interests.
After a considerable delay the Russian second counter proposal reached Japan a few days ago. In this proposal all representations of Japan which she made in proposing the amendments were found futile. The Russian Government adhere more than ever to their original position and positively refuse to treat the Manchurian question with any power but China. Even those points on which myself and the Russian minister to Tokyo had already arrived at agreement ad referendum are now rejected. Practically, therefore, Russia now proposes to preclude from the agreement the article relating to Manchuria, making it a pure and simple Korcan arrangement.
JAPANESE LEGATION, Washington, December 23, 1903.
Copy of a telegram received from the minister for foreign affairs, December 23, 1903.
Communicate the following supplementary information to the Government to which you are accredited:
From the previous information the United States Government may have observed that the Japanese Government, fully animated by a spirit of conciliation, are prepared to recognize Russia's special inter ests and position acquired by her in Manchuria, provided,
First. That Russia should join Japan in engaging to respect the territorial integrity of China in Manchuria; and
Second. That the rights and commercial interests which other powers have acquired in Manchuria by their treaties with China should be maintained.
In thus proposing Japan asks no concession from Russia, all she desires being merely the confirmation of the declaration repeatedly made by Russia herself. As to Korea, Japan proposes herself to respect the independence and territorial integrity of the Empire and asks Russia also to respect the same. The Russian Government while accepting this proposal on the one hand proposes on the other a neutral zone in northern Korea. That Japan possesses paramount political as well as commercial and industrial interests in Korea; that she regards Korea's safety as absolutely essential to her own safety, and