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They could not go beyond the boundary of the zone. Within this zone China enjoyed all rights of sovereignty and administration.
"Japan's proposal to abandon the zone is somewhat of an impertinence, since she has violated it ever since she took possession. She kept troops all along the railway line until recently and insists on maintaining in the future a guard at Tsinan, 254 miles away. The zone would restrict her military movements, consequently she gives it up.
“The proposals she makes are (1) to open the whole bay. It is from 15 to 20 miles from the entrance to the northern shore of the bay. (2) To have a Japanese exclusive concession at a place to be designated by her, i.e., she can take just as much as she likes of the territory around the bay. It may be as large as the present leased territory, but more likely it will include only the best part of Tsingtau. What then does she give up? Nothing but such parts of the leased territory as are of no value.
“The operation then would amount chiefly to an exchange of two pieces of paper — one cancelling the lease for 78 years, the other granting a more valuable concession which would amount to a permanent title to the port. Why take two years to go through this operation?
“If it be right for a policeman, who recovers your purse, to keep the contents and claim that he has fulfilled his duty in returning the empty purse, then Japan's conduct may be tolerated.
“If it be right for Japan to annex the territory of an Ally, then it cannot be wrong for Italy to retain Fiume taken from the enemy.
“If we support Japan's claim, we abandon the democracy of China to the domination of the Prussianized militarism of Japan.
“We shall be sowing dragons' teeth.
“It can't be right to do wrong even to make peace. Peace is desirable, but there are things dearer than peace, justice and freedom.
“Sincerely yours “THE PRESIDENT
“T. H. Bliss
I have not discussed certain modifications proposed by the Japanese delegates, since, as is clear from General Bliss's letter, they amounted to nothing and were merely a pretense of concession and without substantial value.
The day following the delivery of this letter to the President (April 30), by which he was fully advised of the attitude of General Bliss, Mr. White, and myself in regard to the Japanese claims, the Council of Four reached its final decision of the matter, in which necessarily Mr. Wilson acquiesced. I learned of this decision the same evening. The memorandum which I made the next morning in regard to the matter is as follows:
“China has been abandoned to Japanese rapacity. A democratic territory has been given over to an autocratic government. The President has conceded to Japan all that, if not more than, she ever hoped to obtain. This is the information contained in a memorandum handed by Ray Stannard Baker under the President's direction to the Chinese delegation last evening, a copy of which reached me through Mr.
(of the Chinese delegation). “Mr. also said that Mr. Baker stated that the President desired him to say that the President was very sorry that he had not been able to do more for China but that he had been compelled to accede to Japan's demand 'in order to save the League of Nations.'
“The memorandum was most depressing. Though I had anticipated something of the sort three days ago (see note of April 28 previously quoted], I had unconsciously cherished a hope that the President would stand to his guns and champion China's cause. He has failed to do so. It is true that China is given the shell called 'sovereignty,' but the economic control, the kernel, is turned over to Japan.
“However logical may appear the argument that China's political integrity is preserved and will be maintained under the guaranty of the League of Nations, the fact is that Japan will rule over millions of Chinese. Furthermore it is still a matter of conjecture how valuable the guaranty of the League will prove to be. It has, of course, never been tried, and Japan's representation on the Council will possibly thwart any international action in regard to China.
“Frankly my policy would have been to say to the Japanese, 'If you do not give back to China what Germany stole from her, we don't want you in the League of Nations. If the Japanese had taken offense and gone, I would have welcomed it, for we would have been well rid of a government with such imperial designs. But she would not have gone. She would have submitted. She has attained a high place in world councils. Her astute statesmen would never have abandoned her present exalted position even for the sake of Kiao-Chau. The whole affair assumes a sordid and sinister character, in which the President, acting undoubtedly with the best of motives, became the cat's-paw.
"I have no doubt that the President fully believed that the League of Nations was in jeopardy and that to save it he was compelled to subordinate every other consideration. The result was that China was offered up as a sacrifice to propitiate the threatening Moloch of Japan. When you get down to facts the threats were nothing but 'bluff.'
“I do not think that anything that has happened here has caused more severe or more outspoken criticism than this affair. I am heartsick over it, because I see how much good-will and regard the President is bound to lose. I can offer no adequate explanation to the critics. There seems to be none.
It is manifest, from the foregoing recital of events leading up to the decision in regard to the Shantung Question and the apparent reasons for the President's agreement to support the Japanese claims, that we radically differed as to the decision which was embodied in Articles 156, 157, and 158 of the Treaty of Versailles (see Appendix VI, p. 318). I do not think that we held different opinions as to the justice of the Chinese position, though probably the soundness of the legal argument in favor of the extinguishment of the German rights appealed more strongly to me than it did to Mr. Wilson. Our chief differences were, first, that it was more important to insure the acceptance of the Covenant of the League of Nations than to do strict justice to China; second, that the Japanese withdrawal from the Conference would prevent the formation of the League; and, third, that Japan would have withdrawn if her claims had been denied. As to these differences our opposite views remained unchanged after the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
When I was summoned before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on August 6, 1919, I told the Committee that, in my opinion, the Japanese signatures would have been affixed to the Treaty containing the Covenant even though Shantung had not been delivered over to Japan, and that the only reason that I had yielded was because it was my duty to follow the decision of the President of the United States.
About two weeks later, August 19, the President had a conference at the White House with the same Committee. In answer to questions regarding the Shantung Settlement, Mr. Wilson said concerning my statement that his judgment was different from mine, that in his judgment the signatures could not have been obtained if he had not given Shantung to Japan, and that he had been notified that the Japanese delegates had been instructed not to sign the Treaty unless the cession of the German rights in Shantung to Japan was included.
Presumably the opinion which Mr. Wilson held in the summer of 1919 he continues to hold, and for my part my views and feelings remain the same now as they were then, with possibly the difference that the indignation and shame that I felt at the time in being in any way a participant in robbing China of her just rights have increased rather than lessened.
So intense was the bitterness among the American Commissioners over the flagrant wrong being perpetrated that, when the decision of the Council of Four was known, some of them considered whether or not they ought to resign or give notice that they would not sign the Treaty of the