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Wednesday, 17 September 1919

On the 21st February, 1917, the Japanese Government replied to this communication as follows: -

The Japanese Government is deeply appreciative of the friendly spirit in which your Government has given assurance, and happy to note it as fresh proof of the close ties that unite the two Allied Powers. I take pleasure in stating that the Japanese Government on its part is fully prepared to support in the same spirit the claims which may be put forward at thePeace Conference in regard to the German Possessions in the islands south of the equator.

While Japan had been waiting for a reply from the British Government she had commenced negotiations with other Allied Governments, and a message to the French Ambassador in Tokio from the Japanese Foreign Minister was as follows : -

The Imperial Japanese Government proposes to demand from Germany at the time of the Peace negotiations the surrender of the territorial rights and special interests Germany possessed before the war in Shantung and the islands situated north of the equator, in the Pacific Ocean.

The Imperial Japanese Government confidently hopes the Government of the French Republic, realizing the legitimacy of these demands, will give assurance that, her case being proved, Japan may count upon its support in this question.

It goes without saying that reparation for damages caused to the life and property of the Japanese people by the unjustifiable attacks of the enemy, as well as other conditions of peace, of a character common to all the Entente Powers, are entirely outside the consideration of the present situation.

A few days later the French Ambassador replied to the Japanese Foreign Office -

The Government of the French Republic is disposed to give the Japanese Government its accord in regulating at the time of the Peace negotiations questions vital to Japan concerning Shantung and the German islands in the Pacific north of the equator. It also agrees to support the demands of the Imperial Japanese Government for the surrender of the rights Germany possessed before the war in this Chinese province and these islands.

M.   Briand demands, on the other hand, that Japan give its support to obtain from China the break of its diplomatic relations with Germany, and that it give this act desirable significance. The consequences of this in China should be the following: -

First, handing passport to the German diplomatic agents and Consuls.

Second, the obligation of all under German jurisdiction to leave Chinese territory.

Third, the internment of German ships in Chinese ports and the ultimate requisition of these ships, in order to place them at the disposition of the Allies, following the example of Italy and Portugal.

According to the information of the French Government, there are fifteen German ships in Chinese ports, totalling about 40,000 tons.

Fourth, requisition of German commercial houses establishedin China; forfeiting the right of Germany in the concessions she possesses in certain parts of China.

On receipt of that communication the Foreign Minister for Japan on behalf of his Government promised compliance with the request of the French Government.


Mr Burchell - What is the date of that letter?







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