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Correspondence regarding the negotiations between Japan and Russia (1903-1904) Presented to the Imperial diet, March, 1904 online

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JPresented to the Imperial Diet, March, 1904.








Prese7ited to the Imperial Diet, March, 1904.







No. I.

Baron Koiiiiira to Mr. Kiiri)io.

Tokio, July 28th, 1903.

THE Japanese Government have observed with close
attention the development of affairs in Manchuria, and
thev view with grave concern the present situation there.
So long as there were grounds for hope that Russia would
carry out her engagement to China and her assurances to
other Powers on the subject of the evacuation of Manchuria,
the Japanese Government maintained an attitude of watch-
ful reserve. But the recent action of Russia in formulat-
ing new demands in Peking and in consolidating rather
than relaxing her hold on Manchuria compels belief that
she has abandoned the intention of retiring from Man-
churia, while her increased activity along the Corean
frontier is such as to raise doubts regarding the limits of


her ambition. TIk- unrcstraiiifd jx-nuancnt occupation of
Manchnrra bv Russia would rreaU- a condition of thino;s
prejudicial i.o llu- Sfcuril>- and interest of Japan. Sucli oc-
cupation would be destructive of the principle of equal op-
portunity aind in impairment of the territorial inte^^nty of
China. ,But, what is of still more serious moment to the
Japanese (Tovernment, Russia stationed on the flank of
Corea would be a con.stant menace to the separate existence
of that l{m]:»ire, and in any event it would make Russia the
dominant power in Corea. Corea is an important outpost
in Japan's line of defence, and Japan consequently con-
siders the independence of Corea absolutely essential to
her own repose and .safet\-. Japan po.ssesses paramount
political as well as commercial and industrial interests and
influence in Corea, which, having regard to her own se-
curity, she cannot consent to surrender to, or share with,
any other Power. The Japanese Government have given
the matter their most serious consideration and have re-
solved to approach the Ru.ssian (rovernment in a spirit of
conciliation and frankness with a view to the conclusion
of an understanding designed to compose questions which
are at this time the cause of just and natural anxiety ; and
in the estimation of the Japanese Cjovernment, the moment
is opportune for making the attempt to bring about the
desired adjustment.

The Japanese ( lovernnicnt, rejiosing confidence in \our
judgment and discretion, have decided to place these deli-
cate negotiations in your hands. It is the wish of the
Japane.se (Government to place their pre.sent invitation to

the Russian Government entirely on an official footing, and
you are accordingly instructed to open the question by
presenting to Count Lamsdorff a Note Verbale to the fol-
lowing effect :

"The Imperial Japanese (Tovernment, believing
that the Imperial Russian Government share with
them the desire to remove from the relations of the
two Kmpires e\'ery cause of future misunderstanding,
would be glad to enter with the Imperial Russian
Government upon examination of the condition of
affairs in the Extreme East wdiere their interests meet,
with a view to a definition of their respective special
interests in those regions. If, as is confidenth' hoped,
this suggestion meets approval in principle, the Im-
perial Japanese Government will be prepared to pre-
sent to the Imperial Russian (TOvernment their views
as to the nature and scope of the proposed under-
In presenting the foregoing note to Count LamsdorfT,
you will be careful to make him understand that our pur-
poses are entirely friendly, but that we attach gieat impor-
tance to the subject. You will present the note to Count
Eamsdorff as .soon as possible, and keep me fully informed
regarding the .steps taken by you under this instruction ;
and immediately upon the receipt of an affirmative reply
from the Russian Government, the substance of our pro-
po.sals will be telegraphed to you.

No. 2.
Mr. A'uriiio lo Jinron Konnirn.

Pctcrsburo^, July 31st, 1903.

Received, August 2ik1, "

YOUR Kxcellency's telegram of the 28th instant was
duly received. In accordance with the instructions con-
tained therein, I saw Count Lamsdorff to-day and, before
handing to His Excellency the Note Verbale, I stated sub-
stantially as follows :

The condition of affairs in the Far East is becom-
ing more and more complicated, and unless something
be done at present with the view of removing all causes
of misunderstanding between Japan and Russia, the re-
lations of the two countries will increase in difficulty,
entailing nothing but disadvantages to both countries.
Under the circumstances, the Imperial Government,
fully animated by a spirit of frankness and concilia-
tion, have decided to approach the Imperial Russian
(lOvernment with a view to arrive at an understand-
I then handed to him the Note Verbale, saying that I
was so instructed. After he had seen it, I expressed my
ardent hope that the Ru.ssian (iovcrnment would share the
above view in the sanie spirit. Count Lamsdorff said that
he was perfectly satisfied with the decision of the Japan-

— 7

ese Government, for, as he had said to me very often, an
understanding between the two countries is not only de-
sirable, but is the best policy ; should Russia and Japan
enter into full understanding, no one would in future at-
tempt to sow the seeds of discord between the two coun-
tries. So far as he was concerned, he was, he said, in
perfect accord with the view of the Japanese Government ;
but he wished to see the Emperor on the subject before a
definite answer was given. He expects Lo see the Em-
peror next Tuesday, and promised to give me an answer
on the following day. He added that the Emperor would
surely approve the matter.

No. 3.

Baron KoDntra to Mr. I\iiri)io.

Tokio, August 3rd, 1903.
(Telegram. I

IN reference to my telegram of the 28th July, the Japa-
nese Government, after giving most serious consideration
to the condit'on of affairs in those centres where the in-
terests of the two Powers meet, have decided to propose
the following as the basis of an understanding between
Japan and Russia.

" I. Mutual engagement to respect the indepen-
dence and territorial integrity of the Chinese and
Corean Empires and to maintain the principle of

equal opportunity for the commerce and indnstrx of
all nations in those countries.

" 2. Reciprocal recognition of Japan's prej^onderat-
ing interests in Corea and Russia's special interests in
railway enter])rises in Manchuria, and of the right of
japan to take in Corea and of Russia to take in M:u)-
churia such measures as may be necessary for the
protection of their respective interests as above de-
fined, subject, however, to the provisions of Article I
of this Agreement.

"3. Reciprocal undertaking on the part of Russia
and Japan not to impede development of those indu.s-
trial and commercial activities respectively of Japan
in Corea and of Russia in ]\Ianchuria, which are not
inconsistent with the stipulations of Article I of this

" Additional engagement on the part of Russia not
to impede the eventual extension of the Corean rail-
way into southern Manchuria so as to connect with
the. East China and Shan-hai-kwan-Newchwang lines.
"4. Reciprocal engagement that in case it is found
necessary to send troops by Japan to Corea, or by
Russia to Manchuria, for the purpose either of pro-
tecting the interests mentioned in Article II of this
Agreement, or of suppressing insurrection or disorder
calculated to create international complications, the
troops so sent are in no case to exceed the actual
number required and are to be forthwith recalled as
soon as their missions are accomplished.

— 9 —

'' 5- Recognition on the part of Russia of the ex-
clusive right of Japan to give advice and assistance in
the interest of reform and good government in Corea,
inchiding necessary military assistance.

" 6. This Agreement to supplant all previous ar-
rangements between Japan and Russia respecting
In handing the foregoing project to Count Lamsdorff,
you will say that it is presented for the consideration of the
Russian Government in the firm belief that it may be
found to serve as a basis upon which to construct satisfac-
tory arrangement between the two Governments, and \ou
will assure Count Lamsdorff that any amendment or sug-
gestion he may find it necessary to offer will receive the
immediate and friendly consideration of the Japanese Gov-
ernment. It will not be necessary for you to say much in
elucidation of the separate items of the project as they are
very largely self-explanatory ; but you might point out
that the project taken as a whole will be found to be but
little more than the logical and essential development and
extension of the principles already recognized by the two
Governments, or of conditions embodied in the engage-
ments which the project is designed to supplant.

The foregoing instruction is sent to you in anticipation
that the answer to the Note Verbale jDresented by you will
be favourable ; but you will not act on that instruction until
you receive further instructions, which will be given after
you have communicated to me the answer to the Note

No. .,.

Mr. k'/iiino to lUuiui Kotiiura.

Petersbiirof, Auj^ust 5tli, 1903.
Received, " 6th, "


COUNT Lainsdorfl says he is authorized by the Kni-
peror to open ncy;otiatioiis with me on tlie subject of the
Note Wrbale.

No. 5.

Huron k'omura to Mr. Kuriuo.

Tokio, August 6t]i, 1903.
(Telegram, i

IN reference to your telegrams dated the 31st ultimo and
5th instant, you will state to Count Lainsdorff that the
Imperial Government fully appreciate the friendly spirit
with which the Russian (io\ernment received the proposal
of the Japanese (lOvernment to enter upon negotiations
with regard to an understanding between the two coun-
tries, and then present at once the project to the Russian
(Government in accordance with instructions contained in
my telegram of the 3d instant.

No. 6.
Mr. Kiirino to Baron Komura.

Petersburg, August 12th, 1903.

Received, " 14th, "


COUNT Lamsdorff, being now very much occupied,
could not receive me until to-day, when I handed to His
Excellency the proposed project in English in accordance
with your instructions. I added that the longer the con-
clusion of an accord is postponed the more difficult will it
become, as the condition of affairs in the Far East is now
getting more and more complicated. I asked him to hasten
the matter as much as possible. He said he would ex-
amine the project with care.

No. 7.
Mr. I\nrino to Baron Koiimra.

Petersburg, August 24th, 1903.

Received, " 25th, "


COUNT Lamsdorff received me yesterday by special
arrangement, and I asked his views, as well as the attitude
of the Russian Government regarding our proposals, add-
ing that the Japanese Government are now impatiently

— 12 —

waiting for a reply. He said that he had studied the pro-
ject serionsl\', but that the ICniperor having been absent
over a week on acconnt of the nian(L'ii\-res, he liad ])een
unable to take any steps in the matter; but he asked my
opinion about transferring the negotiations to Tokio, as
there were ukuu' details whieh would have to be referred
to Admiral Alexieff. I said to him that the Japanese Ciov-
ernment having confided the matter to me, I should prefer
to proceed with it, but that I was willing to communicate
his opinion to you.

He stated that he has already sent copy of our project to
Port Arthur with the view of obtaining the opinion of
Admiral Alexieff. After such conversation, he said the
(piestion of Japanese railway enterprise in Manchuria would
be difficult, l)ut upon all other points perhaps the Russian
(iovernment would be able to come to an understanding.
I said that in order to arrive at a satisfactory understand-
ing, mutual concessions as well as a si)irit of conciliation
are necessary and that the Japanese (Government would be
prepared to give favouralde consideration if any sugges-
tions should be made bv Count Lamsdorff.

No. 8.

Bnron Komiira to Afr. Kitriiw.

Tokio, August 26th, 1903.

IX reference to your telegram of the 24th instant, you
will say to Count Uamsdorff that the Japanese C.ovt-rnment


would prefer to continue negotiations in St. Petersburg,
believino- that by so doing, the work wnll be greatly facili-
tated. You can add that there are no details to be con-
sidered in connection with pending negotiations, which
require local knowledge, and that the Japanese (rovern-
ment, having placed the negotiation in your hand, would
dislike to make any change. You will say to Count
Lamsdorff that the Japanese Government are anxiously
awaiting a definite reply from his Government to their
proposals, and you will continue to use every endeavour to
obtain from him such a reply as soon as possible.

No. 9.

J/r. Kurino to Baron K'oiniira.

Petersburg, August 27th, 1903.
Received, '' 28th, "


I saw Count Lamsdorff to-day on the subject of your
telegram dated the 26th instant. He said he had audi-
ence of the Emperor last Tuesday, and was told that His
Majesty desires very much the early conclusion of an c?i-
tenle satisfactory for both countries, and expressed his
wish to conduct the negotiations at Tokio so as to expe-
dite the matter. Then Count Ivamsdorff added that the
Kmperor is to leave here for the country next ]\Iondav,
and then for foreign countries for some time, and at the

— 14 -

same time the Ministers concerned \s()uld be absent from
St. Petersburo. Consequently, neo;otiations in Tokio
would be much the easier and quicker way of concluding
the matter. I said, referring to my conversation with
Count Lanisdorff of the 23rd instant, that the proposed
undeistanding involved mostly questions of principles and
politics rather than details, and consequently that the
continuation of negotiations at St. Petersburg would be
proper and at the same time the quickest way to arrive at
a .satisfactory understanding. He repeated what he had
just said and insisted upon his proposition.

Under the circumstances, I think it hardly po.ssible to
change the course now proposed by Count Lamsdorff under
authority of the P^mperor. I also think that negotiations
at Tokio would entail many disadvantageous consequences;
and definite instruction for the further course is awaited.

No. 10.
Baron Komiira lo Mr. Kiiiiuo.

Tokio, August 29th, 1903.

IN reference to your telegram of the 27th instant, you
will say to Count Lamsdorff that the Japanese (Government
still think that negotiation will be facilitated if continued
in St. Petersburg since the negotiations relate to principles
and not details; and vou will add that he and vou havino-


been dulv authori/

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