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67TH CONGRESS 1 Q-pvATP 1 /DOCUMENT

2d Session / SENATE 4 No. 109



KOREA'S APPEAL

TO THE

CONFERENCE ON
LIMITATION OF ARMAMENT




PRESENTED BY MR. SPENCER
DECEMBER 21, 1921. Ordered to be printed



WASHINGTON
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

1922



KOREA'S APPEAL TO THE CONFERENCE ON LIMI-
TATION OF ARMAMENT.



KOREAN MISSION TO THE CONFERENCE

ON LIMITATION OF ARMAMENT,
Washington, D. C., December 1,

All of us demand liberty and justice. There can not be one without the
other, and they must be held the unquestionable possession of all peoples. In-
herent rights are of God, and the tragedies of the world originate in their
attempted denial. The world to-day is infringing their enjoyment by arming
to defend or deny, when simple sanity calls for their recognition through com-
mon understanding. (President Harding in opening address to the con-
ference. )

To the CONFERENCE ON LIMITATION OF ARMAMENT:

Prior to your assemblage and organization we presented to the
delegation from the United States an appeal on behalf of the Korean
people for an opportunity to present their plea to its consideration, in
the hope that we might, through its good offices, be granted the op-
portunity to obtain a hearing before the conference. A copy of that
appeal is hereto attached. (Appendix No. 1.)

All of the conferee nations, with one exception, are in a similar
situation to the United States, for they have agreed by treaty with
Korea to use their good offices in case of her oppression per conse-
quence we have resolved to also present Korea's appeal for justice
to the conference as a whole.

Assuredly, we can assume that all of the ambassadors, delegates,
and advisors who participate in the grave responsibilities of your
task are familiar with those treaties and with the interpretative
diplomatic correspondence relating to them. However, for conven-
ience of reference we have prepared an abstract of the governmental
records, documents, and treaties pertaining to the relations of each
conferee nation with Korea, which is attached as Appendix No. 2,
under the title, " What the conferee nations have said and pledged."

We solemnly affirm that justice to Korea constitutes an indis-
pensable requisite to the permanent adjustment of far eastern affairs.
How can there be peace in the Orient if a nation of 25,000,000 people
are left to smart with the injustice of treaties " unkept " ?

When Her Majesty, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland arid Empress of India, through Her Majesty's
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, Sir Harry Smith
Parkes, knight of the Grand Cross and knight commander of the
Most Honorable Order of the Bath, said in the treaty of 1883 that
there shall be perpetual peace and friendship with Korea, and that
in case of difference with a third power Great Britain would step
in to exert its good offices to bring about an amicable arrangement,
Korea saw back of those covenants the integrity of England.

M52,'



KOREA'S APPEAL.



When His Majesty, the King of Belgium, through M. Leon Vin-
cart, chevalier of the Order of Leopold of Belgium, said in the
treaty of 1901 that the good offices of Belgium would be extended to
Korea in case of need, Korea knew that the honor of Belgium had
been pledged.

When His Majesty, the King of Italy, through Chevalier Ferdi-
nand De Luca, knight commander of the Mauritian Order and of the
Order of the Crown of Italy, decorated by China with the order of
the two dragons, said in the treaty of 1884 that the good offices of
Italy would be available to Korea in case of differences with a third
power, she knew that she could rely upon the pledges of Italy.

The pledges of Denmark were hers through the treaty of 1902,
when His Majesty, the King of Denmark, through Monsieur A.
Pavlow, commander of the Order of Sainte Anne, signed the treaty
with Korea.

What confidence must have been Korea's when she read the proc-
lamation of the President of the United States that "every clause
and article "of the treaty of 1882 'must be observed and fulfilled
with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof."

Can you say to Korea that these pledges are meaningless? That
she can be annexed by her own ally, whom she assisted to win a
great war? That against the will of her people she can be stripped
of all sovereignty, freedom, and liberty? That her people can be
taxed without representation, oppressed and annihilated, without
even a protest? If you say that; if that is your position can you
expect to have world peace result from such a conference? Will
any agreement that you make here have any more binding force or
effect than the agreements that you have already made, and will the
world at large, or even yourselves, have any respect for them ?

The United States should assist China, as she is doing. She is
hearing China's cry for justice, because in 1858 the United States
pledged to China her good offices in the treaty then proclaimed by
President Buchanan. (12 Stat., 1023.) For the same reason she
should assist Korea, because in 1882 the United States pledged to
Korea her good offices in the treaty then proclaimed by President
Arthur. (23 Stat,, 720.)

An American writer of the highest repute has recently declared
that

In the list of commitments, our pledged support to China and our guaranty of
her territorial and administrative integrity, now greatly menaced, will bulk
large. Our pledge to support China goes back to the treaty of 1858, in which we
pledged ourselves to use our good offices in case any nation acted unjustly
toward China. To-day that pledge is China's main hope of salvation from the
many dangers by which she is threatened. Should we be blind to our own
interests, the appeal to our national honor will not be made in vain nor go
unheeded.

Korea, yielding to the persuasion of America, emerged from the
solitude of her hermit life and timidly joined the family of nations.
She differs from China to-day only in that the processes of foreign
intrusion have fully accomplished in Korea what are still in progress
in China. Confronted with their menace, Korea vainly invoked the
covenant for her protection. Her " appeal to the national honor "
was made in vain, for it went unheeded.



KOREA'S APPEAL.



If the observance of this pledge be now essential to the preserva-
tion of China, it is the more essential for the restoration of Korea,
which presents in concrete form the fruitage of every policy which
threatens China's economic or political integrity. The processes in-
volving China are those which submerged Korea. They are identi-
cal in origin, in purpose, and in result. They can not be thwarted in
China if they are to be disregarded in Korea.

Because China still retains the external forms of government she
is rightly given a place at your council board. Because Korea has
been deprived of all forms of government is she to be denied even a
hearing before a tribunal which " is an earnest of the awakened con-
science of twentieth century civilization," the call for which " is the
spoken word of a war- wearied world struggling for restoration, hun-
gering and thirsting for better relationship of humanity, crying for
relief and craving assurances of everlasting peace " ?

We venture the assertion that our appeal for your consideration
can be denied only from motives of expediency. But this conference,
rich with the sad experiences of its many predecessors, should pro-
vide no place for an expediency which excludes the seat of justice.
Expedients are palliatives which postpone but never correct; always
convenient, sometimes necessary, seldom conclusive. They are the
bane of treaties, the most fruitful, if not the only cause of their mis-
carriage.

If it be argued that the absorption of Korea by the Empire of
Japan be a fait accompli, and therefore beyond your consideration,
we may reply by the assertion that no such act is ever final, when the
result is oppression or breach of treaty covenants. History supplies
us with many illustrations of this inexorable truth, of which Poland,
Greece, Finland, Bohemia, and others are exemplars. The conscience
of the world sustains the cause of such people, and its peace is im-
periled until justice hears and responds to their appeals.

Korea is the most ancient of nations. Until compelled by the force
ma j ear of the United States she was wholly self-contained. She was
the hermit nation. She was content with her own aifairs. She en-
vied her neighbors neither their commerce nor their domains. She
sought no conquests. She committed no aggressions.

From 1882 to 1907 she maintained diplomatic relations with all
nations under treaties which, without exception, covenanted for the
exercise of their good offices, should any nation deal unjustly with
her. She relied upon these covenants for her security, since her geo-
graphic position exposed her to the perils of conflict between her
more powerful neighbors.

Her domain commands the entrance to the Yellow Sea, whose hin-
terland teems with vast populations eager for the trade of the world.
It constitutes a tempting, if not essential, basis for extensive schemes
of Asiatic conquest, whether military or commercial.

Korea's 20,000,000 people are united in their protest against the
domination of Japan. That protest has crystallized into the forma-
tion of a Republic. Their resistance to the dominant authority is
necessarily passive, yet constant and persistent. They are without
arms and without money, yet not without organization. Their faith
is in the wisdom, the discernment, and the sense of justice of this
great conference. They ask to be heard. They are prepared to ac-



KOREA'S APPEAL.



cept your decree upon the hearing with all the facts before you. Tho
future peace of the world is in your hands, but it will not be attained
until the cry of Korea for justice has been answered.

If it be contended that to grant our appeal would be to intrude
a domestic or internal affair of Japan into an international discus-
sion, we answer that the more serious problems affecting China are
subject to the same criticism. Yet China participates in the deliber-
ations of the conference, and it is universally recognized that the
adjustment of her affairs is the sine quo non of any effectual scheme
for reducing armaments. And China's principal right to considera-
tion rests upon treaty covenants identical with our own.

It is because the nations with whom we covenanted disregarded
our appeals for the exercise of their good offices in our behalf when
Korea was unjustly dealt with that we are compelled to present this
petition. Had the least of them responded, the eyes of the world
would have been turned upon Japan, whose gaze would have stayed
her hand. Surely you will not turn away from us when you con-
sider how indispensable is your favor to our national rehabilitation
and to the accomplishment of your great objective.

Japan can not defend nor mitigate her forcible dominion over
Korea upon the plea of needed territory for her expanding popula-
tion. Korea can be used for colonization only by exterminating the
Korean people, which is beyond her power. Korea comprises but
84,400 square miles, with a population of some 20,000,000, or 239 to
the square mile. This density of population forbids any other alter-
native. The policy has been attempted, yet during the comparative
long period of Japanese occupation only 300,000 Japanese have made
Korea their abode. They came not to develop but to exploit.

We are aware of the fact that Japan has claimed that certain
treaties were made after the treaty of alliance between Korea and
Japan in 1904 by which Korea voluntarily gave up her sovereignty
to Japan.

If we but consider what must have been the attitude and the temper
of the Korean people at this time we realize how absurd and im-
possible this would be. How could the Koreans forget the murder
of their Queen and the poisoning of their Emperor '? Could they
forget how Japan came into Korea, protesting love and friendship
under a treaty of alliance, and how, flushed with the victory over
Russia, which the Koreans themselves made possible, the Japanese
threw off the guise of friendship and violated their treaty of alliance,
refusing to withdraw their troops, and have continued their military
possession to this day? Korea has never been put back in the posi-
tion she was in before the treaty of alliance, where she could defend
herself. Japan never placed her in statu quo. Consequently, noth-
ing that Japan has done or that she has procured to be done under
the menace of this military occupation can be used by Japan to
justify her retention of Korea. The facts regarding the treaties
said to have been made during this term of duress were covered in
the " Brief for Korea " which was filed with the Hon. Charles Evans
Hughes in April, 1921, and for convenience we attach hereto a copy
of that brief as Appendix No. 3.

Should this conference complete its labors and adjourn without
heeding the plea of Korea, its work, however beneficent otherwise,



KOREA'S APPEAL.



will leave to posterity an Asiatic Alsace-Lorraine problem to plague
its conscience, threaten its peace, and disturb the finality of every ad-
justment of international relations.

Finally, it may be asserted that Korea's right to be heard by this
conference rests upon the solemn sanction of treaty obligations.
Apart from the failure of the members of this conference to observe
their covenants with Korea when called upon to exercise their good
offices in her behalf when unjustly assailed by Japan at the threshold
of her aggressive policies, there remains the fact that Korea is the
uphappy victim of her abiding trust in the sanctity of international
agreements. Not force, but fraud, gave Japan possession of Korean
territory and Korean sovereignty. Her treaty of alliance with Korea
against Russia in 1904 made Korea her indispensable base of opera-
tions against the common enemy, in acknowledgment for which great
advantage she covenanted to safeguard Korea's independence and ter-
ritorial integrity for all time. Then, victorious over Russia, she
forged her treaty into a weapon for the undoing of Korea. The
burden of the yoke then fashioned for the necks of her unhappy
people has been made heavier by the indifference of the nations to
their obligations. This great conference, whose convocation has been
greeted as the harbinger of a new era in world affairs, constitutes the
final tribunal of appeal for Korea. She asks for justice and nothing
more.

Hers is the far eastern problem in all its phases. She is both its
exponent and the finished example of Japanese ambitions. Her fate,
if permitted to remain unremedied, will be the fate of Asia unless
prevented by a resort to the ultimo ratio of nations.

By direction of the Korean Mission to the Conference on Limitation
of Armament:

SYNGMAN RHEE, Chairman.

PHILIP JAISOHN, Vice Chairman.

HENRY CHUNG, Secretary.

FRED A. DOLPH, Counsellor.

CHARLES S. THOMAS, Special Counsel.



APPENDIX No. 1.

KOREA'S APPEAL TO THE AMERICAN DELEGATION TO THE
CONFERENCE ON LIMITATION OF ARMAMENT.

KOREAN MISSION TO THE
CONFERENCE ON LIMITATION OF ARMAMENT,

Washington, D. C., October 1, 1921.
To the Hon. CHARLES EVANS HUGHES, Hon. HENRY CABOT LODGE,

Hon. ELIHTJ BOOT, and Hon. OSCAR W. UNDERWOOD, Members of

the Delegation from the United States of America to the Confer-

ence on Limitation of Armament.

GENTLEMEN: We have been delegated by the people of Korea to
present their cause to you and to the Conference on Limitation of
Armament.

The Korean question is one of the vital far eastern questions. As
such it should be considered by the conference. Korea should not be
held up merely as an object lesson to illustrate the possibilities of
ruthless and aggressive oppression. Her wrongs should not simply
be commiserated. They should be righted if the objects of the con-
ference are to be attained. Twenty million people, clamoring for
restored independence and freedom and craving the justice to which
they are beyond all question entitled, can not be denied a hearing
without a reflection upon the worthy objects which you are appointed
to secure.

This conference soon to be held may prove to be the most important
that the world has ever knoAvn. To accomplish its end it must pro-
ceed upon the fundamental premise that the covenants of treaties
and agreements between nations are, and must, until formally repu-
diated by recognized processes, be faithfully observed by their re-
spective signatories.

Viewed in the light of this principle, the Korean problem is very
simple. Japan holds military possession of, and forces its sover-
eignty upon Korea, without her consent, in violation of the terms
of her treaty of alliance with Korea, and in direct conflict with
other treaties that were made by her at different times with that
nation. This military possession and enforced sovereignty without
consent is due to the *f act that neither the United States nor any of
the great powers invited to participate in the coming conference used
their " good offices " to prevent it, as by several of their treaty cove-
nants with Korea they solemnly engaged themselves to do.

The United States in 1882; Great Britain in 1883; Italy in 1884;
France in 1886; China in 1899; Belgium in 1901; and other powers
riot yet officially invited to this conference, each deliberately cove-
nanted with Korea, that

If other powers deal unjustly and oppressively with either Government, the
other will exert their good offices, on being informed of the case, to bring about
an amicable arrangement.

8



KOREA'S APPEAL. 9

Each one of the nations named below knew that in 1904 Japan and
Korea, just prior to the Russo-Japanese war, entered into the treaty
of alliance to which we have referred, and that by virtue of such
treaty Japan was permitted to occupy Korea with her military
forces and to use Korea as a military base in her operations against
Siberian Russia.

But for that treaty the war would have ended disastrously for
Japan, who without it would have been compelled to attack Port
Arthur with her navy only. Had she been compelled to land her
troops from transports, that stronghold might have proven im-
pregnable. Or if Japan had not been permitted- to surprise the
Russian fleet in the waters of the Yalu, history might have recorded
a story far different from that which Japan achieved. Korea, rely-
ing upon the honor of Japan, fulfilled her engagements and kept
her covenants to the letter, thereby powerfully contributing to the
defeat of Russia. Of these undoubted facts the great powers are
well aware.

The compensating clause to Korea in that treaty of alliance was
Japan's guaranty of her territorial integrity and independence. It
was negotiated at the instance of Japan. Yet she has never recog-
nized the sanctity of that clause, although she probably owes to it
her very existence, and certainly her greatness, as a nation. It is
by virue of that treaty and Korea's liberal observance of it that
Japan is to-day one of the great powers and a chief participant in
this conference.

With the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War Japan, instead
of removing her troops and armed forces from Korea, as the treaty
contemplated, established permanent military bases at Seoul, the
capital, at Peng Yang in the northwest, at Nannam in the northeast,
and at Taiku in the southeast, with naval bases at Fusan on the
southern coast and Wonsan on the eastern, notwithstanding her
naval base at Darien and Port Arthur sufficiently guarded the west-
ern coast.

Thus the temporary military possession of Korea, which Japan
obtained by reason of the treaty of alliance, has been perpetuated.
Korea has never been placed status in quo, free to act without co-
ercion or duress. She has always been, and is now, subject to the
menace of troops and war vessels of a nation which secured initial
possession of Korea, not by conquest, but by a treaty, to tide her over
a vital crisis, which has long since disappeared. Had the American
troops remained in France, or the English in Belgium, and through
the menace of their presence wrested sovereignty from these nations,
the wrong would have been no greater nor more palpable.

Nothing that Japan has done or that she has procured to be done
during the menace and duress of this unlawful military occupation
toward securing an apparent or alleged acquiescence in her occupa-
tion and sovereignty over Korea should be of lawful force or effect,
and especially in a congress of nations deliberating to secure the
enduring peace of the world.

The people of Korea vigorously challenge the assertion that they
or their Government ever acquiesced in or consented to the assump-
tion of the sovereignty of Japan over Korea. In this they are sup-
ported by the recorded facts of history, by the declarations and writ-
S. Doc. 109, 67-2 2



10 KOREA'S APPEAL.

ten protests of the ex-Einperor, by the testimony of your own min-
isters to Korea, by the statements of a horde of outside witnesses,
and by a convincing array of circumstances. That their position is
correct is evidenced by the conditions existing at the time of the
alleged acquiescence. You have but to read the dispatches from
your own diplomatic representatives covering the murder of the
Queen of Korea at the instance of the Japanese ambassador, Viscount
Miura, and the account of your own military attache to be convinced
that no people with those experiences could 'possibly voluntarily sub-
mit themselves to any authority imposed through the agency of such
appalling deeds. Had Korea's submission been voluntary, these deeds
would have been as useless as they are horrible.

Following this assumed sovereignty under military coercion there
has been much oppression. The people are taxed without representa-
tion and have absolutely no voice in their own government. They
are oppressed economically and have no redress. Their courts are
presided over by Japanese judges and clerks. Japanese teachers
installed in their schools compel their children to learn a foreign
language. Immoral practices are imposed upon them that they abhor.
Intellectually they are being strangled and are being reduced to the
position of ignorant serfs and slaves. The people and the country
are being exploited for the sole benefit of a foreign power and a for-
eign people.

Although the world's press has placed before the public thousands
of columns of news reciting brutalities and atrocities in detail
hundreds murdered, thousands wounded and maimed; young girls,
school-teachers, and nurses stripped and paraded before Japanese sol-
diers and officers; churches and schools burned; thousands placed in
prison and more thousands flogged, with death resulting from the
severity of the punishment in over 10 per cent of the cases; and
although the great powers solemnly agreed to use their " good offices "
in any case of unjust dealing, not an official word uttered by a single
treaty power has thus far been heard. Is it not for you to challenge
the attention of the conference to these conditions and, by recognizing
your country's obligation, renew a much needed confidence in the
binding force of treaty stipulations?

Japan justifies her conduct by contending that her occupation of
Korea has conferred a material boon upon Koreans. But investi-
gation demonstrates that harbors have been deepened and improved
for war vessels and that railways and roads have been extended and
improved with special reference to military and not for economic
uses. Afforestation is claimed, but the facts are that the 101,000 acres
afforested are belittled by the 5,391,000 acres of virgin timber cut
over. In terms of dollars and cents, there has been $168,000,000
spent in Korea by Japan for improvements, and $418,000,000 has been
taken out of Korea by Japan through increased taxes over normal
Korean taxes and increase of the Korean national debt. Japan has
taken out of Korea $250,000,000 to assist in the support of her mili-
tary machine. If you would limit armament, take away this support.
Korea can use her own money to better advantage. But if we con-
cede that Japan, since her occupation of Korea, has conferred mate-
rial advantage upon her unhappy people, we may well ask whether
the destruction of that ancient kingdom and the enslavement of her



KOREA'S APPEAL. 11

subjects can be thus compensated. Germany defended her world war
of aggression by proclaiming her purpose to spread the blessings of


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Online LibraryWashington Korean mission to the Conference on the limitationKorea's appeal to the Conference on limitation of armament. → online text (page 1 of 6)