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Secretary LANSING. Just as soon as possible, Mr. Senator. Can I do it by writing? Would you prefer it in writing ?
The CHAIRMAN. As you please. If you will come before the committee, you can present it in any form you please.
Secretary LANSING. Do you not think it would be advisable for me to put it into writing, and then, if you want to ask any questions, I will be very glad to come?
The CHAIRMAN. I think the committee would like to hear it, and then we can ask the questions, if you will come and read it—any statement you want to make.
Secretary LANSING. Very well.
Senator MOSES. Would Saturday be a more convenient time for you, Mr. Secretary?
Senator WILLIAMS. What is to-day?
Secretary LANSING. To-day is Wednesday. That only gives me to-morrow. I do not know. I will have to look over and see what the questions are.
Senator WILLIAMS. We had better make it Monday.
Secretary LANSING. I think you had better give me until Monday, if you can do it.
Senator Moses. I move that the committee adjourn until Monday at half past 10.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee have some other matters they ought to attend to.
Senator BRANDEGEE. Suppose we adjourn subject to the call of the chairman.
Senator Fall. The chairman is aware of the fact that some members of the committee requested a little information about another matter from the Secretary. Would it be possible for you to let us have that information to-morrow!
Secretary LANSING. Oh, yes; I think I can get that for you at once. I do not know what time it is now.
The CHAIRMAN. That relates to another treaty.
Senator FALL. It relates to the Colombian treaty, so that that might be considered.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well. Then the committee will meet on Monday at 10.30 to hear the Secretary. In the meantime, what is the pleasure of the committee?
Senator MOSES. In the meantime, the committee may be called together by the Chair.
The CHAIRMAN. There are some other things we ought to attend to. I hope the Secretary will be able to let me know to-morrow about that treaty with France to modify the treaty of 1822.
Secretary LANSING. I will. I will have that for you to,-morrow.
The CHAIRMAN. Then the Chair will call the committee together for those other matters.
(Thereupon, at 4.30 o'clock p. m. the committee adjourned subject to the call of the chairman.)
MONDAY, AUGUST 11, 1919.
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10.30 o'clock a. m., in room 426 Senate Office Building, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge presiding.
Present, Senators Lodge (chairman), McCumber, Borah, Brandegee, Fall, Harding, Johnson of California, New, Moses, Hitckcock, Williams, Swanson, Pomerene, and Shields.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. The Secretary of State is here, and ready to go on with his statement which he promised us to-day.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT LANSING, SECRETARY OF
Secretary LANSING. Mr. Chairman, I was asked twice during the hearing on last Wednesday, in relation to my knowledge as to the secret treaties or secret agreements which existed between Japan and Great Britain, France, and Italy, and, I believe, Russia.
In order to refresh the memory of members of the committee, I would like to read from page 148 just a brief portion of the hearing. [Reading.)
Senator Boran. Are you able to state whether or not it was before you went to Versailles?
Secretary LANSING. Oh, yes.
Secretary LANSING. That is, so far as Great Britain is concerned I do not think I knew of any secret agreements with France or Italy.
Senator BORAH. May I suggest, then, Mr. Secretary, that you ascertain for the committee as soon as you can conveniently, just when you learned of these secret agreements? It it has not already occurred to you, I think you will recall, probably, that these secret agreements were published first by the Russian Government, so far as the world was concerned. I do not know how long before that the Department of State had knowledge of them; but so far as the world had any knowledge of them, as I recall, the first knowledge came from Mr. Trotsky. Later on in the hearing, this matter came up again. I read from page 193 as follows:
Senator JOHNSON of California. Does the fact that is apparently established now, that these secret treaties were made before your agreement with Ishii, bring to your mind any of the particular conditions?
Secretary LANSING. No; I would have to refresh my memory on that.
Senator JOHNSON of California. You do not recall that you had in mind these treaties at all? Secretary Lansing. I did not know about these treaties at that time.
Senator Johnson of California. You did not know about these treaties at the time of the Lansing-Ishii agreement, as it is called?
Secretary LANSING. No.
Senator JOHNSON of California. You said you did not understand the exact line of the questions that I was asking. I do not wish to be repetitive or insistent, but I ask you again, do you not remember the publication even in this country of the treaties for the disposition of territory, after the war and in peace, of the various belligerents?
Secretary LANSING. No, sir; I confess I do not. When were they published? Senator JOHNSON of California. They were published- I got my copies in the New York Evening Post. Secretary LANSING. At what time?
Senator JOHNSON of California. Oh, it was a long time ago; I can not tell you how long ago; long before the armistice, you know, during the war.
Secretary LANSING. We!l, possibly that is so.
Senator POMERENE. May I ask, for my own information, are you referring now to the publication of these treaties as made by the Russian Government?
Senator JOHNSON of California. Yes; I think Kerensky published them first, and then they appeared in the New York Evening Post.
Gentlemen, in connection with those inquiries and the apparent implication that I must have had knowledge, or should have had knowledge, of those agreements prior to the Lansing-Ishii agreement, I can now state that my first knowkedge of the actual agreements came the first part of February of 1919. Under date of February 26, 1919, they were transmitted to the Department of State by the American Peace Commission, and the department has no record or any knowledge of the treaties prior to that time.
On April 22, 1919, alleged copies of the agreements between Japan and Great Britain and Japan and France were published by the New York Times under a Paris date line. I have inquired of the Russian division, and I have also inquired of Mr. D. C. Poole, consular officer of the Department of State, who has just returned from Russia, and who was in Moscow up to the end of the time that it was safe for Americans to remain there, and then was attached to the embassy of the United States in Russia, and the latter part of the time acted as chargé for this Government there, and the Russian division and Mr. Poole both assure me that these treaties never were published in any form in Russia.
In regard to the statement that I knew of the British agreement before we went to Paris, let me say=
Senator JOHNSON of California. Just what British agreement do you refer to, if you please?
Secretary LANSING. Between Japan and Great Britain.
Senator JOHNSON of California. And in your statement of the other treaties that you have just referred to you referred to those with Japan ?
Secretary LANSING. Yes.
Secretary LANSING. And I refer to the text of the British agreement
Senator JOHNSON of California. With Japan?
Secretary LANSING. As to my knowledge at the time of the Lansing Ishii Agreement, which was negotiated in September and October, 1917, I did know that Great Britain and France had at least an understanding as to the disposition of the German Islands in the Pacific. Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, then the British Ambassador, had informed me, in October, 1916, six months before we entered the war, that Japan was to take the islands north of the equator, and Great Britain those that were south of it.
Furthermore, at my first interview in connection with our negotiations, Viscount Ishii, on September 6, 1917, told me that in 1915, on his way home to Japan, he stopped in London, that he saw Sir Edward Grey there, and stated to him that Japan intended to return Kiaochow to China, but that the islands would have to be retained, because no government in Japan could stand if there was an agreement to return them to Germany.
Senator McCUMBER. Do you mean to Germany, or to China ?
Secretary LANSING. They did not belong to China. I am speaking of the Islands in the Pacific.
Senator POMERENE. From whom did you ascertain that?
Secretary LANSING. On September 6, 1917. He said it was then practically arranged that the Equator should be the line of division between the acquired territories of Japan and Great Britain, so far as the conquered islands were concerned.
Senator HITCHCOCK. That was an agreement renched between those two countries before we entered the war.
Secretary LANSING. Oh, yes; in 1915.
I would pause here to inquire if there are any questions in regard to what I have stated ?
Senator BORAH. I wanted to ask some questions. I will either ask them now, or when you get through with your full statement, whichever you prefer?
Secretary LANSING. If your questions refer particularly to this matter, I would like to hear them now,
Senator BORAH. Very well.
Senator BRANDEGEE. I beg the Senator's pardon. May I ask a question here?
Senator BORAH. Go ahead.
Senator BRANDEGEE. Does this include your statement with reference to the Japanese secret treaties? Have you finished that part of it, or is there more on that subject ?
Secretary LANSING. No more on that question.
Senator BRANDEGEE. Then I think it is all right for Senator Borah to go ahead.
Senator BORAH. Mr. Secretary, as I understand you, the first knowledge you had of any of these agreements other than the British agreement was on what date?
Secretary LANSING. In the early part of February, 1919.
Senator BORAH. And you received that information through what channels?
Secretary LANSING. I can not tell you, except that the commission received it in Paris ?
Senator BORAH. The first knowledge you had of the British agreement was from Ishii himself ?
Secretary LANSING. From Sir Cecil Spring-Rice.
NSING. No did you first lof that in
Senator BORAH. At what time was that?
Secretary LANSING. October, 1916. That covered merely the Pacific islands.
Senator BORAH. The agreement that I was talking about had not been made at that time.
Secretary LANSING. No.
Senator BORAH. The secret treaty with reference to Shantung and the German possessions in China had not been made in October, 1916 ?
Secretary LANSING. No.
Secretary LANSING. I first learned of that in the early part of February, 1919.
Senator BORAH. Will you state again briefly what it was that Viscount Ishii stated to you as to the understanding which he had with Great Britain, and when it was?
Secretary LANSING. The statement was made on September 6, 1917, and he told me that in 1915—that was after Kiaochow and the German islands had been taken-he was in London, and that he stated to Sir Edward Grey that Japan intended to return Kiaochow to China, but that the islands would have to be retained, as no Japanese Government could stand without obtaining them; that it was practically agreed that the line of division between the territory acquired by conquest in the Pacific Ocean should be the Equator, so far as Great Britain and Japan were concerned.
Senator BORAH. Will you give me the date of that?
Senator BORAH. Is that the only statement that Viscount Ishii made which would indicate to you any understanding between Japan and Great Britain with reference to the German possessions in China ?
Secretary LANSING. That did not indicate any.
Senator BORAH. Did he make any other statement indicating to you at all that Japan had any agreement with Great Britain in regard to the German possessions ?
Secretary LANSING. None at all, sir. After that statement, that it was the intention of Japan to return Kiaochow to China, the subject was never again mentioned during the conversation.
Senator BORAH. You do know now, Mr. Secretary, that at the time Viscount Ishii made that statement to you, he had a secret agreement, or Japan had a secret agreement, with Great Britain and these other powers?
Secretary LANSING. I do.
Senator BORAH. And that he either affirmatively or by his silence concealed it from the Secretary of State of this country?
Secretary LANSING. That is the truth. I do not know whether it was an intentional concealment or not. He did not tell me about it.
Senator BORAH. I want to say, Mr. Secretary, in answer to an intimation in your opening statement that we were indicating that you must have had knowledge of these things, that that was not my desire at all. My desire was to show what Viscount Ishii was doing.