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gium, says that German officials took many affidavits of French captives to the effect that French troops had invaded Belgium on July 31. Three of these affidavits are given at length in the appendix. They state that several French regiments had crossed the Belgian frontier on that date. It is needless to say, however, that such evidence is of little, if any, value.-Fuehr, 230–235.
JAPAN AND TURKEY DRAWN INTO THE
WHEN the great European conflict broke out, Germany held Kiaochou, a district on the northern coast of China. She had gotten possession of this territory by first seizing (1897) and then leasing it from China. The murder of two German missionaries by the Chinese had furnished the occasion for thus getting a foothold in the Far East. Nor were the Germans slow to take advantage of the good fortune that had placed this territory in their possession. The city of Tsingtau, in this district, was modernized and strongly fortified by them and thus made into an important naval base. All of this was calculated to excite the jealousy and rivalry of Japan.
Now, Japan was a power that had to be reckoned with in the Far East, not only because of her own strength but also because that strength had been doubled by an alliance with England. The first treaty between these two countries was signed in 1902, and had been renewed in 1905 and again in 1911. The object
of the alliance was to maintain the general peace in the regions of eastern Asia and of India,” and to insure “the independence and integrity of the Chinese Empire and the principle of equal opportunities for the commerce and industry of all nations in China." Each of the contracting parties was bound to assist the other if it should become “involved in a war concerning these matters" with two nations at once. If either ally should be at war with only one power, the other should remain neutral.1
When the European war first broke out, Japan expressed the hope (August 4, 1914) that it would be confined to Europe and that she would be able to maintain a strict neutrality. She declared, however, at this early date, that “in the event of Great Britain becoming involved in the conflict and the object of the Anglo-Japanese Agreement of Alliance be at stake, Japan may take such measures as are necessary to fulfill her obligations under that Agreement.” 2 Germany on August 12 announced to the Japanese Government that her East Asiatic squadron had been “instructed to avoid hostile acts against England in case Japan remains neutral." 3
1 See Hazen, 700. For the full text of the treaty of 1911, see Publications of Amer. Ass'n. for Inter. Conciliation, Series No. III, Document No. 85, pp. 29–30.
2 Inter. Conciliation, No. 85, p. 33. 8 S., 814.
The account of Japan's subsequent action can best be given in the words of Baron Kato, her minister for foreign affairs. In a speech before the Imperial Diet, September 5, 1914, he said in part:
It is plain from the foregoing statement that the Imperial Government from the outset earnestly hoped that the effect of the European war would not extend over to the Far East. As was related above, however, Great Britain was at last compelled to take part in the contest, and early in August the British Government asked the Imperial Government for assistance under the terms of the Anglo-Japanese Agreement of Alliance. German men-of-war and armed vessels were then prowling the seas of Eastern Asia to the serious menace of our commerce and that of our Ally, while in Kiaochou, her leased territory in China, Germany was busy with warlike preparations, apparently with the purpose of making it the base of her warlike operations in Eastern Asia. Grave anxiety was thus felt as to the maintenance of the peace of the Far East.
As you are all aware the Agreement of Alliance between Japan and Great Britain has for its object, the consolidation and maintenance of the general peace in Eastern Asia, insuring the independence and integrity of China as well as the principle of equal opportunities for the commerce and industry of all nations in that country, and the maintenance and defense respectively of the territorial rights and of the special interests of the contracting parties in Eastern Asia. Therefore inasmuch as she is asked by her Ally for assistance at the time when the commerce in Eastern Asia, which Japan and Great Britain regard alike as one of their special interests, is subjected to constant menace, Japan, which regards that alliance as the guiding principle of her foreign policy, cannot but comply with such request and do her part. Besides in the opinion of the Government the possession by Germany, whose interests are opposed to those of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, of a base of her powerful activities in one corner of the Far East is not only a serious obstacle to the maintenance of permanent peace of Eastern Asia, but is also in conflict with the more immediate interests of our own Empire. The Government, therefore, resolved to comply with the British request and if necessary in doing so to open hostilities against Germany and after the Imperial sanction was obtained, they communicated this resolution to the British Government. Full and frank exchange of views between the two Governments followed and it was finally agreed between them to take such measures as may be necessary to protect the general interest contemplated by the Agreement of Alliance.
Japan had no desire or inclination to get herself involved in the present conflict. She only believed that she owed it to herself to be faithful to the Alliance and strengthen its foundation by ensuring the permanent peace of the East and by protecting the special interests of our two allied Powers. Desiring, however, to solve the situation by pacific means, the Imperial Government gave on August 15th the following advice to the German Government:
“Considering it highly important and necessary, in the present situation, to take measures to remove all causes of disturbance to the peace of the Far East and to safeguard the general interests contemplated by the Agreement of Alliance between Japan and Great Britain, in order to secure a firm and enduring peace in Eastern Asia, establishment of which is the aim of the said Agreement, the Imperial Japanese Government sincerely believe it their duty to give advice to the Imperial German Government to carry out the following two propositions: