Response to Maurice P. Hankey's Memorandum on the Shantung Question


Response to Maurice P. Hankey's Memorandum on the Shantung Question




No date


Robert and Sally Huxley


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museusm





Commenting on points in memorandum addressed by the Secretary of the Council to the Chinese Delegation, June 5, 1915, based on the records of the Council containing assurances given by the Japanese with regard to Kiaochow and Shantung.

Page 1, First Paragraph.

Japan cannot “restore the Shantung Peninsula to China in full sovereignty”, for the reason that neither Germany nor Japan has possessed sovereign rights over the Peninsula.

“Retaining the economic privileges which had been granted to Germany” would mean, in the absence of a qualification, the retaining of the exclusive preferential rights granted in the treaty of March 6, 1898. (Secs. II & III, Article IV).

“Establishing a concession at Tsingtao under the usual conditions” involves the acquisition by Japan of something which Germany did not possess. Germany possessed a lease for a period of 99 years, dating from 1898.

Germany did not, after 1905, maintain “special police” on the railway.

Page 1, Second Paragraph.

Germany did not have “military control over the Peninsula”. The statement that within the fifty kilometer zone around Kiaochow “German troops were allowed but not Chinese” is misleading: the Convention of 1898 expressly provided that “His Majesty the Emperer of China... reserves to himself the right to station troops within that zone...” (Article 1).

As to “intention... to restore Chinese sovereignty within the Leased Territory”, the Convention of 1898 provided that “China cede to Germany on lease, provisionally for 99 years, both sides of the entrance to the Bay of Kiaochow” (Article 2), and that the Chinese Government would “abstain from exercising rights of sovreignty in the ceded territory during the term of the lease”.

Page 1, Third Paragraph.

The Germans kept troops neither at Tsinanfu nor along the railway.The fortifications built by Germany were not within the area of the city of Tsingtao.

This statement confirms, by implication, the expectation that Japan's choice for an “exclusive Japanese concession” will be the city (and port) of Tsingtao, the only thing of real value in the Leased Territory.

Page 2, First Paragraph.

Under the terms of the Peace Treaty, Japan is accorded rights more extensive than those specified in this Paragraph. In the absence of an express enunciation, doubt arises as to Japan's intentions with regard to the rights not specified.

Page 2, Last Paragraph.

The observation of the Japanese delegates at this point in reference to the hope expressed by President WilsonWoodrow Wilson, implies that Japan reserves the right, even though a controversial point may have been submitted to the League of Nations, to insist on the full observance of provisions in agreements subscribed to antecedently by China, though it is notorious that a part at least of those agreements were made under duress and that the Chinese have asked the Peace Conference and may be expected to ask the League of Nations to investigate those agreements.

Page 3, First Paragraph.

President Wilson'sWoodrow Wilson statement at this point, is perhaps the most important of the things said at the meeting in question. It amounts to a complete reservation on the part of the Government of the United States with regard to the 1915 and 1918 Chinese-Japanese agreements. It will doubtless be construed, and rightly, by the Japanese as implying that Presdident Wilson will be favorabley disposed toward the entertaining by the League of Nations of representations which the Chinese Government may make asking for investigation of those agreements.

Original Format




Unknown, “Response to Maurice P. Hankey's Memorandum on the Shantung Question,” No date, R. Emmet Condon Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.