Anglo Japanese Agreement 1902

The signatories promise not to conclude separate agreements with other powers to the detriment of this alliance. It would have been possible for the Japanese to follow the other path and reach an agreement with Russia by giving carte blanche to the Russians in Manchuria in exchange for a Japanese free hand in Korea. This was the course recommended by the experienced Japanese politician Ito Hirobumi, the main architect of change under the Meiji regime. Ito opposed the alliance with Britain, whose imperial grip he saw weaker, but he was rejected by the army chief, the impressive Yamagata Aritomo, who argued that the Russians would not stop in Manchuria. If they were not prevented, they would dominate the entire region and a fight with them would come. Ito went to St. Petersburg in the last months of 1901 to explore the Russians, but it didn`t work. He was drawn to England and preached at Bowood, the majelist seat of Lord Lansdowne in Wiltshire. It was at this time that the alliance officially ended, in accordance with Article IV, in the Anglo-Japanese Alliance Agreements of 1902 and 1911.

[31] The mistrust between the Commonwealth and Japan, as well as the manner in which the Anglo-Japanese Alliance was concluded, are considered by many scholars to be the main causes of Japan`s participation in World War II. [32] Parliament may forgive me for having spoken for a short period of time during its mandate on this vital issue of British interests in the Far East, but it is an issue to which I have paid some attention and that is why I dare to address the Assembly. The question of safeguarding our interests in the Far East is an issue that should not be addressed from any party point of view, as it concerns the entire nation and even the entire empire. In the past, we have sometimes had reason to blame the government for not being vigilant enough to respect that country`s trade rights in China. We have had to constantly reproach them for having pursued a policy of drift and capitulation and, indeed, what is the situation of British contractual and commercial rights with China today? We know that some agreements have been concluded, in particular the Anglo-German agreement, which was explicitly concluded with the aim of preserving China`s independence and integrity and the same opportunity for all nations to trade there. Then there was the Anglo-Russian agreement, and there were other agreements like the one with Germany. Despite all these agreements and arrangements, isn`t it the fact that our contractual trade rights in the great country of Manchuria have been limited and adversely affected? Is it not the fact that Germany has established itself in Shanung province and we will probably not enjoy the same trade rights there that we should have under our treaties with China? The question of 1306 is not whether the government is in too much of a hurry, but whether it has not concluded too slowly an effective cooperation agreement with Japan to support our common interests in the Far East. I think the first mistake was when Russia, France and Germany tried to deprive Japan of the fruits of victory and forced it to evacuate the Lao tung Peninsula. If England, as requested by the powers, had given Japan the advantage of its influence and had insisted, as a condition of its withdrawal from the Lao tung Peninsula, that Russia, France, Germany and other nations conclude an agreement not to occupy Port Arthur or any part of the Lao tung Peninsula, there is a good chance that the situation in China has been very different today. . . .


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Teisha Rowland, PhD, is the author of this blog.


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