The Imperial Japanese Mission to the United States, 1917



Formation and Personnel

Upon the declaration by the United States that a state of war existed between the Emperor of Germany and his government on one side and the United States on the other, the various governments of the Allied Powers also at war with Germany, hailing the potency of the new entrant, at once took measures to draw as tightly as possible the common bond against the common enemy. In addition to the ordinary methods of official communication through. the chancelleries, the gravity of the great interests involved seemed to call for something more direct, more personal, and led to the appointment of governmental missions composed of the highest types of officials charged with extending the warm hand of friendship to-America. At the same time these missions were advised to confer in the fullest intimacy upon all the problems of the war, whether purely military, economic, or financial, to the best results for the Allied cause. The Mission from France, which included Marshal Joffre and Premier Viviani, and the British Mission, headed by Arthur James Balfour, were followed by missions from Italy and Russia, and it was quite in the regular order that the Emperor of Japan should commend a similar course to Premier Marshal Count Terauchi, leading to the appointment of an Imperial Japanese Mission to the United States with Viscount Kikujiro Ishii at its head. This appointment of a skilled and highly trained diplomat of winning personality as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary was warmly applauded in Japan.

In the fifty-first year of his age, the Viscount had been in the public service almost since his graduation in 1890 from the Law School of the Imperial University of Tokio. His first diplomatic post was with the Japanese Legation at Paris in 1891, becoming third secretary in 1893. In 1896 he was consul at Ninsen and second secretary of the Japanese Legation at Peking in 1897, to be promoted to first secretary in the following year. It was in this position that he sustained the memorable siege of the legations in Peking during the Boxer uprising. Recalled to Tokio, he was made secretary at the Foreign Office and chief of the Telegraph Section. Promoted in 1904 to the directorship of the Commerce Bureau, he was dispatched to San Francisco and Vancouver in 1907 in connection with the anti-Japanese trouble there. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1908, he was in a short time made Ambassador to Paris, whence he was recalled to take the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1915-1916. Here were indications of a many sided diplomat that personal contact always bore out with something invariably added to the account to be credited to personal charm and high character. He was named Baron in 1912, created Viscount in 1916, being at the same time nominated by the Emperor to membership in the House of Peers.

The standing of his associates was also notable. Vice Admiral Takeshita had been with the Japanese Legation at Washington as an attachÈ; Major General Sugano, was distinguished in the modern Japanese army; Masanao, Hanihara, Consul General at San Francisco, was a trusted and experienced officer; Matsuzo Nagai. Secretary of the Foreign Office, had served at New York, Washington and San Francisco; Commander Ando, and Lieutenant Colonel Tanikawa were brilliant men in their classes.

At a meeting and banquet of the America-Japan Society held in Tokio on July 6, attended by Premier Terauchi and the members of his cabinet, something of a formal good-by and Godspeed was given to the Mission amid cheers and cries of "Banzai!"

II. A Halt at Honolulu

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