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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

Ceded to Japan the southern half of Saghalien


The

negotiations, commencing on the 10th of August, were not concluded until the 5th of September, when a treaty of peace was signed. There had been a moment when the onlooking world believed that unless Russia agreed to ransom the island of Saghalien by paying to Japan a sum of 120 millions sterling,--$580,000,000, the conference would be broken off. Nor did such an exchange seem unreasonable, for were Russia expelled from the northern part of Saghalien, which commands the estuary of the Amur, her position in Siberia would have been compromised. But Japan's statesmen were not disposed to make any display of territorial aggression. The southern half of Saghalien had originally belonged to Japan and had passed into Russia's possession by an arrangement which the Japanese nation strongly resented. To recover that portion of the island seemed, therefore, a legitimate ambition. Japan did not contemplate any larger demand, nor did she seriously insist on an indemnity. Thus, the negotiations were never in real danger of failure.

The Treaty of Portsmouth recognized Japan's "paramount political, military, and economic interests" in Korea; provided for the simultaneous evacuation of Manchuria by the contracting parties; transferred to Japan the lease of the Liaotung peninsula, held by Russia from China, together with that of the Russian railways south of Kwanchengtsz and all collateral mining or other privileges; ceded to Japan the southern half of Saghalien,

the fiftieth parallel of latitude to be the boundary between the two parties; secured fishing-rights for Japanese subjects along the coasts of the seas of Japan, Okhotsk, and Bering; laid down that the expense incurred by the Japanese for the maintenance of the Russian prisoners during the war should be reimbursed by Russia, less the outlays made by the latter on account of Japanese prisoners, by which arrangement Japan obtained a payment of some four million sterling $20,000,000, and provided that the contracting parties, while withdrawing their military force from Manchuria, might maintain guards to protect their respective railways, the number of such guards not to exceed fifteen per kilometre of line. There were other important restrictions: first, the contracting parties were to abstain from taking, on the Russo-Korean frontier, any military measures which might menace the security of Russian or Korean territory; secondly, the two powers pledged themselves not to exploit the Manchurian railways for strategic purposes, and thirdly, they promised not to build on Saghalien or its adjacent islands any fortifications or other similar works, or to take any military measures which might impede the free navigation of the Strait of La Perouse and the Gulf of Tatary.

The above provisions concerned the two contracting parties only. But China's interests also were considered. Thus, it was agreed to "restore entirely and completely to her exclusive administration" all portions of Manchuria then in the occupation, or under the control, of Japanese or Russian troops, except the leased territory; that her consent must be obtained for the transfer to Japan of the leases and concessions held by the Russians in Manchuria; that the Russian Government should disavow the possession of "any territorial advantages or preferential or exclusive concessions in impairment of Chinese sovereignty or inconsistent with the principle of equal opportunity in Manchuria," and that Japan and Russia "engaged reciprocally not to obstruct any general measures common to all countries which China might take for the development of the commerce and industry of Manchuria."


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