The Taft Katsura Agreement Suggested That America Apex

The Taft Katsura Agreement Suggested That America Apex

Second, Count Katsura found that general peacekeeping in the Far East was the fundamental principle of Japan`s international policy. It is,… the best and, in fact, the only way to achieve the above objective would be to make a good agreement between the governments of Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom… The gradual annexation of Korea may lead us to the erroneous conclusion that this was a deliberate and peaceful process. However, as the documents show, Korea, abandoned by its allies, had no choice but to enter into unfair «contracts» with Japan under duress. The conversation ended with a discussion about Korea. Katsura said it was the «direct cause» of the Russo-Japanese war and that he saw Japanese surveillance of Korea as a «logical consequence» of Japan`s military success in the war. He went on: reading the text of the U.S.-Korean Friendship Treaty, it is clear that both Koreans and Americans have different interpretations of the obligations of the Roosevelt administration. For his part, Taft agreed that the creation of a Japanese protectorate via Korea would directly contribute to the stability of East Asia.

Taft also expressed his belief that President Roosevelt would agree on this point. The conversation then moved to conditions in East Asia. Katsura said the only way to maintain peace in the region was to «conclude a good agreement between the three governments of Japan, the United States and Great Britain.» Taft replied that President Roosevelt could not reach such an agreement without the approval of the U.S. Senate. Nevertheless, the Minister of War noted: «Count Katsura and Secretary Taft had a long and confidential conversation on the morning of July 27… First, when he talked about some pro-Russians in America who would make the public believe that Japan`s victory would be a prelude to their aggression against the Philippine islands, Minister Taft noted that Japan`s only interest in the Philippines would be, in his opinion, to let these islands rule by a strong and friendly nation like the United States… Count Katsura confirmed in the strongest terms the correctness of his opinions in this regard and said positively that Japan had no aggressive design in the Philippines… The question of how the United States should respond to China`s rise has dominated the foreign policy debate in recent years. Democrats and Republicans agree that the days of cooperative engagement are over and that Washington should take tougher steps in its relations with Beijing, even if they disagree on where the line between «hard» and «ruthless» lies.

In this debate – and it could warm up as election day approaches – it is important to remember that this is not the first time a president has had to decide how to respond to an emerging Asian power. Indeed, President Theodore Roosevelt signed today, a hundred and fifty years ago, before the advent of another power in Asia, a document known as the Taft-Katsura Memorandum, which chose not confrontation, but housing. Dennett argued that the memorandum boils down to a binding agreement between Japan and the United States, in which Japan would leave the Philippines alone if the United States softened North Korea. Since then, historians have debated this assertion. Some argue that Taft-Katsura was not at all an agreement, much less an agreement with a quid pro quo. In this regard, the memorandum is merely an exchange of views that the two parties previously shared. Others claim that this was a quid-pro-quo agreement, precisely because Taft «expressed the U.S. agreement on Japanese control of Korea in exchange for Japanese respect for the U.S. presence in the Philippines.» Some go even further by arguing that nearly half a century later, the Taft-Katsura Memorandum served as a precedent for the partition of Korea.



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