The British Empire and Japan, 1911–15

  • Peter Lowe


The relations between the different parts of the British Empire and Japan must be carefully considered in an assessment of the development of British policy in the Far East and, in particular, in the evolution of the Anglo-Japanese alliance. This chapter examines briefly the attitudes of each of the autonomous Dominions — Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa — and of India and discusses the extent to which policy in London was influenced by such attitudes.


Prime Minister Japanese Government British Government British Rule British Empire 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    See C. J. Woodsworth, Canada and the Orient: a study in international relations (Toronto, 1941) pp. 48–71.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Myra Willard, History of the White Australia Policy (Melbourne, 1923) pp. 122–7Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    A. T. Yarwood, ‘The “White Australia” Policy: some administrative problems’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, VII (1961) 245–60.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    C. Grimshaw, ‘Australian Nationalism and the Imperial connection, 1900–1914’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, III (1957) 177Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    I. H. Nish, ‘Australia and the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, 1901–1911’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, IX (1963) 201–2.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    D. C. Gordon, The Dominion Partnership in Imperial Defense, 1870–1914, (Baltimore, 1965) pp. 196–7, 205.Google Scholar
  7. 1.
    See A. M. Gollin, Proconsul in Politics: a study of Lord Milner in Opposition and in Power (1964) pp. 164–7.Google Scholar
  8. 2.
    Cited J. R. M. Butler, Lord Lothian 1882–1940 (1960) p. 44. Kerr was one of the fascinating men on the sidelines of power: he was afterwards private secretary to Lloyd George, 1916–21, then a leading Liberal peer and prominent advocate of appeasing Germany in the 1930s. He belonged briefly to MacDonald’s National government in 1931–2 and ended his life as ambassador at Washington, 1939–40.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    Sir E. Grey to Earl Grey, 27 Jan 1911, Grey Papers, F.O. 800/106. This part of the letter is cited in G. M. Trevelyan, Grey of Fallodon (1937) p. 202.Google Scholar
  10. 1.
    Meeting of C.I.D. 26 May 1911, Cab. 38/18/40, p. 9. The specialist studies were Cab. 38/17/21; Cab. 38/17/27; and Cab. 38/18/28 referring respectively to Australia and New Zealand and South Africa (revised reports of Colonial Defence Committee, renamed the Oversea Defence Committee in 1911). For a brief survey of the Conference, see I. R. Hancock, ‘The 1911 Imperial Conference’, Historical Studies: Australia and New Zealand, XII (1966) 356–72.Google Scholar
  11. 1.
    King was in England in 1908 to discuss outstanding matters with the imperial government. He discussed the alliance with Grey, who reassured him on the integrity of the Japanese government, see R. Macgregor Dawson, William Lyon Mackenzie King: a Political Biography, 1874–1923 (1958) pp. 140–1, 163, 167.Google Scholar
  12. 4.
    Borden to Nakamura, 7 Feb 1913, with enclosure in CO. to F.O., 8 Mar 1913, F.O. 371/1665. See also H. Borden (ed.) Robert Laird Borden: His Memoirs, 2 vols (1938) 1 395–8.Google Scholar
  13. 2.
    See T. A. Bailey, ‘California, Japan and the Alien Land Legislation of 1913’, in PHR I (1932) 36–59,Google Scholar
  14. 2.
    P. E. Coletta, ‘ “The Most Thankless Task”: Bryan and the Californian Alien Land Legislation’, in PHR XXXVI (1967) 163–88. Woodrow Wilson had lent his name to support of anti-Japanese legislation in his presidential campaign in 1912.Google Scholar
  15. 5.
    The Californian crisis seemed, at one stage, to threaten a war between the United States and Japan, see Arthur S. Link, Wilson: the New Freedom (Princeton, 1956) pp. 289–90. Grey urged both sides to settle their differences peacefully but he was determined the British government could not be directly involved, see his minute on Greene to Grey 5 Jun 1913, F.O. 371/1667; also important minute by J. D. Gregory on Spring-Rice to Grey, 16 May 1913, F.O. 371/1667. The difficulty, as Sir Cecil Spring-Rice wrote to Grey from Washington, was that the Dominions heartily sympathised with the United States, Spring-Rice to Grey, 7 Jul 1913, Grey Papers, F.O. 800/82.Google Scholar
  16. 2.
    See J. B. Brebner, ‘Canada, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and the Washington Conference’, in Political Science Quarterly, L (1935) 45–58; CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 2.
    M. Tate and F. Foy, ‘More light on the Abrogation of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance’, in Political Science Quarterly, LXXIV (1959) 532–54. For an important article qualifying some of Brebner’s conclusions,CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 2.
    M. G. Fry, ‘The North Atlantic Triangle and the Abrogation of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance’, in JMH XXXIX (1967) 46–64.Google Scholar
  19. 3.
    L. F. Fitzhardinge, William Morris Hughes: a Political Biography, I That Fiery Particle (Sydney, 1964) 135. Note also pp.83, 94, 116, 118, 128–9, 133, 134, 136, 145, 164, 193–6, 223–4.Google Scholar
  20. 2.
    See D. C. Gordon, “The Admiralty and Dominion Navies”, 1902–1914’, in JMH XXXIII (1961) 413. See also Gordon, p. 240. Gordon remarks that the alliance gave little comfort to Australians, ‘whose rudimentary intelligence service was concerned only with the operation of Japanese luggers in northern Australian waters’ (p. 205).Google Scholar
  21. 2.
    See Cab. 38/23/9, minutes of 122nd meeting of C.I.D., 6 Feb 1913, and Cab. 38/23/10, correspondence on New Zealand Naval Policy, letters between Churchill and Allen, Feb to Apr 1913. Colonel Allen told Lionel Curtis as early as July 1910 that he believed that New Zealand must develop her own navy in future, see John Kendle, ‘The Round Table Movement: Lionel Curtis and the formation of the New Zealand groups In 1910’, The New Zealand Journal of History, I (1967) 43.Google Scholar
  22. 3.
    Round Table, IV (Jun 1914) 408–9. Massey bluntly repudiated Churchill’s sentiments, ‘I do not want to do Mr. Churchill an injustice, but if he means that the people of Australia and New Zealand are to be satisfied with the protection afforded by Japanese ships and Japanese sailors, then Mr. Winston Churchill is very much mistaken …’ cited National Review, LXIII (Jun 1914) 704–5.Google Scholar
  23. 1.
    For a discussion of Australia’s attitude during the war, see Wm. Roger Louis, ‘Australia and the German Colonies in the Pacific, 1914–1919’, in JMH XXXVIII (1966) 407–21. See also Greene to Grey, 15 May 1915, F.O. 410/65, pp. 151–2, for Greene’s remarks on the relations between Australia and Japan.Google Scholar
  24. 3.
    See W. K. Hancock, Smuts: the Sanguine Years, 1870–1919 (Cambridge, 1962) pp. 351–3. Botha wrote to Smuts during the Conference that he had renewed his friendship with Laurier and their views entirely coincided. Bearing in mind Laurier’s lengthy defence of the alliance, Botha surely subscribed to the views expressed. According to Sir Keith Hancock, Botha found the session on foreign policy, ‘most interesting’ (p. 353). See also The Times, 19 Jul 1911, for the report of the support given by the Cape Times to renewal.Google Scholar
  25. 2.
    See M. B. Jansen, The Japanese and Sun Yat-sen (Cambridge, Mass., 1954) pp. 35–6, 166–9.Google Scholar
  26. 5.
    For British policy towards Tibet from 1904 to 1914, see Alastair Lamb, The McMahon Line, 2 vols (1966), which traces British policy from the Younghusband expedition in 1904 to the end of the Simla conference in 1914. Lamb also discusses British policy towards the north-east frontier in the light of renewed Chinese activity between 1909 and 1912.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Lowe 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Lowe

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations