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International Studies Paper
On the Periphery of the Russo-Japanese War - Part I
John Chapman and Ian Nish
April 2004
Paper No' IS/2004/475:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: japan; china; russia; manchuria; britain; admiralty; fisher; selborne; balfour; uchida; komura; yuna shikai; great northern telegraphs; naval intelligence; portsmouth conference; peking conference.

Chapman: Major defects in British naval intelligence were the absence of an effective central department, an inferior network of naval attachés in major capitals prior to 1902 and the lack of secure direct cable communications with Northeast Asia. The performance of the Naval Intelligence Department was changed for the better by the efforts of Lord Selborne as First Lord of the Admiralty (1900-5). Selborne's promotion of Britain's alliance with Japan was conditional on a close working relationship with the administration of Theodore Roosevelt. Nish: There was considerable uncertainty and indecision about whether China would take part in the Russo-Japanese war. Finally under considerable outside pressure she declared strict neutrality. Since the civil administration in her Three Eastern Provinces (Manchuria) was in Chinese hands, she inevitably had a role in the war; and her people suffered much. The Portsmouth treaties that ended the war could only be implemented with China's agreement. Foreign Minister Komura had to conclude new treaties with China at the Peking Conference on 22 December 1905.