Treaty of Portsmouth
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The Treaty of Portsmouth formally ended the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. It was signed on September 5, 1905 after negotiations at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, in the United States.
The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 was fought between Russia, an international power with one of the largest armies in the world, and Japan, a nation only recently emerged from two-and-a-half centuries of isolation. Research conducted for the 100th anniversary of the Treaty in 2005 explored participants' diaries, local newspapers and government documents to explain the causes of the war, the military conflict on land and sea, President Theodore Roosevelt's back channel diplomacy, and the peace negotiations hosted by the United States Navy and the State of New Hampshire, as the nearby city of Portsmouth acted as host to the diplomats.
Delegates who signed the peace agreement were Sergei Witte and Roman Rosen for Russia, and Komura Jutarō and Takahira Kogorō for Japan. Fyodor Martens and other diplomats from both nations stayed in New Castle, New Hampshire at the Hotel Wentworth (where the armistice was signed), and were ferried across the Piscataqua River for negotiations held on the base located in Kittery, Maine. The General Stores Building (now Building 86) was used for the meetings. Mahogany furniture patterned after the Cabinet Room of the White House was ordered from Washington, D.C.
In accordance with the treaty, both Japan and Russia agreed to evacuate Manchuria and return its sovereignty to China, but Japan leased the Liaodong Peninsula (containing Port Arthur and Talien), and the Russian rail system in southern Manchuria with access to strategic resources. Japan also received the southern half of the Island of Sakhalin from Russia.
The proceedings of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty negotiations have been identified as an early example of multi-track diplomacy. Recent examinations of primary documents have determined that the citizen diplomacy at work in the Portsmouth peace process—as the people of Portsmouth encouraged the delegates' efforts for peace at numerous social events, especially during the times when formal negotiations were breaking down—provides an important example for diplomacy today. The peace conference began when President Theodore Roosevelt invited both countries to conduct direct negotiations at the neutral site of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Because of Roosevelt’s confidence in the Navy, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was specifically selected as the site of the negotiations and charged with the delicate responsibility for providing the diplomatic protocols for peace.
Due to the efforts of Governor McLane, the State of New Hampshire along with Portsmouth and its citizens became the unlikely host for the first international treaty to be signed in the United States. Only now is it becoming apparent that the hospitality of the State of New Hampshire and the residents of Portsmouth and vicinity played a significant informal role in creating an atmosphere that made the formal peaceful settlement possible. As the primary representatives of their governments, plenipotentiaries Serge Witte of Russia and Jutaro Komura of Japan debated, risked their reputations as diplomats, and successfully negotiated a peace treaty that resolved the grave concerns of each nation.
The Russo-Japanese war, which involved not only the two warring countries, but also China, Korea, Europe, and the United States, set the balance of power in the Pacific for the next century. The war and the treaty signaled the emergence of Japan as a world power. Because of the role played by President Theodore Roosevelt, the United States became a significant force in world diplomacy. Roosevelt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his back channel efforts before and during the peace negotiations, even though he never went to Portsmouth. This international affair settled immediate difficulties in the Far East and created three decades of peace between the two warring nations. Negotiations lasted through August. Prior to the beginning of negotiations, the Japanese allegedly made the Taft-Katsura Agreement with the U.S. in July 1905, which agreed to Japanese control of Korea, in return for American dominance in the Philippines. The Japanese also agreed with the United Kingdom to extend the Anglo-Japanese treaty to cover all of Eastern Asia, and in return the UK also agreed to Japan's control over Korea. Despite Japan's demands for the entirety of Sakhalin and a war indemnity, and Russia's outright refusal, peace was attained through the actions of the participants, including Roosevelt's back-channel communications. Russia, under the guidance of Witte, was unwilling to give concessions in the name of peace and took advantage of Japan's need to end the war and thus Japan's willingness to compromise.
Roosevelt first proposed that a neutral committee propose concessions that Russia would cede to Japan, but after the idea's rejection, Roosevelt convinced Japan to lay down its demand for an indemnity and accept the southern half of Sakhalin rather than the island as a whole. The treaty confirmed Japan's emergence as the pre-eminent power in East Asia, and forced Russia to abandon its expansionist policies there, but it was not well received by the Japanese public.
The treaty was ratified by the Japanese Privy Council on October 4, 1905. Japan gained a great deal from the treaty, but it was not what the Japanese public had been led to expect, since Japan's initial negotiating position had demanded all of Sakhalin and a monetary indemnity as well. The frustration caused the Hibiya riots, and collapsed Katsura Tarō's cabinet on January 7, 1906.
In 1994, the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum was created by the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire to commemorate the Portsmouth Peace Treaty with the first formal meeting between Japanese and Russian scholars and diplomats in Portsmouth, New Hampshire since the negotiation of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty in 1905. As the Treaty of Portsmouth is considered one of the most powerful symbols of peace in the Northern Pacific region and the most significant, shared peace history for Japan, Russia and the United States, the Forum was designed to explore from the Japanese, Russian and American perspectives, the history of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and its relevance to current issues involving the Northern Pacific region. The Forum is intended to focus modern scholarship on international problems in the "spirit of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty".
Four Forums were held prior to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty 100th anniversary in the City Council Chambers at Portsmouth City Hall. The first Forum in 1994 was facilitated by the Japanese Consulate in Boston. Subsequent dialogues considered the latest developments in Russo-Japanese relations with specific reference to the Kuril Islands. Since then, the Forum has brought the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and its model of diplomacy to wider awareness through the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Treaty in 2005, commemorations of Theodore Roosevelt’s Nobel Peace Prize for his Treaty diplomacy (2006–2009) and legislation in 2010 making September 5 Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day in New Hampshire. The celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty provided a platform for organizing commemorative events at many levels.
In her 2009 book, Japanese Society at War: Death, Memory and the Russo-Japanese War, Naoko Shimazu detailed Japan's response to the 1904-05 war, the subsequent peace and the 100th anniversary commemorations, writing "[T]he Portsmouth Peace Treaty Centennial held in Portsmouth NH was most probably the largest centennial event held on the Russo-Japanese War in 2004-05."
In the months leading up to the 100th anniversary, the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum encouraged original research in local archives, newspaper files and family histories. Charles B. Doleac, the Chairman of the Forum, translated this research into a timeline of events as they happened in Portsmouth in 1905, fostering a new understanding of the dynamics at work in the formal, informal and backchannel negotiations and of the accommodating interplay of the diplomatic and social agendas of all participants including the ordinary people in Portsmouth that summer. Since then, the Forum has documented new insights derived from this timeline and subsequent discoveries in permanent resources including the exhibit An Uncommon Commitment to Peace, and its companion catalogue, recognized by the Library of Congress as the most accessible educational resource on the subject, a Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail (and map supported by the New Hampshire Division of Tourism), a curriculum guide for grades 4-8 distributed to all school districts in New Hampshire, a series of New Hampshire Humanities Council lectures and articles on the Treaty and New Hampshire's citizen diplomacy and a variety of commemorative events.
As an organizational tool, the timeline inspired many local organizations to produce concerts, lectures, exhibits, dinners and re-enactments. In 2005, dozens of local organizations and hundreds of their volunteers celebrated the theme of the 1905 peace treaty—reached with ordinary citizens providing a crucial, neutral, supporting atmosphere, not for one or the other of the protagonists, but for peace. These organizations created a calendar of more than 45 events in 2005 and since then, including:
- 10 exhibits, displayed at the Portsmouth Historical Society, New Hampshire State Archives, Portsmouth Athenaeum, NH Art Association, Seacoast African-American Cultural Center, Children's Museum of Portsmouth, Green Acre Baha’i School, Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, Old York Historical Society, Wentworth by the Sea hotel, and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
- 4 original plays including the 2005 NH Humanities Council statewide Chautauqua and Pontine Theatre
- 15-week concert series, three original musical compositions and Seacoast Wind Ensemble commemorative concerts and multiple original art works created for a statewide juried exhibit by the NH Art Association
- 22 lectures presented in conjunction with the Portsmouth Public Library, the Portsmouth Athenaeum, the Portsmouth Historical Society, Green Acre Baha'i School and Dartmouth College
- 9 publications and a documentary film
- an official port visit by the U.S. Navy’s destroyer, USS Ross (DDG-71)
- re-enactments of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard welcome and Treaty signing commemoration, the New Hampshire National Guard’s Welcoming Parade and receptions by private citizens in honor of the diplomats,
- two State Dinners hosted by the Governor of New Hampshire and a Mayor's Tea Reception for Portsmouth's Sister Cities of Nichinan, Japan and Severodvinsk, Russia, all at the Wentworth by the Sea hotel, which provided accommodations for both the Japanese and Russian delegations in 1905 for 30 days, at no charge
- visits by the Japanese Ambassadors to the US, the Japanese Public Affairs Minister to the US, and the Consuls-General of Japan in Boston.
The Forum tradition returned in 2006 with a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Theodore Roosevelt. At that event, the president of the Theodore Roosevelt Association presented a bust of TR to the commander of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum chairman presented an authentic replica of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Shipyard for their Building 86 museum. In 2007, the Forum welcomed Ambassador Dennis Ross as the guest speaker. In 2008, Samantha Power was guest of honor. In 2009 the Forum presented a rebroadcast of the ceremony awarding the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama.
In 2010 the NH Senate and NH House of Representatives voted unanimously to enact legislation making September 5 — the day the Treaty was signed in 1905 - "Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day" in perpetuity, statewide. Governor Lynch signed the legislation on August 17, 2010, and issued the first Governor's Proclamation for September 5, 2010. In Portsmouth the day was celebrated with a NH Humanities Council lecture, a peace flag-raising at Green Acre in Eliot, Maine, a memorial salute at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and bell-ringing throughout the seacoast area of Maine-New Hampshire.
- "Text of Treaty; Signed by the Emperor of Japan and Czar of Russia", New York Times. October 17, 1905.
- White, J. A.: "Portsmouth 1905: Peace or Truce?", Journal of Peace Research, 6(4):362
- "Japan's Present Crisis and Her Constitution; The Mikado's Ministers Will Be Held Responsible by the People for the Peace Treaty -- Marquis Ito May Be Able to Save Baron Komura," New York Times. September 3, 1905.
- Partial record of Privy Council meeting to ratify the treaty (from the National Archives of Japan)
- Director of Public Affairs, Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum
- Portsmouth Peace Treaty 1905-2005 official website
- Davis, Richard Harding, and Alfred Thayer Mahan. (1905). The Russo-Japanese war; a photographic and descriptive review of the great conflict in the Far East, gathered from the reports, records, cable despatches, photographs, etc., etc., of Collier's war correspondents New York: P. F. Collier & Son. OCLC: 21581015
- De Martens, F, (1905). "The Portsmouth Peace Conference",' 'The North American Review, 181 (558).
- Doleac, Charles B. (2006) An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty 1905
- Harcave, Sidney. (2004) Count Sergei Witte and the Twilight of Imperial Russia: A Biography. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe. 10-ISBN 0-7656-1422-7; 13-ISBN 978-0-7656-1422-3 (cloth)
- ______________. (1990). The Memoirs of Count Witte (translator, Sidney Harcave). Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe. 10-ISBN 0-87332-571-0; 13-ISBN 978-0-87332-571-4 (cloth)
- Geoffrey Jukes, (2002) The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. 10-ISBN 1-84176-446-9; 13-ISBN 978-1-84176-446-7 (paper)
- Kokovtsov, Vladamir. (1935). Out of My Past (translator, Laura Matveev). Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Korostovetz, J. J. (1920). Pre-War Diplomacy The Russo-Japanese Problem. London: British Periodicals Limited.
- Matsumura, Masayoshi (1987). Nichi-Ro senso to Kaneko Kentaro: Koho gaiko no kenkyu. Shinyudo. ISBN 4-88033-010-8, translated by Ian Ruxton as Baron Kaneko and the Russo-Japanese War: A Study in the Public Diplomacy of Japan (2009) ISBN 978-0-557-11751-2 Preview
- Trani, Eugene P. (1969). The Treaty of Portsmouth; An Adventure in American Diplomacy. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press.
- Randall, Peter. (1985, 2002) There Are No Victors Here: A Local Perspective on the Treaty of Portsmouth Portsmouth Marine Society.
- White, J. A.(1969): "Portsmouth 1905: Peace or Truce?", Journal of Peace Research, 6(4).
- Witte, Sergei. (1921). The Memoirs of Count Witte (translator, Abraham Yarmolinsky). New York: Doubleday
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|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- The Treaty of Portsmouth, 1905, Russo-Japanese War (actual text)
- Portsmouth Peace Treaty website of the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire
- The Museum Meiji Mura
- Imperial rescript endorsing the treaty of Portsmouth (from the National Archives of Japan)
This article incorporates text from OpenHistory.