Even on the date of its departure from Manila for Japan it was unknown how the fleet would be received.
The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (CO Capt. Raymond Perry Rodgers) reported that the Japanese Navy, comprising 160 ships, including ten battleships, was at sea and "in a state of war". In Great Britain the admiralty was giving Japan, its ally, five-to-four odds on what it expected would be the upcoming war. There were rumors that Germany had offered to help guard the U.S. East Coast and even of an U.S. agreement with Germany to protect the U.S. coast while the Great White Fleet was on tour, should a war draw in Great Britain on the side of Japan.
President Roosevelt even invited the German ambassador Baron Hermann Speck von Sternburg to the White House to play tennis. The U.S. government was concerned enough to send a squadron of cruisers and torpedo boats to Samoa, but at the last minute they were recalled. The Germans had also dispatched a cruiser force to Samoa to coordinate with the Americans.
Was surprised by the suggestion that Australian coal was considered inferior, as there were deposits of high quality thermal coal being mined around Newcastle and the Illawarra.
How times change from the jingo paean, for 6 years later the Japanese battleship Ibuki was part of the escort for the NZ forces together with the 1st A.I.F to the Middle East, from Albany, and were to occupy most of the German possessions in the Pacific.