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peril of disturbing the sanctity of the theory that property is property, and therefore inviolate, whether personal or national and no matter how acquired.
As to the second, there was the handicap of our national psychological limitations: the national optimism, absorption in phrases and passion for flattery, and ignorance of foreign affairs. After all, this Far-Eastern question is not very serious to us. It affects us only indirectly. It has afforded us a rôle pleasant to assume, that of protector of China. This has been a rôle calling for words rather than action, and the idealism with which we have clothed it has been an easy idealism, a glib and inexpensive and rather hollow idealism. At the conference we were content with that as a policy. It was responded to in kind. We asked for idealism in word, the only kind we knew, and we got idealism in word, since the powers saw we were satisfied with that. At Washington it was as at Paris: the husk of idealism was given America, the kernel was kept by the others; with this difference, that while at Paris the other powers wanted to get something, at Washington they wanted to keep what they had. In both places they succeeded.
In the face of this the national booster spirit, the Rotary, Kiwanis, chamber-of-commerce spirit, that must acclaim prosperity where there is no prosperity, victory even where victory is hollow, shouted down criticism until it was too late. Having shouted ourselves satisfied with so little, we naturally got no more. To have admitted defeat, even in time to retrieve it, would have shaken the national self-complacency. Even if a healthy
critical spirit were not taboo, our national ignorance of international affairs in general, and of the Far East in particular, would have made it difficult for us to know that we were being defeated.
This explanation holds for the results or lack of results with respect to China. With respect to Siberia there is not so charitable an explanation. The Siberian issue is largely of our own making. It was on our initiation, under Allied inspiration, it is true, that Japan entered Siberia during the war. By our failure to protest at its remaining after there was no need we emboldened it to continue in occupation. Our failure to protest was part of the Red hysteria whipped up in us and blinding us in the first years after the war. The Bolsheviki, it was dinned into us, were fiends of monstrous mien. The Japanese had only to say that there were Bolsheviki in Siberia,there were not, and that they were staying there to fight the Bolsheviki as trustees of civilization,-they were not, and they were given glad acquittal by mob judgment, mob press judgment. All those who were in or near Siberia, whether officials or observers, who sought to show by facts that there were no Bolsheviki in Siberia and that the Japanese were intriguing for permanent control and not fighting Bolsheviki-all such were judged as Bolshevik sympathizers by the same mob jury.
That view, or a modified reflection of it, still obtains in the dusty bureaus of the Government. It was shown glaringly and scandalously during the conference. Those who have studied the Far East at close range know the folly of intensifying the issue by adding Siberia to China as a danger-point.
That can be avoided only by complete Japanese withdrawal from Siberia and the freeing of the Siberians to work out their own salvation. It can be avoided by ending the compulsory isolation that Siberia has had to share with Russia and by resuming trade relations with Siberia, if not recognizing its Government, the Far-Eastern Republic. That is the view held by every American official, diplomatic, consular, or military, who has been in Siberia in the last two years. And it so happened that nearly every one of those men was in Washington during the conference.
Mr. Charles H. Smith and Colonel John F. Stevens, the American representatives on the Inter-Allied railway board in Siberia since 1918 and the two highest American officials there throughout the occupation and its aftermath; Mr. Stanley K. Hornbeck of the State Department; Mr. James F. Abbott of the Tokio embassy, who came to Washington almost directly from Siberia; General Graves, commander of the American Expedition in Siberia; Major Eichelberger of the Army Intelligence; and Major Drysdale, military attaché to the legation in Peking -all were in Washington, most of them having just arrived from the Far East. I violate no confidence in saying that they were unanimous in the conviction I have stated: that Japan must be made to leave Siberia or to submit with unequivocal exactitude under what conditions it will leave; that the Siberians must be left free to establish their own Government and develop their resources for themselves, and that trade relations must be resumed so that they may be able to do so, incidentally adding to our own trade.
Now, I violate no confidence in saying also that there has existed in
the State Department since 1917 a pro-czarist cabal that bears a large share of the responsibility for keeping America's Russian policy insulated in bigotry. The stronghold of the cabal is in the Russian bureau of the State Department, which under the department's bureau system has charge of Russian affairs. That cabal is more White Russian than the Finland Whites, more czarist than the émigrés. And only it has the ear of the administration; officially it alone had the ear of the American delegation. Not one of the men just returned from Siberia was so much as seen by the American delegation for discussion of the Siberian question. Mr. Smith and Colonel Stevens, the two men who had been the State Department's agents in Siberia, who know recent Siberian events more intimately than any other living Americans, and who had arrived in Washington for the conference, had less contact with the State Department than the newspaper correspondents. Where their information or their views were presented at all, they were in the form of gratuitous memoranda, which were only formally acknowledged. Colonel Stevens was consulted once with respect to the Chinese Eastern Railway, never on Siberia. Thus American official prejudice and preconceived bureaucratic theories were kept immaculate of facts. Perhaps it is a sound national instinct that keeps America aloof from foreign entanglement so long as its foreign affairs are so conducted.
All that is past, however. The conference is history. What projects onward into the future, what it has left in the Far East, is recognition of Jap
anese paramountcy, and Japan is free to make what use it will of that position. Again I must emphasize that Japan has not been the only aggressor in the Far East, and that the European powers, especially Great Britain and France, still have the fruits of their aggressions. But it is Japan that is the all-important factor in the Far East. The political ambitions of the other powers in China are necessarily subordinate in their own eyes and affect China only correspondingly. For Japan the central point of its whole imperial policy is China, and the future of China is contingent on how Japan molds its policy.
Japan has made tragic mistakes in the past. Its whole career as a great power has been a colossal blunder, for all its outward aggrandizement. It could have been leader and protector of all Asia. It could have been champion of all the non-white peoples from Suez to Siberia against the despoiling white imperialisms. When it took the field against Russia in 1904 it carried with it the hopes of all the non-white peoples of the East. When it drove the Russians out of Manchuria and pinned them up in Siberia and European Russia, it fired those peoples with more confident hope. They saw that the white man and his magic armor were vulnerable, and that there might be a door of escape from Occidental subjugation. They rejoiced that there was among them one who might stand as their protector until they, too, could defy the white man in all his might of steel.
Had Japan grasped or even sensed the opportunity destiny thrust before it, had it befriended China, said to China in word and deed: "For nearly a hundred years these people from far
distant shores have plundered you, but we now stand as your buffer, in return for which we ask only your benevolent partnership and your cooperation; for we need as much help as we can give, we need your coal and your iron, we need the purchasing power of your millions for our wares"
had Japan only seen that vision, how different would have been world history in the next two hundred years! And how finer and fairer Japan's rôle! For it would have been master of a hemisphere, the beneficent and honored master of more than half the world's population.
Japan never saw that vision, and does not even now. Having adopted militarism in self-defense, it became enthralled with militarism, and drunk with the taste of power military success gave. It took to militarism for militarism's sake, in which of course it is not unique in human history. Instead of befriending China, it did to China what all the other countries had done, and did so more ruthlessly than they. It conquered and bullied and grasped. It took territory, concessions, monopolistic rights. It pushed ruthlessly and unceasingly for permanent hegemony. Having fought Russia to break the bear's clutch on Korea, it then swallowed Korea itself. Having fought Russia to drive it out of Manchuria, which was being torn from China, it then took Manchuria itself. It committed the climactic outrage on China's soul by seizing Shan-tung. And then with bribery it purchased control over the very Government of China. So that to-day the bitterness of the Chinese against the European powers is forgotten and, where remembered, is as nothing to their passionsteeped hatred of Japan. For in their
feeling toward Japan is the added rankling of a sense of betrayal.
What Japan has wrought in China in the last fifteen years not a generation of atonement can wipe out. But it must make a beginning. It must, if it would survive. Japan is an island, a strip of territory rimmed around a small segment of a broad continent. Its people are only a handful to the myriads of the continent. In the ultimate outcome, however long delayed, there can be only one result to a struggle between the two. Further, Japan is no longer an agricultural country, self-dependent and self-sustaining. It has given hostages to industrialism. Without coal and iron and other raw materials essential to industrialism within its own borders, it must look to China for them. Separated by thousands of miles from the other centers of population, it must look to China for a market for the products of its factories. To get the resources and hold the market by conquest is impossible, inhibited by the laws of matter: a few islands against a continent, sixty millions against four hundred millions. It must get them by goodwill. Japan's primary, elemental problem in statesmanship can be stated in the terms of the corner grocery: if you slap your best customer, he will go else where. Given a friendly China, and there is no possibility of any other country's successfully competing with Japan for the trade of China, probably the world's greatest potential market. Given an unfriendly China, and Japan's development is fatally retarded. To foreigners who know China and Japan, it is so obvious that it seems banal to argue the point; namely, that Japan's future prosperity, its future existence as a great
state, is contingent on friendly relations with China-relations not of arrogant conqueror and embittered subject, but of equal to equal. Only to Japan's military masters and their following is that not obvious. But to an ever-widening circle of intelligent Japanese that fact carries conviction.
Sooner or later Japan must make a beginning of conciliation. Whether it will do so now is perhaps the most important single question emerging out of the aftermath of the conference. Possibly, the conference did nothing more far-reaching than to create a propitious occasion for such a beginning. Japan can make it now as a voluntary act, acquiring merit for it, in fact, in the Far East. The element of amour propre has been taken out of the question. The conference having demonstrated that there is no longer any danger of compulsion from outside, Japan can now act voluntarily, thus saving its face, which is not the smallest consideration as Oriental affairs go. This is the logical time also, for the conference has marked a clean break in the Far East.
Conciliation, however, is costly. It involves a complete devolution of Japan's political power on the Asiatic mainland and a complete reformulation of its imperial policy, a sweeping out of all its present conceptions of imperial destiny. That is no small demand to make on a nation newly come to success. But there is no escape by compromise. There may be postponement now, but sooner or later the same question will have to be faced. Japan must choose between a political policy and a commercial policy. It can con
tinue to press its political policy on China as in the past, with the end of securing suzerainty or at least absolute dominance; or it can abandon that policy for a purely commercial program, buying from China the raw materials it needs and selling to China its manufactured products, in both cases in free competition with other countries, relying on nearness to market and racial affinity for advantage over competitors; simultaneously helping China forward to reconstruction and development and prosperity as rapidly as possible, for the more prosperous are the Chinese, the more they will be able to buy from Japan.
Which way Japan will take is the question the conference has given to Japan for challenge; not new, not the product of any recent development, but placed out in bold relief, because there has been a break and a new chapter begins. Not often in the history of nations is so clear-cut, so stark a question flung before a people for answer. For the Japanese it is the third time since they emerged from isolation sixty years ago that a similarly fateful choice of destinies has confronted them: once when America and Europe broke down the walls of isolation, and Japan had to decide whether to abandon its old gracious and tranquil civilization in order to arm itself in self-defense or to hold by its old social forms and risk subjection under the material force of the new nations of the Occident; once, again, when it defeated Russia and eliminated it from the Far East and had to decide whether to take Russia's place and make for empire or adopt a less grandiose rôle and build on a foundation of the friendship of its neighbors. And now for the third time when, having
filled the grandiose rôle successfully, but at the cost of arousing the hostility of all the Far-Eastern peoples and kindling deep racial passions, it has to decide whether to carry out the rôle to its finale, however bloody, or to begin anew in a quieter, but eventually more profitable, part. The fate of half the world, ultimately of the whole world, is involved in the decision.
The first, the road on which Japan now marches, has only one end, the ultimate primitive test of force in a clash that will draw in the whole Far East and sooner or later the West. The second, the road of friendship and peace, will see slower progress, but it will bring the East to a rebirth of its civilization, which may regain the leadership it once held. If Japan's decision is for that, then it must make an honest retrocession of Shan-tung, foregoing the loophole left by the conference through which it can escape its obligations and retain the Shan-tung Railway and economic control over the province. It must leave Siberia forthwith and without compensation in territorial or economic concessions. It must cease discriminations in Manchuria both against foreigners and Chinese, and cease that process of consolidation which forbodes a permanent occupation. It must cease meddling in Chinese politics by fomenting unrest.
As I have said, however, we are no longer dealing with two isolated hemispheres. The East has become an integral part of the world political system. It is no longer possible for an upheaval to come about there without also shaking the West. In fact, it is more certain than probable that a war could not be fought in the Far East on any scale without drawing in the West