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The whole foreign policy of Japan is based on one fundamental rule of action: eat or be eaten, seize or be seized. The history of its own hemisphere has been its text-book. When it was forcibly dragged out of feudal isolation by America into the nineteenth-century world it found that law in ruthless operation at its doors. It does not believe the law has ever been repealed. It does not believe, in other words, that the white powers have ever renounced their desire to partition China for themselves, and the partitioning of China would mean eventually the gobbling of Japan.
When the World War came, then, and the white powers had their hands tied, Japan's course was clearly mapped out-to forestall them. It pressed the Twenty-one Demands on China and by threat of war secured their acceptance, and then compelled the Allies and America to recognize the "special position" the demands gave. It intrenched itself politically in Peking. It took its grip on the vitals of China through Shan-tung. It mounted its own guard over Siberia. Now, when the war is over and one asks Japanese statesmen and military leaders when Japan will evacuate Shan-tung as it promised, when it will leave Siberia as it promised, when it will take its troops out of Mongolia and off the Chinese Eastern Railway as it promised, one gets an almost stereotyped reply: "Not for the present; it depends on how the international situation unfolds."
By that they mean they will wait to see whether the Western powers have changed their motives in the Far East,
whether the battles for spheres of influence will be resumed, whether slices of China will be lopped off periodically as before. And, being hard-headed
realists in Weltpolitik and looking about the world unblinded by illusions, they are skeptical. When, therefore, now that the war is over, the Western powers have their hands freed again for the grasping and, finding Japan with all the prizes in its own hands, ask it to replace them that they may get their shares
And not only the irony, but the futility of it. We address the Japanese in the name of the integrity of China and the peace of the Far East. We ask them in the name of the integrity of China and the peace of the Far East to get out of Shan-tung. how will the integrity of China be made secure and the peace of the Far East be assured if they do get out of Shan-tung, while the British stay on their little mist-wrapped rock off the Southern coast called Hong-Kong, and because they are there, not only demand an exclusive corridor straight through south China to Burma, but obstruct the development of all of south China? When no harbor can be developed on Kwangtung Province proper as natural outlet for the province, when no railway can be laid to tap the resources of a whole belt of provinces, when no mine can be disemboweled of its riches because the heavy hand of British influence reaches out and blocks them? And one hundred million souls are thus held in bondage to the few score tradesmen and money-changers in the rococo mansions on the HongKong peak and the London directors of the Hong-Kong and Shanghai Bank,
Dodwells, Butterfield, and Swire, Jardine, Matheson, and others of the Far East commercial baronetcies?
In the name of the integrity of China and the peace of the Far East we ask the Japanese to open the door in Manchuria, on the northern borders of China. And how shall the integrity of China be made secure and the peace of the Far East be assured if they do open the door in Manchuria while the French in Indo-China, on the southern borders of China, rule as the ancient satraps ruled, and a Chinese who tries to buy forty pins from an American trader instead of a Frenchmen gets hounded from his ancestral plot, and the American cannot get a box of goods cleared through the customs? The open door! In the French sphere of influence it is not only shut; it is barred and bolted.
In the name of the integrity of China and the peace of the Far East we ask the Japanese to cease making loans to the Peking government in payment for monopolistic trade and development concessions. And how shall the integrity of China be made secure and the peace of the Far East be assured if they do cease making loans, while the Peking Club bar is lined at seven every evening with Britons, Frenchmen, Belgians, Italians, Scandinavians, and even Americans who are kept six thousand miles from their homes for no other purpose than to get monopolistic contracts for aeroplanes, wireless stations, street-car lines, power plants, or chewing-gum?
So the Japanese naturally say to us Americans: Why don't you ask the British to stop playing the dog in the manger at Hong-Kong? Why don't
you ask the French to open the door in Indo-China and Yunnan? Why don't you ask the Britons, Frenchmen, Belgians, Italians, Scandinavians, and even
Americans to stop snatching concessions in Peking? Why ask only us? What good I would it do if we did what you asked? If we got out of Shan-tung and Manchuria and Mongolia and Siberia and stopped intriguing for concessions while the others stay where they are and continue intriguing? It would make little difference to China.
As for us Americans, untainted as our record has been in the Far East, the Japanese are suspicious of us, too, now, as much as of the others. Not Japanese alone are asking why our sudden, avid interest in the Far East, why we have thrown ourselves so precipitately into the breach for China. Not Japanese alone are wondering what our bankers, our government experts, our engineers, our manufacturers' agents, and our hosts of salemen now swarming over China purpose doing and in what spirit.
One other aspect of Japan's imperial policy must be considered. That is the pressure of its increasing population and its need for expansion. It is that aspect the Japanese apologists put forward most in addressing themselves to the West. It has a convincing ring. I believe it, nevertheless, to be of lesser importance. I believe it has had a lesser part in motivating Japan's action and is largely an ex post facto explanation of those actions.
Japan has an increasing population and a decreasing food supply; true. It is a singular and significant fact, however, that the Japanese do not expand into
territories that they have a moral and legal right to occupy. They have not They have not fully settled or developed even their own northernmost island. They have not colonized either Formosa or the southern half of Saghalien, which they own. They have not availed themselves of the opportunities for colonization Korea offers. There they have sent their soldiers and their officials and merchants to the cities, but farmers only on the land already well developed. They have not pioneered, they have not developed anything themselves. It is significant also that the territories coveted by Japan are chosen not with regard for their advantages for colonial settlement, but for their fitness in an imperialistic design. They are chosen with an eye to imperial strategy, not outlet for population.
The increase in Japan's population also demands some analysis. That it is a rapid increase is patent in statistics, but that it cannot be met by Japan's internal development is not so patent. Japan is industrializing rapidly. Industrialism will have two results, one invariable in any society, one peculiar to Japan's own society. It will obviously provide for part of the increase by the larger production made possible by the factory system, and the goods produced will buy food from outside. The British Isles do not produce their food within their own borders, either. Industrialism also will lessen the increase in population.
With industrialism there must inevitably be a change in the form of Japan's society; the change has already begun. The family system as the social unit will give place to the individual man as the unit. The family
system, which is really in Japan and China a clan system, necessarily puts a premium on numbers; the greater the numbers, the more the glory re
flected on the ancestors. In the individualistic society under the restraints of industrialism numbers are a handicap. The transformation of an agricultural and household-industry state of society into a society organized around the factory system has brought birth-control always. It must bring birth-control.
It is not with any set of isolated problems, then, that the conference at Washington has to deal. These are only the statements of Japan's aggressions of the last few years. And the aggressions are dictated by, and are the outworkings of, Japan's imperial policy. It is with that as a whole that the conference must deal.
Japan's imperial policy, its career of territorial aggrandizement, set apart and regarded by itself, is indefensible. It has been for a decade the disturbing factor in the Far East. It is calculated to produce, and has produced, unrest and disorder from Vladivostok to Hong-Kong. It must continue to do so.
Unrevised or unchecked, it will continue to do so. continue to do so. That is a prime fact of contemporary international relations that the world cannot escape.
Japan's imperial policy cannot be set apart and regarded by itself, however. It took its direction from the conditions that confronted Japan in the Far East, and those have been created by the policy of the European powers in the Far East, at least in the past. That at bottom is the problem of the conference at Washington, the one problem, the basic problem.
Evasion of that problem or failure to solve it will leave us just where we were before President Harding issued his call.
The approach to such a problem, since it deals with intangibles, is almost impossible to survey. For it no agenda can be drafted. It is not feasible to work evolutions in the morals of five nations in two or three months of intermittent sessions. The most that can be done, all that can be done, is to fix by unanimous agreement the goal toward which evolution must tend; to lay down the bases of the new morality that must obtain; to create as many safeguards against infractions of the code as is possible in international relations, and then to let the future reveal whether those who joined in the agreement did so genuinely or not.
The concrete and practical application will be found in the treatment accorded China. The whole world's attitude toward China must make a complete reversal. It must be reversed not only as to future intentions, but as to past actions. A beginning must be made of undoing the wrong that has been done China for three generations.
As much of China's sovereignty must be restored as it is compatible with existing conditions to restore. China must be given full equality in the sight of the law of nations. The treaties made by all the powers with China must be completely revised. The powers jointly must sit with China, preferably at Peking, and together draw up new treaties. The treaties that still determine China's status in the world were signed by China at the point of the gun in the relation of conquered and conqueror. They are
not treaties between equals. They are the perpetuation, with the binding force of international law, of the relation of conquered and conqueror, and they work daily injustice on China. Revision of all the treaties simultaneously and with certain. provisions prescribed for all has the added advantage of giving Japan no ground for crying that this is all a world conspiracy to deprive it of the fruits of its endeavor. Of course it would be unfair to compel Japan to cancel all the recent treaties and lose its perquisites while the treaties of the other powers remain intact, with all their special privileges.
Without considering internal conditions in China it is possible to unwrite many of the injustices and hindrances inflicted on that country. It is possible, for one thing, to restore at once China's tariff autonomy. China should no longer have to wait for the consent of a dozen or more powers to fix its own tariff rates, which are now compulsorily at a ridiculously low level. The foreign post-offices now functioning in China and drawing revenue away from the needy Chinese treasury should be given up.
A definite date should be set for the relinquishment of the right of extraterritoriality for foreign residents of China, provided provided China's judicial system has been sufficiently reformed to meet definitely stipulated requirements. Coöperation must at the same time be offered by the powers for the beginning at once of the re
form of the judicial system by the establishment of model courts administered by the Chinese under supervision of foreign judges. The maintenance of separate and independent courts by foreign powers on
Chinese soil and the immunity of foreign residents from Chinese law is a derogation of China's sovereignty as well as a source of injustice to China. These are, however, relatively minor matters. Much more vital are territorial questions and questions of perquisites by special privilege. It must be laid down absolutely that there shall be no more alienations of Chinese territory, whether in the form of leases, concessions, or settlements. Definite dates must be fixed on which all Chinese soil now held by foreign nations shall revert to China. If necessary, If necessary, conditions relating to ability to maintain orderly government may be attached, as with extraterritoriality. The spheres of influence must be abolished forthwith and proof given by the granting of a free field to all traders in the British, French, and Japanese spheres. It must be explicitly provided that no grants by China of monopolistic rights to any one power shall be recognized by any other power or be binding on it. It should be agreed as between the powers and China and among the powers themselves that no political loans shall be made by any power to China without the consent of the other powers.
Not till the powers have given proof in deed that they have reversed their previous attitude can the most important question of all, the development of China's resources, be taken up. The building of railways and highways, the reorganization of the currency system, the opening of mines and similar enterprises, are best postponed until that time comes. Then they must be undertaken with international
help along the lines plotted by the new consortium. To touch them now is only to imperil China further and start another scramble for conces
sions. That is why China will have none of the consortium
I have made qualifications in the foregoing as to political conditions in China. These, unfortunately, make impossible full reparation to China at this time. It would be an injustice to China no less than to foreign interests in China to make retrocession of all foreign rights at this time. China is now demoralized worse than at any time since the Taiping Rebellion, seventy-five years ago. Its condition is utter chaos. There is no government. The provinces are all virtually independent. It is ruled, or misruled, by a host of bandit military officers. They have looted the treasury and the public revenues until the country's political organs are bankrupt. A saturnalia of corruption is over the country such as can hardly be paralleled. In these circumstances to return the foreign-leased territories and concessions to Chinese control would injure Chinese as much as foreigners. In those territories alone is there security of life and property and can the trade be carried on by which millions live. Much of this condition can be traced to foreign meddling in Chinese affairs, specially by the Japanese, and it is irony that foreign injustices should now prevent foreign restitution. Distinction must be made also between the degenerated China that is of the moment and the entity China that is of all time. That is the Chinese race-a race whose story goes back further