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economic reasons Italy thinks she needs Tunisia. Italy hopes also to get Malta in the course of time, and she has no intention of allowing the British to gain title to Constantinople. All these questions will be in the minds of her negotiators at Washington. They will not sign away their hopes, but they will keep them strictly under cover, and bring out for trading purposes only the demand, already made at Geneva, for pooling the world's raw materials in a way that will enable Italy to get her share without having to pay tribute to Great Britain and France.
The invitation to China was graceful, but impolitic, if the object of the conference is to talk about disarmament. We are either going to back China, which we have never done, or we are going to let China down, which we have always done.
With the exception of the dilemma in regard to China, our fears concerning the composition of the conference and its agenda are met with the answer that the State Department has clearly indicated its intention of steering clear of moot European and colonial questions in which the United States has no direct interest. We long for world peace, and are willing to give sound advice to Europe; but have not the aspirate quadrumvirate of the new administration, Harding, Hughes, Hoover, and Harvey solemnly assured us that we are not to be involved in the Treaty of Versailles and the Geneva League? France and Poland and Germany, Italy and the Mediterranean, the Entente policies in the Near East and Africa-we are interested in these problems because the loans we
have made and the trade we hope to get demand a speedy restoration of economic equilibrium in Europe and no discrimination against American capital, goods, and shipping in Near-Eastern and African markets. But we are not vitally interested, which means that the disarmament policy of the United. States will not be affected one way or the other by European and Entente colonial affairs. It is intimated that naval disarmament is the immediate issue, and that the only great international problem which the conference will have to solve before agreement on limitation of navies can be reached is what the newspapers are calling “the problem of the Pacific."
It all becomes as clear as mud. China has no navy, but she cannot, in view of the traditional friendship of the United States for China, be left out of a conference which is bound to affect directly and radically her destinies. We appoint ourselves the advocates of Russia's interests. Great Britain will come to an understanding before the conference with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. With France and Italy looking on, and Great Britain shrugging her shoulders and pointing apologetically to the force of public opinion in her Pacific dominions, the United States will find herself forced into the advocacy of measures that will make our naval shipyards and arsenals hum. The British Foreign Office and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs have the Pacific problem all arranged. We refused to underwrite Entente imperialism in the Near East. Very well. Under the guise of bearing the white man's burden in the Pacific and saving China from Japan, the United States is chosen for the rôle of saving Asiatic
markets for Great Britain and France and of relieving Great Britain of the cost of defending Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Amazing as it may seem to the reader who has thought of the Washington conference as a step toward world peace, what I write here is not fancy or conjecture. The Washington conference will be a conflict between world politics and disarmament, with Japan the victim and the United States the goat, unless the statesmen of Japan and the United States come to a mutual understanding before the conference as to how to checkmate the Old-World diplomats. Propagandists and jingoes are filling the magazines and newspapers with Japan in Shantung, Japan in Saghalin, Japan in Korea, Japan in Manchuria, Japan in eastern Siberia, Japan in Vladivostok, and Japan in the Pacific Islands. By her aggression against China and Russia, by her penetration of the Pacific, by her desire to send emigrants everywhere, Japan is threatening the world's peace. If Japan refuses to assent to a disarmament proposal, shall we not regard her as a second Germany at a second Hague, wrecking the hopes of the world?
The title of countries to possessions and political and economic privileges beyond their own natural ethnographic limits is acquired by force and maintained by force. The strong have taken what they wanted and held it against all comers. The world's colonizing areas and raw materials and markets are held and exploited by nations whose navies and armies have been the winners in duels with other European powers. When the Japanese
were compelled by threat of bombardment to open their country to Caucasian missionaries and traders, they alone of all Oriental peoples had the wit and the ability to study and imitate our methods. In the beginning we did not intimidate them, we did not bluff them. We are not going to intimidate them and bluff them now.
If the United States attempts at Washington to make the limitation of armaments agreement contingent upon unilateral sacrifices on the part of Japan, the efforts of our statesmen will be indefensible morally, historically, economically; foolish politically; and will lead to a new war, prejudicial to our own interests, to pull others' chestnuts out of the fire for them.
In the matter of Shan-tung we say we are the friends of China; of Vladivostok and Saghalin the friends of Russia; of Korea the friends of the oppressed Koreans. But if we are honestly friends of China, and eager to make China mistress in her own house, why do we stop at Shan-tung and Manchuria? The only way to secure the open door in China and put China on the path of progress is to espouse her cause against all nations, and prove to the Japanese that we are not playing favorites, and to the Chinese that we are real friends, by insisting that all the powers, not Japan alone, retire from fortified footholds on the Chinese coast, from spheres of influence, from concessions involving an impairment of Chinese sovereignty, from control of posts and customs, and restore to China the bits of territory stolen by force. This would put China, not Russia, in Vladivostok and Manchuria, and remove Great Britain from Weihai-wei and Hong-Kong, and France from her grip on Yunnan. Great
Britain would waive her pretensions to exclusive concession privileges in the Yangste Valley. It is as much to the interests of China and international justice and to the interest of the United States to see European nations get out of China as to prevent Japan from penetrating China.
I shall go further. Any attempt on the part of the United States to defend China by barring Japan alone from exclusive privileges in China, while tacitly accepting those acquired in the same manner by Great Britain and France, will bring us into war with Japan for the maintenance of a FarEastern status quo which is to our commercial disadvantage.
Unless it is our deliberate intention to stick pins into Japan until she is goaded into fighting us, or to block Japan's legitimate (as legitimate as ours, at least, but perhaps "natural" is a better word to use) effort to secure colonizing areas and exclusive markets until ramming a cork in an overflowing bottle causes the bottle to burst and the expelled cork to hit us in the eye, we must take a different tack with the Japanese delegates on November 11 concerning Saghalin and eastern Siberia from that indicated in our State Department notes. If one takes the trouble to look at the map and then into the history of Saghalin, he will realize that the possession of this island has been a source of conflict between Japan and Russia since 1807, and that Russia's title is not a bit better than that of Japan historically and a thousand times less strong from the point of view of geography. And what interest have we in interfering between Japan and Russia in the question of eastern Siberia? In ordinary circumstances this policy would
be dubious. In view of our present relations to Russia it is fatuous.
Japan's encroachments upon the sovereignty of China are deplorable and inexcusable, but no less deplorable and less inexcusable than those of the European powers. Why should we have two weights and two measures? But if we are told that "this is a practical and not an ideal world" and that "we must deal with realities," which means the acceptance as faits accomplis, not subject to revision of other crimes than those of Japan, we are still on solid, horse-sense ground in protesting against playing Great Britain and France as favorites in the Far East against Japan. Whether the closing of the open door in our faces by Japan is more harmful to American capital and trade in the Far East than by Great Britain and France is debatable, but there can be no question of the advisability of viewing Japan's excess population problem with sympathy and of considering Japan's need of access to raw materials and foreign markets on terms as favorable as those enjoyed all over the world by certain European nations, especially the industrial island of Great Britain. Is it wise to interfere with Japan in Manchuria, Shan-tung, and eastern Siberia? I am speaking of advisability and wisdom, of course, with the professed object of the disarmament conference in mind, which is disarmament.
If the treaties made at Paris in 1919 and the continuation conferences of the last two years are an indication of the state of mind of Entente statesmen toward disarmament and a durable world peace, it is certain that they welcome the Washington conference
only as the return of the prodigal son to the fold.
Into their minds and ours, however, will come the thought of what they owe to us, ten billions in hard cash, on which American taxpayers are paying the interest for them. In 1919 they allowed us to have the League of Nations, a wonderful concession to American public opinion, in the Treaty of Versailles in return for all the tangible booty reserved for themselves. Now they may think in 1921 that they can graciously exchange the promise to disarm (a little), a measure far more to their advantage than our own, against our remission of the war debts.
Perhaps they can. What a weapon we have in our hands for the good of the world if only a master mind arises at Washington to use it! Japan has gone into China because the European powers were there. The servitude of China vis-à-vis the European powers is due to the money China owes them. And the story of China during the last fifty years is that of other weak nations the world over. Loans, defaulting interest, intervention, resistance to intervention, fighting, imposition of indemnities, more loans to pay the indemnities, control of customs with the fixing of duties not in the hands of the powerless state, enormous concessions mortgaging the future of the debtor state granted for a song or nothing, and then the scramble of rival powers to secure the exploitation of weak peoples for themselves and shut other powers out-this is world politics, the real cause of wars, and the formidable enemy to the success of President Harding's conference.
Our way out is for President Harding to propose a book transfer of all
Chinese indebtedness to Europe to the American Government, and write off similar amounts in favor of the countries transferring their Chinese credits to us. Then we shall be able to give back to China the keys of her own house, and prove to Japan that we are playing no favorites in our open-door policy in the Far East. When Great Britain and France have thus made restitution to China, a restitution for which we really pay the price, they can join us with clean hands to say to Japan, "Let us all do the square thing by China and play fair with one another as well as with her."
This use of our European credits may seem idealistic and naïve to some of my readers. When I propose the extension of the principle to Persia and Egypt and other weaker states tottering under the burden of, handicapped in their evolution to self-government by, huge sums owed to European countries the interest on which leaves them impoverished each year, you shake your head and call me a dreamer. But why am I more idealistic and naïve than the man who proposes that we wipe out the war loans, with no quid pro quo for ourselves or for humanity? Emancipating China and other weaker states from European exploitation in this way is to the distinct interest of the United States economically. From the point of view of international relations it is a great step forward to a durable world peace.
But suppose the European delegates refuse? In that case, we have a demonstration of the fact that the world is no more ready for a beginning of disarmament in 1921 than it was for a League of Nations in 1919.
Finding Forbidden Capital
By GERTRUDE MATHEWS SHELBY
MODIFIED credit system could
transform the world in five years," confidently state C. H. Douglas and A. R. Orage in that forwardlooking little volume on "Credit-Power and Democracy."
That exciting prophecy cannot seem unsubstantial to those who have already seen the marvels of constructive accomplishment obtained through the coöperative banks of Scandinavia, Germany, Italy, India, or, for that matter, even our neighboring province, Quebec. After seeing, none can doubt the saving power of a credit generated from faith, dependent upon continuous industry and controlled through collective intelligence.
Credit in the United States has become highly centralized, commanded too strictly for private advantage, granted too liberally to those who already possess solid assets. To decentralize that control gradually, to offer credit at low rates for socially approved purposes to those who can give earnest of character, is to present a dynamic inducement to men which might rationally liberate transforming energies now stifled.
Attempts by workers to retain control of money which heretofore flowed without question into the hands of private bankers invite interpretation. It is significant that associations of honest, poor, but enlightened, workers, prompted, the modern psychologist would say, by that "inferiority com
plex" which results in the "will to power," have proved that they possess the common sense and responsibility required to make a success of banking for themselves.
Their "complex" has already spelled a power small, yet almost magical. These men have already created at least the nucleus of a system of American people's banks. Two hundred credit unions now show assets of more than five million dollars. Massachusetts boasts of seventy-one of these coöperative savings and loan associations. In 1920 they virtually doubled their membership and assets, the capital reaching four million dollars and the number of members 24,000. New Hampshire has one bank in Manchester with seven hundred thousand dollars in assets. Rhode Island has several small, but strong, coöperative banks. New York and New Jersey have a number. Thirty-three North Carolina credit unions are serving farmers, black as well as white. Finally, the already great Coöperative National Bank of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, opened in November, 1920, at Cleveland, showed in June assets of eight million dollars. The latter, in my opinion, is rather a copartnership than a coöperative