PART I: BACKGROUNDS OF AMERICAN POLICY IN THE FAR EAST
PART II: EFFORTS AT CONCILIATION IN THE MANCHURIAN CRISIS
The Clash-- Reasons for Our Initial Policy-- Our Policy and League Action-- The Issues as Defined by Japan and China-- The Continuance of Japanese Aggression-- Effect of This Aggression on Diplomatic Objectives-- American Action until the Close of the October Session of the League: Mr. Gilbert Sits with the Council-- Occurrences Between October and November League Sessions: The Military Operations in North Manchuria; Rise of Nationalistic Feeling in Japan; Consequent Reactions in the United States-- The November Meeting of the League-- Conclusions from the First Period
PART III: CHINA APPEALS TO THE LEAGUE ASSEMBLY FOR JUDGMENT
New Conditions and Problems-- The Initial Steps Taken The Note of January 7th-- The Japanese Attack on Shanghai-- The Chinese Boycott-- The International Settlement at Shanghai-- The Origin of the Outbreak-- Military Operations January 28th to March 3rd-- Problems and Policies Relating to the Shanghai Attack-- Preliminary Views-- The American Fleet at Hawaii-- The Defense of the International Settlement-- The Bombardment of Nanking-- Japan Requests our Good Offices-- The Nine Power Treaty and the Letter to Senator Borah-- Action by the Assembly
PART IV: THE ADJUDICATION OF RESPONSIBILITY
The Nature and Importance of the Adjudication to the United States-- Japanese Action to Render Adjudication Ineffective-- The Establishment of Manchukuo-- Steps to Thwart Adjudication on Manchukuo-- My Trip to Geneva-- Efforts to Assure Europe of Sincerity and Continuance of American Cooperation-- The Lytton Report Arrival and Publication of the Report-- The Character of the Report-- Contents of the Report-- League Action on the Lytton Report-- Nature of the League's Task-- The Debate in the Assembly
FOREWORD THE assault upon the Chinese government in Manchuria by the Japanese army in September, 1931, was the first major blow at the new system of war limitation and prevention built up by the nations which had suffered in the Great War. More and more it is becoming recognized as a critical event in world history. The military successes of the aggressor at that time have already lent encouragement to further attempts against that system by other discontented and autocratic governments. On the other hand, the lessons to be learned from the experiences of those who then labored for cooperation in support of peaceful methods for the solution of international controversies have been neither thoroughly recorded nor studied.
While possessing neither the time nor the talents of an historian, I was in a unique position to witness the efforts and understand the purposes of one of the governments engaged in those efforts. In this book I have not attempted a revelation of hitherto unpublished facts. But the sequence of cause and effect, as well as the governmental purposes which underlay the facts, I believe, have not been adequately recorded, and my effort is to make them clear.
We are living today in a new and interdependent world with rapidly developing problems involving peace or war. The Covenant of the League of Nations, the Pact of Paris and the so-called Nine Power Treaty relating to the Far East, represent perhaps the three chief contractual efforts which have been made since the Great War to assist in the solution of those problems. To two of those treaties the United States is a prominent party; to the League Covenant, although a proponent, we are not a party. Nevertheless that League today remains the medium by which the great majority of the governments of the world seek to limit and prevent a general war and our relations to it in such a matter are therefore of vital concern both to it and to us. The development of effective methods of cooperation between it and us is an underlying international problem of the most urgent importance in the world today.
It pressed upon us in regard to Manchuria in 1931 ; it pressed upon us in regard to Ethiopia in 1935; it has not yet been adequately solved. The urgent pressure of this problem is my reason for writing of a matter concerning which otherwise I might appropriately have remained silent.
BACKGROUNDS OF AMERICAN POLICY IN THE FAR EAST ON DIPLOMATIC DAY at the State Department, September 17, 1931, the Japanese Ambassador at Washington, Mr. Katsuji Debuchi, called upon me and told me that he was about to return to Japan on his triennial leave. He said that he expected to be gone until February and trusted that there would be no important matters between our two countries which might be inconvenienced by his absence. We discussed the relations of the two countries and we agreed that they seemed to be more tranquil than for many years past. Mr. Debuchi said he recently had been on a long trip throughout the United States and had found everywhere more marked evidences of friendliness towards his own country than he had ever before noted during his long stay as Ambassador.
I replied that that corresponded to my own observation ; that American opinion towards Japan had become so kindly that I was encouraged to hope that before I left office I might be able to take up for successful solution the long standing source of irritation arising out of our immigration laws of nearly ten years before, and to put them upon a basis which, while conforming to our own requirements, might be not offensive to the sensibilities of the Japanese people. He expressed his strong concurrence in my hope and, after our mutual expressions of satisfaction on the situation, he departed saying that on the following week he would return to make his formal adieu.
Mr. Debuchi had been a hard-working and efficient Ambassador. During the two years and a half which had elapsed since I had assumed my post in the Department, we had occasion to handle difficult problems together and he had been earnest and effective in his efforts at promoting mutual understanding in Far Eastern matters. His two sons were being educated in Princeton University and in telling me of them he had said to me, "You see, I have given hostages for the good will of your country." I looked forward even to his temporary absence with regret.
Within forty-eight hours of our conversation cables were pouring into the Department from the Far East filled with such ominous news from Manchuria that I shortly sent for the Ambassador and requested him, in the face of the serious problem thus presented to us, to give up his proposed vacation and remain at his post. He told me that he had already canceled his passage.
At the State Department it did not seem a very propitious moment to take on the burdens of a new international crisis in the Far East. Our painful attention had been concentrated elsewhere for many months. In the spring of 1931 the long economic depression had reached catastrophic proportions in Europe. The fall of the national bank of Austria, known as the Credit Anstalt, had produced repercussions in Germany which threatened the economic stability of all Central Europe and had finally led President Hoover to propose the one-year moratorium in the payment of international debts as an effort to ward off the calamity of a worldwide financial crash. I had spent a portion of the summer in attendance at the Seven Power Financial Conference in London, as well as in visits to Paris and Berlin devoted to efforts towards the same end. While there I had witnessed the beginning of the runs upon the Bank of England, and on September 18th, the very day --almost the very hour-- of the outbreak in Manchuria, I was receiving word from the British charge that Great Britain could no longer maintain the gold standard. It seemed as though from the Occident to the Orient, politically and economically, the world was rocking.
The impact of the European financial crisis was already shaking the stability of our own banking structure in America. Some two billion dollars of investments from every portion of the United States had been poured into Central Europe and, when these were threatened after two years of local panic and depression, the effect upon our banks was ominous. The rate of bank failures throughout the country rapidly increased and soon reached proportions which seemed to threaten the entire credit system of the nation. The condition was so much worse than in any previous crisis within the experience of living men, that the usual leadership from private finance and industry, on which the country had been accustomed to rely in times past, failed utterly to meet the situation. The chief responsibility fell upon the President of the United States and throughout the autumn Mr. Hoover was absorbed with the burden of organizing those great measures of reconstruction upon which the country has leaned ever since. Under such circumstances the margin of his time and initiative which was left for dealing with a new crisis on the opposite side of the world necessarily was reduced to a minimum. If anyone had planned the Manchurian outbreak with a view to freedom from interference from the rest of the world, his time was well chosen.
It was fortunate, under these circumstances, that the American government had in its key positions at the time of the crisis men who were not altogether inexperienced in Far Eastern history and policies. The President himself had spent several years in the Far East and had had the unique experience of being in Tientsin during the Boxer Rebellion and the siege of that city by the rebels. I had made several brief trips to China and Japan and as Governor General of the Philippines had witnessed and studied the politics of the Far East from a position of official responsibility. The man who was Premier of Japan in September, 1931, had been my colleague in the London Naval Conference of 1930.
The State Department was supported both in the field and at home by a group of unusually experienced men. The Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Forbes, had held for eight years official posts in the Philippines, including four years as Governor General. The embassy at Tokyo was manned by a staff of long experience. The Minister to China, Mr. Nelson T. Johnson, was a career diplomat and a recognized expert in Chinese matters. In the State Department at Washington the Under Secretary, Mr. Castle, had been Ambassador to Japan; and the chief of the Far Eastern Division, Dr. Stanley K. Hornbeck, combined long personal experience in the Far East with careful and accurate study of Oriental problems and history. At various critical posts in China we were represented by Consul Generals of unusual experience in the persons of Mr. Hanson, the Consul General at Harbin; Mr. Cunningham, the Consul General at Shanghai; and Mr. Peck, the Consul General at Nanking.
I mention these matters only because it has become rather the fashion among our people to regard their diplomats and foreign representatives as so much less experienced in their professions than the men from other nations with whom they have to deal, as to place the interests of this country at a disadvantage in its relations with other nations. Americans who thus depreciate their government's foreign servants do not realize what a transformation in such matters has taken place during the past thirty years since the American foreign service has been lifted out of party politics and placed upon the basis of a permanent life career for its members. As a matter of fact, throughout this crisis in Manchuria of which I am writing, the American government was served so efficiently by its agents and representatives, as well as by the initiative and energy of the American press correspondents on the ground, that we were habitually placed in the position of having in our hands earlier and more accurate information than almost any other country. This soon became so well known as to be commented on in the meetings of the League of Nations, whose officials asked me to assist them in checking up their less accurate reports concerning the confused events which were crowding in upon us.
It does not come within the scope of this sketch of American policy to attempt either a detailed history of facts or an analytical study of the forces and events in the Far East. In touching upon these matters I am confining myself to such descriptions as will serve to explain our purposes in Washington and to make clear the background upon which we were acting.
To the American government Japan was a friendly, powerful, and sensitive neighbor which within the short space of a single human lifetime had emerged from the isolation of feudal military autocracy into a modern industrialized state. Under the guidance of a very far-sighted group of elder statesmen she had assimilated with extraordinary rapidity the material elements of a Western civilization. Her energetic and intelligent people had made gigantic strides in the technical arts, in manufactories, and in commerce. This industrial development was also gradually resulting in liberalism in social and political ideas. Japan had adopted a constitution with parliamentary features and she had been extending the suffrage among her people. But for seven centuries prior to 1850 her administrative and privileged class had been the soldier, while the bread-winner and business man were relegated to a role of inferiority.
This long inheritance in the case of a people as keenly patriotic as the Japanese had borne fruits which were not easily dislodged by the theories of modern popular sovereignty. For many years after a Cabinet was introduced, its leaders were military men. The theory that the civilian government as the representatives of the entire people should command the loyalty of the army and the navy had not been generally accepted by the Japanese nation. The chiefs of those military services, instead of being subordinate to the Cabinet, had direct and independent access to the Emperor as the head of the state. The Western school of democratic thought was making progress, but that progress was slow and never fully shared by large elements of the population. In 1930 ratification of the Naval Treaty with Britain and the United States was opposed by Admiral Kato, the head of the naval staff. When the Emperor ratified that treaty on the advice of Premier Yuko Hamaguchi, the civilian head of the government, over this naval protest, this step in the direction of modern constitutionalism caused deep resentment and was probably influential in producing some of the violent reactionary consequences which followed. Mr. Hamaguchi was soon afterwards assassinated by a military fanatic, and secret organizations were formed which were destined to have a baleful influence upon the course of Japanese history.
But in September, 1931, the statesmen in office still belonged to the moderate or constitutional school and were those who had been in the lead of the movement towards Western ideas. Mr. Hamaguchi had been succeeded as Premier by Mr. Reijiro Wakatsuki, who had headed the Japanese delegation at the London Naval Conference. The Foreign Office was presided over by Baron Kijuro Shidehara, well known for his enlightened and liberal policies in foreign affairs and particularly towards China. Mr. Inouye, the Finance Minister, had brought Japanese credit and finance to a condition of soundness which was recognized throughout the financial world. General manhood suffrage had been adopted for the election of the members of the lower house of the Diet and the first election thereunder had been held in February, 1928.«1»
[1 During that election day I happened to be personally present in Tokyo as the guest of the Premier, General Baron Giichi Tanaka, and in my conversations with him and his colleagues received an interesting impression of the progress in liberalism which was being effected by the industrialization of the large cities of Japan as contrasted with the conservatism of the small farmers and peasants.]
In short, to the windows of the State Department our Japanese neighbors across the North Pacific appeared as a proud, sensitive, and ambitious people, intensely patriotic, with a tradition of original friendliness towards the United States, though it had been recently marred by what they considered the insulting form adopted by our Congress in its immigration laws. Their basic inheritance of the virtues and weaknesses of militarism had been only partially modified by the developing economic and social conditions of the industrial revolution and the ideas of Western democracy which had come with it, and their government still reflected these two elements, as yet imperfectly blended and each striving for mastery.
Furthermore, Japan's modern army had been trained by German instructors in the ideas and theories of the German General Staff.
It had fought three brief and successful wars. Instead of suffering, as had the European nations, from the World War, Japan had greatly profited. Although she had joined with those European nations in the post-war multilateral treaties«2» which had been the fruit of the Occidental suffering from war and were intended to curb and prevent war's recurrence, all of her historic traditions as well as her recent experiences made it extremely unlikely that these treaties, with their peaceful objectives, represented to her the earnest hopes and purposes which they did to the West.
[2 The Covenant of the League of Nations, the so-called Nine Power Treaty and the Pact of Paris. These documents are printed in full as Appendices I, II, and III.]
There were also other friendly neighbors in the Far East besides the Japanese whose interests and problems necessarily affected the policies of the American government at least as vitally as did those of Japan. In shaping our policy towards the events which were taking place in Manchuria, we could not lose sight of the problems and interests of China. Indeed, in the long view of history, in estimating future probabilities by centuries rather than by decades, it was self-evident that the eventual trans-Pacific relations of the United States would be enormously, if not predominantly, affected by the future development of the 450 millions of Chinese people dwelling on the mainland behind the islands of Japan. For four thousand years China had continuously and tenaciously developed and maintained her entity and peculiar culture. Often assailed and sometimes conquered by enemies, she had in the end outlasted or absorbed her conquerors and had succeeded in maintaining a civilization which outdated that of the Western nations of the globe.
When the technical inventions of the nineteenth century diminished distance and brought the Far East within easy reach of the rest of the world, it was inevitable that China's previous isolation would be destroyed and her habits and civilization vitally affected by those of the rest of the world. She had not yielded easily; she had not shown the facile cleverness displayed by Japan in assimilating Western science and technique and in adopting Western standards. On the contrary, she had for a long time stubbornly opposed all such changes and had yielded only to force in her relations with the Western world.
But in the early years of the twentieth century the inevitable had arrived and the modernization of China had begun. For nearly three decades prior to the events which I am discussing, she had been a nation in flux, absorbed in the effort to evolve administrative and governmental changes which would be adequate to meet the problems of the modern world. Her problems of assimilation and transformation were infinitely more difficult than those of Japan, owing to the size of her territory, her defective administration and finance, and the tendency of her people to think in terms of family and locality rather than of national unity.
But unmistakable evidences of transformation were manifesting themselves. The great sluggish population, which in 1895 did not realize that it was at war with Japan except in two or three of the provinces immediately affected by the operations, had achieved by 1925 such an increased sense of unity that the shooting of a few students by the international police at Shanghai caused an instantaneous quiver of nationalistic feeling through virtually the entire country. It reacted in immediate reprisals against the commerce of those nations which China deemed to be responsible for the incident. The old dynastic government had fallen. The Western theories sponsored by the followers of Sun Yat-sen had triumphed over the more conservative military leaders of northern China; and a government, republican in form, had been established at Nanking.
No one could be wise enough to foresee what would be the ultimate result of the great changes which were taking place. We could only be certain that the character of those results would powerfully influence for good or for evil the entire world. We could only foresee that the future stability and peace of every continent of the earth would be adversely affected if the hundreds of millions of hitherto industrious and peace-loving people of China should in their awakening to modern life be transformed into an aggressive power, fired by the memories of wrongs done to them by other nations and dominated by the theories of selfish military exploitation which most of the nations of the Western world since the Great War had been endeavoring to renounce.
Fortunately, an intelligent realization of these issues had guided for over thirty years the policy of the American government towards China.
That policy, enunciated first as the Open Door policy of John Hay and afterwards carried to successful fruition in the Washington Treaties of 1922, had been one of those rare instances where a nation had recognized that farsighted self-interest was dependent upon justice and fair play towards a neighbor. Breaking into a situation where the selfish attempts of the European powers to carve out spheres of self-interest at the expense of China had resulted in the chaos of the Boxer Rebellion, John Hay checked that chaos by enunciating the theory of equality of commercial opportunity for all nations in dealing with China and predicated such equality upon the preservation of China's territorial and administrative integrity.
These principles were not entirely new in the foreign policy of the United States. In substance they had been American principles for many years in shaping our commercial intercourse with other nations.
But in the case of China they were invoked to save a situation which at the close of the last century not only threatened the future development and sovereignty of that great Asiatic people, but also threatened to create dangerous and increasing rivalries between the other nations of the world. When in 1922 these principles of the Open Door policy were successfully embodied in the formal covenants of the Nine Power Treaty at the Washington Conference, the American government had carried through in a most critical and vital portion of the world an example of the best kind of international diplomacy a policy of enlightened self-interest, as contrasted with self-seeking aggression.
In doing so it had at the same time laid the foundations for the development of a good will on the part of the Chinese people towards this country which bade fair to be of permanent and real value to the United States. In this respect it served to crown the results of other American actions towards China, both official and unofficial.
For many years China had received from this country the religious, educational, and medical benefits of the greatest private missionary effort which had ever been made by the people of one country towards those of another. Also the American government had been the first of the nations to return to the people of China for educational purposes the indemnity payments which America had received for the injury done to its citizens in the Boxer Rebellion. And last but not least, China had witnessed for thirty years close to its shores in the Philippine Islands, the successful efforts of the American government to educate an Oriental people in the practices of Western political freedom and social organization.
All of these things had combined to give to America a standing in Chinese eyes which was different from that held by any other country. During my stay in the Philippines I had on more than one occasion exceptional opportunities to witness how real that feeling was. Of course no one could tell how long it would survive the vicissitudes of international life, and since then unfortunate incidents have already occurred to mar Chinese confidence in American purposes.«3» But at least in facing the tremendous possibilities which were opened for future generations by the modernization of China, the American government had made a start which augured well for that future. It had created an atmosphere full of possibilities for good. So, in shaping our action and policies towards the events which were now breaking out in Manchuria, this existing confidence of China in American fair play and good faith constituted a factor which could not lightly be jeopardized.
[3 For example, the American Silver Purchase Act of 1934 has disrupted China's finance and brought great commercial loss to that country.]
Manchuria, where the interests of China and Japan had now come into armed conflict, was the least static portion of the area of China. Geographically, it was the focal spot where three large nations came within striking distance of one another China, Japan, and Russia.
It possessed almost a vital interest for each of them, and during the past forty years it had been the scene of rapid oscillations of political, racial, and economic action.
Although the Manchus were racially akin to the Chinese and had actually ruled China for the three hundred years from the overthrow of the Ming dynasty until the revolution of 1911, and although, on the other hand, Manchuria had been also largely colonized by Chinese settlers from the south and had been in large part subject to their purely Chinese culture for some two thousand years, yet large portions of it remained undeveloped and scantily populated until the beginning of the twentieth century. When the Manchus conquered China, their southward movement was characterized by an exodus from Manchuria itself, greatly diminishing its population, and this condition lasted until thirty years ago. In 1904, when the Russian and Japanese armies fought for its domination, it was still an almost untenanted frontier country, and its vast plains of fertile unoccupied land left it open as a prize for whoever should first effectively colonize it. Its area is as large as Germany and France combined, and a large proportion thereof is suitable for agriculture. Its mountainous regions are rich in timber and minerals, especially coal.
For many years the eyes of Japan had rested with apprehension on the mainland lying towards the west, and with the growth of Russian power in Siberia her apprehension increased. To the Japanese military leaders the peninsula of Korea, running southward from Manchuria, had been “a dagger aimed at the heart of Japan.” Behind it lay the threat of the powerful Russian Empire steadily pushing southward for an ice-free harbor on the Pacific Ocean and the ultimate domination of that portion of the world.
The Sino-Japanese War of 1895 was Japan's first battle to ward off such a menace. By ending the titular sovereignty of China over Korea, it left Japan a free hand in that country and by successive steps she ultimately took possession of and annexed it in 1910. It also gave her for a brief period Port Arthur and a foothold on the Manchurian hinterland, but Russia, with the aid of France and Germany, intervened and forced Japan temporarily to release these Manchurian acquisitions. When Russia pushed on and seized them for herself, Japan, summoning the limit of her resources, had fought Russia for what she deemed to be her very life's existence; had won back Port Arthur and the Liaotung peninsula, and had succeeded to Russia's rights in southern Manchuria.
To every Japanese this was a war for freedom and safety. These rights in Manchuria were called the "life line" of Japan's national defense. Her victory cost the lives of 100,000 Japanese soldiers and two billion yen in gold, and left in Japanese minds a determination that such sacrifices should not have been made in vain. Russia was driven back into northern Manchuria and her rights there were reduced to her interests in the Chinese Eastern Railway, which, running across the north of that country, afforded a short cut in a great loop of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
But singularly enough, though they had this deep patriotic spirit to stir them and a steadily growing population behind them to press them on, and though the door of this new empty country was now wide open to them, the Japanese people failed to press in and colonize Manchuria.
During the thirty years since the close of the Russian war only about 230,000 Japanese have settled in Manchuria, and they are mainly concentrated along the South Manchuria Railway and on the Liaotung peninsula. Although the agricultural land of Manchuria has been regarded as necessary for the food supply of Japan, Japanese farmers have been unwilling to go in and till it, and the bulk of the Japanese immigrants have been not producers, but persons connected with the administration of the railway and the towns which it has built up. Overcrowded Japan has been unwilling or unable to spread out westerly into this great open country.
On the other hand, the same period has witnessed a very different effort by China. The Chinese have come to look upon Manchuria as their first line of defense a sort of buffer against the adjoining territories of Japan and Russia and an outpost against the penetration of these foreign influences into China. They also have awakened to its economic importance. They have long called it "the granary" of China, and of more recent years have regarded it as a region furnishing seasonal employment to farmers and laborers from neighboring Chinese provinces. But while the Japanese interest has mainly confined itself to the efforts of military leaders to develop its strategic strength and to the efforts of railway administrators and capitalists to exploit its opportunities for railway and industrial development, and while the Japanese people as a whole have kept aloof, Chinese farmers have moved in and occupied the soil. The last thirty years have witnessed one of the greatest popular migrations of world history.
Nearly thirty millions of people are said to have poured northeastward from the crowded Chinese provinces of Shantung and Hopei and have occupied Manchuria.
"Manchuria is now unalterably Chinese," was the verdict of the Lytton Commission in 1932. The Treaty of Portsmouth, which closed the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, at the same time reaffirmed the legal sovereignty of China over Manchuria. Since then the Chinese people themselves have transformed that legal title into an actual fact.
Due weight has not been given in current discussions to the inevitable consequences of this great Chinese migration into Manchuria. Titular sovereignty, like a legal title when not backed by possession, may be overthrown or whittled away. But a population of thirty million human beings, tenacious of their racial culture and stubborn in the assertion of their individual rights, cannot permanently be ignored. Particularly is that the case when the country which they occupy is not an isolated region, but lies adjacent to another country occupied by four hundred million more of the same race, now slowly but with ever accelerating speed developing a consciousness of national unity.
The development of Manchuria which has ensued since 1905 has been indebted to both the Japanese and Chinese peoples, each contributing in its own way; and in providing for their respective needs Manchuria has proved the usefulness of their partnership. Without the benefit of Japanese capital and manufactures Manchuria could not have attracted and absorbed such a large farming population. Without the flood of Chinese farmers and laborers Manchuria could not have developed so rapidly and thus provided Japan with a market for her exports as well as with supplies of food and other raw materials. This mutual economic interdependence reveals how lamentable it "is that conflicts should arise to mar and destroy such a working partnership. Yet under the facts as they existed and in the light of actions and reactions by which humanity is habitually influenced and governed, it was inevitable that such misunderstandings and controversies should come about.
Manchuria was actually and legally a part of China.
But the people of Japan felt in it such an interest, historical, sentimental, and political, and were fortified in their interest by such exceptional rights and claims, that a conflict between these claims and the sovereignty of China was practically inevitable. This danger was also accentuated by the fact that many of these rights, while always asserted with emphasis, were defined in very general terms and were not attested by documentary evidence which was unchallenged. Some of the treaties upon which Japanese claims rested were strenuously asserted by China to be either unauthentic or to have been executed under duress.
Whatever their authenticity, Japan under cover of these treaties was actually occupying a very unusual position in Manchuria. She governed the leased territory of the Liaotung peninsula with practically full powers of sovereignty. Throughout a zone which bordered the South Manchuria Railway she exercised powers of administration and police based upon the armed forces which she was permitted to maintain.
These areas included towns and portions of large cities like Mukden and Changchun. In all these areas she controlled taxation, education, the police, and public utilities. In effect she maintained at least three varieties of armed forces the Kwantung Army in the leased territory, the railway guards in the railway areas, and consular police throughout the various districts.
The Lytton Commission thus summed up the anomalous situation :
This summary of the long list of Japan's rights shows clearly the exceptional character of the political, economic, and legal relation created between that country and China in Manchuria. There is probably nowhere in the world an exact parallel to this situation, no example of a country enjoying in the territory of a neighboring state such extensive economic and administrative privileges. A situation of this kind could possibly be maintained without leading to incessant complications and disputes if it were freely desired or accepted on both sides and if it were the sign and embodiment of a well-considered policy of close collaboration in the economic and in the political sphere. But in the absence of those conditions it could only lead to friction and conflict.«4»
[4 Report of the Commission of Enquiry. League of Nations Publication No. C.663. M-330, 1932. VII, Chap. III, Part 1. (Referred to hereafter as the Lytton Report.)]
Somewhat such relations have been maintained in other portions of the world by powerful and advanced nations over populations of an entirely different race or civilization and of backward political and social culture. Even in such cases the march of history is demonstrating that such relations are transitory. No such disparity, however, was recognized here. The individual Chinese had for countless centuries considered himself at least the equal of the Japanese in capacity, culture, and race. The standing of his nation he has regarded as greatly higher than that of his neighbor. Indeed, for centuries the Chinese had maintained an unshakable feeling of superiority over all other races. Only the quickness with which Japan had imitated and adopted the externals of a Western civilization, which China for nearly a century had sincerely despised and rejected, had recently given to Japan a superiority in administrative capacity and military power.
Now, however, the awakening of China had begun in earnest and this awakening was certain to bring pressure upon these anomalous relations in Manchuria. The Imperial government of China was overthrown in 1912. For nearly two decades thereafter China was involved in a chaotic civil war between provincial leaders without apparent principle except the desire for power and loot. But under the leadership of Sun Yatsen a Nationalist party, professing constitutional principles, emerged in the south at Canton and this party gradually won its way northward. At first it was aided by Communist emissaries from Russia, but it subsequently threw off this influence, quarreled with Russia and fought strenuously to put down the communism which had become established in several provinces.
At last in 1928 this Nationalist movement succeeded in producing in China a nominal unity and a measure of actual unity and established a central government at Nanking under the presidency of General Chiang Kai-shek.
This period of struggle in China is often looked upon by outside observers as mere chaos. They are wrong. It has the inevitable roughness of the transition period during which this great people is pushing its way from its ancient patriarchal system into the modern nationalism of the present world.«5» In the process Chinese nationalism assumed the bitterness of an anti-foreign spirit. This also is not extraordinary when we recall the foreign encroachments of leased territories, concessions, and extraterritorial rights against which the Chinese were forced to struggle for emancipation. What is more relevant to our present study, they were developing during this period a power of coordinated action which they had never before possessed and a system of tactics which was peculiar to themselves. The persistence which the Chinese have always shown as individuals was demonstrated here. The thing that was new was the gradual acquisition of the power of coordinated effort, extended over a greater and greater territory and through ever-increasing masses of population. Instead of being dismayed by the chaos of China during this period of transition, her friends should be rather encouraged by the progress which she has made in acquiring powers which were not only novel, but were developed in the face of almost unique difficulties in communication and transportation.
[5 The Washington Conference met at a most discouraging portion of this period of transition when conditions in China were more chaotic than they are today. It is one of the best tributes to the leadership of that conference that the leaders of all countries there assembled were not affected by the discouraging features, but recognized that they were inevitable symptoms of an encouraging evolution in China which should be sympathized with and protected. The principles of the Nine Power Treaty then adopted at Washington, which were agreed to by all governments interested in the Far East, including the then moderate government of Japan, symbolized this far-seeing and intelligent spirit.]
It was inevitable that this new spirit in the rest of China should spread into Manchuria. It was equally inevitable that in Manchuria it should produce repercussions in the unstable balance between the underlying Chinese population and the super-imposed Japanese privileges. The growth of national spirit in Manchuria and the increasing sense of kinship felt by the people of that portion of China with their countrymen in the south can be easily traced in the conduct of their rulers.
When the revolution against the empire broke out in 1911, the Manchurian authorities at first sought to resist the advance of the revolutionary troops. Afterwards, throughout the broken period of civil war in China, Chang Tso-lin, who was becoming the virtual dictator of Manchuria, acted with great independence towards the various factions which were in power in China, sometimes siding with one and sometimes with another. This was true of his attitude towards Sun Yat-sen and the Nationalists during the early years when they were fighting their way into power. He sometimes worked with them and sometimes against them. He did not approve of Dr. Sun's constitution, but did approve of the unification of China which Sun and his followers were gradually accomplishing. He several times acted under Japanese advice and with Japanese aid against threats of invasion from one or the other military commanders in the south. But as the unification of China proceeded and the Nationalist government became established in Nanking, he gradually swung away from any association with Japan and showed an increasing unwillingness to allow her to profit from the privileges she possessed under the various treaties and agreements. He resented and disregarded the Japanese advice to keep out of the factional strife in China and concentrate his energy on the development of Manchuria. Even though he was often fighting with one or the other of the Chinese factions further south and several times invaded China proper with his armies, he did not do it as if it were a foreign country, but merely as one of the participants in a Chinese civil war.«6» When in June, 1928, he was killed by an explosion which wrecked his railway train near Mukden, his estrangement from Japan had become such that his followers strongly believed his death to be due to Japanese influence.
[6 Lytton Report, Chap. II, Part 2.]
His son, Chang Hsueh-liang, who succeeded him as the ruler of Manchuria, swung still further away from Japan and within a few months, in December, 1928, contrary to the desires of Japan, declared his allegiance to the Nationalist government at Nanking and accepted the national flag as his.
He was made Commander-inchief of the northeastern frontier army and confirmed as chief of the administration of Manchuria with the addition of Jehol, a part of Inner Mongolia. This official recognition of the Nationalist government at Nanking by the rulers of Manchuria stimulated the growth of nationalism and anti-Japanese feeling throughout Manchuria. A "forward policy" to relieve Manchuria of the superimposed rights of foreigners had been begun by Marshal Chang Tso-lin. It was greatly accelerated under his son. His declaration of allegiance to Nanking opened the door to well-organized and systematic propaganda by the Kuomintang, the party of the Nationalist government, which had long been prosecuting a campaign throughout China for "the recovery of lost sovereign rights, the abolition of unequal treaties and the wickedness of imperialism." Such propaganda naturally created an unusually strong impression in Manchuria, where the reality of foreign interests in the shape of foreign courts, police, guards, and soldiers on Chinese soil was very apparent.
In 1929 the Chinese government came to an open quarrel with Russia over the Russian rights in the Chinese Eastern Railway in north Manchuria. Although in this they were unsuccessful, the agitation in south Manchuria against the Japanese continued with growing intensity. Systematic pressure was brought to make the position of Japanese and Korean residents uncomfortable; conferences were held of "Peoples' Foreign Policy Associations" to discuss the liquidation of the Japanese rights in Manchuria, including the recovery by China of the South Manchuria Railway, and a growing and dangerous tension gradually developed.
Thus the rise of national feeling in China, which for several years had resulted in increasing efforts by the Chinese government to terminate the exceptional privileges of foreigners throughout the rest of the republic, was similarly manifested with increasing vigor in Manchuria. It was not an evidence of Chinese chaos. On the contrary, it was evidence of the increasing growth of a spirit of united nationalism in a people who had not previously possessed that feeling.
This tension was flavored with economic as well as political rivalry between Chinese and Japanese interests in that province.
As the Chinese population increased, Chinese capital built additional railway lines, tapping rich agricultural portions of the province. These came into sharp competition with the interests of the South Manchuria Railway. The Japanese claimed that this new construction was in violation of the treaties between the two nations. The Chinese denied it, and the increasing prosperity of the Chinese lines at the expense of the earlier Japanese road greatly heightened the feeling of tension. By the summer of 1931 a number of incidents had occurred marking the continued growth of this political and economic animosity, some of which had been reported in the cables which the State Department was receiving from the Far East. It is not necessary to review them here. They were none of them of such gravity that they could not have been peacefully handled between governments whose relations were normal. But in Manchuria, as we can see now, they reflected a growing pressure between two rival nationalities which was certain sooner or later to break into flame.
When we come to examine the policy of the Japanese government towards this situation in Manchuria, we find a subject which is not free from complexity. On the one hand, there had been no apparent division among the Japanese people themselves or their parties or statesmen as to the importance of Japan's privileges in Manchuria. Ever since the close of the Russian War patriotic sentiment, the supposed exigencies of national defense and economic interest have all combined in support of a feeling that Japan possesses some very important special rights and interests in Manchuria differing from those possessed by any other nation. But exactly what that interest is-- whether political and sovereign or merely economic and contractual-- has not yet been made clear. Japanese statesmen have at various times sought to obtain from Russia, France, Great Britain, and the United States an international recognition of this "special interest" in Manchuria, but they have not defined it and their efforts have not met with permanent success. On the contrary, by joining in 1922 with the other signatories of the Nine Power Treaty, Japan would seem by the clearest language to have formally abrogated any claim to an interest which would impair "the sovereignty, the independence, and the territorial and administrative integrity" of China.
While, as I have said, there has been no cleavage in the Japanese feeling as to the existence and importance of this interest in Manchuria, whatever it is, there has been a very deep and fundamental cleavage in Japanese political thought as to the