• U.S.

JAPAN: New Order

2 minute read

Japanese statesmen tend to become highly intoxicated on moderate victories. Last week the fall of Canton and Hankow acted on Premier Prince Fumimaro Konoye and the Japanese Foreign Office like a triple round of old-fashioneds at a meeting of a Browning Club. It is no new thing for Japanese jingoes outside the Cabinet to boast that in a few years Japan will kick the West out of the East, but for the Premier and Foreign Office to go so far as they went in Tokyo last week was unprecedented.

In a nationwide broadcast Prince Konoye told the Japanese people that their Empire’s object in pursuing the war in China is “the establishment of a new order … in east Asia … to secure international justice, perfect a joint defense of [Japan, Manchukuo and China] against Communism, create a new culture and realize close economic cohesion throughout east Asia.”

This sounded to Occidentals who know the Orient as if Japan proposes to slam the “Open Door” to Occidental trade with China, hog it herself, and renounce the Washington Nine Power Treaty of 1922. In confirmation of these fears the Japanese Foreign Office official spokesman declared in Tokyo: “Japan considers the Nine Power Treaty obsolete or ‘dead.’ Whether we will denounce it or withdraw has not yet been decided. The [Japanese] Government is examining the advantages of creation of a Tri-Power Pact [of Japan, Manchukuo and China].”

The next play was clearly up to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as the leader of the other great power whose home shores are washed by the Pacific and who has been the defender of unrestricted trade with the Orient ever since the China Open Door policy was sponsored by Secretary of State John Hay in 1899. U. S. warships commanded by Commodore Perry opened up Japan to trade with the Occident in 1854, and today no argument short of dispatching units of the U. S. Navy to Japanese waters seemed likely to be effective. There was no sign that the President even contemplated that. U. S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull declared with more dignity than apparent conviction: “This country’s position . . . remains unchanged.”

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