The Western Mail, 15th March 1935
Menace of War
Between America and Japan Non-Existent
By GARETH JONES
Will there one
day be war between America and Japan?
This was the
vital topic of conversation which I found in the clubs and embassies of
Washington. I feel that the menace is almost non-existent, that it has
been a scare engineered by unscrupulous newspapers, by munition makers, and by
certain Californian interests who want to have the fleet concentrated in the
Pacific in order that California may benefit from the naval payroll and orders.
expressed these views to a leading diplomat (not British) he disagreed with me.
the danger of war,” he said. “A fight must come. Japan must extend
towards the Philippines, Sumatra, and Java, and America must stop her.”
I replied: “But I do not think America would sacrifice lives and money to stop
forgotten the trade conflict,” he retorted. “Japanese competition is
extending everywhere, and they offer great competition in South America.
America must stop Japan.
“Look at the
other causes of conflict. America refuses to recognise Manchukuo.
America hurts Japanese sensitiveness to the core by refusing to admit a single
greatest danger is on neutral rights. If there is war between Japan and
Russia, Americans are certain to send contraband goods to Russia or goods to
China destined for Russia; cotton, for instance, will be despatched, and cotton
is used in munitions. One fine day a Japanese cruiser is going to stop an
American boat, and Americans will say, ‘What do they mean by interfering with
our trade?’ And over-night there might be a war situation.”
At the Embassy
disturbing expressions ringing in my ears I decided to call and see the man most
responsible for relations between Japan and America, namely, Mr. Saito, the
Mr. Saito, a
small, courteous man with delicately formed features, more aquiline than the
usual Japanese, laughed away prophecies of war between Japan and America.
“There are no causes of conflict between the United States and Japan,” he
outlined to me his idea of a basis of an agreement between America and Japan
which would consolidate peace in the Pacific. For the United States to
recognise Manchukuo, he stated, would be the first step towards such an
the United States abolished the Exclusion Act of 1924, relations would be
improved. By this Act all immigration of Japanese into the United States
was forbidden. The Ambassador declared to me that even if only 100
Japanese were allowed to enter the step would be appreciated, because it was a
matter of principle rather than numbers.
resented the Japanese being treated as an inferior race not worthy of entering
the United States.
might be an agreement between the United States and Japan it America recognised
the principle of naval equality for Japan and agreed to abandon the 5-5-3 ratio
for naval vessels.
I asked the
Ambassador about the economic conflict. He stated that there should be no
economic conflict, because Japan needed American cotton and steel, while America
wanted Japanese silk. He denied that there was much competition in world
markets. “We sell pencils, cheap cotton goods and such wares. We do not
compete in American exports of automobiles,” he said.
the open door? Are you not blocking the principle of equal opportunities
of trade in China?” I asked, and raised the question of the oil monopoly
answered that the oil monopoly was a question for the Manchukuo Government, for
which the Japanese were not responsible. He claimed that the oil monopoly
did not crush foreign sellers. If they had claims they could make them to
the Manchukuo Government.
Peace With China
remarkable part of my interview with the Japanese Ambassador was his prophecy of
peace between China and Japan. He claimed that in China public opinion was
growing in favour of an agreement with Japan. Chiang Kai-shek, he said,
wanted this agreement.
the Chinese be willing to bury the hatchet after the events in Manchukuo?” I
replied that the Chinese had been disillusioned on two points. The first
was in the League of Nations, which had not stood up for China. Moreover,
China was no longer an the Council of the League. The second was in regard
to Russia, especially after the Soviet Union had sold the Chinese Eastern
Railway. This was a blow to Chinese prestige, for they felt that they had
been abandoned by the Russians, who, they thought, would remain as a barrier to
Japanese influence in the Far East
Will China and
Japan come to an agreement? This will be one of the outstanding problems
for me to study on the spot. Such an agreement would have a great effect
on Japanese-American relations, and would make a war between Japan and America