this page can be found further information relating to Gareth Jones'
interview notes from Japan in 1935, plus background information on
journalists Jimmy Cox and Gunther Stein:
OF AMAU’S (1935) PRESS CONFERENCES
ROBERT CLIVE, BRITISH AMBASSADOR
held controversial views and asked awkward questions at the Japanese
Foreign Office press briefings. Raymond Lamont-Brown’s book
Kempeitai, The Dreaded Japanese Secret Police states that: “He
made no effort to cover up his contempt and growing animosity for the
Japanese militaristic state”. In his book he also says that James
‘Jimmy’ Melville Cox, the Reuters’ correspondent in Tokyo:
“was arrested on 27th July 1940 by the Kempeitai on the usual
non-specific charge of espionage”. Two days later he was seen
falling from an open window on the third floor of the Kempeitai
Headquarters. They claimed that he had committed suicide because he
was guilty of espionage. The foreign community very much doubted
this and was fully convinced that he had been thrown out of the window to
conceal damage done to his body by the Japanese secret police.
“The mercurial Gaimu-daijin (Foreign Minister) Matsuoka Yosuke issued a
report exonerating the Kempeitai.”
Stein was a known socialist, but Gareth was probably unaware that he had
become a committed Communist during his time spent as a correspondent for
the Berliner Tageblatt in Moscow before 1933. During his period in
Tokyo he became associated with Richard Sorge, the double agent.
Stein allowed Sorge to use his house as a base for radio transmitting and
acted as a courier for him by taking microfilms to Hong Kong. In
1941, Richard Sorge was tried by the Japanese and found guilty of spying
for the Russians, for which crime they executed him. The case
against Günther Stein was never proven. (Deakin, F W and Storry, G
R (1966) The Case of Richard Sorge. Chatto and Windus.) Though
Gareth had been David Lloyd George’s foreign affairs adviser, he gave no
indication in his diaries that he had any strong political affiliations.
five endnotes are taken from Gareth’s diaries referring to his
interviews whilst in Japan.
OF AMAU’S PRESS CONFERENCES
his first press conference there were about fifty journalists assembled to
talk with Mr Amau. Amau introduced them to young Japanese diplomats
who appeared very embarrassed. They bowed to the journalists; some
went to the English and some to the Americans. Amau stated that:
Japanese policy to China is to maintain peace and friendly relations.
It benefits to Japan to keep the peace in East Asia. Japan has been
standing like a watchdog in East Asia. We have fought several times
for that. Other powers have an interest in China, but ours is more
vital. The Chinese question to us is a matter of life or death.
The British have a considerable interest, which is not necessarily vital.
The U.S. is interested but only economically and commercially. China
is a vast country. At the beginning of the Washington Conference
(1922), Briand asked, “What is China?” China failed
to answer this. In 1920 Soviet Russia compiled a Treaty with Outer
Mongolia, by which each control ports in respect of recognising the
benefited Government. Since then Outer Mongolia has sent an
Ambassador to Moscow and Moscow sent to Korea Government representatives.
1924, our Government commanded a Treaty at Peking and Mukden with the
authority of China by which the Government respected temporary integrity
of China. Our Government was helping the Sun Yat-sen Government in
Canton. Borodin represented the Government in Canton, and Canton
government was dealt with independently. Therefore at the time
Canton was the Facto authority. In 1920 Mongolia concluded a treaty
with Soviets. In 1924 Mukden concluded a Treaty with Government.
Today Sinkiary is virtually under the influence of the Soviet Outer
Mongolia. The other day a Chinese Consul in Novostrik, who was
returning home to China had to apply for visa from the Soviet authorities.
the time of the Tsarists, there was a conference in the presence of the
Tsar and it was discussed as how to find a way to penetrate the Far East
and reach the ports. A railway route was finally decided upon
through Siberia, Manchuria, Harbin, Dairien and Port Arthur. In 1895
we fought with China for the lease of Liaotung peninsula. In
1895-1905 China concluded a secret alliance with Russia. China
promised materials for building of the Russian Court. The Russians
promised to help China in the war between China and Japan.
have been endeavouring to maintain peace in the Far East. China has
had a civil war for 25 years, but we desire China restored some day.
expect equal opportunities for foreign powers. League of Nations
attacked Japan, because Japan closed door on China and made the China Sea
a closed sea. But it is not Japan, but the League of Nations who
closed the doors to Japan.
the time of the Manchurian Incident it was resolved by the League of
Nations (Feb 24th, 1933) that the China boycott since September 18th 1931
is recognised as a reprisal. The China boycott is legalised by the
League of Nations decision and the principle of open door was closed to
us. It was instigated by the Euro-American powers.
are concerned about any communist presence in East Asia, but we have no
intention of interfering with Chinese internal affairs. Manchukuo
will separate China and Soviet Russia. We estimate there are 200,000
Soviet troops on the border. We have no intention to fight, but if
the Soviets interfere with Manchukuo affairs, we will fight. We must
a later press conference Mr Amau discussed British dominions attitude to
racism. In South Africa the restriction of the Japanese immigrant
was strictest. There, even the consul had the greatest difficulty in
entering a restaurant or finding a hotel. Australia was very much
better. Japan only wanted free entry of their merchants. Japan
was not going to invade Australia. In the Far East, Japan cannot
compete with American but only the German goods, especially toys and
sundry goods. “We import more from Germany than we export.
Germany is restricting Japanese goods, and in banking and shipping they
have a number of regulations by which they impose many different
conditions on Japanese traders (shipping) e.g. currency. Germany
proposes to buy soya beans from Manchukuo and wants to sell more to Japan.
There is no political arrangement with Germany.”
the final press conference Amau reviewed the current aviation situation in
Japan. It was different in Japan compared with Britain and U.S.
owing to the mountainous and atmospheric conditions. In Manchukuo
aviation was proceeding very rapidly, because there were plenty of landing
places and atmospherics was good. The Japanese Army and Navy made
great progress. They were one of the five largest aeronautic powers,
but civilian aviation was very poor. There was a lot of rivalry
between civilian, some of whom were without jobs, and army and naval
aviation. In Japan it was difficult to find landing places as the
land was over cultivated. He emphasised the quality of the pilots,
the number of planes and aircraft carriers and the faith in German
airships. He informed the journalists that the Pacific Aviation Co.
would be organised in June or July to fly from Tokyo to San Francisco, via
the Aleutian Islands and Alaska using Zeppelins. Since the
Manchurian and Shanghai troubles, the military flying corps had improved
greatly and they had increased their equipment. In the recent Jehol
conflict in Manchuria the corps took part in the battle by bombing and
carried ammunition to the advancing army. In this region, where the
transport by land was very difficult, the supply of goods and arms to the
advancing army by aeroplane was the only means available at the time.
ROBERT CLIVE, BRITISH AMBASSADOR
The recent British economic mission was a success, and reversed the
grievances that Japan had against Britain.
The Americans were withdrawing from the Far East as they had no great
interests in the area compared with those of the British.
The Australians were pro-Japanese in that they were exporting millions of
pounds worth of wool to Japan
Canada was diametrically opposed to the Australian point of view. (Canada
insisted on a strong pro-American Policy.)
Japanese Foreign Policy aimed to show they were peaceful and co-operating
with China and with Russia.
Sir Robert was amazed by an interesting change of relations with Soviet
Russia - he had received an invitation from the Soviet Ambassador to dine
with Prince Kanin, the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Army. He
could not recollect a Japanese Commander-in-Chief socialising with the
Russians since Iswolski’s day, (Russian Minister to Japan, 1900) before
the Anglo-Japanese alliance.
The Japanese Army was behind the Foreign Minister, Hirota, in his Chinese
policy, because of their need for raw materials. Hirota saw the
world shutting out Japanese goods and believed that the future market
would be in China.
They were very disappointed with Manchuria, as the resources were not so
rich as they were hoped to be. The invasion was mainly strategic
against the Russians, as the Japanese feared Communism. The Russians
were experts in oil and were going to set up a refinery in Kharatorovik
for their own use in the Far East to refine Sakhalin oil. This, the
Ambassador thought this might effect British oil interests. The
recent British economic mission which had been a success, and which had
reversed the grievances that Japan had against Britain.
Matsuoka had faced
the world for his country at Geneva. When asked about his political
aims, he replied that he was agitating to abolish political parties as the
West was already doing. The disappearance of parties in Italy,
Russia and Germany was too obvious to mention. In Japan, due to
their racial traits and their history, they could never introduce Fascism
similar to that of Mussolini and Hitler because it was not in their
temperament to allow a dictator to control the whole country, and
therefore such a thing would never happen in Japan. He believed that
they should get away from the Western democracy that bred corruption and
return to the rule of the Emperor as this was true Japanese democracy.
The Emperor was the mainspring of their country, he was responsible
for all that happened in Japan and ruled according to the “Will of
Heaven”. (They had a saying that the will of the people was the
Will of Heaven.) The State Ministers were solely responsible to the
Emperor, and through the Emperor the ministers were responsible to the
people. For 3000 years they had the idea that Ministers who were
responsible to Parliament could have no place in their history.
Western civilisation was facing a kind of catastrophe as it had become too
individualistic and egoistic. The Japanese were obliged to care for
their parents; their notion was that children would even offer their lives
for their parents. Gareth pressed his interview further and asked
what was meant by ‘Asia for the Asiatics’. Matsuoka replied: