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it was a party and bespoke respect by all nations for treaties solemnly entered into. ( )
During a conversation of December 23, 1935 with a member of the staff of the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Mr. Saburo Kurusu, a high Japanese Foreign Office official, stated that Japan was destined to be the leader of the oriental civilization and would in course of time be the "boss" of a group comprising "China, India, the Netherlands East Indies, etc." Mr. Kurusu said that while Japan led the oriental civilization, the United States would lead the occidental civilization; that the two countries must not fight, as that would be suicidal. He said that Great Britain was "degenerating" and that the Russians were dreamers and never would "amount to anything". Mr. Kurusu went on to say that he opposed Japan's "hypocritical attitude" toward treaties for collective security; that he was critical of his own country for signing agreements which could not be carried out if Japan wanted to progress in the world.
London Naval Conference
At the London Naval Conference of 1935-36 Japan endeavored to have substituted for the 5-5-3 ratio of the naval treaties of 1922 and 1930 a "common upper limit" for all powers. This proposal would have established a uniform maximum level for fleets of all nations without taking into consideration their respective needs and responsibilities. None of the other states represented could accept this proposal even as a basis for negotiation. The United States opposed the Japanese proposal, according to a statement by Chairman Norman H. Davis of the United States delegation, on the ground that "equal security" had been achieved under the Washington and London Naval Treaties and that, owing to the difference in relative needs and vulnerability, "naval parity would give to Japan naval superiority". Japan withdrew from the Conference and as a result no quantitative naval limitation treaty was concluded. Despite the departure of the Japanese representatives from the Conference, the United States, Great Britain, and France concluded a treaty of qualitative naval limitation on March 25, 1936. The treaty provided, however, that if the national security of a contracting party should be menaced by naval construction by powers outside the scope of the treaty, it could depart from the qualitative limits. ( )
At the time of the signature of the treaty, Chairman Davis of the United States delegation and British Foreign Secretary Eden exchanged letters declaring that there would be no competitive naval building between the two countries and that the principle of parity would be maintained as between their Fleets. Subsequently Japan
was approached by the British Government and asked to give assurances that it would adhere in practice to the qualitative limits laid down in the 1936 treaty. Japan declined to give such assurances. Japan's attitude marked the death knell, for the period under consideration, of naval limitation among the great powers.
The United States and Great Britain later invoked the "escalator" clause of the treaty and undertook increased naval building programs.
German-Japanese Anti-Comintern Pact
The Secretary of State discussed the Far Eastern situation on June 12, 1936 with the Japanese Ambassador to Great Britain, Shigeru Yoshida. The Ambassador said that the people of the United States should recognize the rapidly growing population of Japan and the absolute necessity for more territory for their existence. He said that there was misunderstanding and misapprehension on the part of the people of the United States concerning Japanese movements in and about China; that Japanese armaments were not intended for war against any particular country, especially not the United States, but that Japanese naval officials were always undertaking to create additional vacancies and additional room for promotion. This was not convincing to Secretary Hull. He replied that the impression among people in the United States was that Japan sought economic domination, first of eastern Asia, and then of other areas such as it might see fit to dominate; that this would mean political as well as military domination in the end.
The Secretary said that there was no reason why countries like the United States, Great Britain, and Japan could not in an amicable spirit and with perfect justice and fairness agree to abide by the world-wide principle of equality in commercial and industrial affairs, and each country solemnly agree not to resort to force in connection with the operation of this rule of equality. He felt that governments should be able to sit down together and in a spirit of fairdealing confer and collaborate without ceasing until they found a way for amicable and reasonable adjustment; that this would eliminate 90 percent of the occasions for friction between nations. () On November 25, 1936 Japan openly associated itself with Germany by the signature of the Anti-Comintern Pact, whereby the two countries agreed to exchange information on the activities of the Communist International and to consult and collaborate on the necessary preventive measures. While there had been signs for some time of a gradual rapprochement of these two states, this was the first open indication of their common designs in foreign policy. It foreshadowed the parallel courses of aggression which Germany and Japan were to follow during the coming years.
In connection with this agreement, Ambassador Grew reported from Tokyo on December 4, 1936 that the Japanese Foreign Office had denied categorically the existence of an understanding in regard to military matters or Japanese participation in a Fascist bloc. He stated, however, that foreign diplomatic representatives in Tokyo in general were of the opinion that the Japanese and German General Staffs had concluded a secret military understanding. ( )
Inter-American Peace Conference
Representatives of the American republics assembled in conference at Buenos Aires in December 1936. This conference had been suggested by President Roosevelt early in the year for the purpose of determining how the maintenance of peace among the American republics might best be safeguarded. The President felt that steps in this direction would advance the cause of world peace in as much as the agreements which might be reached would supplement and reinforce the efforts of the League of Nations and of other peace agencies seeking to prevent war. ( )
In an address at Buenos Aires on December 5, 1936 Secretary Hull said that the primary purpose of the conference was to "banish war from the Western Hemisphere". He believed that every country must play its part in determining whether the world would slip back toward war and savagery or whether it would maintain and advance the level of civilization and peace. He said that the American republics could not remain unconcerned by the grave and threatening conditions in many parts of the world; that it was now absolutely clear that each nation in any part of the world was concerned with peace in every part of the world.
The Secretary enumerated in this address eight principles for a comprehensive peace program: 1. Peoples must be educated for peace; each nation must make itself safe for peace. 2. Frequent conferences between representatives of nations and intercourse between their peoples are essential. 3. The consummation of five wellknown peace agreements will provide adequate machinery. 4. In the event of war there should be a common policy of neutrality. 5. The nations should adopt commercial policies to bring each that prosperity upon which enduring peace is founded. 6. Practical international cooperation is essential to restore indispensable international relationships. 7. International law should be reestablished, revitalized, and strengthened; armies and navies are no permanent substitute for its great principles. 8. Faithful observance of undertakings between nations is the foundation of international law, and rests upon moral law, the highest of all law. ()
The American republics at this conference agreed upon a convention for the maintenance, preservation, and reestablishment of peace, which contained a procedure for consultation among the signatories. The conference also approved a declaration stating that every act susceptible of disturbing the peace of America affects each and every one of the republics and justifies the initiation of the procedure of consultation provided for in the above-mentioned convention; that territorial conquest is proscribed, and consequently no acquisition made through violence shall be recognized; that intervention by one state in the internal or external affairs of another is condemned; that forcible collection of pecuniary debts is illegal; that any difference or dispute between the American nations shall be settled by the methods of conciliation, or unrestricted arbitration, or through operation of international justice. ( )
In a conversation with Italian Ambassador Suvich a few months later, on July 6, 1937, the Secretary of State reviewed at length the increasingly critical world situation and cited the Buenos Aires peace program as an example for the rest of the world. He said that the program contained a practicable set of principles and policies as the single alternative to the disastrous course of affairs in Europe. He said that the only foundations which Europe presented for restoring international order were the "narrowest, cutthroat, trouble-breeding methods of trading and a wild, runaway race in armaments"; that this was in striking contrast with the program of the 21 American republics, which provided a solid and permanent foundation for a stable structure of business, of peace, and of government. The Secretary said that the single question was whether the civilized nations would wait until it was too late before proclaiming and pursuing this practical and constructive course. The American nations had offered this program and were "pleading to all other civilized nations to embrace it and give it support without a day's delay". Never before, he said, had there been such an opportunity for some important country in Europe to furnish leadership with just this sort of program. When the Italian Ambassador said that the time was not propitious for such a program, the Secretary replied that if each nation waited until the time was exactly right from its standpoint, the time would never become propitious.
Referring to the dangerous situation in Europe, the Secretary remarked that another war or a deep-seated economic panic would be utterly destructive of everything worthwhile in the western world— and yet absolutely nothing was being done in the way of permanent planning for peace and general stability. There were, he continued, probably four million wage-earners in Germany engaged in armament production; relative numbers in other countries were likewise en
gaged; within another 18 months, when the resources of most countries necessary for further increased armaments were exhausted, it would not be humanly possible to find other gainful and productive employment for all the millions of these wage-earners. And yet, "with the roar of the economic and the military Niagara below, now within distinct hearing, and with the certain knowledge that the happening of either catastrophe would be fatal, nations are drifting and drifting and drifting with no broad or permanent or peaceful planning".
The United States, Secretary Hull said, while taking every precaution to keep aloof from political and military involvements abroad, strongly felt that each civilized country had the unshirkable responsibility of making a real contribution to promote peace. The Secretary declared that the United States and the other American nations were behind the broad program to which he had referred and were looking "longingly" to leading countries in Europe to offer a similar contribution to peace and economic well-being. ( )
President Roosevelt stated the policy of the Government toward national defense in a letter of April 20, 1936 to the Daughters of the American Revolution. He said that it was the aim of the Government "to make our national defense efficient and to keep it adequate"; that what was necessary for adequate defense was not always the same and was bound to change with changing conditions; that if this were a disarming world our needs obviously would be proportionally decreasing; that he regretted that the world of the time was not a disarming world; and that our defense forces were "on a stronger peace-time basis than before", and it was our purpose to keep them that way.
The President said that we would press continually for limitation of armament by international agreement and that if this should fail, we would not increase our own armament unless other powers by increasing theirs made increase by us necessary to our national safety. ()
In an address delivered at New York on September 15, 1936 Secretary Hull stated that the defense forces of the United States had been substantially increased; that this appeared essential in the face of the universal increase of armaments elsewhere and the disturbed conditions of the world; that "we would not serve the cause of peace” if we had inadequate means of self-defense; and that we must be sure that in our desire for peace we would not appear weak and unable to resist the imposition of force or to protect our just rights. ()