« PreviousContinue »
pecially Army and Navy officers, have created such mistrust and suspicion of party politicians that no competent observer today seriously believes that these parties can be rehabilitated without reforms so drastic as to change them out of all recognition.
There appeared in the meantime two new elements in the political situation. The adoption in 1924 of universal manhood suffrage made possible some concerted expression for liberal thought. There was at first a general movement of the newly enfranchised toward the parties then existing, but these were firmly controlled by conservatives. In their disillusionment, they found much that was attractive in advanced Marxian thought, or they turned to the Second International, or again to the ideas of the British Labor Party. Each of these various groups produced a party, and from the three there finally appeared the Social Mass Party. At
At the opposite end of the political scale an effort was being made to bring together a large number of reactionary and nationalistic groups. These are the lineal descendants of the faction in the Shogunate who agitated, under the Prince of Mito, to "Drive out the Barbarians.” Some of these groups are completely disreputable and, under the guise of patriotism, exist only for blackmail and bullyragging. The most important is the notorious Amur (more commonly translated as the Black Dragon) Society, the head of which is the equally notorious Mitsuru Toyama, a colorful and venerable political adventurer.
Until quite recently the indications were strong that a basis was being formed for the revival of government by political parties—not by the old-line parties, which are not divided by any difference of political doctrine worth mentioning, but by the Social Mass Party on the left and by a Nationalist Party in process of creation on the right. The Social Mass Party gained considerably in respectability when, some weeks ago, it purged itself of the Moscow element and eliminated from its platform certain planks which the Moscow element insisted upon when the party was formed. Certain progress was apparently made toward unification of the nationalistic groups by the promoters of this idea, the most indefatigable of whom is Mr. Shiratori (who obtained considerable publicity during the Manchuria Incident as the “Foreign Office Spokesman”), as indicated by the fact that Toyama, Prince Sanjo, a kugé, or one of the ancient nobility, and Admiral Yamamoto, a retired naval officer, issued jointly a manifesto advocating the formation of a Nationalist Party. The stage seemed set for interesting developments, but during the closing days of 1937 the police undertook an extensive round-up of “Communists” and among those gathered in was Mr. Kaju Kato, a member of Parliament and one of the leading spirits of the Social Mass Party, who was arrested as he returned from making a “comfort visit” to the soldiers in China! This has lead to further upheavals in the Party, and it is now difficult to say what the future will bring.
The collapse of party politics after almost fifty years' effort can be attributed in the final analysis to ignoring the real bases for political divergencies. These bases exist in the conflict between medievalism and modern thought. The mechanization of industry is affecting every aspect of Japanese life and is bringing in its train a horde of new problems which in advanced countries would be primary political issues. Instead, they have in effect been banned from the political arena, and effort is being made with the cooperation of the politicians to solve them within the framework of what the press is pleased to call “Japanese tradition and polity”. An example from the particular will clarify this generality: The cotton spinning and weaving industry is the most important industry in the country. The fact that the operatives are largely young girls recruited from the farms, that they are indentured for a period of years, and that they are housed in dormitories and paid a low wage is well known. This arrangement works admirably in the interests of both the mill operators, who are supplied with cheap labor, and the landowning classes, whose tenants obtain added income, but at the same time it is admirably calculated to preserve medieval concepts and to prevent the inevitable—a desire by labor for a greater share in the profits of industry.
These conditions lead to the observation that it is unlikely that a two-party system can rest on solid ground in Japan until there comes into existence a substantial number of trained mechanics and artisans employed in mechanized factories. Unlike the native artisans, working along manual lines, they divest themselves readily of feudal concepts of relations between employer and employee, and what is also to the point, they are apt to have more schooling than the average laborer. One of the results of the war with China is a growing
а heavy metals industry, and as aftermath of the war there might well be introduced into Japanese politics a new honesty and vigor. Respectfully yours,
JOSEPH C. GREW
REPRESENTATIONS ON ESTABLISHMENT OF OIL MONOPOLIES IN
JAPAN AND MANCHURIA 27
894.6363/304 : Telegram
The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State
TOKYO, January 8, 1937–7 p. m.
[Received January 8–9:10 a. m.] 3. Embassy's 268, December 24, 6 p. m.2
1. The Standard and Shell gasoline quotas for Korea for the first half of 1937 have been reduced by 37.7% from one half of the 1936
Continued from Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. IV, pp. 786-806. 28 Ibid., p. 805.
quotas and their quotas for other petroleum products have been reduced to a less degree. The foreign oil companies assume that this step has been taken to make room for the products of the newly established Chosen Oil Company although it is expected that some other reason will be advanced for this cut in their trade. No definite assurances have ever been given in regard to their trade in Korea but in this connection see item 2 of the 5 point memorandum of April, 1935 29 (Embassy's despatch No. 1253, April 19, 1935).
2. The British Ambassador has telegraphed the above facts to his Foreign Office with the expectation that the Foreign Office will bring them to the attention of the Japanese Ambassador in London.
3. I shall send Dickover 30 to the Chief of the Bureau of Commercial Affairs of the Foreign Office tomorrow, not to make formal representations but simply to refer orally and informally to our representations of December 24; to bring to his attention the facts of the Korean quota reduction; and to point out that such developments are extremely discouraging to the foreign oil companies. Sir George Sansom, the Commercial Counselor of the British Embassy, will take the same step on behalf of the British interests at approximately the same time.
894.6363/305 : Telegram
The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State
TOKYO, January 11, 1937—1 p. m.
[Received January 11–6:55 a. m.] 4. Embassy's 3, January 8, 7 p. m. 1. In Dickover's talk on Saturday morning with Matsushima, Chief of the Commercial Bureau of the Foreign Office, the latter agreed with apparent sincerity that it was out of the question for the foreign oil companies either to invest further money in Japan or to guarantee an adequate return to Mitsui when their future was so uncertain as was indicated by the latest developments in the Japan and Korea quotas. He said that the Minister for Foreign Affairs had asked him to take up with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry the whole problem of the foreign oil interests in Japan and that Arita 31 was pressing him almost daily to persuade that Ministry to seek an early adjustment of the situation by meeting in some degree the reasonable requirements of the foreign oil companies. The impression received by Dickover is that our representations of Decem
Memorandum of April 13, 1935, Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. II, p. 896.
ber 24 32 have fallen on good ground, at least so far as the Foreign Office is concerned, and that Arita is genuinely disturbed at the situation of the oil companies.
2. Sansom in his talk with Matsushima also received the distinct impression that the Foreign Office is sympathetic to the plight of the oil companies.
894.6363/307 : Telegram
The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State
Tokyo, January 15, 1937–6 p. m.
[Received January 15—9:40 a. m.] 6. Embassy's 4, January 11, 1 p. m.
1. Matsushima, the Chief of the Commercial Bureau of the Foreign Office, today handed Dickover the following note verbale in reply to our representations of December 24. The note was delivered in English as well as Japanese (a most unusual proceeding with the Foreign Office) in order, as Matsushima said, to avoid any misunderstanding.
“Translation. Note verbale. The Department of Foreign Affairs having consulted the competent department on the subject of the aide-mémoire of the United States Embassy dated December 24, 1936 have the honor to state in reply as follows:
The Japanese Government have no intention to make any discrimination between business operations of the Standard Vacuum Oil Company which represents the American oil interests in Japan and those of any other oil industrialists. Nor have they any thought whatever of driving out of Japan the American oil interests represented by that company. To be more precise the phrase "they will be taken into full consideration in the reply addressed by the Director of the Mines Bureau in the Department of Commerce and Industry to the General Manager of the Standard Vacuum Oil Company under date of October 21, 1936 did not mean that consideration would be given to the question as to whether or not the four points enumerated in the letter addressed by the General Manager of the said company to the Minister for Commerce and Industry on October 9, 1936, would be carried into effect. On the contrary the reference was intended to be a confirmation in writing of the four points. The company therefore need entertain no misgiving and it is hoped that this information will be conveyed to it so that there shall be no misunderstandings in this connection.
The Japanese Government hereby declare that so long as the above mentioned company faithfully observes the Japanese laws and regulations concerned they will always be prepared to give favorable con
See Embassy's telegram No. 268, December 24, 1936, 6 p. m., Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. IV, p. 805.
sideration to its business operations. At the same time they desire to point out that the company should speedily fulfill the obligations required by the Japanese laws and regulations."
2. The note verbale was accompanied by a paper marked “unofficial” replying to my oral representations of December 24 and stating that:
(a) In regard to the kerosene quotas for the latter part of 1936, increases were given to the Japanese companies and not to the foreign companies because of an increase in the domestic production of oil. It is therefore an exceptional matter and was treated in accordance with the first of the four points upon which the foreign oil companies request assurances.
(6) The proposed tariff revision admits of no reasonable objection as it is applicable without distinction to any person or concern.
3. A note verbale substantially identical with the foregoing was handed to Sansom today. We concur with the British Embassy that this result of our representatives (representations?] is gratifying as definitely confirming the assurances previously given orally to the companies.
The Ambassador in Japan (Grero) to the Secretary of State
[Extract) No. 2347
Tokyo, April 2, 1937.
[Received April 19.] SIR: [Here follows a report on developments in the situation affecting American and foreign oil interests under the Japanese Petroleum Industry Law of 1934.]
FUTURE POSITION OF THE FOREIGN OIL COMPANIES IN JAPAN As was reported in despatch No. 2337, dated April 1, 1937,38 the Japanese Government is apparently determined to proceed with its grandiose scheme to render Japan fairly self-sufficient in liquid fuel through the hydrogenation of coal, oil synthesis by the Fischer method, low temperature carbonization of coal, and the mixing of absolute alcohol with gasoline. The project, which contemplates the investment of about Yen 750,000,000, will establish the Imperial Fuel Company, which will act as the financing and administrative organ of all the synthetic gasoline plants to be established in Japan, Korea and presumably Manchuria. The plan contemplates the use of about 9,000,000 metric tons of coal per annum and, it is estimated, will render Japan about 60 per cent self-sufficient in gasoline and about 45 per cent self-sufficient in heavy oil (fuel and diesel oil) at the end of
* Not printed.