Foreign Affairs: 100 Years
A New Americanism
Why a Nation Needs a National Story
IN presenting an unbiased picture of Japan's attitude towards China certain general conclusions may be set forth at the beginning. First, Japan has definitely renounced aggressive or imperialistic designs such as were apparent in her attitude between, say, 1915 and 1919. Secondly, whether her government be conservative or liberal, there is a certain limit beyond which she will not go in relinquishing her rights and interests in China; in determining that limit she will always be guided by her sense of self-preservation, born of overpopulation and her lack of natural resources, and intensified by her past experiences with neighbors who sometimes have concocted what seemed sinister designs against her. Thirdly, Japan is not unsympathetic, much less antipathetic, towards China's nationalistic aspirations, but she insists that China's foreign treaties, however unilateral or unfair, must not be repudiated in a Bolshevist fashion but must be revised through due process of diplomacy. These, quite apart from the writer's personal sentiments and prejudices, seem to be the essential features of Japan's present policy towards China.
The turning point in Japan's course was the Washington Conference of 1921-22, where her acts during the preceding decade were scrutinized under the most critical eyes alike of friends and enemies. Indeed it may be frankly admitted that one of the main objects of the Conference was to curb Japan's activities and influence in China. Not that those activities were unprecedented or unparalleled in the game of international politics, but rather because she had brought down upon herself the enmity of the world by making hay while the sun shone only on her part of the planet. At any rate, she faced the music with what grace and dignity she could, and she made up her mind then and there to set her Chinese policy upon a new basis. Her alliance with England was dissolved, her troops were withdrawn from Siberia and from China, the interests she had acquired in Shantung were surrendered in China's favor, "Group V" of the so-called "Twenty-one Demands" of 1915 was unequivocally renounced, she liberalized her rule in Korea, and she gave up certain preferential rights in regard to Manchuria. In short, she surrendered all she could without jeopardizing what she considered essential to her own national security.
To be frank, these renunciations were made rather reluctantly. The Washington Conference and its accomplishments were not popular with the Japanese, some of whom looked upon them as a deliberate scheme to persecute their country. But the Japanese leaders accepted the inevitable ungrudgingly, and at once set to work to readjust Japan's position in meticulous observance of the agreements made at Washington. Soon after the Conference Admiral Baron Kato, who had headed the Japanese delegation at that historic parley, was chosen Premier as the man best able to carry into effect the spirit and letter of the Washington treaties. He proved himself equal to the task. Admiral Kato's Cabinet was followed by the Yamamoto and the Kiyoura Cabinets, both "stop-gap" and short-lived. Then came Count Takaakira Kato's Cabinet; it lasted three years, during which Baron Kijuro Shidehara (who had played an important rôle at the Washington Conference) directed Japan's foreign relations. Shidehara's foreign policy was characterized by moderation and friendliness, especially in regard to China, and whatever may have been its shortcomings in other fields it was in no small degree instrumental in reëstablishing Japan in the confidence of the world and giving her again a place in Chinese friendship.
Today, six years after the Washington Conference, few Japanese question the benefit it has conferred upon their country. Suppose that it had not terminated the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, that it had permitted Japan to remain in Shantung, that it had not led to her troops being withdrawn from Siberia -- what would have been her international position today? Surely she would have been made to bear the brunt of China's vitriolic anti-foreign agitation, and she would have had no end of trouble with Soviet Russia. In Europe and America, moreover, she would have been looked upon with suspicion and enmity. After all has been said and done, therefore, the policy of moderation followed by Admiral Baron Kato's Cabinet in the wake of the Washington Conference, and accentuated by Baron Shidehara in Count Kato's Cabinet, has served a useful purpose. But for the growing chaos and anti-foreign violence in China that policy would never have been seriously criticised in Japan, even by the Opposition.
Unfortunately, conditions in China, especially since 1925, have been such as to cause doubt and misgiving on the part of the outside world. Japan, with enormous investments and great industrial enterprises in China, and more and more dependent upon that country for food and mineral supplies, has been particularly anxious. When in March, 1927, a Nationalist or Communist Chinese general committed an outrage against the British, American and Japanese Consulates and residents in Nanking, many a Japanese became skeptical as to the wisdom of continuing indefinitely the policy of friendliness which had been pursued by Shidehara. The Opposition, the Seiyu-Kai party, seized upon the incident and assaulted with redoubled energy what it had dubbed the "weak-kneed" diplomacy of the Cabinet. It had coined the appealing catchword of a "positive policy" -- a positive policy both for domestic affairs and for the Chinese situation. The rank and file of the people, not knowing what Baron Shidehara and his policy of tolerance were driving at, were inclined to lend ear to this professedly new policy. And yet the Cabinet might have weathered the storm had it not been for the embarrassment caused by the financial crisis which had come to a head after a protracted period of depression following the post-war slump and the earthquake disaster of 1923.
It is a matter for speculation how much longer Baron Shidehara would have followed his policy of friendliness if he had remained at the Foreign Office. Many believe that even to him the Nanking outrage was the last straw, and that he would have been forced to take the necessary measures to forestall the possible repetition of similar incidents at Tsinan and Tsingtao. As a matter of fact, he had already established a precedent for such action when in December, 1925, he dispatched troops to Mukden and its vicinity in order to protect the South Manchuria Railway and the Japanese residents in the railway zone against the military upheaval caused there by General Kuo Sung-ling's revolt against Chang Tso-lin, war lord of Manchuria. When Japan's vital interests in China are seriously threatened even a liberal cabinet cannot sit with folded arms. Rightly or wrongly, the Japanese, with the exception of a small minority, are agreed that those interests, especially in Manchuria, cannot safely be relinquished. If those interests can be preserved in a friendly way, well and good, but if friendly policy fails to protect them, some other means must be devised. That, in brief, is the prevailing sentiment. No Cabinet which ignores this sentiment can long withstand public pressure.
True, the cabinet change of April, 1927, was primarily caused by the Government's alleged mismanagement of national finances. But it is also true that the public had become uneasy about Baron Shidehara's Chinese policy of "watchful waiting." As soon as the Seiyu-Kai, led by Baron Tanaka, assumed the reins of government, the new Cabinet summoned the Japanese Minister and Japanese Consuls in China for a conference on the Chinese situation. At its end Premier Tanaka summarized its findings as follows:
"1. The stabilization of the present chaotic political situation in China and the restoration of public safety should be attained by the Chinese themselves, not by foreign Powers nor with their help. The Japanese Government, therefore, thinks it the part of wisdom not to interfere in the Chinese civil war or in the domestic political quarrels in China. Japan should also respect public opinion in China.
"2. The Japanese Government will coöperate with other Powers to meet the reasonable demands advanced by such of the Chinese people as entertain moderate ideas in regard to China's rehabilitation. Japan has genuine sympathy for China, and earnestly hopes that she will make a steady economic development. Japan, in conjunction with other Powers, will coöperate with China to this end.
"3. The realization of the above desiderata depends upon the establishment of a strong central government. This cannot be expected for the time being in view of the prevailing chaos. Japan, therefore, will wait for the formation of a moderate cabinet by the coördination of moderate factions in the various provinces.
"4. Japan's policy as above outlined will remain the same whether the possible new central government of China be organized by the coalition of the Northerners and the Southerners, or by factions of a certain local origin. In the event of the appearance of such a central government, Japan, with other Powers, will support it, whether it be located in the North or in the South.
"5. Agitators and unruly elements, taking advantage of the present chaos, have been actively engaged in causing trouble. Japan will rely upon China's own efforts to control these elements. But should Japanese lives and property in China be endangered, Japan might be forced to take the necessary measures for their protection.
"6. Peace and order in Manchuria and Mongolia have a vital bearing upon Japan's national existence and national defense. The Japanese Government, therefore, feels itself responsible for the maintenance of peace in these regions not only in view of Japan's special position there, but also in the interest of China herself."
The policy of non-interference enunciated in the above conclusions is nothing but a reiteration of the policy Japan has followed in China since about 1920. Certainly it makes no departure from Shidehara's policy. But it is in regard to Manchuria and Eastern Mongolia that Premier Tanaka's statement claims our particular attention. Conditions in those regions, he says, "have a vital bearing upon Japan's national existence and national defense," and therefore, Japan "feels herself responsible for the maintenance of peace and order there." Evidently Premier Tanaka, viewing the complexity of Chinese politics, is resigned to let China proper stew in its own juice, but he declares he cannot sit quiet under the impending danger of having the civil war spread into Manchuria and Eastern Mongolia, for it is there that Japan turns for essential raw materials, and that she has many enterprises involving great investments.
Perhaps a concrete demonstration of Japan's Manchurian policy, especially as followed by the Tanaka Cabinet, may be seen in the parley which has been going on between Tokyo and Peking since last August. In this parley Japan is not trying to obtain any new privileges, except permission to open a consulate at Morshan (Linkiang) on the Manchurian side of the Yalu River. This consulate question is not as important as either the leasing or the railway question. As for the other rights, they were conceded to Japan many years ago, some as far back as 1905, but upon one excuse or another China has either ignored or violated them. The most important are those relating to the railways, the efficient operation of which is essential to Japan's food supply and her industrial existence.
First, then, let us consider the South Manchuria Railway, which overshadows in importance all other Japanese enterprises in Manchuria. In December, 1905, the Chinese Government, in a protocol annexed to a convention, signed the following agreement:
"The Chinese Government engage, for the purpose of protecting the interests of the South Manchuria Railway, not to construct, prior to the recovery by them of the said railway, any branch line in the neighborhood of and parallel to that railway, or any branch line which would be prejudicial to the interests of the above-mentioned railway."
The protocol was called "secret" by Western writers as it did not appear in the Japanese Government's official Book of Treaties. However, authoritative foreign publications contained it, while the Japanese Government itself frequently referred to it. The above restrictive provision had its first test in the Hsinmintun-Fakumen railway project broached in 1907 by the Chinese Government and a British firm named Pauling and Company. On that question the London Times commented significantly: "Japan's right to veto the construction of a competitive line cannot be disputed either by China, who signed the protocol of December, 1905, or by Great Britain, to whom the protocol was communicated without her raising objections. . . . There is little doubt that one of China's objects in handling the Manchurian
question has been and is to create friction between Japan and other Powers. By giving to the British the contract of the Fakumen railway after having been informed that Japan would regard the scheme as a violation of the protocol of 1905, China doubtless hoped to embroil Great Britain with Japan."
Thus the Fakumen project was abandoned. During the past year or two China, or rather Chang Tso-lin's Government at Mukden, has been building "parallel" lines to the South Manchuria Railway on a much greater scale than was projected in 1907. One of these lines is to connect Mukden and Kirin via Hailungcheng, and the other Takushan and Taonanfu via Paintala. Both, in spite of Japan's repeated protests, have been more than half constructed. Now the important question is whether Japan's right to veto such projects is unreasonable. It certainly was not unreasonable when it was obtained in 1905. Japan had fought China's battle as much as her own. Had she not accepted the Russian challenge it was plain that the whole of Manchuria and even north China would have become Russian territory. Nor should it be forgotten that China had secretly contracted with Russia an offensive and defensive alliance, and thus extended clandestine assistance to the Muscovite with whom Japan was engaged in a struggle that cost her 100,000 lives and a billion dollars. Had the nature of the Chino-Russian secret alliance been fully known Japan might have been justified in demanding from China more substantial rights than she actually did. This secret treaty had never officially been divulged until China was forced to bring it out at the Washington Conference. The telegraphic summary of the document, as submitted to the Conference by the Chinese delegation, was as follows:
"Article I. The High Contracting Parties engage to support each other reciprocally, by all land and sea forces, at any aggression directed by Japan against Russian territory in Eastern Asia, China or Korea.
"Article II. No treaty of peace with an adverse party shall be concluded by either of them without the consent of the other.
"Article III. During military operations all Chinese ports shall be open to Russian vessels.
"Article IV. The Chinese Government consents to the construction of a railway across the provinces of Amur and Kirin in the direction of Vladivostok. The construction and exploitation of this railway shall be accorded to the Russo-Chinese Bank. The contract shall be concluded between the Chinese Minister at St. Petersburg and the Russo-Chinese Bank.
"Article V. In time of war Russia shall have free use of the railway for the transport and provisioning of her troops. In time of peace Russia shall have the same right for the transit of her troops and provisions."
In securing a right to veto the construction of lines parallel to the South Manchuria Railway, Japan simply emulated examples set by other Powers. Long before the Chino-Japanese convention of 1905 the Western nations interested in railway enterprise in China had imposed much the same obligation upon the Chinese Government. I shall cite only one example -- that of the American-China Development Company, organized by American financiers for building a railway from Hankow to Canton. Its agreement with the Chinese Government in 1900 provides that, "Without the express consent in writing of the Director-General and the American Company, no other rival railway detrimental to the business of the same is to be permitted, and no parallel roads to the injury of the latter's interest, within the area served by the Canton-Hankow main line or branch lines."
Apart from the legal aspect of the question, is it wise for Japan to exercise the veto? Times have changed. The South Manchuria Railway has become a firmly established, efficiently administered, highly profitable institution. With Chinese migrating into Manchuria in increasing numbers, with the country's natural resources developed rapidly, is it not possible that new railways, by whomever built, will redound to the mutual benefit of the existing Japanese and Chinese systems? This point seems to be recognized by the South Manchuria Railway itself. Mr. Yosuke Matsuoka, Vice-President of the Company, made a statement a year ago to the following effect:
"The development of Manchuria and the increase of its products are going on at such a pace that the apprehension that bitter competition will occur between the Russian, the Japanese and the Chinese railway interests will be found without grounds. With the country developing at this rate, its railways, both existing and under construction, will have all the traffic they can handle. . . . The Japanese Government and the South Manchuria Railway, in dealing with the question of parallel railways, are concerned mainly with the principle that existing treaties and agreements, as long as they are binding, must be observed. Once this point is recognized, the question of constructing projected Chinese railways will be comparatively easy to settle."
The point at issue, then, is not whether China shall or shall not be permitted to build parallel lines, but whether she shall recognize the 1905 agreement. If she recognizes it and consults Japan in a friendly spirit before embarking upon the construction of such lines, Japan will respond in a like spirit.
Another important Manchurian railway question which Japan is now endeavoring to solve is the building of a line which will connect Kirin, the capital of a province bearing the same name, with Kainei (called Huining by the Chinese) on the Korean side of the border line. In September, 1909, Japan concluded a convention with China whereby the latter agreed to the construction of that line with the South Manchurian Railway as contractor. The railway so far extends to Tunhua on the way to the Korean border. What Japan is asking is merely the extension of the railway another hundred miles or so, so that it can effect a junction with the Japanese railway leading to the Korean port of Seishin (or Rashin as a second choice), the nearest outlet for Kirin province and the adjacent interior regions of Manchuria. Japan is eager to complete this system in order to secure access to the agricultural, mineral and timber resources of those regions. In an effort to solve their population problem by industrializing their country, the Japanese are developing, gradually but steadily, a network of land and sea communication to the hinterland of the Asian Continent where they may find the essential materials of modern industry.
Manchuria to-day has about 2,900 miles of railways in operation. Of this total China and Russia own 1,100 miles each, while Japan owns 700 miles. Although the Chinese railways total a greater mileage than the Japanese, much of the mileage consists of the lines financed by foreign, especially Japanese, capital. The line between Mukden and Shanhaikwan, with a few short branches -- in all 300 miles -- was built with British capital. The lines financed by the South Manchuria Railway or by Japanese banks are these: Supingkai-Taonanfu, 182 miles; Taonanfu-Anganchi (Tsitsihar), 141 miles; Chengchiatun-Paintala, 83 miles; Kirin-Changchun, 79 miles. The lines built by the Chinese with Chinese capital are: Mukden-Hailung, 152 miles; Takushan-Paintala, 156 miles; Hulan-Suihua, 50 miles. It is highly problematical whether railways under absolute Chinese control will prove a paying business. They may be a convenient means for transporting soldiers in continuous civil wars, but transporting soldiers merely swells the debit of the railways. The Peking-Suiyuan line, the only all-Chinese railway in China proper, has been reduced almost to chaos. Even in the case of the railways built with foreign capital the safeguards and supervision provided in the agreements with the Chinese Government have practically been nullified by the most arbitrary seizures and requisitions ordered by military chieftains. The Shanghai-Nanking, the Tientsin-Pukow, the Peking-Hankow, the Peking-Mukden lines -- in fact all the foreign (mostly British) financed railways are in the same predicament. On some railways the soldiers have destroyed freight cars for fuel, on others troops and bandits have picked the dog-spikes out of the sleepers. Even the ties are rotting, and no repairs are being made. The militarists are vying with one another in seizing the railway receipts, which should be set aside for the service of the loans with which the railways were built. If this condition is not altered, the entire railway system of China will collapse, and collapse soon.
Now the question is whether Japan will ever permit the Japanese-financed but Chinese-owned railways to fall into the same deplorable condition. The answer is better understood than said. Perhaps the question is unnecessary, for even the Chinese chieftains, respecting Japan's position, would not dare tamper with such railways. The stabilizing influence of the South Manchuria Railway will also serve to forestall the inroads of disorder and disturbance. The more pertinent question is whether these Chinese-owned railways will prove a profitable or even paying enterprise. If one may take the Kirin-Changchun line as an example, one cannot be optimistic as to the prospects of these railways. This particular line was constructed some twenty years ago, the building cost being borne equally by the Chinese Government and the South Manchuria Railway. At first it was managed and operated by Chinese, but its loss was so great that in 1917 the Government entrusted its management to the South Manchuria Railway. Since then the road has been making a fair profit.
Coming back to the negotiations now in process between Peking and Tokyo, it is wide of the mark to say that the object of these negotiations is to put into effect the agreements resulting from the famous "Twenty-one Demands" of 1915. The only right which Japan is now trying to make effective upon the strength of those agreements is the right of leasing land in South Manchuria for commercial and residential purposes. Japan sees in the yet undeveloped lands of Manchuria and Inner Mongolia a potential source of food supply for her growing millions. In asking the privilege of leasing agricultural lands there, however, Japan asks nothing exclusive to herself. Once it is granted to the Japanese, other nationals, by virtue of the most-favored-nation clause found in most of China's foreign treaties, will automatically enjoy the same privilege. Nor will foreigners alone derive benefit from the fulfilment of the leasing agreement. The Chinese themselves will be equally benefited, for it will be Japanese capital, not Japanese labor, which will develop Manchuria's virgin soil, thus opening another vast field of employment for the Chinese who are migrating to this "land of promise" from war-torn Shantung, Chihli and other provinces. In the last year alone this immigration has almost reached a million.
Since the leasing privilege is a result of the "Twenty-one Demands" we may linger a moment on those demands, especially the American Government's attitude toward them. When they were being discussed between Tokyo and Peking, the State Department, after a careful study of the whole matter, informed the Japanese Government that it would raise no objection to sixteen of the twenty-one demands. Of course, it thought nothing of such a minor matter as the leasing provision. It even recognized Japan's right to take over the concessions formerly owned by Germany in Shantung province. The remaining five demands constituted the so-called Group V. These Japan dropped in deference to America, and at the Washington Conference they were again formally renounced by the Japanese delegation. As a consequence the Chino-Japanese treaties of 1915 contained nothing to which the American Government ever raised objection.
As I stated at the outset, Japan's stand in regard to China's existing treaties is that while she looks with sympathy upon China's desire to secure their revision, such revision must be effected not by the Bolshevist method of repudiation, but by due process of diplomacy between a recognized Chinese government and the foreign Powers. Here there is no difference between Shidehara's policy and Tanaka's. An illustration of their common attitude in this respect is their manner of handling the question arising out of China's imposition of taxes and duties not authorized by treaty. Take, for instance, the 2½ percent surtax which was a subject of discussion both at the Washington Conference and at the Special Tariff Conference which opened at Peking in October, 1925. Not only did Japan raise no objection to the levying of this surtax at the Peking Conference, but she went so far as to propose tariff autonomy for China provided China on her part fulfilled certain conditions. At the same time she insisted that this desired change should be brought about only through treaty revision in conformity to the Washington agreement. If the Peking Conference failed to arrive at an agreement it was not due to any fault on the part of the Conference, but because the collapse of the Chinese Government was followed by nation-wide chaos.
Towards the end of 1926 the southern Nationalists, heartened by the seeming success of their anti-British agitation, began to levy surtaxes in disregard of the existing treaties. Downing Street, momentarily obfuscated by the agitation, proposed that the Powers bow to the inevitable and connive at the illegal imposition of surtaxes without the process of treaty revision. This British concession won neither the respect of the Chinese nor the sympathy of the Powers. The Chinese regarded it as an insincere volte face, if not a sign of weakness. At any rate, it was followed by the Nationalist seizure of the British concessions at Hankow and at Kiukiang, and by an increased violence against the British in general. Japan, for one, clearly foresaw what was ahead. She knew that the Powers' connivance at deliberate violation of any treaty by China would lead to a wholesale repudiation of all China's foreign commitments. At the same time she made it plain that she would at any time meet with any accredited Chinese delegation for the purpose of treaty revision. On January 17, 1927, Baron Shidehara, then Foreign Minister in the Kenseikai Cabinet, made this declaration before the Diet:
"We have no objection to levying the surtaxes provided in the Washington Customs Treaty, but we must make reasonably certain that such additional customs revenue shall not be applied directly or indirectly to the purposes of civil war or shall not be appropriated to the private use of any faction.
"Viewed in this light, the early resumption of the deliberations of the tariff conference seems highly desirable for China and the Powers alike, and we wish that responsible men of both North and South be appointed members of the Chinese delegation and that they exchange views frankly."
The present Tanaka Cabinet takes much the same stand. Should Chang Tso-lin, of Peking, and Chiang Kai-shek, of Nanking, bury the hatchet and appoint a common delegation, Japan, with other Powers, would be ready to discuss with them the question of tariff surtaxes and other levies. Meanwhile, Japan is asking Chang Tso-lin to stop, and stop at once, the levying of all illegal duties in his jurisdiction. She is saying that she is willing to negotiate for the revision of such treaties as China thinks inequitable, but that such negotiations can be entered into only when Marshal Chang has put an end to the wilful violation of existing obligations.
In considering Japan's policy towards China, one's thoughts naturally turn to Soviet Russia whose acts and intentions in the Far East have a vital bearing upon both countries. It has been frequently said in America and in Europe that "Red" Russia is as much a disturbing element in the Orient as was Tsarist Russia, and that its ambitions and designs are bound to come into collision with Japan's determination to maintain peace and order in that region. In the heyday of Soviet agitation in south China such apprehensions seemed plausible. Baron Tanaka, while leading the Opposition, sounded this warning:
"The 'Red' waves are encroaching on China. This is not the time to regard the troubles there as 'far on the other side of the river.' These disturbances in China have gone beyond the limits of domestic disputes. They are endangering the Far East and threatening the peace of the world."
Tanaka, it will be recalled, was something of a Russophobe in the years immediately after the "Red" revolution of 1917. It was he who, as Minister of the Army in the Hara Cabinet, directed Japan's part of the inter-Allied expedition to Siberia in 1918. Even after the rest of the Allied forces had quit Siberia, the Japanese contingent stayed, in pursuance of Tanaka's policy. When Tanaka became Prime Minister last April it was naturally expected that he would be more or less antagonistic towards the Soviet. His later utterances have belied this expectation. True, in May last, speaking before the House of Representatives, he repeated his warning against Soviet propaganda in China, but he qualified the warning with this significant sentence: "This, however, does not mean that we entertain any apprehension as to the preservation of our friendly relations with Soviet Russia, for we believe that Russia fully understands our position in this respect." On January 21, again speaking before the Diet, Tanaka entirely changed his tone: "Our intercourse with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, one of our good neighbors, is growing in amity, and the diverse economic undertakings carried on by our nationals in Russian territory indicate fair progress." Nor is it in words alone that Tanaka has indicated a change of his attitude. He has sent to Russia an "economic mission" headed by F. Kuhara, an enterprising business man, and assisted by Hiroshi Saito, officially still Consul-General in New York. Besides, Viscount Goto, a veteran statesman who has contributed much towards Russo-Japanese rapprochement, has lately been in Moscow, presumably with the concurrence of the Premier. All this leads us to the conclusion that Tanaka has experienced a change of heart.
Nor is this surprising. No keen observer can fail to recognize a certain community of interest between Russia and Japan in regard to Manchuria. Both have railways and their nationals to protect, Russia in North Manchuria, Japan in South. Soviet Russia has definitely abandoned the idea of relinquishing all the rights and privileges bequeathed by the Tsarist régime in Manchuria but is anxious to regain those which it lost in the wake of the revolution. On the other hand, Chang Tso-lin, actual ruler of Manchuria, is as anxious to seize the joint Chino-Russian Chinese Eastern Railway and to oust "Red" interests from Manchuria. One after another Russian rights have been curbed, and the Soviet is struggling hard to retain its foothold in North Manchuria. It knows that once Japan throws her influence on Chang Tso-lin's side of the scale, its position will become precarious. It is therefore to Russia's advantage that she should show a friendly attitude towards Japan. Japan, on her side, is fully conscious that should Chang Tso-lin succeed in driving Russia from North Manchuria, he would be heartened to try the same policy in regard to Japan's position in South Manchuria. Here, then, is a situation which might conceivably bring Russia and Japan together. Japan, moreover, is anxious to obtain a privilege to develop agriculture in certain parts of Siberia and to enjoy the right of fishery in Russian waters. Of course, her policy would be different if "Red" Russia were bent upon spreading disruptive propaganda in the Far East, as "White" Russia was upon military conquest. Fortunately, Russia's dream of Sovietizing China has experienced a rude awakening, and the Soviet has for the present withdrawn from that field, much to Japan's relief.
This is not to say that there is no railway rivalry between Japan and Russia. Rivalry exists and will always exist, and this for obvious reasons, primarily economic, secondarily strategic. Economically, the greatest agricultural center of Manchuria, actual and potential, is within a radius of a few hundred miles from Harbin, the Russian metropolis and railway center in North Manchuria. As the Russian-owned Chinese Eastern Railway traverses this rich territory, and as the distance from Harbin to Vladivostok is shorter than the distance between Harbin and the Japanese port of Dairen, the Russian railway has an advantage over the Japanese in transporting agricultural products. Under normal conditions the freight originating in the aforesaid region will flow towards Vladivostok rather than towards Dairen. To overcome this handicap the South Manchuria Railway has somewhat shortened the main line between Changchun and Dairen by eliminating curves, and has also offered inducements to the shippers by efficient handling of shipments and improved port facilities at Dairen. In addition, an agreement has been made whereby freights gathered in the Harbin region are divided between the South Manchuria Railway and the Chinese Eastern Railway at the ratio of, respectively, 55 and 45 percent. But the agreement is more or less precarious, and once it is discontinued a cut-throat competition will follow. It is largely in anticipation of this competition that the South Manchuria Railway has financed the Chinese-owned line between Supingkai and Anganchi via Chengchiatun and Taonanfu, and is also anxious to build a line from Changchun to Petuna and if possible to a point further north. These lines, it is expected, will have the desired effect of diverting to the Japanese and Chino-Japanese railways much of the freight traffic which would naturally go to Vladivostok over the Russian lines. Whether this expectation will be fulfilled we have yet to see, for the Chinese-owned lines, though financed by Japan, might choose to feed the Russian rather than the Japanese railways, especially if the Russians should offer more alluring terms than the Japanese.
From the strategic view, Japan cannot ignore the fact that Mongolia has already become Russian territory, with its government, its army and its finances controlled by the Soviet. Although Japan has been and means to remain friendly with the Soviet, she undoubtedly feels that she must take a long view, guarding herself against every possible source of danger in the direction of Siberia and Mongolia. The precaution is nothing extraordinary. Japan once had a bitter experience with Tsarist Russia, and she does not wish to repeat it with the Soviet. She will exhaust all the peaceable means at her disposal to adjust her disagreements and disputes; at the same time, she will not neglect to strengthen by all legitimate means her own position vis-a-vis the Russian position in North Manchuria and in Mongolia. It is perhaps with this in view that Japan is reported to be quite willing to finance China in extending the Chengchiatun-Taonanfu railway to Solun on the portals of Eastern Inner Mongolia. Meanwhile, Soviet Russia has a number of railways in project in North Manchuria and in Mongolia. These projects, although in abeyance owing to Russia's financial difficulties, are taken into account by the Japanese in making their railway plans. Japan's stand, then, may be summed up thus: Promote friendly relations with Russia, but do not neglect the necessary measures of precaution.
To Japan, after all, the Chinese question means mainly the Manchurian question, and the core of the Manchurian question is the railway. In the entire railway system of China, the Japanese-owned and Japanese-operated South Manchuria Railway is the only bright section. When a traveller alights from the Chinese train at Mukden and embarks on the Japanese one, he feels as though he had left behind a benighted country full of horrors, and emerged into a new one animated with the joy of life. The railway expends enormous sums for schools, hospitals, sanitation, and modern public works for the benefit of both the Chinese and the Japanese in the railway zone. Yet it yields handsome profit every year. Largely through its enterprise, the foreign trade of Manchuria has grown from a negligible quantity to 592,000,000 haikwan taels, about $450,000,000 (1926 figure). Before the advent of Japanese enterprise the Manchurians barely eked out a living by taking in each other's washing. Their principal products, beans and millet, had no market outside of Manchuria and a few Chinese ports. Today the export of beans and bean products alone amounts to 170,000,000 haikwan taels, or about $132,600,000 (year ending March 1, 1926). It was a Japanese firm, Mitsui and Company, which in 1911 first introduced the Manchurian bean to Europe as a raw material of lubricating and culinary oil. The Central Laboratory of the South Manchuria Railway has found numerous other uses for the bean, and today the once obscure legume has firmly established itself as an article of world merchandise. This phenomenal growth of Manchuria's agriculture and trade has naturally raised Dairen, the terminal port of the South Manchuria Railway, to a second place among the commercial ports of China. In 1926 Dairen's foreign trade totaled 332,000,000 haikwan taels, or $250,000,000, exceeded only by Shanghai's 972,000,000 taels, or $729,000,000.
Shall this condition of peace and prosperity be replaced by chaos and misery such as has made life unbearable in war-ridden China? It is inconceivable that Japan will permit the factional feuds of China to convert South Manchuria, especially the railway zone, into a harrowing scene of destruction and pillage. This Japanese determination, quite apart from the right or wrong of it, is, in the present unhappy state of affairs in China, inevitable.