THE countries in the Pacific area have not customarily based their policies and actions toward one another on the plea of security. Yet it is a fact that security has been a compelling factor in shaping national policies in the East just as in Europe. China has sought to be free from the menace of foreign aggression; Japan has wished to attain a degree of power allowing her to carry out a policy of expansion on the mainland of Asia, a prerequisite, she asserts, to security at home; Great Britain has desired to be in a position to defend her possessions in the Orient; America has demanded security of trade in the Far East on equal terms with all nations. It will be noted that the security sought by three of these nations has been the security of the status quo; the security aimed at by Japan has been based on changes in the status quo.
The last day of December 1936 will see the expiration of a treaty which has helped to stabilize the situation in the Far East and to give each signatory Power a degree of security--the Naval Treaty negotiated at the Washington Conference in 1922, and amplified and extended at the London Naval Conference in 1930. This treaty requires that the Powers shall meet in 1935 to consider framing a new convention. Along with the Four-Power and Nine-Power Treaties which provided its political basis, it has been the corner stone of the structure of security reared in the Pacific since the World War. Already preliminary conversations are going on between the principal Powers in an effort to set the stage for the negotiations next year. It may therefore be useful at this time to recall the situation which existed when these treaties were signed, to recount the main events which have since occurred to alter the relative degree of security of the Powers, and to examine their present attitudes in so far as they are known or can be conjectured.
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