EVER since the demise of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance after the Washington Conference of 1921-22, the Far Eastern policy of the United States has apparently been based upon the assumption that British and American interests in China are identical. For this reason Washington has taken it for granted that in the Orient London will pursue a policy parallel to that of the United States. But this assumption has in fact not always been justified by events during the last eighteen years, for Britain's Far East policy has often run counter to the wishes of the American Government. True, the present war in Europe has momentarily given added support to the American theory of parallel action now that Britain finds it imperative to retain the good will of the United States. Yet the irony of fate is such that the same war is bringing about England's reconciliation with Japan.
After the World War, British opinion was divided as to whether or not the Japanese Alliance should be terminated. The British people in general, and Downing Street in particular, were in favor of keeping it alive. Several leading statesmen -- notably Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Arthur Balfour, Lord Curzon and Lord Lee of Fareham -- were also of this opinion. At an imperial conference held at London in 1921, India, Australia and New Zealand expressed themselves against the abrogation of the Alliance, though Canada, presumably under American influence, insisted upon its termination. Meanwhile Washington had made up its mind to break up the Alliance by any means. Secretary Hughes even intimated to the British Ambassador in Washington that if England refused to part company with Japan, Congress might register its displeasure by passing a resolution recognizing the Irish Republic.
The American Government took this firm stand against the Alliance in spite of assurances from both Japan and England that under no circumstances would it be invoked against the United States. As revised in 1911 the Alliance absolved England and Japan from any obligation to go to
Loading, please wait...