Imágenes de páginas

And in the most delightful recollection of those years, and most agreeable appreciation for what you have now done, I beg you, my dear Viscount, when you return to your home, that you will say to the Government and to the people of Japan: The people of America, who now hold their foreign affairs in their hands, wish to be forever friends and brethren of the people of Japan.


The Lansing-Ishii Agreement. Address to the Liberal Club of San Antonio by the Honorable James L. Slayden, November 15, 1917

The cause of peace and justice and the orderly, fair development of commerce were distinctly advanced by the agreement and declaration of policy recently published to the world by Secretary of State Robert Lansing and Special Ambassador Viscount Ishii of Japan. It is a simple, understandable document, as all State papers should be, but it will clear the atmosphere of international politics of the murky doubts and suspicions that have been so sedulously cultivated for years by trouble-makers.

For years certain wicked and selfish people have been trying to provoke a war between Japan and the United States. Inspired by greed, or ambition, or both, they have persevered in their wickedness and more than once have brought us to the verge of a needless war. From a recurrence of that danger the President and the Secretary of State appear to have saved us, at least for the time being. These greedy and ambitious mischief-makers had a happy hunting ground for trouble in the unsettled questions of immigration, citizenship, and land owning rights of aliens, each of which was a point of friction.

War with Japan was an obsession with a former Member of Congress from Alabama. I heard him say on the floor of the House of Representatives four or

five years ago that we would have war with Japan in a short time. He was rash enough to fix the time limit, within which it would come. That time has long since passed.

All these things caused great concern to thoughtful and peaceably inclined people. Many suggestions were made to meet the situation but the friction continued. Our State and Diplomatic officers did their best to keep the peace but a threat hung over us all the time. A radical treatment was necessary and the wisdom of the present administration has provided it. Just, fair, and honorable conduct on the part of one nation towards another is the best plan yet found for keeping the peace. Robert Lansing and Viscount Ishii merely applied to international politics a rule laid down many centuries ago which says, "do unto others as you would they should do unto you." It's a mighty good rule of international as well as personal conduct.

This agreement does not quite rise to the dignity of a treaty, for that would require the approval of the Senate. But it points the way to peace and certainly amounts to a policy that will surely last through one administration, thus giving us security for four years, anyway. Will not the wisdom and 'sweet reasonableness' of it appeal to succeeding administrations?

The Chinese question, like the poor, is always with us. The relations of China to Japan are always to the fore and always causing uneasiness and it is most gratifying to know that at last it is having statesmanlike treatment. The trade of the 300,000,000 people in China is coveted by the merchants of all countries, our own included, and was behind the 'open door' policy so vigorously pressed by John Hay, when Sec

retary of State. It was a simple demand for equal trade rights for all and is covered in the LansingIshii understanding. It leaves no excuse for quarrels between nations or merchants, so far, at least, as concerns China and Manchuria.

But, on the other hand, Japan has claimed, and the Lansing-Ishii agreement admits, the validity of the claim, that because of proximity she has a special interest in, or what Secretary Lansing calls 'special relations' with, the affairs of China. Japan has made this claim for years. Sometimes it has been contested by Americans, to which contest the reply has been made that the United States claims 'special relations' with Mexico and that if our claim, which is based on geography, is good, hers also based on geography must be good. Americans who think honestly must admit the force of the Japanese argument. Somewhat flamboyantly and always aggressively we shout our shibboleth of America for the Americans. How can we, then, challenge the Japanese reply of Asia for the Asiatics? By his agreement with Japan's Ambassador, Viscount Ishii, Robert Lansing says we can not.

By far the most impressive feature of the agreement between the two ministers is the plain declaration that there is no purpose on the part of either country to trespass on the sovereign or territorial rights of China. That is as it should be, for if the peace of the world is to be maintained the equality and sanctity of sovereignty must be recognized. Half the world's wars come from the failure to do so and the failure of the big, strong nations to respect the rights of the smaller countries.

Mr. Lansing frankly tells the world that the agreement was made to get rid of the mutual distrust of

the purposes of Japan and the United States that has been fostered by the trouble-makers, and I believe it will have that effect. He names Germany, whose motives are obvious, as the chief trouble-maker.

After the American Secretary of State had conceded to Japan 'special relations' with China that country, with a large generosity, pledges herself not to take advantage of her nearness to China to press for commercial or political advantages. That may not be a relief to the Hobsons and others who have striven so persistently to involve us in war with Japan but it will be to the average American.

What has come to be known as 'secret diplomacy' has been an undoubted menace to the peace of the world. Secret treaties, or agreements only partially revealed to the world, have been made by monarchs for dynastic and selfish reasons, have been kept in abeyance for years and finally when the opportune moment comes, have been executed in the blood and anguish of their people who were not consulted. To promote these designs of ambitious kings and emperors, millions of men have died on the field of battle and are in fact so dying at this moment. These are the conditions that have made the half-crazed people of Russia demand that all things governmental shall be done in the open by workmen and socialist delegates, an impossible thing, as they are trying to do it, but it is a reaching-out for the right thing. The Lansing-Ishii agreement is not an example of secret diplomacy. It is open to the world, absolutely above board. All the world is informed of its terms and conditions in the moment it is signed and, in my judgment, only good can come from it.

« AnteriorContinuar »