« ПретходнаНастави »
ZIMMERMANN NOTE AND ITS EFFECT
when a powerful Japanese squadron might, unannounced, appear off our coast and land an expeditionary force large enough to overrun the region as far as the Rocky Mountains. It is hard to realize this to-day, but many of our people feared, if they did not believe, it a few years ago.
We now know that in large part this propaganda was directed by German agencies. Before the war Berlin was the source of many of the alarming rumors of Japanese-American strife. During the war the group of newspapers in this country which had been most bitterly anti-Japanese was the most pro-German.1 As soon as Japan entered the war the Germans tried in every way to use it as an argument against further American sympathy with the Allies. And just before we declared war upon Germany, our efficient secret service secured possession of the famous Zimmermann note, in which the German foreign secretary proposed a joint Mexican-Japanese attack upon the United States, and promised Mexico her old provinces in our southwest as a reward.2 This, we must remember, was proposed while we were still on friendly terms with Germany. Japan denounced the attempt in the strongest terms. And a formal reply from both the United States and Japan may be found in the Lansing-Ishii exchange of notes on November 2, 1917.3
These notes were exchanged between Secretary of State Lansing and Viscount Ishii, the special Japanese ambassador. Their purpose was "to silence mischievous reports that have from time to time been circulated." The provisions were much like those in the Root-Takahira notes of 1908,4 when trouble makers were criticising Japan's conduct in Manchuria. But in addition to renewing the pledge by both parties to respect the integrity of China and the policy of the open door, the United States, on the
■ This group was also the extreme advocate of American intervention in Mexico and furthered its plans by frequent references to the alleged menace of Japan there.
■ For text of the note and official discussions of it, see Appendix IV, p. 45a
• For text of the notes and official American statement regarding them, see Appendix V, p. 456.
1 For essential text of the exchange, see The Monroe Doctrine after the War, 298 (A League of Nations, I, No. 5). .
ground that "territorial propinquity creates special relations between countries," recognized that "Japan has special interests in China, particularly in the part to which her possessions are contiguous." Thus, in 1917, the alarmists who sought to create trouble between Japan and the United States because of the former's policy in China, were silenced. Japan once more gave a formal pledge to respect the integrity of China and the principle of equal opportunity for commerce and industry there. Until she has positively broken these assurances the self-appointed mentors might well keep their peace.
NO BASIS OF MISUNDERSTANDING
There has been, and is, no reasonable ground for misunderstanding between the United States and Japan. In every possible way Japan has shown that she seeks to maintain friendly relations, the "traditional friendship," with the United States. The exchange of notes and the cordial acceptance of the American plans for Siberian intervention are the latest expression of this feeling. In China the two countries may well co-operate, through their representatives and their merchants. Competition between business men may cause hard feeling, but no one should consider it a proper occasion for war. And our Government has formally recognized that Japan has special interests in China, just as the United States has for almost a hundred years asserted it has special interests in the lands to the south of us.
And at this time when America has played so important a part in redressing the wrongs of the Old World, she might well right a few in the New. The naturalization laws which debar Oriental residents from citizenship are as unjust as any of the racial discriminations of the Dual Empire. Because of our Chinese exclusion laws, the "gentlemen's agreement," and our last immigration law, only a few Orientals of a superior class can enter the country. Those that we admit should be placed on terms of absolute equality with all other aliens, and they should be permitted and encouraged to accept the responsibilities of citizenship. President Roosevelt proposed this to Congress in joo6. It might
well be passed In the year of the Great Peace. And with this national law, all discriminatory laws on the statute books of our states would become inoperative. In these ways the most irritating causes of misunderstanding would be removed, while the fundamental immigration policy would remain unimpaired.
VI. The Government Of Japan. Autocracy Or Democracy
But even should the present occasions for friction be removed, there is always the danger that other misunderstandings may arise as long as the people of Japan and of the United States are so little familiar with the history, culture and ideals of each other. In the absence of the needed information, we are apt to apply to the Japanese the ideas which we have gained of peoples with whom we are more familiar. Our people knew, for example, that Japan was an empire, possessed of a relatively large standing army and navy. In these respects it seemed to have more in common with Germany than with the United States. How could Japan take a loyal part in a war which finally was designed "to make the world safe for democracy"? This point was well covered by our ambassador to Japan, Mr. Morris, in his first public statement after his arrival at Tokyo. He pointed out that the Allies were not fighting to establish democratic governments throughout the world, but rather in order that peoples might be free to establish their own governments. So, as we believe that the monarchy will be preserved in Great Britain, Belgium, Italy and among our Balkan Allies, we also believe that it will remain unimpaired in Japan. A better understanding of the Japanese governmental system would be of service to Americans.
EMERGED FROM FEUDALISM IN 1871
First we must bear in mind that as recently as 1871 Japan was a feudal state, not unlike those of Europe in the Middle Age. The country was divided into about 300 fiefs, over which feudal lords ruled. The central power was divided between the emperor, or mikado, who was the source of all authority, and an hereditary general, or shogun, who administered the government in the name of the emperor. This dual government, which had existed practically from the end of the twelfth century, came to a close in 1868, when the emperor resumed entire control of the state. Three years later, after the feudal lords had surrendered their power and wealth to the emperor, the feudal system was abolished, and a centralized government was rendered possible.
Those were momentous years in the history of Japan. She had emerged from seclusion in 1854 and had entered upon relations with the countries of the world. Soon after, she made the great governmental changes already described. In the next 30 years she reorganized every branch of her government, administration, judicial system, education, and economic life. This reorganization was based upon European experience and was designed speedily to transform Japan from a self-contained Oriental state into a nation organized after the best models found throughout the world.
So with the aid of foreign advisers employed in Japan, and Japanese students and commissioners who investigated conditions abroad, the transformation was rapidly effected. The resulting forms showed the influence of ideas from literally all over the world. American, British, French and German influences were the more important. In diplomacy, education, banking, postal organization, in business and to some extent in political theory, American views prevailed. In the formation of judicial codes and the organization of the courts, French and German experience was largely followed. Britain offered a model for the navy, and British advisers served in many other capacities. The army, first organized on French lines, soon followed the German methods, which were considered the most efficient in the world. The Japan of 1914 was the product of Japanese development and tradition, modified by many European and American contributions.
THE JAPANESE CONSTITUTION
Feudalism had scarcely fallen before Japanese publicists were advocating the introduction of constitutional and parliamentary government. Their efforts, commencing about 1872, resulted in
the grant of a constitution in 1889, and the assembling of a Parliament, or Diet, in 1890. fylany of the popular advocates of this system were influenced by American, French, and especially British, political theories. Especially British, because no one advocated the establishment of a republic in Japan. But Prince Ito, who was intrusted by the emperor with the duty of drafting the constitution, kept in mind the real conditions in Japan, her recent change from a feudal state, and the political inexperience of the people; and he found in Prussia a constitution which was more suitable for the Japanese people in their present state than that of any other nation. The constitution, therefore, shows considerable signs of Prussian influence. But the important thing to bear in mind concerning this constitution is that it is a very concise document, framed in very general terms which are subject to interpretation. In Japan this interpretation is made, not by the courts but by the emperor, or, in other words, the government. It became possible for Japan to develop from a very conservative constitutional monarchy to a very liberal one, without any verbal change in the constitution itself. This point has been well made by Professor Latourette. "Although conservative, [the constitution] is so elastic that its real working may change with the political education of the people, and still retain its form." Such a change took place in the autumn of 1918, when a new ministry, representing the dominant party in the House of Representatives, took office. It seems doubtful if in the future a cabinet will be formed which does not have the support of the lower House; in this respect Japanese practice would exactly conform to that of Great Britain, France, and other states where ministerial responsibility is found.
EMPEROR REIGNS, BUT DOES NOT RULE
Under the constitution, the emperor retains all those powers which he did not specifically grant to the people and their representatives. Taken literally, this would mean almost autocratic power. But in Japan it may be accurately said that the emperor "reigns but does not rule." The Emperor Meiji, who reigned