Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

shall hold such money and property for the duration of the war, “and shall thereafter deal with the same in such manner as His Majesty may by Order in Council direct.” Enemy property in the hands of the Custodian is made liable on proper order for that enemy's debts, but with due regard to other claims upon him. No assignment of enemy property in evasion of the Act is valid.

In subsequent orders, I note as of interest that occupied territory, its residents and their property, is treated as a part of the occupant's territory, copied in the United States Act. Also that interest on public British obligations — of the government, of any of the Dominions, of muncipalities or of foreign governments — due to an enemy, is payable to the Custodian. Occasional changes were made in the procedure.

Our Act was evidently patterned after the British Act, but is more of a unified system, not having thus far at least to be frequently patched up to meet developments. And our Act classes enemies and their allies together, while the British Act met the emergency of each new enemy by reënactment ad hoc. Germany and Austria-Hungary at the outset had no allies.

These are the more important provisions of the Trading with the Enemy Acts so far as they relate to a Custodian, or public trustee. They appear to form a reasonable and necessary piece of machinery to sequestrate and administer the property of every kind belonging to nonresident enemies, in a just and orderly manner during a war.

It would be valuable if a Custodian or his Assistant would give the JOURNAL an account of its actual working. If an international boycott ever becomes a real part of a public system for bringing pressure upon a recalcitrant state, this practice, or something resembling it, must be resorted to.

T. S. WOOLSEY.

THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OF JAPAN, CHINA AND THE

UNITED STATES

In an editorial comment in the last issue of the JOURNAL,' attention was called to the visit of the Japanese mission to the United States, headed by Viscount Ishii, and a part of his address, delivered at a banquet in New York on September 27, 1917, was quoted, in which the

1 October, 1917, p. 839.

distinguished head of the mission referred to, as better than ships, men or guns, the notes exchanged between Secretary Root and Ambassador Takahira in 1908, in which the two governments expressed themselves as mutually agreed “formally to respect the territorial possessions belonging to each other in the regions of the Pacific Ocean.” Thereupon Viscount Ishii stated, in behalf of the country which he represented:

Gentlemen, Japan is satisfied with this. Are you? If so, there is no Pacific Ocean question between us. We will coöperate, we will help, and we will hold, each of us, what is guaranteed under that agreement.

On this state of affairs the editorial comment indulged in that most dangerous but most attractive weakness of even well-informed persons when speaking of public affairs — a political prophecy - and the writer of the comment felt himself justified in assuring Viscount Ishii and the people of Japan, for whom he spoke, that the people of the United States would answer “yes” to his questions. But, of course, a statement of this kind could only be taken as an expression of individual good will and a hope that it was shared by the American people. The best answer would be that of the American people, and as Viscount Ishii spoke for the Japanese people, it was natural that Secretary Lansing should speak not only for the American people but for the government which they have constituted and to whose support they have pledged their lives and their sacred honor.

To this question, put on September 29, 1917, a formal answer was given on November 2, 1917, by Secretary of State Lansing on behalf of the government and people of the United States, and accepted by Viscount Ishii on behalf of the government and people of Japan, and evidenced by an exchange of notes between Secretary Lansing and Ambassador Ishii. The simplest way of making clear the intent of the two countries is to set forth the evidence of their intent, which they themselves have furnished:

EXCHANGE OF NOTES BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND JAPAN, NOVEMBER 2, 1917 1

In order to silence mischievous reports that have from time to time been circulated, it is believed by us that a public announcement once more of the desires and intentions shared by our two Governments with regard to China is advisable.

The Governments of the United States and Japan recognize that territorial

1 U. S. Treaty Series, No. 630. The texts of both identic notes are printed in the SUPPLEMENT to this issue, p. 1.

propinquity creates special relations between countries, and, consequently, the Government of the United States recognizes that Japan has special interests in China, particularly in the part to which her possessions are contiguous.

The territorial sovereignty of China, nevertheless, remains unimpaired and the Government of the United States has every confidence in the repeated assurances of the Imperial Japanese Government that while geographical position gives Japan such special interests they have no desire to discriminate against the trade of other nations or to disregard the commercial rights heretofore granted by China in treaties with other Powers.

The Governments of the United States and Japan deny that they have any purpose to infringe in any way the independence or territorial integrity of China, and they declare, furthermore, that they always adhere to the principle of the socalled “Open Door" or equal opportunity for commerce and industry in China.

Moreover, they mutually declare that they are opposed to the acquisition by any Government any special rights or privileges that would affect the independence or territorial integrity of China or that would deny to the subjects or citizens of any country the full enjoyment of equal opportunity in the commerce and industry of China.

ROBERT LANSING.

Documents of this kind must needs be interpreted, and it is a familiar maxim of the common law, and, indeed, of all law, that contemporaneous exposition is the best. Secretary Lansing, therefore, on behalf of the Government of the American people, gave to the public a statement defining the sense in which the terms of his note, rather of their notes, was to be understood, and in this statement the reasons for the note and their exchange are set forth. Inasmuch as Secretary Lansing's note is in the nature of an offer, and Viscount Ishii's note in the nature of an acceptance, it necessarily follows that the offer was accepted in the sense in which it was understood by Secretary Lansing; and, in order that there might be no doubt as to this sense, the interpretation, no doubt made to Viscount Ishii in person, was made in public to the people of the United States by Secretary Lansing, so that the notes and the statement constitute a single document, without which neither is to be understood or applied. For this reason, the text of Secretary Lansing's statement follows in full: 1

Viscount Ishü and the other Japanese commissioners who are now on their way back to their country have performed a service to the United States as well as to Japan which is of the highest value.

There had unquestionably been growing up between the peoples of the two countries a feeling of suspicion as to the motives inducing the activities of the other in the Far East, a feeling which, if unchecked, promised to develop a serious situation.

i Official Bulletin, November 6, 1917.

Rumors and reports of improper intentions were increasing and were more and more believed. Legitimate commercial and industrial enterprises without ulterior motive were presumed to have political significance, with the result that opposition to those enterprises was aroused in the other country.

The attitude of constraint and doubt thus created was fostered and encouraged by the campaign of falsehood, which for a long time had been adroitly and secretly carried on by Germans, whose government, as a part of its foreign policy, desired especially to so alienate this country and Japan that it would be at the chosen tirne no difficult task to cause a rupture of their good relations. Unfortunately there were people in both countries, many of whom were entirely honest in their beliefs, who accepted every false rumor as true, and aided the German propaganda by declaring that their own government should prepare for the conflict, which they asserted was inevitable, that the interests of the two nations in the Far East were hostile, and that every activity of the other country in the Pacific had a sinister purpose.

Fortunately this distrust was not so general in either the United States or Japan as to affect the friendly relations of the two governments, but there is no doubt that the feeling of suspicion was increasing and the untrue reports were receiving more and more credence in spite of the earnest efforts which were made on both sides of the Pacific to counteract a movement which would jeopardize the ancient friendship of the two nations.

The visit of Viscount Ishii and his colleagues has accomplished a great change of opinion in this country. By frankly denouncing the evil influences which have been at work, by openly proclaiming that the policy of Japan is not one of aggression, and by declaring that there is no intention to take advantage commercially or industrially of the special relation to China created by geographical position, the representatives of Japan have cleared the diplomatic atmosphere of the suspicions which had been so carefully spread by our enemies and by misguided or overzealous people in both countries. In a few days the propaganda of years has been undone, and both nations are now able to see how near they came to being led into the trap which had been skillfully set for them.

Throughout the conferences which have taken place Viscount Ishii has shown a sincerity and candor which dispelled every doubt as to his purpose and brought the two governments into an attitude of confidence toward each other which made it possible to discuss every question with frankness and cordiality. Approaching the subjects in such a spirit and with the mutual desire to remove every possible cause of controversy the negotiations were marked by a sincerity and good will which from the first insured their success.

The principal result of the negotiations was the mutual understanding which was reached as to the principles governing the policies of the two Governments in relation to China. This understanding is formally set forth in the notes exchanged and now made public. The statements in the notes require no explanation. They not only contain a reaffirmation of the “open door” policy, but introduce a principle of noninterference with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, which, generally applied, is essential to perpetual international peace, as clearly declared by President Wilson, and which is the very foundation also of Pan Americanism as interpreted by this government.

The removal of doubts and suspicions and the mutual declaration of the new doctrine as to the Far East would be enough to make the visit of the Japanese commission to the United States historic and memorable, but it accomplished a further purpose, which is of special interest to the world at this time, in expressing Japan's earnest desire to coöperate with this country in waging war against the German Government. The discussions, which covered the military, naval, and economic activities to be employed with due regard to relative resources and ability, showed the same spirit of sincerity and candor which characterized the negotiations resulting in the exchange of notes.

At the present time it is inexpedient to make public the details of those conversations, but it may be said that this government has been gratified by the assertions of Viscount Ishii and his colleagues that their government desired to do their part in the suppression of Prussian militarism and were eager to coöperate in every practical way to that end. It might be added, however, that complete and satisfactory understandings upon the matter of naval coöperation in the Pacific for the purpose of attaining the common object against Germany and her allies have been reached between the representative of the Imperial Japanese Navy, who is attached to the special mission of Japan, and the representative of the United States Navy.

It is only just to say that the success, which has attended the intercourse of the Japanese commission with American officials and with private persons as well, is due in large measure to the personality of Viscount Ishii, the head of the mission. The natural reserve and hesitation, which are not unusual in negotiations of a delicate nature, disappeared under the influence of his open friendliness, while his frankness won the confidence and good will of all. It is doubtful if a representative of a different temper could in so short a time have done as much as Viscount Ishii to place on a better and firmer basis the relations between the United States and Japan. Through him the American people have gained a new and higher conception of the reality of Japan's friendship for the United States which will be mutually beneficial in the future.

Viscount Ishii will be remembered in this country as a statesman of high attainments, as a diplomat with a true vision of international affairs, and as a genuine and outspoken friend of America.

In the address delivered by Viscount Ishii at the banquet given to him in New York on September 29, 1917, he referred to the seeds of distrust sown by an insidious hand, and in Secretary Lansing's public statement of November 2, 1917, accompanying the notes and explaining their origin and the sense in which they are to be understood, he referred in apt terms to the notes as removing the growth of discord which unfortunately had taken root. What each statesman had in mind we do not need to speculate, inasmuch as the sinister hand disclosed itself in the following note, dated Berlin, January 19, 1917, and signed by the then Imperial Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs:

« AnteriorContinuar »