Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

sentence of the article is national rather than international, for it deals with the internal organ of the United States by which this special agreement is to be framed: “It is understood that such special agreements will be made on the part of the United States by the President of the United States by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof."

UNITED STATES AND JAPAN IN THE FAR EAST

Ever since the unfortunate controversy between the United States and Japan concerning the alleged exclusion of Japanese subjects from public schools in San Francisco, the radical press of both countries has teemed with war and rumors of wars. The surest way to bring about war is to discuss its possibility, for the latent patriotism is fanned into flame; statesmen dependent upon popular support for continuance in office feel themselves obliged to satisfy public opinion and prepare in advance to meet an eventuality, however distressing or improbable it may be. The army is increased or reorganized to meet an imaginary evil, and the navy is overhauled and enlarged to prevent the predicted invasion. In such an atmosphere the slightest incident which otherwise would pass unnoticed assumes international importance and significance. An insult to national honor is discovered which does not exist, just as we find in times of controversy a hidden meaning lurking in an otherwise harmless and ordinary statement.

Japan and the United States are to be congratulated in that they have removed by a frank and formal expression of their views any doubt as to their pacific intentions.

The notes exchanged November 30, 1908, by Ambassador Takahira on behalf of Japan and Secretary Root on behalf of the United States are 80 clear in themselves as to need neither comment nor explanation. They are therefore printed in extenso:

NOVEMBER 30, 1908. Sir: The exchange of views between us, which has taken place at the several interviews which I have recently had the honor of holding with you, has shown that Japan and the United States holding important outlying insular possessions in the region of the Pacific Ocean, the Governments of the two countries are animated by a common aim, policy, and intention in that region.

Believing that a frank avowal of that aim, policy, and intention would not only tend to strengthen the relations of friendship and good neighborhood, which have iminemorially existed between Japan and the United States, but would materially contribute to the preservation of the general peace, the Imperial Government

have authorized me to present to you an outline of their understanding of that common aim, policy, and intention:

1. It is the wish of the two Governments to encourage the free and peaceful development of their commerce on the Pacific Ocean.

2. The policy of both Governments, uninfluenced by any aggressive tendencies, is directed to the maintenance of the existing status quo in the region above mentioned and to the defense of the principle of equal opportunity for commerce and industry in China.

3. They are accordingly firmly resolved reciprocally to respect the territorial possessions belonging to each other in said region.

4. They are also determined to preserve the common interest of all powers in China by supporting by all pacific means at their disposal the independence and integrity of China and the principle of equal opportunity for commerce and industry of all nations in that Empire.

5. Should any event occur threatening the status quo as above described or the principle of equal opportunity as above defined, it remains for the two Governments to communicate with each other in order to arrive at an understanding as to what measures they may consider it useful to take.

If the foregoing outline accords with the view of the Government of the United States, I shall be gratified to receive your confirmation.

I take this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the assurance of my highest consideration.

K. TAKAHIRA. Honorable ELIHU Root,

Secretary of State.

November 30, 1908. EXCELLENCY: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of to-day setting forth the result of the exchange of views between us in our recent interviews defining the understanding of the two Governments in regard to their policy in the region of the Pacific Ocean.

It is a pleasure to inform you that this expression of mutual understanding is welcome to the Government of the United States as appropriate to the happy relations of the two countries and as the occasion for a concise mutual affirmation of that accordant policy respecting the Far East which the two Governments have so frequently declared in the past.

I am happy to be able to confirm to Your Excellency, on behalf of the United States, the declaration of the two Governments embodied in the following words:

1. It is the wish of the two Governments to encourage the free and peaceful development of their commerce on the Pacific Ocean.

2. The policy of both Governments, unintluenced by any aggressive tendencies, is directed to the maintenance of the existing status quo in the region above mentioned and to the defense of the principle of equal opportunity for commerce and industry in China.

3. They are accordingly firmly resolved reciprocally to respect the territorial possessions belonging to each other in said region.

4. They are also determined to preserve the common interests of all powers in

China by supporting by all pacific means at their disposal the independence and integrity of China and the principle of equal opportunity for commerce and industry of all nations in that Empire.

3. Should any event occur threatening the status quo as above described or the principle of equal opportunity as above defined, it remains for the two Governments to communicate with each other in order to arrive at an understanding as to what measures they may consider it useful to take. Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurance of my highest consideration.

ELIHU ROOT. His Excellency, BARON KOGORO TAKAHIBA,

Japanese Ambassador.

ENGLAND AND RUSSIA IN CENTRAL ASIA

During the last century the Russian and English frontiers in Central Asia slowly but steadily approached until in the last decade their advance guards stood angrily face to face on the “roof of the worldat the western extremity of the Chinese Empire. Happily, in 1895 the Pamir boundary commission reached an amicable agreement, awarding Pamir to Russia and a northwestward extension of Kashmir to England, with a strip between them barely fourteen miles in minimum width left to Afghanistan. This established a buffer for a few miles, but there remained between the advancing frontiers throughout their vast extent the disorderly governments of Persia, Afghanistan, and Tibet, offering opportunity for new encroachments. Mutual suspicion between the peoples of the two countries made such encroachments by their governments almost unavoidable. Every movement by the one, no matter how innocent, was interpreted by the other as an act of hostility. Consular and commercial agents of the two vied with each other in extending their respective influence by securing mining, railroad, telegraph, telephone, and other franchises.

The vague unrest and political agitation in these three decadent countries, due to the infiltration of western ideas, increased the probability of appeals to and interference from the two interested European powers. The liberal factions naturally looked toward England; the reactionaries, toward Russia. In July of 1906 a demonstration of students and ecclesiastics at Teheran, the Persian capital, seconded by the discontented. oppressed, and distressed masses, extracted from the old Shah a promise of a constitutional government. Three months later an elected assembly convened. The death of the Shah a few weeks afterward introduced a period of uncertainty. The new Shah is a reactionary, but for many months he was too timid to assert himself. Before the middle of the year 1907 revolutionary violence had spread over nearly the entire Empire. The mercenary rule of the despotic satraps, which the corrupt absolutism had fastened on the provinces, everywhere broke down.

In the midst of these disorders, trouble arose with Turkey over the uncertain boundary. The savage Kurds occupying the disputed strip, several miles in width and several hundred in length, claim allegiance to either of the powers as it suits their convenience to escape punishment at the hands of the other. In 1904 they had murdered an American missionary on Persian territory. The Government at Washington demanded of Persia condign punishment of the offenders. The Shah's Government pleaded inability to apprehend. It seemed but an excuse for inaction. For three years the case pended. Finally, in July, 1907, a disorderly semiofficial Persian punitive expedition raided the disputed strip to punish the Kurds for this and other offenses. It was met and scattered by a Turkish army. Pressure from the American, British, and Russian ambassadors at Constantinople alone prevented the Porte from invading Persia in retaliation for this pretended violation of Turkish territory at a time when Persia was wholly unable to defend her claim or prevent a still further extension of the Turkish frontier.

At about the same time the long negotiations between St. Petersburg and London regarding the buffer states in Central Asia reached a happy conclusion in the Anglo-Russian convention. It was signed August 18/31, 1907, and ratified a few weeks later. According to it the two Governments agree to respect the integrity and independence of Persia, but divide that country into spheres of influence; in Afghanistan British influence is recognized as paramount and Russia will have no dealings with that Government except through the British, the latter agreeing not to interfere with the internal government or territory of the Amir; both Powers recognize the suzerainty of China over Tibet, engage to respect its territorial integrity, and agree not to treat with it except through China,

When the British Parliament assembled in February, 1908, Sir Edward Grey successfully defended the convention. Certain discontented elements within and a considerable following without held that it had been purchased by too great sacrifices; that its terms were ambigu

1 For a discussion and analysis of the convention, see the issue of this JOURNAL for October, 1907 ; and for the text, see the Supplement to that number.

ous and its value uncertain; that the entire omission of British interests in the Persian Gulf was deplorable. Lord Grey admitted that it contained ambiguities, but declared that if they had waited to eliminate all no conclusion would have been reached. Much the larger and by far the richer portion of Persia had been recognized as within the Russian sphere; this, however, but recognized a fact already accomplished, Russia having actually acquired much more extensive commercial and political influence in the Empire than Great Britain. Although the British sphere was small, yet it included all that was necessary for strategic purposes.

The Indian frontier was safe. In Afghanistan nothing is changed except that Russian invasion, commercial as well as military, is made impossible without a breach of treaty. Neither Power lost any. thing important in Tibet, nor gained anything except security against aggression from the other. The Persian Gulf was not included because it did not touch the frontier of either. The paramountcy of British interests there had been declared by the one and recognized by the other during the negotiations and by a note attached to the convention, virtually made a part of it. The silent but intense and continuous struggle between England and Russia for influence in these three States which had been in progress since the Crimean war, and had caused great anxiety and expense, was ended. Future hostility concerning them was made impossible without a breach of treaty. The existing revolutionary struggle in Persia between the liberal and reactionary elements was almost sure to result in an appeal to one or the other of the Governments and would very likely have resulted in a war for supremacy.

А very gratifying element of the situation in England is that the responsible leaders of both parties in both Houses of Parliament are agreed on supporting the convention.

Popular sentiment in both countries, with some little hesitation, accepted the convention and there has been a notable increase in cordiality and friendly intercourse between the two peoples. This was at the same time typified and strengthened by a visit of King Edward to the Czar in the Gulf of Finland in June. The most cordial sentiments were exchanged between the two sovereigns. With a few exceptions the press of both countries commented favorably. The meeting did much to dispel the old feeling that Russia and England were natural enemies.

Meanwhile, events in Persia were proving, even beyond the hopes of the most sanguine, the great value of the entente. Revolutionary disorder continued throughout the country. The Shah's opposition to the

« AnteriorContinuar »