THE CUBAN REVOLUTION
Government Upsets.—After only 23 days in office, the government of Provisional President Carlos de Cespedes in Cuba was overthrown by a radical junta backed chiefly by the student revolutionary organization and by the army, naval, and police forces. This second upset in fact seems to have had its beginning in the military forces, which, upon reports of reduced pay, ousted their regular officers and came under the domination of a band of sergeants and other petty officers led by Sergeant Fulgencio Batisti. Only secondary as a motive, apparently, was the professed desire of the new leaders for immediate constitutional reforms. Upon the demands of a junta of five, President de Cespedes withdrew quietly, and on September 10 his place was taken by Dr. Ramon Grau San Martin, former dean of the Havana University Medical School and long prominent in the student opposition to Machado. A cabinet was organized and some effort made to bring order out of the “passive anarchy,” to quote the phrase of the American financial adviser Adolf A. Berle, into which all Cuba had been thrown. Despite an element of honesty and idealism among the student leaders, it seemed unlikely that the new regime could last much longer than the money found in the treasury would keep up the pay of the army. Aside from the fundamental lack of funds or means of securing them, the new government lacked political experience and any large measure of popular support.
Against communist agitators, whose influence has been increasing among the workers and lower classes, the Grau government took its first strong measures on September 29, when 6 were killed and many injured in street clashes. The soldiers also moved on October 2 to drive out the 500 or more former officers who had established themselves in the National Hotel, Havana, and in an all-day fight 100 were killed, including one American, and 250 wounded.
Washington Reluctant to Intervene.—The extreme reluctance of the United States government to attempt intervention in Cuba was manifest in President Roosevelt’s action early in the September disorders when he called in Latin American representatives available in Washington in order to give a full explanation of this government’s attitude. The comment of Argentina, in a subsequent note to the American Department of State, expressed its confidence that “the Cuban people will overcome the difficulties through which they are passing,” and its opposition to intervention in whatever form. During the crisis American naval forces to the number of 29 or more units were quickly congregated in Cuban waters, but were at first given strict instructions that there should be no landings for the protection of American lives or property without authority from Washington. Later, however, Rear Admiral C. S. Freeman and his subordinate officers were given wider discretion.
UNITED STATES AND LATIN AMERICA
South American Conflicts.—Reports at the close of September gave little promise that the ABC powers and Peru would make progress with their arbitration proposals to Bolivia and Paraguay for settlement of the war in the Chaco. A Brazilian note to Bolivia setting forth the views of the neighboring states and suggesting “integral arbitration” was answered merely by a request for a definition of this term. In the event of failure of the ABC powers, the League may yet find itself obliged to attempt some measure of forced settlement.
Meantime the Amazon dispute between Colombia and Peru over control of the Leticia territory was scheduled to be taken up by the League commission at Rio de Janeiro on October 1, with the added complication that Ecuador, which also has claims in the disputed region, has asked to participate in the negotiations.
With the Chaco war in the south and the diplomatic strife at Rio, the Pan- American Conference set to meet at Montevideo on December 4 will open under more troubled conditions than it has ever faced before.
American Foreign Policy.—Judge John Bassett Moore’s sweeping criticism of the internationalist trend of recent American foreign policy, contained in the July Foreign Affairs and summarized in these Notes in the September issue, might have been expected to draw a vigorous rejoinder. Instead, “The New Spirit and its Critics,” by Newton D. Baker in the October Foreign Affairs, is very general in style and difficult of summary in specific terms. The main thesis is perhaps that true progress may be as much impeded by , the pessimist who assumes “human in- I corrigibility” as by the enthusiast who refuses to see difficulties. He feels that the chief criticism of the new arrangements for pacific settlement grows out of their possible effect on the American doctrine of ' neutrality. And as to this—“Within its I sphere neutrality is a useful doctrine, but | its defense does not require an attack upon measures conceived in a bolder spirit and designed to avert catastrophes of a kind where neutrality is, as we have seen, impossible and undesirable.”
Other articles in the October Foreign Affairs include “The Sale of the Chinese > Eastern Railway,” by C. C. Wang; “Economic Consequences of Japan’s Asiatic Policy,” by John E. Orchard; and “Revolution in Cuba,” by Jorge Manach. Mr. Orchard in his article concludes that if the present situation continues there can be little hope of any revival of Japanese trade in China (outside the conquered portion), and that this may lead either to (1) further conquest, or (2) retreat from the present imperialistic policy. He sees no present signs of such retreat.
LEAGUE AND DISARMAMENT
Fourteenth League Assembly.—The Fourteenth League Assembly began its sessions on September 23 with representatives of 64 nations, including all the League states except Japan, Argentina, and Honduras. The delegates included 7 premiers and 25 foreign ministers. Though no very important issues faced the Assembly, the menace of war on a world scale, as emphasized by the temporary president, Premier Johan Mowinckel of Norway, was j greater than at any time since the creation of the League. Adherents of the League were heartened by the final definite entry of Argentina into the League fold, and this nation was assured of an immediate seat on the League Council, which at the i same time was increased to include representatives of 15 instead of 14 states. Of chief interest at Geneva were the problems of limitation of armament and the status of Austria in relation to Germany, both of which questions were taken up by the chief powers in private parleys.
Armament Discussions.—During the League Assembly meeting and before, American Ambassador Norman Davis and the diplomats of France, England, and Italy were busy with informal discussions in an effort to secure a working agreement on reduction of armaments prior to the formal reopening of the disarmament conference on October 16. The general plan was to leave in the background for the time being Japan’s demand for naval increases and her objections to arms supervision and consultation agreements, and to seek first a settlement of the European problem, which in its essence is the question of Germany’s demand for equality of armaments. The position taken at Geneva by the German delegation was that Germany should be accorded the right to rearm up to the point to which France would ultimately descend, and should at once have at least “sample” units of pursuit planes, tanks, frontier fortifications, and similar weapons now forbidden to her.
DEBTS AND TRADE
New Debt Negotiations.—Renewed debt negotiations with England were arranged to open early in October, with Sir Frederick Leith-Ross, economic adviser of the British government, and Ambassador Sir Ronald Lindsay as the British representatives. Mr. Dean Acheson, U. S. Under Secretary of the Treasury, was designated to represent this country. Reports indicated that the British government is wholly opposed to a continuation of annuities, but is ready to make another “token” payment on December 15 considerably greater than the $10,000,000 payment of last June. There has been considerable unofficial discussion in both London and Paris of an offer of a 10 per cent payment to wipe out the whole debt.
Tariff Truce Renounced.—Holland early in September and Sweden later in the month definitely renounced the world tariff truce set up for the economic conference and supposed to continue after that body’s indefinite adjournment. Both Holland and Sweden were irritated by new British import restrictions; and in fact the nations who signed the truce reserved so much freedom of action that it has slight value.
Austria Steps toward Fascism.—In the tangle of Austrian politics, Chancellor Dollfuss has three chief factions to deal with: (1) the various Socialist parties composing a third or more of the electorate and the backbone of the opposition to union with Nazi Germany; (2) the Heimwehr, with organized military strength, less keen for an immediate German union than for the overthrow of parliamentary institutions and the immediate establishment of a fascist state; and (3) the growing body of Austrian Nazis. In his fight with his chief enemy, the Nazis, Chancellor Doll- fuss in mid-September went a long way toward meeting the demands of the Heimwehr. In a speech on September 11, on the 250th anniversary of Vienna’s deliverance from Turkish siege, he declared that parliamentary government was gone never to return, that there would no longer be a rigid party system but a new “authoritarian state” in Austria upon a “corporative”—i.e., fascist—basis. After some hesitation his new ministry, of “personalities” rather than party leaders, was given Heimwehr support.
Speaking subsequently at the League Assembly, Chancellor Dollfuss showed his full recognition of the fact, emphasized by Foreign Minister Berenger of France, that an attempt at Austro-German union would mean another European war. The Chancellor declared that Austria was “determined to follow the path that offers her the possibility of independent existence and economic development.”
Danzig Trade Agreement.—Early in September an agreement between Poland and Danzig for a settlement of the Danzig port problem was reported as almost concluded. By this arrangement the port of Danzig would be allowed to retain 45 per cent of Polish commerce, while the remainder would go through the newly constructed port of Gdynia. To Danzig, almost absolutely dependent on this trade for its existence, the new pact would give some measure of economic security for the future, and would remove a problem that has complicated the Baltic situation for the last 6 years.
Conservative Shift in Spain.—The resignation on September 8 of Premier Manuel Azana of Spain, for the last 2 years head of the Socialist coalition government, followed closely after the election of the “Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees” (a kind of Spanish supreme court) which indicated a conservative trend by the choice of only 13 government candidates out of a total of 28. The new ministry, under the veteran conservative Republican leader, Alejandro Lerroux, is pledged to continue the radical program of secularization of schools, breaking up of landed estates, and other radical changes, but will not press so violently toward these goals. In the reorganized cabinet Salvador de Madariaga, former Spanish ambassador at Washington, is minister of foreign affairs.
Death of King Feisal.—Returning to Switzerland for his health after a hasty visit to Bagdad to deal with the Assyrian massacres, King Feisal of Irak died of heart trouble at Bern on September 8. He had ruled since 1921 when after a plebiscite the Mesopotamian valley was made a kingdom under Feisal’s rule and Great Britain’s mandatory oversight. The mandate was ended last year and Irak became practically independent and a member of the League of Nations. Feisal’s successor, his 21 year-old son Ghazi, reappointed the former cabinet and pledged maintenance of the alliance with England and continuance of other of his father’s policies.
Institute of Pacific Relations.— About 150 delegates, representing the United States, England, the British commonwealths bordering on the Pacific, Japan, China, France, and the Netherlands, met at Banff, Canada, in August for the fifth biennial conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations. While much was discussed and little settled, notable conclusions reached were summarized in Time (September 4) as follows:
(1) That Asia lacks coal and iron for industrialization on a Western scale; (2) that Japan’s population, now 60,000,000, will be 90,000,000 by I960 and will probably stabilize at that figure, but Japanese diplomacy demands room for this increase; (3) that in the long run the commercial struggle between Great Britain and Japan for control of the textile market in the Orient is likely to end in favor of Japan, with a wage scale one-fourth that of Lancashire. The next conference will meet at Baguio, Philippine Islands, in 1935.
New Japanese Foreign Minister.— In September Count Uchida resigned from his post as Japanese foreign minister, and was succeeded by Koki Hirota, a diplomat of considerable past experience at Washington and European capitals. Count Uchida’s resignation was attributed partly to irritation at the growing dominance of War Minister Araki and the military party over Japanese foreign policy.