From January 3 to February 3
UNITED STATES AND FAR EAST
American Policy in the Orient.— In “The New Status in the Pacific,” one of the fortnightly brochures of the Foreign Policy Association published on January 17, three courses of action are suggested as open to the United States in the Orient. They are interesting because they are at least definite. The first course would be to maintain all our present rights in the Philippines and in China, which, according to the author, would require building our Navy up to full treaty limits, and alliance with Great Britain or the Soviet Union, or both.
The second, or opposite, course would be “the liquidation of American imperialism in the Far East—withdrawal from the Philippines (after their neutralization if possible), withdrawal of naval forces from China, surrender of extraterritorial and other special privileges, and perhaps alteration of immigration laws so as to admit a few Chinese and Japanese on a quota basis.” “Unless they induced a change of heart in Japan, however, such measures,” says the writer, “might eventually jeopardize even the legitimate American interests in China.”
The third course, which the author evidently favors but acknowledges to be somewhat utopian, is this:
The United States might attempt to strengthen peace machinery to the point where the negotiated surrender of American, European, and Japanese imperialistic privileges in the Far East could be simultaneously enforced. For this purpose an authoritative league of nations would have to be created, capable of dealing with such, basic issues as the international apportionment of markets and raw materials. The forces of economic nationalism, however, at present constitute a formidable obstacle to the creation of such an international organization. One of the prerequisites to an effective attack on economic nationalism, which has its roots in the existing competitive system, would seem to be the reorganization of the various national economies on a co-operative basis.
Although the author does not suggest it, there is still a fourth and not unlikely course—that of attempting to maintain all our rights, without alliances, and without an adequate Navy.
FUKIEN REBELLION QUELLED.—In the course of January the rebellion in Fukien province, China, rather quickly went to pieces. Nanking forces landing from transports occupied Foochow, the capital city of Fukien, on January 13, and the chief strength of the rebellion, the famous 19th Route Army, either bought off or otherwise demoralized, withdrew southward. The outcome ensured President Chiang Kai-shek's continued dominance, as the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee convened at Nanking for its fourth congress.
JAPANESE FOREIGN RELATIONS.—The resignation early in January of Japan's aggressive War Minister, General Araki, was taken to mean a slight weakening of military control of foreign policy in Japan, since his successor, General Senjuro Hayashi, though equally militant, is credited with a more cosmopolitan outlook. In the Diet the friction between Japan and foreign nations gave rise to some criticism of the ministry, in reply to which Foreign Minister Hirota gave assurances that there was no issue of intrinsic difficulty in Japanese American relations, and that the "emotional tension" would disappear when the United States came to recognize "Japan's role as the stabilizing force in Eastern Asia." There was also renewed talk in Tokyo and in Washington of a preliminary conference this year to forestall a deadlock in the naval conference of 1935.
UNITED STATES AND LATIN AMERICA
MENDIETA AS CUBAN PRESIDENT.—The radical trend of the Grau regime in Cuba, combined with its failure to curb disorders and enlist popular support, resulted finally on January 15 in the resignation of President Grau. Senor Carlos Hevia, U. S. Naval Academy graduate and cabinet officer under Grau, was first selected as his successor by Colonel Batista and his junta, but he resigned after two days and the office then fell to a prominent old-time leader, Colonel Carlos Mendieta, moderate In policies and favored by the United States representatives. American acceptance of this choice was quickly made evident by the formal recognition extended on January 23, which was followed by a shipment of ten million dollars' worth of food stuffs covered by a loan to Cuba. President Mendieta set up a ministry composed of representatives of various anti-Machado Parties, and announced that elections would be postponed until later than the date of April 22 set by President Grau. Renewed strikes and violence indicated that Mendieta also would face many difficulties in stabilizing his control.
No Peace in Chaco.—Prospects of peace in the Chaco, which appeared bright in December amid the oratory of the Pan-American meeting, faded quickly when the armistice was ended in the first week of January and the League Peace Commission reported its failure to the League Council. It remained at Buenos Aires, however, for further negotiations, the chief obstacle to which at present is Paraguay’s demand for limitation of the territory to be arbitrated, and for definite guarantees against renewed hostilities.
PACTS AND ARMS PROJECTS
Polish German Agreement.—On January 26, Poland and Germany signed an agreement, the terms of which had been announced two months earlier, by which the two nations bind themselves for ten years to avoid force in their mutual relations and to settle disputes by direct negotiations. The chief implication of the pact is that in the matter of Danzig, the corridor, and trade relations with Poland, Germany is willing to forego aggressive measures at least for the 10-year period. It also serves to emphasize Germany’s break with the League and her ostensible will for peace.
Further Arms Proposals.—After the failure of direct diplomatic exchanges between France and Germany on the arms problem, and in a last effort to save the fast dying arms conference, both England and Italy on February 1 made public revamped formulas to solve the Franco-German impasse. The British proposal was based on the British draft convention of last March. It suggested a compromise figure between 200,000 and 300,000 for the German Army, certain other concessions in the German demand for equalization, and a period of progressive disarmament for other nations extending over 10 years. The Italian plan agreed to Germany’s demand for an army of 300,000, but merely limited other powers to their present armaments and arms expenditures. It stressed the justice of Germany’s stand for equality, expressed the belief that Germany’s professions of peaceful intentions should be accepted in good faith, and pointed out that the chief problem today is not to prevent German rearmament but to prevent its taking place outside all international co-operation and control. Both proposals stipulated the return of Germany to the arms conference and the League. For these, and other reasons, neither appeared likely to be viewed favorably in either Paris or Berlin.
The following comparison of the British and Italian proposals gives an idea of their respective contents:
- Italy proposes to leave French armaments intact, while Britain expresses preference for an immediate reduction in certain classes of armaments though recognizing this may be impossible. Italy doubts France will accept any reduction.
- Britain suggests a form of automatic control, while Italy does not. Italy favors a disarmament convention based on mutual trust, believing control would be a constant source of friction.
- Britain suggests a 10-year convention, while Italy tentatively suggests only 6 years.
- Britain suggests the abolition of all military training outside the Army, while Italy makes no mention of this subject. If the British proposal were accepted it would represent a severe blow to the Fascist militia and other organizations instituted by the Fascist regime.
The Saar Plebiscite.—The League Council in the third week of January was enlivened by accounts from all factions of the disturbances in the Saar Valley anticipatory to the plebiscite which is due to be held there in 1934-35. The region admittedly is overwhelmingly pro-German, and the speaker representing the “German Front” in the district declared that he stood for 90 per cent of the population. Despite this favorable situation, German influences, as indicated in the report of the League high commissioner, have carried on a campaign of coercion in the district, and have even set up a disguised Nazi administration. Having heard the evidence, the council took no further action than to order a committee study of "measures calculated to insure . . . regularity of the following electoral proceeding," for which no date was set. The German government subsequently denied any connection with the Saar agitation, and issued strict orders against further propaganda by German subjects.
NAZIS TO RULE CHURCH.—At the close of 1933 it appeared that the stout resistance of a group of German pastors might block the efforts of the government to dominate the church in Germany, the last instrument of public opinion not already under Nazi control. That the government was not to be thwarted became evident, however, when on January 27 Reichs Bishop Ludwig Mueller, with full official support, established himself as spiritual dictator of the 19 million Protestants in Prussia. His dictatorship was not extended to all Germany, as in the earlier move which aroused such a storm of protest, but its application to Prussia was a more cautious step in the same direction. Of the Pastors' Emergency League of 6,000 clergymen, formed to oppose state domination, over 100 members were suspended from preaching, and their leader, Rev. Martin Niemoeller, was placed under police surveillance. Chief immediate issue involved is the effort of Nazi leaders to inject anti-Semitism into church doctrine and interpretation of the Scriptures.
NAZIS MENACE AUSTRIA.—According to Chancellor Hitler's first anniversary speech of January 30, the ideas of National Socialism are destined to sweep over Austria (and perhaps other states of southeastern Europe) without overt assistance from the German government. The very real danger of such a sweep was evident also in Chancellor Dollfuss' more vigorous moves during January to curb Nazi violence, in his diplomatic approaches to foreign powers for a stronger stand in support of an independent Austria, and in his protest on January 18 to Germany alleging that government's connivance in the Austrian Nazi campaign. The German reply of February 1 was a sharp rebuff, rejecting the complaints and emphasizing further that Austro-German relations were not a matter to be solved by international interference. It remained to be seen whether Chancellor Dollfuss would accept this challenge and appeal through the League to the Western powers as sponsors of Austria's independent status. At no point on the German borders is the trend toward expansion more evident.
REICH STATES LOSE RIGHTS.—By the Reich Reform Bill passed by the all-Nazi Reichstag on January 30, another long step was taken toward the ending of federalism in Germany and the establishment of a unitarian state. The bill abolishes all state assemblies, and also the Reichsrat as a body representing the states. The new bill also gives the government authority to promulgate a new constitution, sup- planting the Weimar document which has virtually gone by the board.
FRENCH CABINET OVERTHROWN.—The resignation of the Chautemps ministry in France on January 27 was the inevitable outcome of the bitter attacks on the government for alleged complicity in the Stavinsky pawnshop swindling scandals which had aroused all France and completely discredited the ministry. The cabinet upset, the fourth this year, was a direct outcome of popular clamor rather than actual defeat in the Chamber. After calling in vain on M. Doumier and M. Herriot to form a new cabinet, President Le Brun turned to Chautemps’ predecessor, Edouard Daladier, who organized another Left ministry and promised a thorough house cleaning. Three of his new government resigned on February 4 when he ousted the Paris chief of police, and later the whole ministry was forced out.
Franco-Soviet Trade Accord.—Initialing of a Franco-Soviet commercial agreement after over a year’s negotiations was announced in the press on January 9. Debt problems were left out of consideration. The trade pact was looked upon as another step toward reconstructing the old alliance between the two powers, an obvious motive for which is the same fear of Germany which prompted the convention of 1892.
France and Rumania.—In the recent efforts to overthrow the 200,000-strong Iron Guard in Rumania, Fascist and anti-Semitic, recent news articles have traced the influence of France, which is seeking through Foreign Minister Titulescu to combat the growth of Fascism of either the Italian or German brand in the territory of her Balkan ally. French influence was also seen in M. Titulescu’s only partly successful efforts to clean up King Carol’s court by demanding the dismissal of Madame Lupescu and five other figures of his entourage. In retaliation to the government attacks, the Iron Guard is said to have made out a list of victims due for assassination, in which the name of the Foreign Minister stands high.
Domestic difficulties did not present the projecting of a non-aggressive pact between Rumania and Bulgaria, the final arrangements for which were made in a conference at Sinaia at the close of January. A wider agreement to include Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria was also considered, but Bulgaria, chief loser in the World War settlements, seeks further territorial and economic compensations before binding herself to keep the peace.