The Struggle Inside Japan
ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR AMERICA
By JAMES R. YOUNG, for Ten Years Far Eastern Manager of the International News Service; Former Manager of the Japan Advertiser
Delivered before the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations, Palmer House, Chicago, Ill., January 25, 1941
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VII, pp. 314-320.
MR. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: I am back in the land of habeas corpus, and if anyone presents me with a warrant to put me away, I may be able to get out of it. After having lived, however, for thirteen years in Japan, I finally was granted a vacation, which amounted to two months in a Japanese jail. It gave me a chance to think over all I had ever written. During that period, the Japanese police, the Gestapo, educated up to about the fourth grade, were also studying, with their limited English, what I had written. They were particularly interested in six waste-paper baskets they had collected over a period of about a year and a half.
I left the United States fourteen years ago with a man named E. W. Scripps on a yacht. We went to Africa, and I later wound up in Japan. Through him, (and he was one of the old-time fighting liberal editors and publishers) and through three years on the Baltimore Sun, I received influences which I think helped to get me in trouble, because the liberal newspaper spirit of "Old Man Scripps" and his floating yacht, and the Baltimore Sun, which is known for its liberalism, caused me to try and penetrate what is going on in Japan.
The first four or five years were normal life. We had only a few earthquakes and tidal waves and typhoons. Other wise, it was very quiet. I was interested there in the management of an American newspaper, the Japan Advertiser.
It had been published under the American flag for fifty years, until three months ago, when, because of German influence in Japan the Japan Advertiser's flag was hauled down, as the last of the American forces of state in the Empire of Japan. It had been operated by a Philadelphia family; not as a profit-making adventure but only for one purpose—the development and maintenance of good will and better relations between the United States and Japan. That was possible because there are many Japanese interested and favorable to the United States; but those people, too, have had to disappear. Japan is no longer in the hands of the people that I knew for the first four or five years in Tokyo.
Japan is crowded. Japan is busy. They are very busy now, but unprofitably so; and they are going to be a lot busier before the end of the year if they can find a new cabinet. The present Japanese cabinet is so weak it can hardly resign. There is not enough strength left in it to resign.
The first part of my life in Japan was devoted to the publication of a newspaper, the operation of an advertising agency, and the distribution of colored comics. The Japanese are interested in American humor, and they are interested in American sports. It was not uncommon to have 70,000 people at a baseball game. In fact, we never had a stadium in Japan large enough to take care of the baseball crowds;or for a tennis match, or a swimming meet. They like American breakfast foods; they like American automobiles and moving pictures.
The Japanese people at heart are more pro-American than they are any other country. They are definitely anti-Nazi. Unfortunately, however, they are in the hands of hoodlums and military fanatics, such as General Sadao Araki and Colonel Kingoro Hashimoto, whom we call the Kangaroo. He has been jumping all over China with artillery for the last three and a half years. Now he is back in Tokio, with out actual artillery, but do not be surprised if some time this old Hashimoto will cut loose with his artillery on the grounds of the Emperor's residence. He did it in 1936, and got away with it, after he and his men had assassinated half the Japanese cabinet.
That followed an election. Japan has always been accustomed to having elections every four years. The last general election, four years ago last month, brought a vote of 54-1 against the military party. That is what the Japanese people think of the Army. At heart the Japanese people are active; they are aggressive; they are business-like; their credits are good. I enjoyed doing business with them. I have been in their clubs—the American-Japanese clubs; the Rotary Clubs; civic organizations, bankers' groups, and I learned to admire and respect them for their ability; I think that speaks also for a great many Americans who have done business in Japan. For that reason when the Japanese took off for Manchuria on the same day Colonel and Mrs. Lindbergh took off for China in their airplane in 1931, we were inclined to believe the Japanese explanation. It was before the word Lebensraum had become so well known in Japan. We were inclined to believe and respect the Japanese explanation that they would be able to develop Manchuria; we felt that if they could do in Manchuria what they had done in their own country in hydro-electric power, communications, department stores, street railways, communications of all types, and maintain the credits which they had maintained in all their obligations, stocks and bonds, that it was certainly a good move on their part to clean up the Manchurian mess.
But unfortunately Manchuria has not developed simply because it is not in the hands of the Japanese business men, those who have been trained abroad in American colleges and universities, engineers and business associates. Manchuria, after exactly ten years is now like the answer I received when I asked this question of a business man, "What do you think of Manchuria now?" and he said, "It is like opening a bank without money; there is nothing in it." There is nothing in Manchuria but trouble. The Japanese, after ten years, have to keep 500,000 men, the best troops they have, in Manchuria; and it is not to pacify the Japanese farmers. It is to keep Russia out. The Japanese are scared to death of the Russians, especially in the last two and a half years.
Manchuria was supposed to be one of the greatest economic and agricultural developments in the Far East. A lot of friends of mine were interested in giant development corporations—aviation, automobiles, minerals, coal, rice, telephone, telegraph, and steamship lines. They were really going to boom. Then along came the unexpected on the part of the Japanese, of course, World War No. 2; and being a one-crop nation; namely, soya beans, Manchuria is absolutely bankrupt. They produce about 6,000,000 tons of soya bean cake every year in Manchuria. The Japanese had made a deal with the Germans. The Germans, mind you, are running Japan today, and have been working on the Japanese for the last two years, not on the civilians, but on the military fanatics and hoodlums. The Germans are taking advantage of this disunity in Japan, because there has never been unity in the Japanese Army. There are five groups in the Japanese military machine—two in Tokyo, one in Manchuria, and two in China. If they had been united they would probably be in China or they would be out. They can neither go ahead in China nor can they withdraw because of the loss of face if they try to. They lack military unity at home, and they lack military unity in Manchuria. The Germans made a deal with the Japanese to take soya bean cake and in return send Japan machinery. Friends of mine came around and said, "Now we don't have to buy any machinery we can get it from Germany." But now, in nearly two years, the Japanese still have two crops of 6,000,000 tons each of soya beans. The Japanese do not want it, and the Manchurian farmer does not want it; and the Germans cannot get to it. The Manchurians cannot get their machinery, either. Otherwise, Manchuria is in fine shape.
Friends of mine in many places, who were, at the beginning enthusiastic enough to subscribe 100,000,000 yen to the capitalization of, say, 500,000,000 yen hydro-electric power-plants, found the Army kept the money and the plants were never built. There was too much bribery and squeeze.
Following the army just like the carpetbaggers and the greenback currency group that went through the South in Civil War days, are a lot of gangsters and hoodlums who went to Manchuria in the path of the Japanese Army. They set up these synthetic companies, paid dividends out of capital, hoping that world export markets would bring them profits—and now they have no export markets, they have no profits, and those gangsters have come back to Tokyo and taken over the Tokyo government. One of those is Kenji Doihara, a colonel and a rather mysterious figure. Another one is a friend of mine, but we never agree on anything, though I enjoyed him because of his outspokenness, and the fact that he did speak for the group that was coming into power. Therefore, I had to respect him. A man named Toshio Shiratori, one of the most colorful figures in Tokyo, is the one who is running Prince Konoye. Prince Konoye is not in good health, but Shiratori is running things. With him is Lieutenant General Oshima who went to Berlin to make an Axis deal. About that Axis—the only reason it operates is because of American oil. Otherwise, it would squeak. If we took the oil away they would squawk about the squeak.
General Oshima, Shiratori, Doihara, and our Kangaroo comes along with his Imperial Rule Assistance Society, a very strange organization, which has resulted in the abolishment of three political parties. The Japanese Labor Party is a very strong and has been a very strong, movement, with 7,000,000 votes. There are two political parties there with two political sets-up, the Seiyukai and the Miuseito, representing the people; and believe me, every January that was the main show. You can have all your big shows—your Philadelphia Conventions and Chicago Conventions and "Hell's A'Poppin'," but the big show was the opening of Parliament January 20. On that date Parliament would convene, and it was the time when the elected representatives of the Japanese people (about 95 per cent of whom can read and write, which gave them a lot of views and ideas in the times when they were able to retain what they enjoyed) spoke their minds. Now that has been taken away from them. But the elected representatives really "went to town" in Parliament. They would throw inkwells and furniture, beat up the Speaker of the House, and insult the War Minister. That had been going on since 1932. I mentioned the election of four years ago; but the Armydid not like the vote of 54-1. They turned around and removed half of the members of the cabinet because, so they said, the people had been misinformed and were not voting properly. Now the government comes along and announces publicly that the political parties and the Labor Party have "voluntarily agreed to disband." You can put that declaration in quotation marks. At heart they are still fairly democratic, but there is nothing they can do about it because the Tokyo Government is in the hands of military fanatics.
They have gone into Manchuria and failed. They went into North China and failed. They went into China and failed. They can never conquer the Chinese. That is impossible. The Japanese people had been led to believe certain things in the first part of the campaign. They used to come around in parties and private groups, but they cannot any more as all of us who lived there in the last two years know. Any of our friends who are seen visiting are called upon; they are threatened; they are intimidated; and they disappear. When you disappear in the hands of the Gestapo, or the GPU, nobody knows where you are or when you will return. They isolate your family, threaten your employees, and generally make it very uncomfortable for you.
One of my closest friends, Jimmy Cox of Reuters, who served in Japan for thirty years, was dropped out of a third-story window of the secret police prison with 22 injections in his body, and yet he was one of the closest friends of the Yokohama Species Bank President, and some of the highest members of the Japanese Government. Not even they can save you because they never know when they will be taken.
One of the old liberals of the Japanese Army was on his way to the Palace one night to receive the appointment as Prime Minister. I was at his house when he left. We were waiting for his return so we would know who would be in his cabinet. He came back in less than half an hour. We knew then he had never been to the palace and something was wrong. There were 300 of us newspaper people waiting for his return. He went into the house; and we found out that on his way to the palace he had been stopped by three gendarmes of the rank of sergeant who said, in effect, "General, you are not in very good health, are you?" He turned around and came home. Yet he had been summoned by the Emperor to form a cabinet. The explanation of that is the gendarmes and fanatics are running the country. If he had accepted the appointment and disregarded the statement, "General, you are not in good health, are you?" they would have killed him as they have killed a great many members of the Japanese cabinet, and many, many friends of mine, personal acquaintances, who have been wiped out with assassination by machine gun bullets at five o'clock in the morning right through the bamboo doors.
The General turned around. He knew if he had been killed, the men would have been arrested and taken into court. The decision of the court would give them life imprisonment on the basis that these men were forced to do this because they wanted to save the Emperor from suffering ill health from the General. That is a political argument that you cannot debate because you cannot discuss the Emperor in a military court.
I want to explain that as some of the make-up of the peculiar psychology which explains some of the things we see happening with respect to Japan, and why it makes it so difficult and practically impossible for any of the important Japanese leaders to do what they would like, which is to maintain good relations with the United States and England.
The Japanese army is based on the German system. Thenational anthem was written by the Germans. The two bridges that enter the palace were made in Hamburg, Germany, and brought out to Japan. The goose-step is part of the military system. The officers have been trained according to the German system. Naturally, it is a very fertile field for Nazi fifth column agents. You can hardly get into the Imperial Hotel lobby in Tokyo, it is so over-run by "German tourists," in quotation marks. Lots of money is spent on weak-minded military officials who believe they are destined to save the world. The Japanese Army, when you talk to the Generals, definitely believe that. I should say with the exception of probably five or six high-ranking Japanese officers. The rest of them actually believe they are destined by Divine Order to save the Chinese, the Dutch East Indies, the Hindus, the Australians, and the whole world. They really believe it. You cannot talk to them on any other basis.
But the Japanese Navy is different. You can really sit down and talk things over with most of the Japanese Navy leaders. They do not want to have a clash with any major power. They have enough trouble on their hands keeping some of their younger officers from accepting a lot of bribery for smuggled goods. There are more smuggled goods going into China by bribery of Japanese officials in Ningpoo and Canton than the equivalent of goods going over the Burma highway; and then the Japanese wonder why the Chinese will not give up! They will never give up; they do not have to. The Japanese Navy people are content to stay at home, but they may be forced to go and try to save the Army, which is what they have been doing for the last ten years. Every time the Army went into action, in Tientsin, Shanghai, and Canton, whenever the Army has done a job like that, it has been done by a small group of fanatics who do not think. They underestimate the resistance of the enemy. With a small landing force of four or five thousand men, they land at some point. They are badly beaten. They send for help and the Navy has to come along and help the Army. It has happened every time, all down the coast. The Navy is tired of helping the Army get out of such situations. They have had to maintain the transport lines for the Army, and the Japanese Navy has not forgotten that three Japanese admirals, two of them Prime Ministers, have been assassinated by the Army.
The new ambassador coming over here, a very fine man, was on the platform in Shanghai just a few years ago, when someone set off a little bomb underneath him and blew up the Admiral and a few ambassadors. It was traced to a Japanese military fanatic. I do not think Admiral Nomura has forgotten that, or Mr. Shigamitsu, in London, has forgotten he lost a leg in that little incident.
The China War was never declared. It is called the undeclared incident, so I am only an incident reporter. It involves about 2,000,000 Japanese soldiers in China, half a million in Manchuria, trying to maintain peace and protect the borders from a Russian invasion, and acting as a police force in China.
During the first year of the present undeclared incident, the Japanese people were told by the radio and in the newspapers that the reason the Chinese would not give up was because Russia was behind the Chinese. Chiang Kai-shek is not Soviet at all. There are certain elements of communism in China, up in the northwest part, but most of those have joined because it is just another "ism." It means rice, an arm band, uniforms, and a parade. It is something to join. It is not necessarily the Bolshevik ideology at all. Chiang Kai-shek is no more a communist than General Matsui of the Japanese Army. If at any time the Japanese thoughtthey could make a deal with Chiang Kai-shek, they were mistaken, and that was because they had been deluded by the Germans, by Dr. Oskar Trautmann, in Nanking, who told the Japanese that Chiang Kai-shek was ready to give up. Dr. Trautmann had been contacted by General von Falklusen and his 24 aides who were training the Chinese Army to defeat the Japanese, and yet the naive attitude of the Japanese military would not recognize the fact that 24 German military officers were training the Chinese Army, and in the same breath the Germans were trying to get the Japanese to make an anti-comintern pact. That shows how little they knew what was going on. We knew what was going on and could not print it. The Japanese businessmen knew that, but it is rather dangerous to have that information. You may get the news, but they will get you; I found that out.
At the end of the second year of this campaign, the Japanese were told that the reason the Chinese would not give up was because the British were supporting the Chinese. The only thing the British supported was the exchange rate,and when they let go of that to let it find a natural level, the Japanese protested against the insincere and atrocious attitude of the British. Nothing satisfied them.
In the third year of the campaign the Japanese people were being told the reason the Chinese would not give up was that the Americans were helping them. You do not have to sell the Chinese on what they are fighting for. Anybody who has been in the occupied zone knows from experience why the Chinese are fighting. They have had civil wars and internal disturbances for years. It has been a major industry. Now, finally, they have banded together for the first time, probably, in their history, and they are fighting a common enemy. Along the China coast in the occupied zone it is estimated by the Red Cross that about 40,000,000 Chinese have evacuated and have gone up-country, the greatest mass migration in history. The faculty and students of 21 universities and colleges, dairy farms, merchants, shops, stores, custom house officials, railway engineers—everyone has gone that can get out. As a consequence, when the Japanese do occupy a territory in China, they are not dealing with responsible Chinese officials, and,vice-versa, the Chinese there are not dealing with responsible Japanese.
Admiral Nomura is coming over as ambassador. He sailed this week for Washington. Unfortunately, however, no matter how friendly Admiral Nomura may be toward the United States, and how sincere his desire to settle some of the 600 outstanding disputes on American property in China, he cannot do anything about it, because he does not represent the government. There is no responsible government in Tokyo. Foreign Minister Matsuoka is a fine fellow at heart. I have known him for a long time. I have enjoyed him as a friend, but as for his policy, it is b-l-u-f-f. He is one of the biggest gamblers and bluffers in Tokyo; he will admit it. If you call his bluff on one side, he will start on another.
As far as Japan being a threat to the United States, that is nonsense. They are a threat to themselves. They have a Navy which is primarily educated and based on the British system. They have an Army which is trained on the German system; and they have the Japanese people who have been brought up in schools patterned after the American system. That gives you quite a different pattern on why the Japanese cannot get together; why the people do not like the German military attitude; and why the Navy does not like the Army. Otherwise, they are very well united.
The Germans have taken advantage of such a situation.
They came over to Tokyo. They threatened, and intimidated, and scared all the leading Japanese, like Prince Konoye with his asthma. Whenever there is a bad political situation his asthma becomes worse and he goes to the hot springs resort. Matsuoka goes and makes a speech to 50,000 people. We retaliate by some embargo or some move in Washington, and it scares the life out of them, because they have been encouraged under the dilly-dallying policy of Lord Halifax in the Far East that they could get by with bluff. England has lost all her prestige in the Far East by diplomatic tightrope juggling over some Tientsin and Peking issues which was not necessary at all. That, unfortunately, is due to the misguided minds of two or three British people in the embassy. One of them has been Major General Piggott who is retired, and Sir Francis Lindley, and one man in the American embassy in Tokyo next to Mr. Drew.
The Japanese have taken advantage of this disposition to try and separate the United States and England in the Far East, but it has not worked. The onus is on our shoulders for protecting the International Settlements of Peking, Tientsin and Shanghai, and even though we only have 1,400 Marines there, they are tough; and the Japanese are even afraid of those. When 8,000 Japanese passed a resolution last summer demanding Colonel DeWitt Peck and his Marines go to Shanghai and bow to the palace, their bluff was called. The Marines had arrested some gangsters who had entered the Settlements to shoot some Chinese puppets who had not been playing the game right. They were going to blame it on the lack of proper policing and then move in, which is how these incidents begin. "Colonel DeWitt Peck" they said in their demand, "if you do not bow to the palace tomorrow morning at dawn (and you can imagine a bunch of Marines bowing) we will come and get you." They sent back a note, "Come on over,"—and the Japanese did not, because they are not accustomed to receiving this kind of answer.
Admiral Yarnell has had experience on that score several times. When they asked him to move his boat in the harbor at Swatow he brought in three more; and Admiral Thomas C. Hart, in command of the Asiatic Fleet is always arriving by submarine, much to the distress of the high command in Shanghai, because you are supposed to announce it in advance. There is no rule that you have to, and Admiral Hart knows how to handle the situation very well.
The government in Tokyo in the last three years and a half has changed six times. There are no responsible Japanese leaders who want to be in a cabinet because they will be assassinated, and they know it. Time and again I have heard of men who have been nominated for jobs during a cabinet crisis and they suddenly enter a hospital. I do not know how many times Mr. Koisaka has had his appendix taken out. They realize they cannot comply with the demands of the military to do thus and so.
Taking advantage of this, the Germans moved in, sold the Japanese military, and a few of the ex-reserve men (not the Navy by any means) the idea that tying up with the Axis will be a threat to the United States and England. The Axis is no threat at all. It is a nuisance. Japan has too much of a struggle internally to Be a threat to anyone except herself. She is afraid. There is a shortage of coal, electricity, and water. Rationing of rice has been undertaken; there is no butter and no cheese, and no more milk. There is a shortage of copper and metals. The only metals and oil they get come from the United States, by the State Department's permission. They are unable to supply the raw materials for their giant industries; and bear in mind that Japan has some very sizable industries. The countryoccupies a territory about the size of California, and on that island are 70,000,000 people. It is a little crowded I grant that, and when they said they need Lebensraum, living room, it sounded reasonable. But the Japanese are not colonizers. I have not found but two Japanese who liked China, and one of those is making so much money there he never wants to go home. The rest are all ready to go home.
They went over there and attempted to develop business. One of them was going to be the great Japan Steel Iron & Tube Company headed by Mr. Hachisaburo Hirao, a man whom I respect. I have known him for many years, and he is the E. H. Gary of Japan. Mr. Hirao and 22 members of his company—directors, auditors, and managing directors—resigned last November, because they were not able to make the rolling mills roll. There is nothing to roll them with. There is a shortage of coal. The Japanese said that in North China they could get all the coal they needed, but when they reached there, they found there was nobody to dig the coal. Those Chinese they did find to dig the coal staged sit-down strikes; they would not come out of the mines. When they did come out they flooded the mines with water. Now there is no coal coming out of those mines in North China.
Some who were interested in streamlined auto-buses for transportation services were going over there to rebuild roads and pay fifteen and twenty per cent guaranteed army dividends. It was all right if the thing had been profitable, but even if it had been profitable, the only thing they would get was greenback military currency that has no backing whatever. You take it into the Yokohama Species Bank and they discount twenty per cent just to look at it. Then they will decide what the rate might be.
These friends and business acquaintances who went into North China, which is a typical example, with a bus line, had an interesting experience. They built the bus lines and the roads, but the Chinese would not ride on the buses. In the first place, they were not going anywhere. Those people are content to stay inside the walled village or city. They know that once that bus is outside the city the bandits are going to get it. Don't be caught on a Gumpyo train or on a Gumpyo bus, because it is just too bad if you are.
The train situation is very bad. Mr. Matsuoka, the Foreign Minister, was formerly President of the South Manchurian Railroad. I always enjoyed talking to him because I used to like to hear him rant. He rid himself of 23 unproductive companies to a group of military gangsters, and they paid him a cash price for them. He said he had been trying to get them off his books for years.
He always complained he had no rolling stock left because the Army took it to China, and the Chinese took it and ran away with it. The trouble with the railway system in China is they could not hold the rails in place. They have to make deals with all the Chinese farmers. I travelled last year 9,000 miles through occupied and unoccupied China trying to get an answer to what the Japanese people are asking us all the time, "Why is it the Chinese won't give up?"
For one thing, they are not interested in the new order in Asia—Asia for Asiatics, and the Brotherhood of Man. They do not think the same, they do not speak the same language, nor in any way respond to the Japanese ideas, such as turning the clock back three hours to comply with Tokyo time and having it announced as "friendship time." The Chinese, most of them, do not own watches, and they are not interested in that kind of time. It is a fundamentally humorous situation like that which has plagued the whole Japanese military machine, because it was streamlined andbased on an economic situation which it had studied in books. You take over the country, trade follows the flag, and you profit. Now they find they have no trade, and they are trying to get the flag back.
I have heard time and again from Japanese business associates, when I was interested in the publication of a Japanese newspaper and advertising agency, a hotel, and a chain of restaurants; about the Eldorado, and it sounded fine. I believed a good deal of it because we still felt if they could do in Manchuria and China what they had done in Japan they would be doing good; but we had not reckoned with the military. That is where we were all caught.
To give you just an idea of how large an industry they have in Japan, they are the second largest buyer of ball bearings in the world—America is first. That shows they have some industry. But now they cannot get the ball bearings. Otherwise, everything runs in fine shape. They cannot get them because they all came from Sweden. Sweden is blockaded, and the Germans will not let the Japanese have them. The Russians will not help, either. The Russians will say, "We are sorry; we do not have space enough on our merchandise wagons to transport the merchandise. We arc very busy." The Russians are always conveniently busy even when there is a pact. Any time the Japanese announce a non-aggression pact with Russia, you can be sure it is a very strange deal. They may announce a non-aggression pact, but I would like to know the Japanese who dares to sign that treaty.
There is also an organization of 5,000,000 reserve officers, the Tanaka-Meirinkai, who have pledged themselves to fight Russia. Even if they make a non-aggression treaty to try to free themselves from the Russian menace on the north, you can be sure that Joe Stalin will fill his pipe a second time, wait and send orders to give more support to the Chinese and tell the Chinese, "Now go after the Japanese." That is the way the Russians deal. You have to bribe them to keep the treaty after it is made. They are taking advantage of the Far Eastern situation the same as the Germans. The Germans sold the Japanese on this Axis Treaty Pact, great celebrations were held at the time, that this was a threat to the world—a bunch of pallbearers whistling, trying to keep up their spirits in a dead situation. But the Japanese military did not realize that.
I went over to China to try and find out why it was the Japanese were not able to conquer the Chinese. Three hundred thousand Japanese are dead in this campaign. They lost 18,000 men in a little six-weeks' battle in Manchuria. That is the highest casualty list in any similar period in the Japanese Army since 1904. They called that off right away. It began as the "insincere cavalry practice" on the part of the Russian Army. A group of twenty Mongolian ponies came across the border. They were repulsed by two divisions of Japanese troops. The Russians had been hiding something in the Urals. They brought out a few more troops, and it was a real massacre. That is why the Japs have to keep half a million men up there, to repulse the "atrocious and insincere cavalry maneuvers" of the Russian Army.
Something like 800,000 Japanese are in hospitals as a result of this campaign—wounded, sick with dysentery, and other diseases. The cholera cases never come home. The Army used to stage gigantic public funerals all over Tokyo during the last year and a half. Hundreds and hundreds of little white boxes of ashes of the troops who had died in China were brought home for burial. They did that to impress the people with how serious the situation was. It did not work with the Japanese mind. They said, "Why is it after three and a half years they are still bringing back theboxes?" Then they had to call off that public display. That shows the struggle that is really going on inside Japan. They cannot bring the men home from China, because then the Japanese face the inevitable problem of any conflict, demobilization—a social welfare problem, the same as the Japanese now have a social problem as to what will happen if silk exports to America are embargoed. It is made possible because American women use about $130,000,000 a year of silk, which is left on credit here to buy materials to bomb the Chinese. That is the type of salesmanship which is rather double-edged and yet it is a paradox which does exist. If the silk is cut off, naturally the Japanese face a very serious internal and social struggle with the farmers because it is a two-crop nation—rice and silk. They are already rationed on rice, and they are afraid of silk. They still live on fish, but once the island of Japan, like the peninsula of Italy, is mined or oil strewn there, there will be no more fish; and that is what they fear. Those are some of the things we have to consider when we hear these threats being made against America today. There are some very serious situations they have on their own hands.
I found in China after an extensive trip the reason why a million and a half to two million Japanese are needed to police that territory they have occupied. The Japanese have announced to us several times they had annihilated the Chinese Army. Then they told us that they were in the second year fighting the bandits left over from the Chinese Army. In the third year they told us, as foreign correspondents, when we asked them who they were fighting in China and why they could not overcome the situation, that they were fighting the guerrillas. And after three years and a half, I received a statement from a Japanese Major General Homma, Commander of the Tientsin Garrison, in reply to my inquiry as to whom they were now fighting, that they are now fighting the remnants of the guerrillas. That is what the Japanese people are told. Who are these remnants? Between three million and four million men in the regular Chinese Army and about seven million bandits and guerrillas. Otherwise, only the remnants are left. And the Japanese have been wondering how they can overcome that by bringing pressure, for example, on the closing of the Burma Highway. That is the only smart deal British diplomacy has made in the Far East in ages, and I do not think Lord Halifax knew that was the rainy season of the year when not a shovel could be moved for two months over that particular territory. It did give the Japanese some satisfaction from the standpoint of a diplomatic victory.
They cannot beat the Chinese. The Chinese have a passive resistance which the Japanese cannot understand. They have a sense of humor, and time means nothing to them. They have women; and the Japanese do not reckon the fact that women are extremely important in Chinese politics and business. Look at the Soong family, and Madam Chiang Kai-shek. I mentioned that if ever the Generalissimo had an idea of mediating the situation, we knew it. Maybe he would have listened to negotiations, but even if he had, you would have to respect and acknowledge that there is another person the Japanese would have to deal with, and that is the Madam-issimo as we call her. The Japanese should know that it is dangerous to deal in Chinese politics without reckoning with the women. They should know by this time that Madam Wang Ching Wei sold her husband up the river, put him in Nanking and stayed in Shanghai. She has the money; he has the job. There is nothing he can do about it. He cannot get out, and he can do nothing for the Japanese because no one will cooperate with such a hand-me-down political reprobate as Wang Ching Wei. I asked the members of the government in Chungking, "What do you thinkof the sell-out of Mayor Fu Hsiao En, the Mayor of Shanghai?" They said it was the best thing the Japanese ever did for China, because it cost the Japanese money, and after they paid it they could get nothing in return.
Time and again the Japanese Army has had communiques issued in which they say, and we will call him General Wahoo, "General Wahoo has seen the light of day, the new order in Asia, the pacification, and the sincere desire of the Japanese Army to be friends of the people of China (by the use of bayonets, bombs and machine guns), and he and his 60,000 troops have joined the Japanese Pacification Corps." I do not know how many of those have been organized. The Japanese get the General; they completely equip his men—clothe, feed, and train them. You see a communique every once in a while that General Wahoo and his division have gone out to round up some remnants of the bandit groups. It was a severe three-day, hand-to-hand battle in which General Wahoo lost 500 men. He returns to his base where the Japanese refresh his men. They go out for another foray, and this goes on for a few weeks. Then we get a communique from the Imperial Command in Shanghai, handed us by our friend, Colonel Saito (who was born in Honolulu), and who is one of the few Japanese with a sense of humor. He will even laugh when he hands it to us (in private), and the statement will read somewhat to this effect, "The Japanese Army Command announces with regret that General Wahoo and his 60,000 men have deserted." They have completely equipped these Chinese with overcoats, watches, binoculars, arms and ammunition, and all the other supplies, and then they join bandits. That is why it has taken three years and a half to try to overcome the Chinese with no success.
A friend of mine is President of the China Railway Company a man who is known in the United States in railway and tourist bureau circles and a very fine gentleman. Every time I have seen him since he became President of the Railway he has been trying to resign. I think he must have carried his resignation in his pocket. He cannot keep the railway working. The bandits come along and take the rails, and they put them in lakes and rivers and hold them for ransom. He cannot trust the Chinese locomotive engineers. They run away with the engines, leaving the cars on the tracks for the bandit to come along and carry off the passengers and hold them for ransom.
Arch Steele of the Chicago Daily News, and Chamberlain of the Christian Science Monitor, and myself, time and again, do not know what to cable. You cannot get profound about it. I am told sometimes that I should be profound in presenting the situation. I cannot be, because it is so complex and difficult. The Chinese with a sense of humor, and the Japanese with their regimentation; the Chinese with their individualism. I cannot even find a profound war there. Time and again we had these situations come up, and that is why they cannot stabilize it. They cannot pull up; they cannot occupy. They cannot hold what they occupy, because they cannot depend on the people with whom they are dealing.
They tell a man that he is the mayor, and that his salary is 1,000 Chinese dollars a month. If anything happens to molest the peace of his town he will be killed, and his family with him. In a few weeks you hear he has been kidnapped by bandits. The Japanese have to send out ransom money to get the mayor back. The chances are the mayor has half the ransom in his pocket. From Peking to Canton you will find this situation. It is all bribery and corruption and squeeze. You ask a Chinese why he is working on a Japanese newspaper. He will reply, "Jobs are scarce under my own government. I can work for the Japanese and theypay me two or three times more. I can work for them and half of my money can go to my home government. Otherwise, I could not help out Chungking." Whether it is a cabinet minister or a newspaper reporter, that is the situation.
After six weeks in Chungking, I came away convinced that the Chinese will never give up. They are better organized than the Japanese; and the Dutch are better organized in the Dutch East Indies. The British, with hundreds of thousands of men from India, are in a much better position at Singapore. The thing that impressed me most was that Chungking is the dirtiest, filthiest city I have ever been in. It is built on a rock and has a half million people; and when the air raid sirens sound a half million Chinese within fifteen or twenty minutes have disappeared underground. There you wait for the bombing. One time I was in a dugout being bombed by our own planes powered by our own fuel. Fifty planes, maybe 85 planes, came over—American planes. They started dropping bombs, wiping out parts of the city. Next to me there was a Chinese medical student from Johns Hopkins University. He said, "You are a funny people in America; you raise money and medical aid for China. You send quinine, X-ray films, gauze, cotton, surgical instruments and bandages. You protest to the Japanese because you cannot get in through the Burma Road. You do all that to relieve our suffering, but we would not be suffering if you were not helping them the way you are." And it is a very effective argument when you think it over.
It is not the Japanese people that want that done at all, because I know from Japanese businessmen, the President of the Economic Federation, and different groups, who say that that is not the way to win the friendship and business of the Chinese. They have lost it, and the Japanese cannot withdraw because it means a loss of face. It is a very difficult situation.
I returned to Tokyo, wrote a series of articles, and was put in jail because of them. I was in for 61 days, in solitary confinement, without a chair, bed, or bath for 45 days, in a temperature of from 30 to 38, no contact with anyone, no reading, no visitors, no smoking. I just sat there on the floor. And from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. for 55 days I underwent cross-examination from what they call the Thought Police Squad, consisting of seven men. They want to know what you are thinking. If you do not say what you are thinking, you are held until you do. It is natural for an American, a Yankee reporter, to speak out what he thinks when he starts; and that is worse because you are held much longer. I was indicted for having written a series of articles dealing with the destruction of American property in China and with the very notorious narcotic situation. This is operated under the Japanese Army setup. If you pay the required price you are issued a license, supposedly for a restaurant, but quite obviously for the sale of narcotics. I dealt with the economic and social situations in a series of articles, and that was the cause of my indictment and incarceration.
After four days of trial the Japanese judge gave me six months and suspended the sentence by stating that irrespective of the truth in the articles, this is an emergency period and he must find me guilty. The Japanese judge and the three lawyers were very fair. The Japanese courts of justice have always been very fair, but in the last month the Japanese courts have been taken over (which is just another Nazi move) by Lieutenant General Yanagama, a notorious military official. That is in line with the appointment of Baron Hiranuma as Head of Home Affairs, and that is the group which controls the driving out of all the Christian churches in Japan. The Japanese people do not want that. They want them to stay there, but the Army has ruled otherwise. They have the Pastor Hall, the Niemoller drama, going on right now in Osaka and western Japan as a result of Nazi influence, contrary to the desire of the Japanese people; but there is nothing they can do about it.
Ambassador Drew is an excellent man. I think he has done a tremendous job. I know his sentiments very well, and I feel also our Ambassador in Chungking is an excellent man; and so is Walter Steinhart in Moscow. Ambassador Drew is coming back soon. I think he is going to retire. He is giving up trying to explain because the days of note-passing diplomacy are gone. You are not dealing with a responsible government. He knows that, and he will tell you so if he is permitted to do so publicly. He knows the Tokyo Government is in the hands of gangsters, and when he goes up to talk with them they tell him he brings to them a misinformed viewpoint. They ask him, as Ambassador Drew, to come over here and correct the misinformed American viewpoint. That shows a stalemate.
If he leaves there, as I know he is going to shortly, I recommend that he be succeeded by Admiral Yarnell. We have sent an Admiral to Vichy. The Japanese are sending an Admiral to Washington. Why not send Admiral Yarnell, with a 35,000-ton battleship, an aircraft carrier and six submarines to Japan as our Ambassador, because that is the type of diplomacy which is now understood? You no longer can slap diplomats on the wrist. You have to sock them in the face. That is the type of people we are dealing with.
As to whether the Japanese will ever overcome the situation I think it is best summed up by Will Rogers, who came to Tokyo a few years ago with Floyd Gibbons. I was with them about three weeks and we had a wonderful time. At that time they did not have the Thought Police, or we would still be in prison probably. Anyhow they could not translate the humor. But Will Rogers went over to China, and he summed up the situation in one of his brief but very interpretative messages, probably better than some of the thousand-word cables interpreting heavy background situations that some of us have been sending over. By the time some of our stories get over the cabinet is changed. He summed it up and said, "Hundreds of years ago, the Mongolians came over to conquer the Chinese and now they have gone back for more Mongolians."