Equal Treatment of China


By DR. WALTER H. JUDD, Congressman from Minnesota

Delivered at the New York Herald-Tribune Forum, New York City, November 16, 1943

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 141-144.

IT was Napoleon Bonaparte who said almost a century arid a half ago, "There lies China—a sleeping giant. Don't awaken her! For once she is awakened, she will change the face of the world." Well, China is awaking, and nobody can put her back to sleep. The question today is not whether she will change the face of the world. The only question is: How will she change it? What will the new direction be?

The answer to that question depends on the United States more than on any other country except China herself. Our past was in Europe; but our future is not going to be in Europe. Our future, in so, far as we have a future abroad, must be to our west and to our south. The crucial factor in the whole Pacific area will be the relations between its two greatest nations—the United States and China. Let us examine them from the standpoints of winning the war and of our own long-term economic and political interests in Asia.

The hard experiences of almost two years of war against Japan indicate all too clearly that we cannot win alone in the Pacific, or at least not without almost prohibitive costs. We can win only if our allies, and especially China, can hold against Japan until we can defeat Germany and get our full strength into the Pacific theater.

Admiral King Quoted

If any one should question how important it is to us that China continue to resist actively, the definitive answer was given three months ago by Admiral Ernest J. King, commander in chief of the American Navy. He said in a public interview that the key to winning our war with Japan was China, and emphasized it by asking us to imagine what our position would be if China were to drop out of the war. He knows how many tens of thousands of additional American lives and billions of American dollars it would cost us if we had to fight Japan without China's wholehearted co-operation.

From the very beginning in 1937, Japan's basic strategy was to try to knock out China first, or to force her to give up, in exhaustion or in disillusionment regarding her western allies. If Japan could have several years in which to build up China as a base on the continent, Japan would be impregnable, or so nearly so that it would require four or five, or even ten years, to defeat her, and Japan gambled we would not pay such a price.

For months after the Japanese captured the Chinese city in which I was working I had daily contact with Japanese officers and men. They said even then, and far more confidently after Pearl Harbor, "You Americans have lots of money and territory and resources, but we Japanese have spirit. We will win in a war with America. Well, maybe we will not win this time. But if not this time, then we will win next time; and if not next time, then the next time. Some day we Japanese will win. Or if we do not win, at least you will lose."

We in America are up against something in this war quite different from anything we have ever faced before. Cocksureness regarding our own abilities is not enough. We must have complete understanding and mutual confidence and teamwork with our allies.

Fortunately for us, Japan could not defeat China by frontal attack during the first four years of the war, so she had to turn elsewhere. She found it was easier to overrun French, American, British and Dutch resistance, and make the long detour around Malaya into Burma to try to force China out of the war by blockade than it was to knock her out by direct assault.

Wits Instead of Guns

China traded space for time, used wits when she didn't have guns, developed the hit-and-run attack, night infiltration and the other unorthodox guerrilla tactics which Japan learned from her and we learned later from Japan. By these methods, plus unbelievable sacrifices and stamina, China has been able to hold out in the center.

Russia has held the northern flank, tying up over a half million of Japan's best troops there. But we—the great, proud, boastful white nations—could not hold the southern flank. That is the hard, painful fact. Furthermore, there is no evidence to indicate that much more than a token attempt will be made during the present dry season to break the blockade in Burma and to reopen lines of communication to China by land or by sea.

The Chinese have endured over six years of bombings and invasion, hunger, disease, inflation, migration and a year and a half of almost complete blockade. All these disasters have not caused them to waver. Only one thing could cause them to waver—a loss of expectation that they will eventually get their full independence and equal treatment by other nations of the world, a loss of confidence in the real and ultimate motives of us, their allies.

Unfortunately, there have been some things that could legitimately cause thoughtful Chinese to be disturbed. We will do well to face them frankly: (1) the fact that the western nations did not make one real move against Japanese aggression until Japan invaded French Indo-China, that is,began to interfere with the white man's colonial system; (2) the incredible failure of the great powers, after four years of watching Japan move steadily southward, to be ready for her in their own possessions; (3) our own failure to make good on our own promises two and a half years ago of "unqualified, immediate, all-out aid"; (4) the speeches of Mr. Churchill declaring his intention to re-establish the British Empire and his desire to see the French Empire also restored; (5) our failure to give any clear indication that we Americans have any other war aims in Asia than his.

Look to America

The thing that has shaken Chinese confidence most of all, of course, is not what Mr. Churchill said about his war aims; it is what we have not said or done about ours. The Chinese are a wise, patient and understanding people.

They did not expect a man with Mr. Churchill's background to come over to our side and our views; but, on the other hand, they did not expect people with our background apparently to go over to his side, his views; did not expect that America, after standing for 167 years, as no other nation in history, for human freedom and equality above all else, would appear, by her silence, to be approving white men's empires in Asia. That is the dagger in China's heart. That is what drives some Chinese to doubt, almost in despair, whether we in the West really want China ever to become independent and strong in her own right.

The Japanese propaganda ceaselessly hammers away, "Why are you Chinese pulling America's and England's chestnuts out of the fire? Do they treat you as equals?"

If we Americans were in Chinese shoes and had been fighting almost alone for six and a half years, would we not begin to ask, "Why are we going through all this if, after victory, we are still going to be a semi-colony, treated as inferiors by the white men? We Chinese held the line for long years while America made the money. Why not let her do most of the fighting from here on? Let us be practical and think of China first."

Surely it is understandable to us why many tired, starving and sick Chinese might begin to wonder if help for them is not being deliberately delayed until after Hitler's defeat, so that the white man can then come in to make the kill and thus be left sitting on top in Asia, the old status quo restored.

Such an impression, unless corrected quickly, can have disastrous results. We must do two things: we must get more material help to China at the earliest possible moment, more munitions and medicines, more guns, planes, tanks and technicians to train Chinese in their use; and we must get more political help to China, more encouragement, more to justify and strengthen their confidence in us and our purposes.

Political Offensive Urged

We have all recognized the necessity of taking the military offensive just as soon as possible; we have not seen how necessary it is that we take and win the political offensive even more quickly. The less we are able to get to the Chinese in material assistance, the more imperative it is that we get to them spiritual assistance during these times of their greatest testing.

The white man's prestige in Asia today is at its all-time low. To regain respect he must demonstrate power—and he will. But power alone will not command confidence. That can come only as he demonstrates that he intends to use his power and influence in Asia in the future for different purposes than sometimes in the past.

The single most dramatic and helpful thing that we could do would be to change our immigration laws to put the Chinese on the same quota basis as our other allies and thereby begin treating them as equals now. An act of Congress, providing three simple things, would prove more to the Chinese regarding our ultimate intentions than endless professions of good will, or even than fleets of airplanes:

First—Repeal the old exclusion acts which singled out the Chinese for special humiliating discriminations.

Second—Amend our nationality laws to make "Chinese persons" eligible for naturalization by the same procedures other immigrants follow.

Third—Allot an annual immigration quota to the Chinese. The established formula which admits a quota of] more than 65,000 a year from England and 17,000 from Ireland would admit a quota of only 105 Chinese persons a year, regardless of where they were born or of what country they are citizens.

Such a bill has been passed overwhelmingly by the House and we hope for favorable and prompt action by the Senate.

Giving the Chinese an immigration quota on a basis of equality with other independent, friendly countries would not mean a head-on collision with any of our allies, yet would reassure the Chinese that America stands for freedom and equality today as always. It would not create disunity among the United Nations, and nobody can accuse me of trying to create disunity. I was one who was begging throughout America that we help England long before most Americans believed that there was any threat to us in these movements around the world. This would not be critical of any other nation's policies; it would merely establish our own. Our action would be tangent to England's, not opposed. Mr. Churchill drives down his stake there, we drive down ours here. He makes clear what he stands for, we make clear what we stand for in case, as he put it, "there should be any mistake about it in any quarter."

Such an act would rekindle the fires of hope in the hearts of hundreds of millions in Asia who want to be with us, if they are sure that this war is for their freedom, too. It would invigorate and galvanize the Chinese into redoubled effort and offensive spirit as no amount of pronouncements or even of tanks and guns can do. Where else can we accomplish so much for so little?

Chinese soldiers can fight on little more than three bowls of rice or millet gruel a day. Those from South China are partially immune to many of the tropical diseases which caused far more casualties among our soldiers in New Guinea than did Japanese bullets and bayonets. During the first years of the war, before physical and spiritual exhaustion began to develop, the Chinese made as good a record in fighting the Japanese—with nothing save small arms, resourcefulness, and naked courage—as we were able to make in our first year with all our mechanical advantages.

Saving in Lives Cited

Thus keeping up China's faith in us involves the fates of countless American boys. It also involves your taxes. It is hard enough to get military supplies to China for China's forces. If they have to be replaced by American forces, it will require far more of our materials, and our men in addition. How many years do we think we can stand our present rate of expenditures for war? Only full effort by all can bring an early victory.

Good relations with China are also important from the standpoint of our future economic interests in the Pacific. In order to furnish rood and supplies for ourselves, our men and women on dozens of battle fronts, our Allies, and hungry millions being liberated from Axis tyranny, we are being compelled to build up American production far in excess of what we at home can consume, or at least more than we can buy and pay for.

But some day the war will end. The men of Europe will come back to their own fields and factories. In a few years they can produce for themselves most of what they need. They will not have to buy so much from us. We will be left with an enormous overbuilt plant, agricultural and industrial.

We must then either drastically reduce our plant—which would mean putting millions out of work at the very time our armies are being demobilized and we need several million more, not fewer, jobs—or we must build up consumption by every possible means, so that agriculture and industry can be kept fully occupied. We must find or create new markets for our increased productive capacity.

Where can we find those markets? There are only two places—at home and abroad.

Urges Planning Now

There are few, if any, matters to which the leaders of American agriculture and industry and labor should be devoting more earnest attention than to the making of plans now developing new industries and markets here at home. But with all the expansion conceivable, the American market simply cannot be enough to keep American farmers and laborers and manufacturers at full employment. We must therefore lay long-range plans to increase our markets abroad.

Half the people of Europe live in Asia, and they are just beginning their industrial revolution, just beginning to learn to use machines to increase their production and raise their standards of living.

Japan would reduce them to subsistence levels in order to build an industrial system based on captured raw materials and slave labor that could flood the world's markets with commodities at a fraction of their cost of production in any Western country. Such an enslaved Orient would be an unbeatable competitor, where as a free Orient will become a huge market.

For free peoples want most of all to raise their own standards of living. Therefore they concentrate on producing goods for themselves—food, clothing and houses first, and gradually, as their purchasing power increases, washing machines, radios, automobiles. China, if free and friendly, will present tremendous opportunities for our engineering and technical assistance, our industrial machinery and equipment, the building of tens of thousands of miles of trunk railways and highways as well as buses, airplanes, refrigerators and countless other products large and small.

Furthermore, the Chinese produce a great many things which we need and with which they can pay, as they have in the past, for the things they buy from us. China's economy, almost in toto, complements rather than competes with ours. To help develop her potentially gigantic markets and then to help satisfy them can be a huge backlog for our own difficult period ahead, a backlog that will last at least fifty years.

America's Stake in Asia

We have an enormous stake in building up in all the countries of Asia an enlarging, expanding economy, with new industries, more jobs, higher wages, greater purchasing power and therefore more sales. The United States could exist by itself. But Americans want more than mere existence. We want wealth and prosperity; and they can come only from exchange of goods and services on a mutually beneficial basis, just as rich culture and civilization come from interchange of ideas and of personalities.

But there is no possibility of such trade and interchange between nations, and therefore no possibility of long-term economic prosperity here in America, unless there is political security throughout the world. We cannot enter into contracts with firms in a foreign land unless we are reasonably sure that goods can go and come, that media of exchange will be stable, and that war or revolution will not be breaking out.

Much as we need China now to help win the war, we will need her even more to help establish and maintain a stable peace. We have learned the hard way that we can no longer get security by physical separation from the world. The progress of invention, the ability of the airplane to disregard all national boundaries, and the refusal of other nations to ignore us, no matter how much we want to ignore them, have made isolation an absolute impossibility.

On the other hand, we must recognize that we cannot get long-term security just by building up a gigantic Army and Navy and Air Force. Other nations would unite against us just as surely as we now unite against those who would rule us. Besides, we simply do not have enough resources or essential minerals, or money or manpower to sustain such an attempt.

Imperialism Suicidal

There are less than 140 millions of us—a little tired and asking only to be left alone. But there are almost 200 millions in Russia and they do not seem to be very tired. There are 450 millions in China on fire with the ideals of freedom and equality, as were our forefathers; 370 millions are stirring in India; 150 millions restless in Latin America. For America, with 140 millions, to try imperialism would be suicidal.

The peoples of the world are on the move. We cannot hold them back. We cannot drive them. We cannot buy them. What, then, can we do? We can join them; yes, we can lead them—if it be on a basis not of superior and inferior, but of working together for the security of all as the true way to promote the security of each.

In short, America after this war is going to need friends and need them badly. Therefore we dare not trifle with the I friendship of that nation which will inevitably be the strongest in Asia. The burning question is not whether we will help China; it is whether she will continue to help us—now in the war, and afterward in the peace.

The Chinese heretofore have trusted America far above any other country. They never forget 135 years of missionary work, churches, schools, hospitals; they do not forget our inauguration of the open-door policy which prevented their being dismembered by the European powers at the end of the last century; our return of the Boxer Indemnity to establish a great university in China and provide scholarships enabling more than 4,600 of China's ablest and finest youth to study in our own universities and return imbued with American ideas and ideals to be the new leaders of China. They remember gratefully our vigorous rejection of Japan's twenty-one demands on China in 1915; Mr. Stimson's stand against Japan's seizure of Manchuria in 1931; our making the Philippine Islands not the first colony in a new empire but a republic, and promising it independence on a definite date; they love General Chennault and the Flying Tigers. All these have caused China to continue to believe in us despite some less worthy chapters like our arming of Japan and our waiting to relinquish extraterritoriality until we no longer had it to give back.

One Last Sore Spot

China's participation in the Moscow declaration is a great forward step. The one remaining sore spot in our relations is our failure to make crystal clear our position with regard to the ultimate status of Oriental peoples after this war. Prompt removal of the discrimination against the Chinese in our immigration laws would do more to heal that sore than

any other step we could take now. It would be understood instantly all over Asia as a revelation of America's basic attitudes toward Asiatic peoples and of our hopes and aims for them.

In the last analysis it all comes down, I suppose, to what we today really believe. Perhaps we have no more important thing to do in America than to think that through. For instance, do we really believe in 1943, as our forefathers did in 1776, that all men are created equal—in worth and in rights? When America was a little group of thirteen struggling colonies with only a million people, she was strong. She knew what she believed and stood for it openly, unashamedly and unflinchingly before the world. She did not follow haltingly; she led out boldly.

Now that we have become the most powerful nation in the world, why should we be so timid and fearful, so half-apologetic about our beliefs ? We are inclined to ask, "Well, what will Mr. Stalin think, or what will England or some other country do?" Why do we not decide what we ourselves think? Why do we not have confidence in the eternal rightness and soundness of the great principles on which this nation was founded ? Why do we not once more, as in Washington's day, "Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair?"

We are the only people on earth who do not half appreciate our own country's strength. Everywhere else the first question always is, "What will America do?" Eighty-five per cent of the people of the world will give their unqualified loyalty and confidence to America as to no other nation if only we will remain true to our own noble heritage and conduct our affairs not by short-sighted expediencies but by steadfast adherence to our basic principles and beliefs.

If we really believe that there are certain inalienable human rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then let us make it unmistakably clear by our words and by our deeds, and quickly.

Warns of Breaking Point

Nations, like men, ultimately reach a breaking point. No matter how patient and steadfast the Chinese have been, they cannot hold on forever without hope. We must recognize frankly that suffering and exhaustion, with consequent disillusionment, bitterness and factionalism, have already reached stage which may lead to a period of internal struggle, even if the war should end soon. The miracle is that it did not happen long ago.

The thing which more than anything else will renew China's strength, as well as bind her closer to us, is for us to demonstrate that we in this nation at long last are understanding the true nature and significance of this struggle in Asia and of the era in which we are privileged to live as the Chinese have understood them all these lonely years; that we, too, see the larger vision and are committed to the larger loyalties which alone can give common hope for the future. A year ago through this Forum one of the greatest men of all times, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, expressed that understanding better than any one else thus far has said it:

"We hold that we must advance from the narrow idea of exclusive alliances and regional blocs, which in the end make for bigger and better wars, to effective organization of world unity. Unless real world co-operation replaces both isolationism and imperialism of whatever form in the new interdependent world of free nations, there will be no lasting security for you or us."

In dedication to that common cause of "real world cooperation," let us march on together, confident and unafraid.