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Notes on The Memoirs of Cordell Hull
by William P. Meyers

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Page 10
U.S. Relations with Japan and China, 1933 to 1934

Cordell Hull's predecessor, Stimson, had the policy of "opposing Japan's advance into China by all the diplomatic means at his command, including a refusal to recognize Japan's acquisition of Manchuria." [WPM: Japan never claimed to have acquired Manchuria. Like the U.S. in Haiti, it claimed its troops were in Manchuria to protect Japanese citizens and Manchurians alike from the chaotic, warlord-driven conditions of China proper.] The U.S. continued to claim rights under the Open Door policy [WPM: which prevented China from setting its own trade and customs policies]. Hull believed Japan was violating the Nine-Power Treaty of 1922. [p. 270]

Hull says his main Far East goal on becoming Secretary of State was "maintaining the independence of China." [WPM: But the factions in China were all dependent on foreign powers, with Chiang Kai-shek particularly depending on the United States]. "Japan's diplomatic record was that of a highway robber." [WPM: whereas the U.S. had honored all of its treaties with American Indian Tribes, and had not robbed half of Mexico and all of Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii, as acquisition by the U.S. was Manifest Destiny][270]

He calls the Manchukuo regime, led by native Manchurians and independent of China, a puppet regime. [271]

On March 31 Hull met in Washington with Yosuke Matsuoka, who had just quit the League of Nations, noting he spoke English having lived in the U.S.A. as a teenager. Later Matsuoka became Japanese Foreign Minister in 1940. Hull noted that sentiment in Japan was mainly anti-American. Joseph C. Grew was already Ambassador to Japan and began his work with the Secretary. The Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. at that time was Debuchi. [273]

On May 31, 1933 Japan and China signed the Tangku Truce. [274]

The U.S. extended a $50 million credit to [nationalist] China to be used to buy [American] cotton and wheat. Japan protested that Chiang would sell the food for cash to buy weapons. Hull replied that the real reason for the loan was to increase prices for American farmers. [274]

Hull rejected an October 1933 Japanese offer to send a goodwill mission to the U.S., instead accusing Japan of discriminating against U.S. economic interests in Manchukuo. Hull was particularly concerned about control of the oil industry there. [275]

Hirosi Saito became the new Japanese ambassador in February 1934. [277]

"During my years at the State Department, Japan repeatedly suggested direct agreements in general terms between Tokyo and Washington. We, instead, stood for broader agreements embracing all the powers interested in the Far East." [277] [WPM: Powers interested in the Far East included France, Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Russia.]

The Tydings-McDuffie Act to eventually grant independence to the Philippines became law in March, 1934. Hull, in Congress, had supported the Jones Bill of 1914 which had pledged the U.S. would grant independence to the Philippines "as soon as they were deemed ready to govern themselves." 1946 was set as the new independence goal. [278]

April 1934 brought the statement by Eiji Amau of the Japanese foreign office, which Hull characterizes as saying "Japan had special responsibilities in East Asia and might have to act alone." Hull wrote a note contradicting that, making it clear that "other sovereign states" besides Japan had a right to boss China around. [279]

The western powers continued ganging up on the Asian nations. "In the years to follow, the American, British, and French Ambassadors in Tokyo were frequently to call at the Japanese Foreign Office at different hours on the same day or the day after and present notes which, in substance, were the same." [279-280]

Hull was mad when the British allowed that Japan had some rights in Manchuria and parts of China. [WPM: The British held Hong Kong and had "rights" to quite a bit of China territory and industry] [280]

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