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

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Page 14
Japan, China and the U.S., 1937

The expansion of U.S. military presence in China, particularly in Shanghai, was said by Cordell Hull in a speach on August 17, 1937 to be for the protection of some 3000 Americans living there, and to maintain the rights of Americans to live or do business anywhere in the world [WPM: rights not reciprically extended to the Japanese and Chinese]. An American sailor had already been killed aboard the battle cruiser U.S.S. Augusta, and 18 wounded, when it was struck by a shell "from an unknown source," [WPM: almost certainly Chinese]. Another American sailor was killed two weeks later "when the liner Presdient Hoover was bombed by mistake by Chinese planes." [540]

The Japanese characterized their attacks in China as self-defense, both Prince Konoye and Foreign Minister Hirota calling for a "decisive blow" against the Chinese military [542].

The U.S. negotiated to join the League of Nations in a plan of action for Japan in China. The League called Japan's moves "out of proportion" and violations of the Nine-Power treaty and the 1928 Pact of Paris, with the U.S. joining in those conclusions. The State Department prepared an address for President Roosevelt, to which he added his advocacy of a "quarantine" of China. Hull felt the use of that term caused an isolationist backlash in the U.S. [542-545]

On January 20, 1937, through Hjalmar Schacht, Adolf Hitler proposed a comprehensive peace plan that involved giving Germany some (probably former) colonies and abolish sanctions, which France allegedly supported, but Britain killed. Hull felt Germany, Italy and Japan had re-armed for peace, so that any disarmament and peace agreement would only "lull the democracies." [546-547]

"By 1937 the United States had reached a stage where any further effective efforts to promote and preserver peace required increased military preparations for self-defense to back them up." [548]

In November 1937, per Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, the British "base at Singapore was now completed; and the British Admiralty felt that the British and American publics greatly exaggerated the power of the Japanese Navy." [553]

The Brussels Nine-Power Conference of 1937 on the situation in China was a complete fiasco. [552-555]

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