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

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Page 16
The Ludlow Resolution, Extraterritoriality, and Japan in 1938

In February 1937 Louis Ludlow, Democrat from Indiana, introduced a resolution requiring a national referendum prior to declaring war; this was to be an Amendment to the Constitution. It languished in committee until the Panay Incident, after which it was to be brought before the House of Representatives. It was supported by peace groups. President Roosevelt and Cordell Hull opposed it vigorously. It needed a 2/3 majority to pass, but failed at 209 to 188. [563-564]

Hull discusses U.S. extraterritorial rights in China, which he characterized as stemming "from the unsettled condition of China in previous decades." The U.S. maintained a Federal District Court in Shanghai. Appeals from it went to the San Francisco federal Circuit Court of Appeals. No Americans could be tried in a Chinese court. Hull claims the U.S. was getting read to relinquish its extraterritorial rights, but the plan had been upset by the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. Hull claimed Chiang's regime did not want the U.S. to give up extraterritorial rights until Japan had withdrawn. [565-566]

Chiang Kai-shek made a direct request to President Roosevelt for aid in January 1938. Hull's reply "informed Chiang Kai-shek that we were doing everything we could to bring about peace," but would not give China direct aid. [567]

"On February 4, 1938, the State Department announced that the Fifteenth Infantry Regiment, 808 officers and men, was being withdrawn from Tientsin to be replace by two companies of marines stationed at Peiping [Beijing]. The fighting had moved inland from Tientsin ... The Fifteenth Infantry had been in Tientsin a quarter of a century." The Sixth Marines were also withdrawn from Shanghai. [568]

The U.S. & other great powers believed Japan was building battleships bigger than the limits set by the London Conference. Questioned, "Foreign Minister Hirota's answer, given on February 12, failed to give the assurances asked for," so the U.S. decided it would "depart from the treaty limitations." [568-569]

Continuing to condemn Japanese bombings resulting in Chinese civilian casualties, on July 16, 1938 Joseph C. Green and Hull sent a letter to manufacturers and exporters of airplanes threatening to withdraw licensing of anyone exporting such to Japan. [569]

Hull continued to protest Japanese freezing out of U.S. business interests in China. On November 3, 1938 Japan proclaimed a "new order in East Asia." [569] The Japanese were acting like the Nine-Power and other treaties were obsolete. [570]

The U.S. at this time did not impose economic sanctions upon Japan, in concert with the other Western powers, because "we should have borne the heaviest burden, because our trade with Japan was almost twice as large as the trade with Japan of all the European countries combined." U.S. actions were to gain "time to prepare for the life-and-death struggle the Japanese war lords were planning." [571]

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