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Power, and quite another when a firstclass Power is in question? The idea is hardly very creditable to us, and yet the United States was not allied to us, while Japan is. Not content with allowing the ships to coal, special arrangements were made to secure the safety of the Baltic Fleet, while passing through the Canal. Great Britain did not only break neutrality, but she also broke the convention with Japan, in which it is decreed that :—
If either Great Britain or Japan, in the defence of their respective interests as above described, should become involved in war with another Power, the other high contracting party will maintain a strict neutrality and use its efforts to prevent other Powers from joining in hostilities against its ally.
To grant such valuable assistance to Russia as against Japan by enabling the Russian Fleet to proceed towards that country, is as clear an infraction of the treaty as can be imagined. And what must not be forgotten is that the Continent looks at all these incidents in a way derogatory to British prestige, and as signs of British fear of Russia. Along this line was the announcement of the Russian Admiral that the British Fleet had "protected" the Baltic Fleet during part of its journey, and the presentation of a cup by the Tsar to a British naval officer. The latter is a disgrace to Great Britain, and it must have come as a surprise to many that the traditions of the British Navy could happily submit to such a studied insult. The British action in connection with the North Sea incident is perhaps the worst of all the crimes against our ally. The North Sea Convention, as it finally emerged from the St. Petersburg mould, bears every sign of being a treaty to try Japan—our ally—for an offence with which nobody, not even those Russians who affirm it, believe Japan had anything to do. Apart from
the unnecessary truckling to Russia implied by the change in the wording of the convention, the whole arrangement is a distinct breach of the fourth article of the treaty of alliance with Japan. This states that, "The High Contracting Parties agree that neither of them will, without consulting the other, enter into separate arrangements with another Power to the prejudice of the interests described in the foregoing articles."
How ever British diplomats could have allowed themselves to be enticed into this Russian trap passes comprehension. Quite apart from the breach of good faith with Japan in connection with the North Sea incident, it is interesting to note the effect which was produced by the devious course of British diplomacy on the smaller European States and on the Asiatic peoples. These saw in the incident an opportunity for Great Britain to raise her prestige without running any risk of a war with Russia. Although these countries close their eyes too easily perhaps to moral arguments, it is well for us not to ignore what was the effect of the fatal half-strong, half-weak policy adopted by the British Government. The first few days the prestige of Great Britain went up, but by the time the convention was announced it had fallen so low as to be quite invisible. A case in point is to be found in Persia. The Russian reverses had strengthened the hands of Sir Arthur Hardinge in Teheran, but the British retreat before Russia, as it appeared to the Persians, led the Shah at once to send a special mission of friendship to St. Petersburg. So little trouble does Great Britain take to maintain her prestige, that at the present moment It Is not too much to say that British prestige is upheld by Japan. Especially is this the case with Asiatic countries. An Englishman from the Far East recently wrote an excellent article on this subject in the St. James's Gazette. He said :—
It Is Japan alone that has saved us and the British Empire from a reduction to impotence in the China Seas. . . . Instead of the Alliance producing a feeling of satisfaction that we possess the friendship and support of a nation which has shown itself superior in organization to all the rest of the world, an utterly illogical apprehension tends to drive them into the opposite extreme. Such people cannot see that our international position minus the Alliance would be hazardous in the extreme, and that if there is one factor which has furthered our European policy more than another, it has been the alliance with Japan. The backing of Japan, especially in Asian political questions, has strengthened our diplomacy immensely, and increasingly so ever since the world was forced to recognize the brilliant efficiency of the Mikado's naval and military power.
Japanese statesmen have not by any means overlooked the British laxity in neutrality, as is evidenced by the following statement made by Baron Suyematsu :—
It Is strongly felt that the nations of Europe are assisting Russia in a way never contemplated by us. I do not suggest that England is not fulfilling her duty as an ally, but even in this country much indirect assistance is being rendered to Russia by individuals.
But for the assistance of the subjects of neutral States, the Baltic Fleet could never have put to sea, and it could not have gone far without English coal. Probably this sale is not effected directly, but Russia is receiving very material assistance.
When contraband trade is carried on in the present wholesale and open fashion, the Government of the country in question should take steps to prevent the continuance of action prejudicial to another nation, especially when that nation happens to be an ally.
There might easily arise a case in
connection with the Baltic Fleet's journey to the Far East which would force the nations having ports in the south of Asia to come to a definite decision upon the possibility of allowing facilities to one belligerent and not to the other. Suppose, as is quite possible, that Admiral Togo decided to go and meet the Baltic Fleet in the Malayan Archipelago, and in the pursuance of this policy were to put into Saigon or Singapore to repair and coal. Would the French and British authorities be prepared to grant to the Japanese ships the same facilities as were granted to the Baltic Fleet in French harbors and in Egypt?
The net result of the attitude of the European Powers during this war has been to call up very considerable doubts as to the existence of any international morality amongst them. Of course it is well known that international law is very backward, and consists of a few great conventions, such as the Geneva and Hague conventions, and local treaties affecting only parts of the community. But there is, besides these international laws, an international morality, just as in private life there are many things governed by sentiments or public opinion and not by law. Gradually the system of international morality was to develop into a system of international law, binding upon all the world —such was the desire of all progressive people. All nations are unanimous in declaring themselves desirous for peace, and as abhorring war. Therefore they might have been expected, if not actually to work for peace, not to work against it. And yet, what is the case to-day? Instead of working for peace, the European nations are urging on the war. Two men are fighting in the street in a private quarrel, and instead of attempting to dissuade them from their fisticuffs, the spectators are handing now one a
sword, now the other a pistol. This is the attitude of the European Powers during a war at the present day. And there is no secret made of it, and no shame expressed. That assistance by individuals of other countries should be given to the belligerents is perhaps inevitable, but just as many things in private life, which are not expressly forbidden by law, can only be practised sub rosa, and against the trend of public opinion, so we might expect that in national affairs any assistance should be given clandestinely. But this is far from being the case, as may be judged from the recent statements of Monsieur Bompard, French Ambassador to Russia, given to a reporter. This eminent French diplomat had no hesitation in discussing openly and rejoicing over the fact that Russia was preparing to spend a certain proportion of her money in the purchase of war material in France. The most dreadful part of the matter is, that nobody seemed to be astonished that he should do so. And yet, what would one say of a spectator who handed one of two fighting men a knife? Reluctantly we are forced to the conclusion that the European nations do not really know what international morality is, their vision is obscured by their desire to profit by every opportunity. The remarkable letter of Professor Holland to The Times, in which he stated in effect that contraband selling was legitimate so long as the vessel was not captured, threw an unpleasant light upon the condition of affairs in the international field. What would be said of any one who advanced the theory that we could commit murders and not be doing wrong unless we were found out? And yet that is the argument solemnly advanced by one whose name, as an international law expert, is world-wide. The question of contraband becomes exceptionally acute in a case where the ships are running the
blockade to provision a besieged fortress. Here they are undoubtedly and directly assisting one belligerent, and equally certainly being the cause of the loss of many more lives to the attacking force. As the law now stands, those who run the blockade do so without any personal risk. If caught, their cargo and their ships are confiscated, but they themselves go scot free. And since few blockade-runners start without sufficient money down to cover this risk, this punishment is not such as to deter the contrabandiers from running the blockade. And neutral territory is openly used to prepare these blockade-running expeditions. In Shanghai so little secrecy was there about the matter, that a case was tried in the public court in which the sailors of a British steamer had refused to sail because she was going to run the blockade to Vladivostok. Here we have a British vessel, in a harbor where British influence is paramount, calmly preparing to convey goods to Russia to enable her to fight longer against the British ally—Japan. Nothing is done to prevent the ship sailing, and the only feeling, should she arrive safely, would be one of satisfaction at the cleverness of the British sailingmaster, and the profits of the owners. In the future the laws must place the blockade-runners on the same footing as belligerents, and make them liable to being shot if captured. If a soldier is found passing through the line in civilian clothes he is shot as a spy. What are the blockade-runners but belligerents in civilian clothes? All these proofs of the lack of an international morality are very saddening, evidences as they are of national decadence and a lack of progress.
The international morals of Japan are much higher than those of Europe, and this has often resulted in her being deceived and taken in by overmuch confidence in her neighbors. But it is a quality which makes nations truly great, and an immoral nation can never be for long a great nation. Although there are no moral companions for Japan in Europe, there is one in the United States of America. The United States feels intense sympathy with Japan, and does so because she can understand the motives which actuate Japanese policy. These motives are too high to be comprehensible to us. In the past, the United States have shown outward and visible signs of international morality. After the bombardment of the Straits of Shlmonoseki by the allied fleets to force the Japanese hand, the Americans returned the indemnity to Japan. But this was the only nation to do so. Great Britain, whose Fleet acted without orders from London, accepted the fait accompli, and kept the indemnity. It was the case of a parent who, having told his little boy not to steal his neighbor's apples, on finding that he has gone and stolen a basketful, forgives him and says, "Give me the apples." The United States also acted very rightly in regard to the Boxer outbreak. The message of President Roosevelt, after his re-election this year, is one of the finest expositions of the American idea of international morality that can be found anywhere.
The steady aim of this nation (wrote President Roosevelt), as of all enlightened nations, should be to strive to bring ever nearer the day when there shall prevail throughout the world the peace of justice. There are kinds of peace which are highly undesirable, which are in the long run as destructive as any war. . . . The peace of tyrannous terror, the peace of craven weakness, the peace of unrighteousness, these should be shunned as we shun unrighteous war. The goal set before us as a nation, the goal which should be set before all mankind, is the attainment of the peace of justice, of the peace which comes when each nation is not merely safe-guarded in its
own rights, but scrupulously recognizes and performs its duty towards others. Generally peace tells for righteousness; but if there is conflict between the two, then our fealty is due first to the cause of righteousness. Unrighteous wars are common and unrighteous peace is rare; but both should be shunned. . . . It Is our duty to remember that a nation has no more right to do injustice to another nation, strong or weak, than an individual has to do injustice to another individual; that the same moral law applies in one case as in the other. . . . Within the nation the individual has now delegated this right to the State—that is, to the representative of all the individuals—and it is a maxim of the law that for every wrong there is a remedy. But in international law we have not advanced by any means as far as we have advanced in municipal law. There is as yet no judicial way of enforcing a right in international law. When one nation wrongs another or wrongs many others, there is no tribunal before which the wrongdoer can be brought. Either it is necessary supinely to acquiesce in the wrong, and thus put a premium upon brutality and aggression, or else it is necessary for the aggrieved nation valiantly to stand up for its rights. Until some method is devised by which there shall be a degree of international control over offending nations, it would be a wicked thing for the most civilized Powers, for those with most sense of international obligations and with keenest and most generous appreciation of the difference between right and wrong, to disarm. If the great civilized nations of the present day should completely disarm, the result would mean an immediate recrudescence of barbarism in one form or another. Under any circumstances a sufficient armament would have to be kept up to serve the purposes of international police; and until international cohesion and the sense of international duties and rights are far more advanced than at present, a nation desirous both of securing respect for itself and of doing good to others must (have a force adequate for the work which it feels is allotted to it as its part of the general world duty. Therefore it follows that a self-respecting, just, and farseeing nation should on the one hand endeavor by every means to aid in the development of the various movements which tend to provide substitutes for war, which tend to render nations in their actions towards one another, and indeed towards their own peoples, more responsive to the general sentiment of humane and civilized mankind; and on the other hand that it should keep prepared, while scrupulously avoiding wrongdoing itself, to repel any wrong, and in exceptional cases to take action which in a more advanced stage of international relations would come under the head of the exercise of the international police. A great free people owes it to itself and to all mankind not to sink into helplessness before the powers of evil.
In addition to these words expressing the American policy, they also voice accurately the Japanese policy. That the people of the United States recognize that this is so, is shown by the very remarkable cablegram sent to the Emperor of Japan at a banquet to Prince Fushiml In America, at which the Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Loomls, assisted. This message ran :—
The health of the Emperor has just been drunk amid great enthusiasm. The sentiment was warmly applauded that the character and ability of the Emperor would prove as potent in the regeneration of Asia as it had been in the regeneration of his own country.
Which is a very decided answer to the hysterical Yellow Peril moans of the German Emperor, as well as a vote of confidence in Japanese morality. There would seem to be hope for the world if these two moral nations have come together to work for peace and progress along moral lines. The words penned by Mr. Loomis may help Great Britain to realize her duty and cause all true patriots to rally to the full support of that alliance which is so valua
ble an asset in our national strength. It must be remembered that the carrying out in full good faith of the treaty of alliance is all that even the most exigent Japanese would expect, and this we ought to do, without being forced to do so by national expediency. And yet this question of an alliance with Japan is distinctly one of national expediency. It will pay us better to be allied to Japan than to return to our former "splendid" isolation. There are not wanting those in England who, had they the reins of power in their hands, would abrogate the treaty. This they would do for party reasons, being largely color-blind as to foreign policy. To tell any politician on the Continent that there is a party in England opposed to the Japanese alliance is to lay one's self open to ridicule and derision. To the foreign nations such a course is unthinkable. And Japan is no uncertain quantity. She has proved her reliability in the fire of as fierce a temptation as can ever be placed before a nation. Fighting for her national existence, Japan has made no movement to drag Great Britain into the war, although the bringing of her into it would have been all advantage and no disadvantage to Japan. Neither has Japan done anything save restrain China from mixing herself in the war, and so bringing in other Powers. Japan, having emerged triumphantly from this ordeal, we cast mud at her, and disparage the value of the alliance. It needs no great discernment to discover that at the present time a faithful ally is a very rare possession. We have only to look at the alliances existing in Europe to-day to see how much worse we might have fared. As has been shown above, on the Continent and in the Far East, the Japanese alliance means great things to Great Britain. All the gain has been on our side, since there can be very few thinking people who can argue that,