The impenetrable obscurity enveloping Shanghai has at last been pierced by a note from the State Department. To a bewildered world it is now disclosed that treaties have actually been violated in the Oriental imbroglio. The firm position of January 7 is reiterated with emphasis. America will under no circumstances recognize any treaty resulting from an act in violation of existing agreements, nor will she consider revision of their terms. Chauvinistic America will point out with pride this latest manifestation of superior diplomacy and will complain in unison with Mr. Stimson that Europe has deserted the cause of peace by refusing to follow his leadership.
Mr. Stimson's trumpeting will meet with an indifferent reception in Europe. The League has enacted the farce of her own impotence with that solemn dignity of persistence which only pokerfaced diplomacy can impart. Great powers have blocked every move likely to arouse Japan. After summoning up her right to invoke the assembly, even China, desperate for action as she is, announces that she will originate no proposal for economic boycott. The machinery of the League has offered no acceptable remedy for the situation. Mr. Stimson's proposal, which he repeats at this time, is the last alternative.
But, although the suggestion is sound, it does not conform to the necessary requirements. It promises to excite Japan; it will require definite compromising action. Just as the plan for economic boycott is fading into the gloom of backchamber negotiations and selfish nationalism, Mr. Stimson's clarion call to action is destined to be but whistling in the wind.