MR. KAWAKAMI is the Washington correspondent of Tokyo's great "Hochi Shimbun." The West knows him as Japan's solitary boast in the art of effective propaganda, the only member of her voluble corps of sooth-sayers clever enough to admit that the Shanghai intervention was a grave and witless blunder which could not intelligently be defended. Further, he tells why the Japanese have made themselves unpopular in Manchoukuo, and spoofs loudly at the idea that the new state was founded on the happy will of thirty million Manchurians. All this is too naive for Mr. Kawakami, who builds up a really coherent and credible defense for his countrymen on the warp of a new political thesis. This thesis holds that the white man, since Metternich developed the principle of wholesale intervention, has held that principle his exclusive preserve, and is inclined to view with anger any Japanese poaching. Thus the League Council continued, despite the Lytton report, to speak of the national Chinese government as if such a government did exist, without regard to the fact that Chiang Kiashek was not on substantially better terms with Canton and the Communist South than he was with the berserk Manchurian freebooters of the North. Under these conditions, the withdrawal of Japanese troops at the time of the League order would have meant the establishment of a bloody war lord government in the disputed provinces.
This thesis seems vindicated by the resignation of the defeated Chiang, and the termination of the menace which his unbridled hosts held for foreign interests in Manchuria. There is much pith in the remark that Japan might also have been literal about Chinese treaties if an anarchic China had been two thousand miles from her frontiers, and if her interests were as small as Great Britain's much touted Persian oil wells. But it is clear that no adult judgment of Japan's conduct can be made until the charges that she bribed the revolting Chinese governments are either substantiated or dispelled. Granting, for the sake of argument, that treaties with an overturned and incomplete government are merely academic in the face of a vital threat to national safety, there is still a certain overzealous arrogance in Japan's foreign policy which even Mr. Kawakami's skill can not explain away. The present book deals also with the structure and problems of the new government of Manchoukuo, and expresses the pious hope that Chinese reorganization will soon permit the Manchurians to return to the bosom of a really national Chinese state. In all of which, we are left to assume, disinterested Japan would happily concur, with dulcet twitterings from above. But the book is, in the main, a capable presentation of the enlightened Japanese view, vastly more convincing than Dr. Shei's pamphleteering attempts to establish China's case.
As an engaging relief from the recriminations and gloom of the newsman's treatise comes a lecture by Sir Frederick Whyte on the prospects of future international cooperation. The lecture was delivered and published under the auspices of the Milton Academy foundation, and in spite of Sir Frederick's post as Political Adviser to China, his tone is mild and historical. All this was done far more ably by Gilbert Murray in "The Ordeal of the Present Generation," with a keener and more tempered philosophical approach to the problem of nationalism and its justifications, but, as a lecturer, Sir Frederick has evidently many charms. One might have wished, however, that a man whose position has allowed him to see the course of League counsels with fresh and revealing immediacy would offer a contribution to political thought in less general, more actual terms.