JAPAN AND THE NAVAL CONFERENCE
Despite the consternation caused by the tactless Mr. Amau of Japan, his recent declaration of policy in the Far East can be said to have one beneficial effect. It inevitably clarifies the attitude of Japan, thus providing the countries concerned in entering next year's naval conference with some idea of what claims Japan will make.
When the conference meets, to decide upon a revision of the terms of the Washington Conference, little can be accomplished without a clear understanding on the part of each nation of the existing situation. Considerable water has passed under the bridge since 1921, Mussolini has rejuvenated Italy; the Sovist Republic has, under Stalin, become nationally-minded; of the three statesmen, Briand, Streseman and Macdonald, who were believed capable of achieving a millennium of peace in Europe, two have died, and the third has fallen a victim to his ideology; with every year, Japan has become more militaristically inclined; and Hitler has made it clear that Germany is going through with her reconstruction regardless of the Treaty of Versailles. All in all, the conciliatory spirit that emerged supreme at Washington will be almost impossible to recapture next year. Japan insists on her rights as the guardian of the Far East, and will unquestionably claim inability to fulfill her duties without a larger navy. It is difficult to conceive of England, Russia and the United States consenting to the dictates of Japan, for these constitute a serious threat to their interests, individually and collectively.
Will Rogers' observation that few things today are as dangerous as peace conferences has more truth than humor. The misunderstanding and acrimony that result from the conflicting interests of the Great Powers can be tempered only by time, and the sooner those interests become known, and are aired and discussed in the press, the more hope will there be for ultimate agreement. The disarming frankness of Mr. Amau is therefore not wholly to be deprecated, and much might be gained were Great Britain and the United States to make public their reactions. Silence may be golden, but the silver of lucid, carefully-considered speech has a value all its own.