Alliance in Doubt
Ralph D. Sawyer on Chinese Warfare: The Paradox of the Unlearned Lesson. "From any reasonable perspective Chinas continuity has been cultural rather than political, its heritage throughout one of incessant conflict as different peoples, states, and popular movements fought to control its populace and resources."
Minxin Pei asks, Is China Unstable? "China... will face rising instability if the regime fails to undertake significant political reform in the next decade."
Carl Fritz on China in 1945: One Man's Experience. "My unit was an air service group, and when the war ended members of the unit were widely scattered all over China."
Thomas D. Grant on Taiwan Trouble. "Taiwan had almost all the traits of a separate state, except that it never claimed to be a separate state."
Joseph J. Borich on US-China Relations: Springtime Ice Beginning to Melt. "Since mid-June, there have been several signs that bilateral relations may be gradually improving."
Other articles in this issue:
David Brown on policy implicataions for the US one year after the outbreak of the financial crisis in Southeast Asia:
Other recent articles in American Diplomacy:
Walter A. McDougall, in Religion in Diplomatic History, took a different look at the Westphalian system of nation-states and the role played by religion: "Americans have been prone to justify their behavior abroad in Protestant Christian terms, however much they may disagree about what constitutes right and wrong." [Summer 1999]
Elsewhere in this issue:
|Such dire predictions of doom were overdone as the events of the next few weeks would show, but in the middle of June 1960 these ideas were a natural development from the understanding Americans had at the time of prewar Japan. The dominant historical interpretation of the 1920s argued that the archipelago had enjoyed a brief period of representative government known as Taisho democracy. During this time political parties came to dominate the Diet and gained control of the cabinet. The Japanese people seemed to be adopting western ideologies, fashions and culture, only to have all these progressive gains destroyed in the 1930s when right-wing militarists seized control of the government and attempted to purge the nation of what it saw as western decadence.32|
A few scattered voices challenged the exaggerated views of the setback in Japan. The editorial board of the Atlanta Constitution asserted that the cancellation of the Eisenhowers visit was not about to propel Japan into a Marxist revolution. To assume as a result of it that the Communists are about to take over that country equally is unrealistic. While conceding that a red Japan would be a huge blow to the U.S. crusade in the Cold War, the situation is by no means hopeless and theres no reason for panic. The editors of the New York Herald Tribune agreed. The reservoirs of good will for America have by no means been emptied in the critical areas of the world. The official position of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram was that all was not lost. A real defeat for the United States would lie in any inclination to mark Japan off as lost.33
Many other journalists, in assessments of the Presidents Far Eastern trip, argued that, taken as a whole, the cheering crowds that welcomed Eisenhower in the Philippines, Korea and Taiwan indicated that the United States still had strong support in the region regardless of the developments in Japan. On balance Mr. Eisenhower did well, an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times contended. Such voices were few and far between and rarely had much more knowledge about Japanese affairs than those voicing notes of impending disaster. In fact, in many cases they shared similar assumptions about the nature of politics in Japan and conceded disaster in Tokyo.34
Doubts about treaty grow in Washington
The dominant, sensationalist view of events in Japan that held center stage in the middle of June might be easy to dismiss were it not shaping the opinions of U.S. senators who were beginning to question the merit of approving the new treaty. Richard Russell, the senior senator from Georgia and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, wanted to delay ratification. Events in Japan, he told the press, border on anarchy. Later, while debating the treaty on the floor of the Senate, he admitted that he got his information on Japan from the media. He also suspected that the press might be misrepresenting the events in Japan. The riots against a new treaty in which America made a number of concessions without receiving any return made no sense to him; the accord clearly favored Japan and that was why he had to oppose the new pact. In the new treaty the United States would relinquish its right to intervene in Japan during moments of domestic unrest, a concession that he thought looked unwise in light of recent events. He also wondered about Japan's reliability as an ally. Minnesota Democrat Hubert Humphrey said that while he supported the treaty, he believed it would be best if the Senate waited. Johnston of South Carolina was more direct, What advantage is there in retaining an alleged alliance or friendship with a nation which cannot guarantee the peaceful visit of our Chief Executive to that country? On June 16, Lyndon Johnson warned Herter that Russell might be a problem. He also said Humphrey and some liberals might object to prompt ratification.35
The day after that conversation, Carl Marcy, chief of staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a memo to Fulbright, Johnson, and Mansfield recommending that the Senate delay ratification until 1961. If the Kishi government fell after Senate ratification, Marcy predicted headlines that read Japanese People Repudiate United States Treaty. This would be yet another diplomatic disaster. Of greater importance, the future of Japanese democracy was uncertain. Should the Japanese situation deteriorate to the point of requiring outside intervention, there is authority for that intervention under the existing treaty, but not the new treaty. He believed the Senate should wait until order returned to Japan. As soon as the Japanese people have a government with a fresh mandate from the people, the Senate will act on the treaty. Even if he were wrong, he doubted waiting would damage relations between the two countries. There is no evidence that Senate delay until next January would hurt the United States interests in Japan. Herter had admitted as much in front of the committee. In a postscript, Marcy added that he had presented one side and that the Senators might want to consult with the administration before settling on a course of action.36
Lyndon Johnson quickly rejected Marcys advice. Both political and diplomatic factors demanded rapid action. Since the U-2 incident and the breakup of the Paris Summit he had been the only Democratic presidential candidate to offer the administration his unqualified support. His actions appeared non-partisan and bolstered his image as a statesman. His emphasis on his experience as he discussed foreign policy at weekend gatherings of Democrats strengthened his declared candidacy and badly wounded the front runner for the nomination, Senator John F. Kennedy. Many began to wonder that June if the Massachusetts Democrat really had the qualifications to be the President of the United States.37
If Johnson delayed ratification, it would be a vote of no confidence in both the administration and the Japanese. Such an event would bring about a break with Eisenhower, undoing all his hard work at building a statesman-like image. He also wanted to help the Japanese recover from their psychological war wounds and develop a stronger sense of self respect. I am one person who is not disturbed about the actions of a small minority in Japan, he told the Mainichi Shimbun. It is my conviction that the great majority of the Japanese people desire good relations with our country and this, I believe, we should reciprocate. He expressed the hope that the Japanese people would acquit themselves of their obligations nobly and that the future will bring our two nations ever closer together. He had to win over Fulbright before the pact reached the floor of the Senate. The Arkansas Senators opinion would carry a good deal of wait with his colleagues. Delaying ratification would do little to advance such interests and could very well do a good deal of damage to U.S.-Japanese relations. The Peoples Council might just winin Washington rather than Tokyo. A New York Times reporter covering the ratification effort on Capitol Hill wrote in his lead paragraph, Limited but significant pressure has developed here for a reassessment of United States relations with Japan. According to this report, talk in the Senate about delaying a vote was beginning to worry administration officials; they feared such an action would play into the hands of the communists in Tokyo.38
Lyndon Johnson mounts Senate ratification bid
Johnson had several advantages as the Senate prepared to address the treaty. The Texan controlled the initiative of when the debate would start in the Senate. He kept the exact date the treaty would reach the floor of the upper chamber undecided, making it difficult for opponents to organize and prepare. Fulbright was in the hospital for the treatment of his foot, which diverted his attention from legislative issues and gave Johnson time to get administration help in his efforts to secure the support of his colleague from Arkansas. Johnson told Herter through Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts to expect ratification on June 20 or 21. Still worried about Russell and Humphrey, he told the two Republicans to keep the news to themselves. Confused by this indirect communication, Herter called Johnson for clarification. Johnson told him about Marcys suggestions and said many senators had doubts about the treaty. He asked Herter for his considered judgment on postponement, and then, without giving him a chance to respond, explained how he would secure Fulbrights support and get the treaty ratified. He wanted to have control over the introduction of the administrations response to the Marcy memo. You just give me your views in a letter and then Ill put it in my inside coat pocket and start telling the boys I want to bring it up pretty soon and when I run into any obstinacy I can show them what you say.39
Herter agreed, and composed a letter that undoubtedly delighted Johnson. The flexibility the Secretary had displayed at the Foreign Relations Committee hearings on timing was gone. The Senate had to ratify the treaty, he wrote; the future of Japan was at stake:
The letter served Johnsons needs. When the treaty went before the Senate as a whole on June 21, Fulbright acted as the floor manager, introducing the committees unanimous report recommending approval. He answered numerous questions about the meaning of prior consultations and the impact it would have on the deployment of U.S. troops abroad.41 He exchanged views with Aiken and Russell about the role of Japan in the international balance of power of East Asia. Russell also stated that Article IX of the American-imposed constitution, which renounced war as an instrument of state, was a mistake and he hoped the Japanese would void that section in the near future.42
End Notes (Part IV)
32. Edwin O. Reischauer, Japan Past and Present (Second edition, New York, 1958), 142-185; Edwin O. Reischauer, What Went Wrong? in James Morley, ed., Dilemmas of Growth in Prewar Japan (Princeton, NJ, 1971), 489-510. For a different interpretation that comes to similar broad conclusions see Robert Scalapino, Democracy and Party Movement in Prewar Japan: The Failure of the First Attempt (Los Angeles and Berkeley, 1953). In the 1960s and 1970s scholars of Japan challenged this view, arguing that the Japanese actually had very little attachment to democracy. See the essays in Robert E. Ward, ed., Political Development in Modern Japan (Princeton, NJ, 1968); Bernard S. Silberman and H.D. Harootunian, Japan in Crisis: Essays on Taish Democracy (Princeton, NJ, 1974) and the others in Morley, Dilemmas of Growth.
33. The Atlanta Constitution, June 17, 1960; New York Herald Tribune, June 20, 1960; Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 22, 1960.
34. This view was the official position of the Hearst chain. An editorial to that effect was printed in all Hearst papers on June 23, 1960. This citation is to the issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for that day. Other papers offering similar assessments include The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 21, 1960; The Washington Daily News, June 21, 1960; Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, June 21, 1960; Chicago Sun-Times, June 22, 1960.
35. New York Herald Tribune, June 12, 1960; The Washington Post, June 17, 1960; The New York Times, June 18, 1960; Herter-Johnson Telephone Conversation, June 16, 1960, Box 1, Notes and Transcripts of LBJ Conversations, LBJ Archive, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, Texas (Hereafter referred to as LBJL).; Congressional Record, 86th Congress, 2d. session, 13551-53.
36. Marcy to Fulbright, June 17, 1960, Foreign Relations-Japan Folder, Box 770, Senate File, LBJ Archive, LBJL.
37. Nicholas Evan Sarantakes, Lyndon Johnson, Foreign Policy, and the Election of 1960, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Forthcoming.
38. Johnson to Uchida Genzo, June 27, 1960, 1960, Foreign Relations-Japan Folder, Box 770, Senate File, LBJ Archive, LBJL; The New York Times, June 18, 1960.
39. The New York Times, June 18, 1960; Telephone Conversations, June 20, 1960; Christian A. Herter Telephone Calls from March 28, 1960 to June 30, 1960 Folder, Box 12, Papers of Christian Herter, DDEL; Herter-Johnson Telephone Conversation, June 20, 1960, Box 1, Notes and Transcripts of LBJ Conversations, LBJ Archive, LBJL.
40. Herter to Johnson, June 20, 1960, Foreign Relations-Japan Folder, Box 770, Senate File, LBJ Archive, LBJL
41. Congressional Record, 86th Congress, 2d. session, 13544-13550.
42. Ibid, 13550-13553.
43. Ibid, 13553-13572; 13574-13582; 13585-13589; 13594-13597; 13708; 13737-13740; The New York Times, June 22, 1960; Los Angeles Times, June 23, 1960; New York Herald Tribune, June 23, 1960; Washington Evening Star, June 22, 1960.
44. The Atlanta Constitution, June 23, 1960; Los Angeles Times, June 23, 1960.
45. New York Herald Tribune, June 23, 1960; Schaller, Altered States, 158.
46. New York Herald Tribune, June 23, 1960; The Washington Post, June 23, 1960; Washington Evening Star, June 23, 1960.
47. New York Herald Tribune, June 20, 1960; the citation for this five part series that appeared in all Hearst newspapers is New York Journal-American, June 26-30, 1960; U.S. News and World Report, July 18, 1960, 98.