Back   Japan leaves the League of Nations

JAPAN STUNS WORLD, WITHDRAWS FROM LEAGUE

By Stewart Brown, United Press Staff Correspondent

 

GENEVA, Feb. 24, 1933 -- The Japanese delegation, defying world opinion, withdrew from the League of Nations Assembly today after the assembly had adopted a report blaming Japan for events in Manchuria.

The stunned international conclave, representing almost every nation on earth, sat in silence while the delegation, led by the dapper Yosuke Matsuoka, clad in black, walked from the hall. The crowded galleries broke into mingled hisses and applause.

Japan's formal resignation from the league is expected to be filed later.

"We are not coming back," Matsuoka said simply as he left the hall.

The assembly's report, recommending that Japan withdraw her troops occupying Manchuria and restore the country to Chinese sovereignty, was adopted, 42 to 1, Japan voting against it. Paul Hymans, presiding, announced it was unanimous, since the vote of interested parties does not count.

The session which made history, signifying the final break between the league and one of the world's major powers, was fairly brief and simple.

As the roll was called down the alphabetical list of nations, delegate after delegate voted for the resolution.

When China was called, there was a slight stir of expectancy and W. W. Yen, Chinese delegate, firmly answered:

"Yes."

Japan was called a few moments later. Matsuoka's decisive "no" could be clearly heard in all parts of the hall.

Matsuoka later announced the delegation's withdrawal from the league, the first step in breaking relations with Geneva. Two years is required to make withdrawal final. Japan will be held responsible for fulfillment of her international obligations during that time.

The Japanese delegation stalked from the hall while a translator interpreted Matsuoka's speech.

Matsuoka, usually typifying the placid oriental diplomat, was nervous before he began his speech, and abandoned the text before he finished. He shouted from the rostrum:

"Japan will oppose any attempt at international control of Manchuria. It does not mean that we defy you, because Manchuria belongs to us by right.

"Read your history. We recovered Manchuria from Russia. We made it what it is today."

He referred to Russia, as well as China, as a cause for "deep and anxious concern" for Japan.

"We look into the gloom of the future and can see no certain gleam of light before us," Matsuoka declared.

He reiterated that Manchuria was a matter of life and death for Japan, and than no concession or compromise was possible, saying: "Japan has been and will always be the mainstay of peace, order and progress in the Far East."

In objecting to proposed international control of Manchuria, he asked, "Would the American people agree to such control of the Panama Canal Zone; would the British permit it over Egypt?

"The Japanese people will oppose any such attempt in Manchuria. I beg of this body to realize the facts and see a vision of the future. I earnestly beg of you to deal with us on our terms, to give us your confidence.

"To deny us this appeal will be a mistake. I ask you not to adopt this report," Matsuoka said earnestly.

After the assembly voter had been taken, Matsuoka announced "the Japanese government is obliged to feel that hey have now reached the limit of their endeavors to co-operate with the league regarding Sino-Japanese differences.

"It is a source of profound regret and disappointment to the Japanese government that the draft report has now been adopted by this assembly. Japan has been a member of the league since its inception. Our delegates in past conferences participated in the drafting of the league covenant.

"We have been proud to be members, associated with the leading nations of the world in one of the grandest purposes in which humanity could unite. It has always been our sincere wish and pleasure to co-operate with fellow members of the league, attaining the great aims held in common and long cherished by humanity.

"I deeply deplore the situation we are now confronting, for I doubt if the same aims-the desire to see lasting peace established-is animating us all in our deliberations and actions," Matsuoka continued.

"It is a matter of common knowledge that Japan's policy is fundamentally inspired by the genuine desire to guarantee peace in the Far East and to contribute to the maintenance of peace throughout the world.

"Japan, however, finds it impossible to accept the report adopted by the assembly, and she has taken pains to point out that the recommendations in the report cannot be considered such as would secure peace in that part of the world.

"The Japanese government now find themselves compelled to conclude that Japan and other members of the league entertain different views on the manner to achieve peace in the Far East, and the Japanese government feel they have now reached the limit of their endeavors to co-operate with the league with regard to Sino-Japanese differences.

"The Japanese government will, however, make their utmost efforts for the establishment of peace in the Far East and the maintenance and strengthening of cordial relations with other powers.

"I need hardly add that the Japanese government will persist in their desire to contribute to human welfare, and will continue their policy of co-operating in all sincerity in the work dedicated to world peace," Matsuoka concluded.

Matsuoka looked very grim and determined when he left the assembly hall after his speech.

"That means the withdrawal of our delegation from the league," he told the United Press. "We can no longer co-operate on this question."

Matsuoka, his chief assistants, and the Japanese attaches immediately left the league building.

Letters were addressed by the league secretariat to the United States and Soviet governments, asking them to decide "as soon as possible" whether they would participate in an international consultative committee immediately after the league assembly adopted the Manchurian report today.

The committee will comprise the league's Committee of 19, and Holland and Canada, and will be asked to consider the situation created by Japan's rejection of the Manchurian report and continued military operations in Manchuria.