ARMY & NAVY: Fleet Problem XVI

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These agitations did not fail to disturb the Navy, which cannot run without public money and naturally wants lots of friends. But vainly did Secretary Swanson declare that the maneuvers would not reach within 2,000 mi. of "Japanese territory."* In vain did Admiral William H. Standley, Chief of Naval Operations, explain that the operation had been scheduled a year ago, that the prime purpose of this or any other maneuver was not to stage a dress rehearsal of international conflict but to train men, test ships, familiarize officers with unfamiliar waters. Best spokesman for the U.S. Navy's point of view was Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Saito, good friend of Japan's plump, placid Navy Minister (Admiral) Mineo Osumi. Amiably announced that whiskey-drinking, Westernized Oriental fortnight ago:

"The Japanese Government and our naval people have never misunderstood the matter. They know that navies are navies, and that it is the navy's business to be familiar with not just some of their waters but all of their waters. . . . The only misconception was in the minds of the public. But now that it is becoming known that none of the American ships will approach closer to Japan than the 180th Meridian . . . the misunderstanding is clearing up."

But was it? In U. S. and Japanese naval circles the 180th Meridian (International Date Line), which splits the Pacific, is known as "The Fence." Two years ago the Japanese came closer to "The Fence" than they ever had come before when they held maneuvers around the Caroline and Marshall Islands. This year they will edge up closer to the Date Line when their Grand Fleet operates off Kamchatka Peninsula. But Fleet Problem XVI brings Uncle Sam closer to "The Fence," U. S. naval men privately admit, than either Japan or the U. S. has come before. And Japanese, for all their Ambassador at Washington may say. are not liking it.

When the U. S. Asiatic Fleet's Commander Admiral Frank B. Upham arrived in Yokohama last week on what the Navy called a "goodwill visit" (pacifists promptly and melodramatically dubbed his Augusta a "hostage ship"), Yokohama tendered a polite but restrained welcome. Less restrained was an official pamphlet simultaneously issued by the Japanese Navy Office. Since Japanese are Shintoists, whose symbol is the Sword of Patriotism instead of the Cross of Mercy, the Navy Office propagandists took a somewhat different religious view of the facts than did the friendly U. S. churchmen. Upholding Japan's "mission to maintain peace in the Orient," the pamphlet pointedly warned any nation making "preparations . . . for offensive ocean-crossing operations" that it "may be said to be violating the Will of Heaven."

* Incorrect. Westernmost Aleutian Island is only 620 mi. from Japan's northernmost Kuril Island.

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