Karl Radek


Russia’s Peace Negotiations
with Japan

(18 August 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 70, 18 August 1922, pp. 525–526.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2020). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The new Japanese Government declared itself willing to clear the Far Eastern coast and begin peace negotiations with Soviet Russia and the Far East Republic. The Soviet Government answered the proposals of the Japanese Government by appointing comrades Joffe and Janson to represent the two Republics at the peace parleys. No place has been fixed yet for the negotiations. It is no question of prestige when we insist that the parleys lake place where both delegations will be guaranteed the freest possible communications with their respective governments.

The peace negotiations will put an end to the war between Soviet Russia and Japan Since the beginning of its war against Siberia in 1918, Japan declared very often that it had no intention to force its will upon the Russian people. As a matter of fact, however, Japan, together with the other capitalistic governments, attempted to destroy that Government which responded best to the interests of the revolutionary workers and peasants of Russia. At the same time, the thievish Japanese bourgeoisie and the short sighted Japanese military clique were attempting the conquest of East Siberia. They did not understand that this policy could only help the capitalist Great Powers who were trying to isolate the young capitalism of Japan in a circle of enemies, and remove the danger of Japanese competition. If Japan attempted to conquer any portion of Russian territory in Siberia, it would make an enemy of the whole Russian people. The Japanese Government, like all capitalist governments, believed in the ultimate victory of the white troops, and supported them. But a victorious white government would also oppose the Japanese conquerors who would shut it off from the Pacific. The annexation of a part of Siberia would necessarily have led to a war between Soviet Russia and Japan, since Russia could never allow the exploitation of Russian workers and peasants by Japanese capital. Had not Japan come to its senses, its capitalist rivals would have attained their end. A Japan in conflict with the awakening Chinese people and the great Russian people would be rendered powerless against its enemies.

The Washington Conference had established no peace in the Far East. It had only brought about a truce which did not exclude the preparations for a new war. The Washington Conference reduced the number of dreadnoughts, but the dreadnoughts are no very important weapon in the immense Pacific Ocean. The diplomatic battle for the control of China has not ceased. Japan understands better than any one, the political significance of the war of U-Bei-Fu against Tchansolin. The Washington Conference broke up the Anglo-Japanese alliance; but this has little significance, since, in any acute conflict between America and England, Japan and England could act together, even without a written treaty. But the campaign which Lord Northcliffe began under the slogan “Watch Japan!” proves that English policy is tending to an understanding with the United States against Japan. By its desire to establish peace with Soviet Russia and the Far East Republic, Japan has proven that it is conscious of this danger. If we are not mistaken in this assumption, then the hope of successful peace negotiations is no vain dream.

The radical change in Japan’s inner policy strengthens this hope. The Cabinet of Admiral Cato declares that it wishes a reduction of the Army and army expenses. Many Japanese and American circles do not believe in the sincerity of these statements, and insist that the Cato Cabinet is merely trying to gain time. The negotiations with Russian and the Far East Republic will show whether the Japanese are sincere or not. For it is clear that in case Japan does not conclude peace with Russia, it will not be able to reduce its armaments, even if it should evacuate the Amur region. The Japanese people, the Japanese workers, farmers, and the petty bourgeoisie, who are suffering not only from the rising cost of living, but from a poor rice crop, will follow attentively the negotiations of their Government, since a successful conclusion will largely contribute to lighten their burden.

Soviet Russia is the only country which looks upon an men as equal, whatever their race; it grants to the Japanese on its territory, the same rights as to any other foreigners. While Soviet Russia does not intend to change any of the laws it has set up for the protection of its workers, it hopes to be able to settle a lasting peace with Japan, that is, if Japan will refrain from any attacks against the Soviet Power. Thereby will peace he secured, at least on one side of the Pacific.

Last updated on 5 May 2020