[ Nanking; Japan ]Long Autograph Letter from English-born jurist/adviser to Japan on foreign affairs Thomas Baty to 'Cooper', presenting a detailed defence of the Japanese position after the Nanking Massacre, and of Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

Thomas Baty (1869-1954), English-born jurist and authority on international law, who settled in Japan in 1916 as foreign legal adviser [Nanking Massacre; Second Sino-Japanese War; Spanish Civil War]
Publication details: 
'Tokio [Tokyo] 1 October, 1937'.
SKU: 17104

A letter of the first importance, as Baty had been since 1916 foreign legal adviser to the Japanese Government (following the death of Henry Willard Denison), and had been part of the Japanese delegation to the 1927 Geneva disarmament conference. Such was Baty's support for the Japanese position that the British Government seriously considered trying him for treason following the Second World War, choosing instead to revoke his British citizenship. 5pp., 4to. The first five pages of the letter only, and so lacking the signature, although Baty is without doubt the author. On brittle high-acidity paper, with fraying to extremities, wear and closed tears, some of the damage being unobtrusively repaired with archival tape. He begins by thanking Cooper for his 'candid & interesting letter', which 'crystallizes what are the floating ideas current in England about the Far East, & certainly Japan has a bad press: partly because it is always keen to avoid propaganda'. He supports this assertion with an anecdote concerning Baron Shidehara, before dealing with Cooper's letter point by point, ten points in all, throughout staunchly defending the Japanese position following the Nanking Massacre and at the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Point 3 begins: 'This action was technically not "war", but the forcible vindication of rights in rem: i.e. self-defence. It may be that self-defence, resisted on such a scale, is necessarily war: but this is a matter for argument. The point is that neither Japan nor Nankin at present seem to consider it as war.' Point 4 discusses the Kellogg and IX Power Treaties, and point 6 claims that it is 'fallacious to talk about "China". No doubt in the past year or two there has been a great speeding up in the process of unification. But it has not been achieved. Nankin never has ruled, & as a revolutionary government (against the Pekin Republic) has no legal right to rule, anything but a few provinces of the old Empire. The North really is independent.' This is followed by '7. As to bombing innocent non-combatants, who bombed Scarborough & London & Stuttgart?' Points 8 and 9 concern 'Hostile acts when there is "No War"' and 'the doctrine of forcible action in a foreign territory'. The last point concerns 'the future of Shanghai', with Baty stating that 'Japan cannot, & does not intend to, alter the status of these important parts of Shanghai. I think far the best thing would be to make a Free City of it - like Danzig. Its population is mainly foreign. It is only the Chinese who have bombed these sections; & that (it is said) with the idea of attacking the Japanese elements within its protection - which of course they have no right to do.' He concludes: 'I would like to see - & Japan would like to see - China friendly, orderly & prosperous. But we must not forget the Russian danger, or assume that Bolshevism has changed its spots. After 1904-5, how can we? and a Bolshevized China could be a terror to the world. Three-quarters of the way down the fourth page Baty has written the heading 'Spain'. This section begins: 'Now, if I may go on - (& I am excessively flattered by your willingness to hear my opinions) - so far as Spain is concerned I entirely sympathize with Franco. Bolshevism, in my view, is Diabolism, & I cannot but disagree with the Devil. Legally, the Valencia government is probably entitled to receive help from outside Powers, & to complain of assistance actively rendered to its enemies, internal or external. But morally - apart from the Devil - it is not in a very strong position, because its argument must rest on majority rights, & it had not a majority of votes!' He continues on this matter for three-quarters of a page (with reference to Hilaire Belloc), before pointing out that 'All this is perfectly unofficial. I don't know what the official view is. The Valencia envoy is duly received here: a young man who has been a teacher of Spanish at Kobe.' The letter ends abruptly at foot of the fifth page on a personal theme: 'Anne [his sister and helpmate] was delighted to be remembered. Please accept our united best & most cordial remembrances & regards! We have had <...>'.