London (Oct. 7)
The Soviet press alleges that General Semenov, at the head of counter-revolutionary organisations in Manchuria, is trying to secure Japanese support for the overthrow of the Soviet regime in Mongolia, the “News Chronicle” reports to-day from Riga.
Platoons of “White Guards” entered Soviet territory near Blagovieshtchensk, it reports, but on crossing the Amur River were beaten by Ogpu troops, who shot eight “whites” who were captured.
Moscow reports, it adds, speak of an increased movement of military trains on the Siberian line, and excitement in Eastern Siberia, where the possibility of war with Japan is freely discussed. War is considered generally unpopular, the paper says, but the malcontents, whose number should not be underestimated, would welcome the possibility of relief from the Communist yoke.
The Tass Agency, the official Soviet press agency, in quoted by the “Daily Mail” as stating that General Semenov, the White Russian leader, is organising his men under Japanese protection and that a group of them tried to cross the Siberian-Manchurian frontier near Blagoveschensk.
M. Litvinov, the Soviet Foreign Minister has, according to a Geneva message in the “Daily Mail”, protested to the Japanese Minister in Moscow against Japan’s alleged action in supporting a White Russian campaign for a revolt in Mongolia. The “Mail” also quotes a German traveller “who arrived in Riga to-day from Siberia” as stating that “everybody he spoke to in the Far East expects another Russo-Japanese war”.
The “Times”, while stating that the “news from China indicates that public opinion continues to be greatly excited by the situation in Manchuria”, declares, however, that M. Karakhan, the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister, is understood to have informed the Japanese Foreign Ministry that his Government has no part in the present dispute.
A state of wildest anarchy in parts of Manchuria is indicated by a Japanese communication to the League’s Council, the “Daily Mail” says in another report. Brigandage, murder, rapine and arson are commonplaces in the country, according to the Japanese communication, it says, and Japanese troops are said to be doing their utmost to maintain order. A further message in the same paper says that Japanese reports from Pekin allege that Russian troops have crossed the border into Manchuria, but that the Chinese deny these reports.
The atmosphere does not, unfortunately, look very promising for the adjourned meeting of the League of Nations Council fixed for October 14th., when the situation in Manchuria comes up for review, the “Manchester Guardian” writes in an editorial to-day. There is no indication yet of the withdrawal of Japanese from Mukden and Kirin and other places. The situation at the meeting of the Council of the League on October 14th., it appears, will be so delicate that the presence of the Foreign Ministers of the Powers would be necessary. It is presumed that Lord Reading would be able to attend.
The situation in Manchuria has become more rather than less alarming since the League’s Council complacently accepted the Japanese Government’s undertaking to withdraw its troops, it declares. There is no evidence that any withdrawal of Japanese troops on a large scale has taken place. The Japanese invasion of Manchuria was a carefully planned movement, it contends, and it was absurd for the Japanese representative at the League’s Council to refer to it as a “local incident”.
This is the first time the League has been threatened with a first-class war, the “Manchester Guardian” proceeds, and if the League fails to act, its whole machinery will have been discredited. The League’s Council should be assembled on October 14th., and if necessary before. The presence of Lord Reading may be relied upon and the other countries may be expected to send either their Foreign Ministers or representatives with the fullest authority to speak on behalf of their Governments. There is already more than a threat of war. The League must act.