” I am sure that any student of Japan could tell the wise men at Washington that no amount of economic reciprocity, expressions of kind feeling or even the noble charity which was extended to Japan after the great earthquake would compensate that proud nation for legislation that would in their opinion stamp them as inferiors and that the peace of the world, if not at the moment, may, in the future, depend upon the interpretation of our Government of the actual state of mind of the Japanese nation.”
This was the striking statement made by Dr. Cyrus Adler, President of Dropsie College, in his address yesterday before the assembly of the American Oriental Society at Columbia University, in connection with the much discussed Japanese exclusion clause in the pending immigration bill.
Dr. Adler continued, saying that the American mind today was ruled by slogans. “Our slogans with regard to the Orient,” he said, “have been such as Bishop Berkeley’s ‘Westward the course of empire takes its way,’ or Tennyson’s ‘Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay,’ or Kipling’s ‘For East is East and West is West and never the twaine shall meet.’ ” Yet, he said, these slogans were the result of ignorance of the Eastern nations. He spoke of the S hantang controversy in connection with the peace conference and its effect on the decision of this country not to adhere to the Versailles Treaty.
“During the violent controversy,’ he stated, “I do not recall that any study of the subject was made by an Orientalist or from the point of view of a man who had real knowledge of either the Chinese people or the Japanese people. It was all left to the amateur Orientalists who write for the newspapers, politicians who were working from other motives, and the propagandists who had axes of their own to grind.”
Dr. Adler urged the body of scholars at the assembly to put their knowledge at the service of the country so that better solutions of international problems might be had in the future than had prevailed in the past.
Among the guests of honor of the Society were Dr. Israel Abrahams of Cambridge University, Prof. Louis Ginzberg of the Jewish Theo logical Seminary and Reuben Levy of the University of Oxford.