I was up and down the Pacific the year the Mikado died, and chanced to be in San Diego the month that a Japanese warship put into port because its commander had suicided of grief over the Emperor’s death. The ship had to lie in port till a new commander came out from Japan. Japanese coolies were no longer coming; but the Japanese middies had the run and freedom of the harbor; and they sketched all the whereabouts of Point Loma—purely out of interest for Mrs. Tingley’s Theosophy, of course.
Diaz’s ministry had been very hard pressed financially before being ousted by Madero. Some Boston and Pacific Coast men had secured an option from the Diaz faction of the sandy reaches known as Magdalena Bay in Lower California. The Pacific Coast is a land of few good natural harbors; especially harbors for a naval station and target practice. Suddenly an unseen hand blocked negotiations. Within a year Japan had almost leased Magdalena Bay, when Uncle Sam wakened up and ordered “hands off.”
Nicaragua has never been famous as a great fishing country. Yet Japanese fishermen tried to lease fishing rights there and may have, for all the world knows. In spite of exclusion acts, they already dominate the salmon fishing of the Pacific.
Coaling facilities will be provided for the merchantmen of the world at both ends of Panama. Yet when England and France began furbishing up colonial stations in the Caribbean, Japan forthwith made offers for a site for a coaling station in the Gulf of Mexico.
But it was in South America and Mexico that the most active colonization proceeded. There is not an American diplomat in South America who does not know this and who has not reported it—reported it with one finger on both lips and then has seen his report discreetly smothered in departmental pigeon-holes. Up to a few years ago Mexico and South America were enjoying marvelous prosperity. Coffee had not collapsed in Brazil. Banks had not blown up from self-inflation in Argentina. Revolution at home and war abroad had not closed mines in Mexico. All hands were stretched out for colonists. Japan launched vast trans-Pacific colonization schemes. Ships were sent scouting commercial possibilities in South America. To colonists in Chile and Peru, fare was in many cases prepaid. Money was loaned to help the colonists establish themselves, and an American representative to one of these countries told me that free passage was given colonists on furlough home if they would go back to the colony. There is no known record outside Japan of the numbers of these colonists. And Japan asks—why not? Does not England colonize; does not Germany colonize; does not France colonize? We are taking our place at the world board of trade. If we fail to make good, throw us out. If we make good, we do not ask “by your leave.”