Wednesday, January 7, 2009

On January 7

On this day in ...
... 1844 (165 years ago today), a daughter, Bernadette Soubirous (right), was born into a poor millers' family at Lourdes, in the Hautes-Pyrénées of France. While working as a shepherdess, at age 12, she reported seeing the 1st of what would be more than a dozen visions of the Virgin Mary. During 1 vision the girl, herself sickly, was led to a spring said to have healing waters. Bernadette, who became a nun, died in 1879 and eventually was made a Roman Catholic saint; her shrine at Lourdes remains a destination for ailing pilgrims from around the world.
... 1932, in response to Japanese forcible expansion into the northern China area known as Manchuria, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Lewis Stimson (below left) sent identical notes to China and Japan. The notes, which embodied a diplomatic approach to Asia that had been used by earlier Secretaries but came to be known as the Stimson Doctrine, stated in part:

[T]he American Government deems it to be its duty to notify both the Imperial Japanese Government and the Government of the Chinese Republic that it cannot admit the legality of any situation de facto nor does it intend to recognize any treaty or agreement entered into between those Governments, or agents thereof, which may impair the treaty rights of the United States or its citizens in China, including those which relate to the sovereignty, the independence, or the territorial and administrative integrity of the Republic of China, or to the international policy relative to China, commonly known as the open door policy….
Soon after, the doctrine was embraced by the League of Nations, but in vain. As the State Department's own website puts it:

In short order, Japanese representatives simply walked out of the League, and the Kwangtung Army formalized its conquest of Manchuria by establishing the puppet state of Manchukuo under former Chinese emperor Pu-Yi. When war between Japan and China broke out following a minor clash between military units at the Marco Polo Bridge in 1937, the impotence of the 'Stimson Doctrine;' became even more apparent.

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