Ralph Townsend

From Metapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ralph W. Townsend


Spouse Janet (from 16 October 1926[1])

Ralph W. Townsend (1900–January 25, 1976) of Oakland, California was a former American diplomat and served in China as US consul in 1933. He was indicted for sedition in 1942 during World War II although he never stood trial. In 1942 he pleaded guilty to charges of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act acting on behalf of Japan. He was sentenced eight months to two years in prison.[2]

Ralph Townsend was hired by the Japanese as a propagandist to convince Americans that Japan was 'fighting the white man's battle' against Chinese nationalism.[3] From 1939 till 1942 he worked on the staff of the isolationist publication Scribner's Commentator and was an editor of its sister publication The Herald.


  • He graduated from Columbia University. After he was a teacher of British Studies at the university, he served the United States Department of State.
  • In 1931, he assumed the vice consul of U.S. Consulate Shanghai. Then he experienced the January 28 Incident. After that, he went to a new post as the vice consul in Fujian.
  • After returning to the United States in 1933, he quit his job as a consul and started concentrating on writing and the lecture circuit while working as a university lecturer. His writing was generally in the mode of defending the Empire of Japan, which was then engaged in the conquest of China.
  • In 1942, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury and convicted at Federal District Court as a Japanese agent on the grounds that he accepted money from the Jikyoku Iinkai without registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.[4] He was sent to prison for a year until well-known names came to Townsend's defense, and informed President Roosevelt that unless Townsend was freed they would personally take his case to the floor of the Senate and use it as a springboard to expose the administration's "political purge" for what it really was[5].


  • Ways that are Dark: the Truth about China (1934) 336 pages
  • Asia Answers (1936) 272 pages
  • The High Cost of Hate (1939) 61 pages
  • Seeking Foreign Trouble
  • The Context of Pearl Harbor
  • There Is No Half Way Neutrality


  • America Has No Enemies in Asia (1938)


  1. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810–1973
  2. The air-raid warden was a spy: and other tales from home-front America in ... By William B. Breuer, page 89
  3. Race war: white supremacy and the Japanese attack on the British Empire, By Gerald Horne
  5. William B. Fox. America First Books

Criminal case

  • Foreign Agents Registration Act: United States v. Ralph Townsend, et al., (D.D.C. Crim.No. 70153, 71203 (1942)) (David W. Ryder, Frederick V. Williams, Tsutomi Obana, K. Takahashi, and S. Tekeuchi)

See also

External links

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.