The Ambassador in Japan (Morris) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received June 16, 9.45 a.m.]
Your June 11th, 5 p.m. The situation in China is giving the Japanese Government serious concern. The efforts of Foreign Office officials to minimize it when talking to me do not succeed in concealing their nervousness. Hara, I believe, [omission] familiar with developments of the past month and is considering what course he ought to pursue. He feels that the attitude of the British-American groups in China renders it more difficult for him to lead the Japanese governing forces toward a policy of reconciliation with China. On the other hand, the military party apparently inaugurating increasing disorder in China and hopes it may force some form of intervention. Only thus can it hope to regain some of its lost prestige. I observe nothing which indicates any political crisis here. Thus far Hara has the situation well in hand and Tanaka, the War Minister, is working with him. The rice shortage may lead to social unrest and disorder but the Government is grappling with the problem and is reported to be formulating remedial measures.
My French colleague recently showed me the telegram referred to. He did not use the phrase “popular uprising” but stated that the Government here feared that the Chinese boycott, added to the scarcity of rice, would “increase the social unrest which has been fermenting for some time.” In this statement I concur. How serious this unrest will become during the next four months depends, in my judgment, on how far Hara is permitted to go in the application of more liberal policies, foreign and domestic.