500.A4/321: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Warren) to the Secretary of State


414. Referring to my 412 of December 7. I have had two extended talks with Uchida since the last Privy Council meeting and I again asked if the Government had instructed the delegation to adhere to the request for 70%. He replied that no such instructions had been given or would be given. Late yesterday we discussed at length all aspects. After some discussion he asked about fortifications in the Pacific. I told him that the United States could not be expected to offer one proposition after another without acceptance of any proposal on Japan’s part but I referred then to your cable and gave him the substance of what you had told Kato about fortifications. He was much pleased and stated he had not received from Kato such a clear report of that conversation. Uchida then told me Japan cared more about fortifications in the Philippines and Guam than about one battleship more or less.

This gave me a chance to state that, based on my talks with him, the Premier, Viscount Makino, and others, the political side of the [Page 90] Japanese Government appeared satisfied with the 60% ratio, fortifications at Philippines and Guam to remain in statu quo. Uchida assented but intimated that it was difficult to give definite instructions to Kato on naval matters as he is to take [sic] naval authority. I urged him to inform Kato definitely as to how the Government and governing class here feel. I pointed out the necessity of a decision on this aspect of the negotiations and said that the world expected the consent of Japan, and that it was not now possible to think of increasing the respective strength of each navy by the addition of more capital ships than were originally proposed for each navy because that would appear to be preparing for war rather than for peace.

On December 8 I gave a dinner for Uchida to which I invited a number of the leaders here. From my discussions with them and from what Uchida told me during the extended earnest conversation yesterday I am certain that the political side of the Government is not supporting Admiral Kato in holding out for a 70% ratio.

We discussed the four-power agreement. The Japanese Government is in favor of the plan.