500.A15/210: Telegram

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


36. On Sunday two Japanese papers printed a statement purporting to be the Government’s attitude on the Disarmament Conference and press correspondents here may have telegraphed it to the United States.

Yesterday on inquiring at the Foreign Office I was informed by the Vice Minister that the statement was unauthorized and in many respects was incorrect. For that reason I have not telegraphed it. Today I was in conference with the Foreign Minister who outlined his Government’s attitude substantially as follows:

The Government is willing that naval, military and air policies should be considered together but the conclusions which are reached should be different for different countries, and consideration must be [Page 76] given to the nations taking part in the Conference; for example, if Russia participated, Japan’s attitude might be different in regard to separate liberty from what it would be if Russia did not participate.
It is impossible to make a binding agreement for armament limitation in time of war.
The Cabinet had reached no conclusion upon various matters contained in League’s questionnaire79 but expected to decide upon these questions as and when they might arise in course of Conference.

I gained the impression from my interview with the Foreign Minister that the Japanese Government intended to avoid committing itself to definite policy, but would [leave] large discretion to the Japanese representatives at the Conference and would pass separately on each important question as it might arise.

  1. See p. 89.