The Ambassador in Japan (MacVeagh) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 13—9:25 a.m.]
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.