Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Johnson)

During the conversation which the Japanese Ambassador had with the Secretary this morning the Secretary mentioned to the Ambassador his inability to understand why the Japanese press should have become so disturbed over America’s position with regard to the Japanese memorandum in connection with the situation in China. (Reference was to the memorandum handed to the Northern and Southern factions in China on May 18, warning them that Japan would not permit disturbances to arise in Manchuria.) The Secretary stated that in the press this morning it was reported that the Japanese press stated that the Secretary had distorted the facts and had placed a wrong interpretation upon the Japanese position. The Secretary said that, as a matter of fact, he had in no way commented upon the Japanese memorandum, that he had merely replied to press inquiries first as to whether the United States considered Manchuria a part of China, and second to give them a copy of the Nine Power Treaty regarding principles and policies in connection with China. The Secretary said that in reply to a question about the Japanese memorandum, he had stated he had no comments to make.

The Ambassador said he understood the matter quite clearly and that he had telegraphed to his Government explaining that there must have been some misunderstanding as no statements such as those reported in the Japanese press had been made here.

N[elson] T. J[ohnson]