Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Castle) of a Conversation With the Japanese Ambassador (Debuchi)

The Ambassador came to talk with me again on the subject of Japanese exclusion. He said that in connection with Senator Reed’s6 bill to stop all immigration for two years it seemed to him there was [Page 317] an excellent opportunity at this time to put Japan on the quota. He said it seemed to him such an opportunity for the reason that since nobody could come in any case for two years, people need not worry about the Japanese. I told the Ambassador that if Senator Reed introduced the bill7 he would probably not be willing to complicate it by any side issue, but that I should, of course, be glad to talk with him about it. The Ambassador said that Senator Reed and Senator Robinson8 discussed the matter with Mr. Matsudaira9 in London and told him that at the first suitable opportunity they would bring up the question in Congress. Naturally Mr. Matsudaira had sent a full account of this to his Government. Furthermore, at one of the most difficult stages of the Conference Mr. Stimson also took occasion to discuss the matter with Mr. Matsudaira and promised to assist in getting the law changed as much as he could. This conversation also Air. Matsudaira reported to his Government. It was perfectly obvious that what Mr. Debuchi was trying to convey was the idea that unless something were done it will be to some extent a betrayal of confidence. He did not say it, but he certainly implied that in London the issue of immigration had been to some extent mixed up with treaty questions. Had Debuchi suggested this in so many words, I should have flatly denied it. Colonel Burnett10 did join the issues unmistakably, going to the extent of making one dependent on the other, but it would have been easy to point out that Colonel Burnett in doing this was in no way speaking for the delegation. I told the Ambassador that the Secretary and the two Senators were men who did not promise lightly, but that they were also men who realized that there were times to take up new matters and times when these same matters should be left severely alone. I told Debuchi that if the Secretary and the two Senators felt that to bring up the issue at this time would result in a reaffirmation of the exclusion clause, they were certainly proving their loyalty to their agreements with Mr. Matsudaira in not bringing the matter up. Mr. Debuchi was compelled to recognize this, but was nevertheless inclined to be a little too insistent.

W[illiam] R. C[astle], Jr.
  1. David A. Reed of Pennsylvania, delegate at the London Naval Conference.
  2. Introduced December 2, 1930, as S. J. Res. 207, 71st Cong., 3d sess.
  3. Joseph T. Robinson of Arkansas, delegate at the London Naval Conference.
  4. Japanese Ambassador in Great Britain and delegate at the London Naval Conference.
  5. Lieut. Col. C. Burnett, U. S. Army, member of the staff of the Secretary of State at the London Naval Conference.