Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The Japanese Ambassador called at my apartment in the Carlton Hotel at 8:00 o’clock, p.m. I had previously requested him to call at 4:00 o’clock, and he inquired from the Kenwood Golf and Country Club, some ten miles out of the city, if it would be equally convenient for him to come in tomorrow, Wednesday. An appointment [Page 321] was made for 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, but at about 5:30 o’clock the Ambassador was reached again on the telephone at the Kenwood Club and the appointment changed to 8:00 p.m., this evening, July 13th.

When he came in I said that I was seeking all avenues of information about the crisis in the Sino-Japanese situation and that in view of his statement to me on yesterday that he would be glad to keep me informed as to any developments I did not desire to make my report on the day’s developments to the President with the Ambassador and his government left off the list in this connection, and hence I had requested him to come in this evening at 8:00 o’clock. I said I could not believe that he and his government would desire to be left off of this round of conferences of today. He chimed in in agreeable language.

I proceeded then to say that to my country and government the peace situation means everything and that naturally we are tremendously concerned in every aspect of the peace situation; that whatever we say or do with respect to this Far Eastern crisis is prompted solely by considerations of peace, accompanied by the most impartial and friendly attitude towards all concerned; that amidst the confusion and fog in the Peking area it is not possible for us to discern just what is taking place and how; that, for example, we do not know whether, or at least the extent to which, conference and communication is taking place between the Japanese and the Chinese officials, or, if so, whether it is only between the Japanese and the local Chinese officials, or between the Japanese and the general Chinese Government officials; that it is not known whether the troops of both sides have moved away from the area of conflict and where clashes between troops seem to be taking place, to the end that quiet might reign until orderly procedure for conferences could be established. I then said that with respect to the general situation the question is whether anything could or should be consistently said or done from any agreeable source that might be helpful to all concerned; that my government, of course, is primarily and paramountly concerned in the preservation of peace, and as stated, it would confine its interest and utterances to phases entirely within the range of its impartial, friendly attitude towards all alike; that in any event whatever it might now say, if anything, in an effort to be thus helpful, would stop entirely short of any question or phase of mediation.

I again elaborated on the awful dangers and consequences of war to every part of the world alike and the impossibility of exaggerating the deep interest of my government and country in peace in the Orient at this time. In thus commenting and elaborating, I [Page 322] of course gave the Ambassador credit for good faith in his protestations that his government did not desire war and could be expected to come out of China in due course.

The Ambassador, when I finally called upon him to give me any news as to developments since yesterday, promptly said that he had nothing new to tell me. In great earnestness I said, “Do you really feel that war will be avoided?” He immediately replied that he believed it would be. He gave no reasons, however, and I assumed that he naturally would have made no other reply in any event.

C[ordell] H[ull]