Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

In accordance with the Department’s No. 122, July 21, 6 p.m.,15 I called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Foreign Office this afternoon and repeated to him what Mr. Hull had said to Ambassador Saito concerning our interest in and concern with the situation in the Far East.
Mr. Hirota said that he fully understood Mr. Hull’s message which he had not yet received from Mr. Saito, as well as his views. He said, however, that he would not reply for a few days because the situation in North China is steadily improving and he is more optimistic than heretofore as to a satisfactory settlement of the controversy. He states that practical evidence of his optimism is given by the fact that all troop movements from Japan to China have been stopped for the present.
The whole situation he says depends on the carrying out of the agreement drawn up on July 11 and signed on July 19 by General Chang representing General Sung. The main difficulty is that the Nanking Government will not recognize this agreement and is actively obstructing a settlement. Hirota does not ask that Nanking recognize the agreement but only that it shall withhold obstruction. He is at present working along those lines and says he already sees signs of a more favorable attitude on the part of Nanking.
The Minister said that General Sung desires the precise terms of the above-mentioned agreement to be kept confidential for the present. Mr. Hirota however read to me a rough translation from the Japanese text as follows:
Punishment of the Chinese captain responsible for the outbreak of hostilities at the Marco Polo Bridge and the censuring of the Army commander.
Assurances for the future which comprise voluntary retirement of Chinese officials in North China who obstruct Sino-Japanese cooperation; expulsion of communist elements from that district; control of the Blue Shirts and other organizations hostile to Japan; control of education in the schools; cessation of anti-Japanese propaganda.
Withdrawal of the 37th Division from Peiping.
The Minister pointed out that no political demands are involved in this agreement and that headway is already being made toward carrying out its terms.
The Minister said that in view of the great sensitiveness of the Japanese press at the present moment he will answer any questions from newspaper men regarding the purpose of my call to the effect that I had come to inquire with regard to the present situation.

I reported this conversation to the Department in my No. 223, July 22, 7 p.m.16

A copy of my statement to the Minister is attached herewith.16

J[oseph] C. G[rew]
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