Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hamilton) of a Conversation With the Counselor of the Japanese Embassy (Suma)

Mr. Suma called at his request. He said that he had called in reference to the landing of Japanese troops in south China. He said that our Ambassador at Tokyo had already been informed by the Japanese Government in regard to this landing of Japanese troops. He said that he was not calling under instruction from his Government but that in view of various statements made to him by Americans in New York that Japan intended to attack Hong Kong or intended to establish a foothold in south China with a view to later expanding southward, he wished to state that such apprehensions were unfounded, and that the objective of the Japanese military operations in south China was to cut the communication system in south China which was being used for shipment of munition supplies and thereby to bring about a speedy end to the fighting.

I told Mr. Suma that we did not like anything connected with the fighting; that wherever the fighting spread we saw American lives imperiled and the interests and rights of Americans jeopardized and definitely impaired.

Mr. Suma said that we had been informed at Tokyo that the Japanese Government’s attitude with regard to the rights and interests of third powers remained unchanged and that we had been assured that the Japanese Government would respect such rights and interests, I commented that we had had many such assurances but that oftentimes the results were not in accord with the assurances.

We then exchanged some pleasantries in regard to the weather and some comments in regard to Ambassador Saito’s illness.

M[axwell] M. H[amilton]