Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)


Called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs by appointment at his official residence at 5 o’clock.

[Page 493]

I began the interview by referring to our combined efforts during the past years to improve Japanese-American relations. It was my constant endeavor to see those relations maintained and consolidated. Now, however, I felt a daily dread that some serious incident might occur in China arising out of the indiscriminate bombing operations of the Japanese forces which might result in the injury or death of American citizens, and such an incident, as the Minister could well appreciate, would exert a most unfortunate effect on Japanese-American relations because it could not fail to enflame public opinion in the United States. My purpose today was to appeal to the Minister in the most earnest manner to take steps which would obviate the grave risks to which peaceful Americans in China, going about their daily occupations or perhaps on their way to places of greater safety, were now constantly subjected.

[Here follow statements giving in substance the aide-mémoire of September 1, 1937, printed infra.]

I then said to the Minister, after reading to him and leaving with him our Aide mémoire of September 1, that he himself was responsible for the conduct of Japan’s political relations with other countries and that these relations should be considered paramount to military considerations. I therefore appealed to him with great earnestness and strong emphasis to exert his authority in this direction having especially in mind the great importance of avoiding the risk of grave incidents which could injure the friendship between Japan and the United States for the maintenance and development of which we both had been constantly working during the past four years.

The Minister inquired whether the bombing on August 26 of which I had spoken, had taken place within the area mentioned in my representations to the Vice Minister on August 23. I replied that I believed this to be the case but whether this was so or not, it did not alter the humanitarian and other aspects of the situation which I had just brought out in my representations to him. Mr. Hirota said that it was the intention of the Japanese military forces to attack only military establishments but that sometimes the bombs failed to reach their precise objectives and accidents happened. He said that he would bring my representations to the attention of the War and Navy Ministries.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

J[oseph] C. G[rew]
  1. For remainder of this memorandum, see p. 359.