Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)
I called on the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs at his official residence at 9 o’clock this evening, renewed in detail and with emphasis the previous representations made to the Foreign Minister and delivered a further signed note1b embodying the points mentioned in the penultimate paragraph of the Department’s 375.2 My British and French colleagues have taken similar action. The Vice Minister said that the matter was being carefully studied. He reiterated the previous general assurances of Mr. Hirota that American interests would be given full consideration.
I said to the Vice Minister that in my own opinion the integrity of the Chinese Customs certainly represented one of the American interests envisaged in the final paragraph of our Panay note of December 143 which should not be subjected to unlawful interference by any Japanese authorities or forces whatsoever and that in the light of our acceptance of the Japanese note of December 24 as “responsive” to our desires, it would be deplorable if interference with that specific American interest should now occur. Although I said that I had not been instructed to point to this particular connection it seemed to me that the point gave the Vice Minister food for thought.