The Secretary of State to the Japanese Chargé (Morishima)

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of Japan and acknowledges the receipt of the Japanese Embassy’s note of November 19, 1940, in regard to the issuance of export licenses for machine tools.31

As the Embassy is aware, each application to export a machine tool is examined by the interested agencies of this Government with a view to determining whether or not the tool in question is needed in the United States defense program. In view of the constant and rapid expansion which this program is undergoing, it frequently becomes necessary to revoke a license already granted, since the too] which it seemed at the time of the issuance of the license could be dispensed with has thereafter been found to be essential to the program. Attention should also be invited to the fact that, even though a particular tool for the exportation of which application is made may not he needed in the defense program, the application may nevertheless be rejected if the manufacture of the tool in question would occupy production capacity needed for the manufacture of other tools which are essential to the program.

It should be pointed out, moreover, that other considerations are also weighed by those agencies of the Government responsible for the issuance of export licenses. On December 2, 1939, the President publicly stated the policy of this Government in regard to the export of materials essential to aircraft manufacture to countries the armed forces of which engage in the unprovoked bombing from the air of civilian populations. This policy is naturally taken into consideration by those officers responsible for the granting or rejection of export license applications:

The Embassy refers to the revocation of licenses for tools which collectors of customs had previously been informed could be exported without the requirement of a license. The attention of the Embassy is invited to the fact that collectors of customs were informed that no license would be required for the export of these types of tools “until further notice”. In view of the fact that the expanding defense program of this Government makes the conservation of machine tool production capacity for its own needs constantly more necessary, collectors of customs were recently instructed that licenses will be henceforth required for the export of additional types of machine tools, including those types listed in the enclosure to the Embassy’s note.

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In regard to the specific case referred to in the second numbered paragraph of the first section of the Embassy’s note, the Embassy is informed that this application was received by the Department of State on October 3, 1940, and transmitted to the interested agencies of this Government on the same date. It is understood that a decision in this case has now been reached and that it is being communicated to Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha. It is also understood that a decision has been reached in the case referred to in the concluding section of the Embassy’s note and that this decision also is being transmitted to Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha.

  1. Not printed; see memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State, November 19, 1940, p. 229.