793.94 Shanghai Round Table/9

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Castle)

The Japanese Ambassador came in to tell me of Mr. Yoshizawa’s talk with Neville and other representatives of the Great Powers in Tokyo, particularly to express the great gratitude of the Japanese Government for the assistance Mr. Johnson had given in bringing about the agreement for a withdrawal of troops in Shanghai. The Ambassador asked whether we had already heard from Mr. Neville and I said we had. He said he had no instructions to inquire as to what our attitude would be toward a round table conference, but that he hoped very much that it would be a friendly attitude. His idea evidently was that here was a chance to make a pleasant gesture toward Japan. I told him that, of course, I could not discuss the matter at all, that the telegram had just come in and neither I nor anyone else had given it any consideration. I told him, however, speaking personally, that at first reading it seemed to me that there was a doubt as to whether such a round table conference should or would be held at [Page 17] all, that it was obvious, if it was intended to discuss Chinese questions, such a conference should be held with the full sympathy of the Chinese. I said another thing which struck me was that it would seem most emphatically to make a bad impression in China if this round table conference should hold its first meeting in Tokyo or even if a meeting preceding the formal meeting should be held with the Chinese omitted. He said the only idea his Government had was to make the International Settlement in Shanghai safer at times of great political unrest in China. I said that for several years the International Settlement had apparently been perfectly safe until it was endangered by the Japanese themselves a few months ago. Mr. Debuchi had nothing to say to this.

He asked about the Secretary’s return14 and would have liked to have me tell him what discussions the Secretary had had with others abroad. This, of course, he did not ask directly and I did not even tell him the Secretary had mentioned the matter of the Far East.

W. R. Castle, Jr.
  1. Mr. Stimson returned to New York from Europe on May 14, 1932.