711.61/290: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

163. Department’s 99 and 10019—proposed Soviet conversations. The publication of the exchange of notes between the President and [Page 797] Kalinin has aroused little comment here. The Minister for Foreign Affairs is quoted in a press interview as follows:

“I understand President Franklin D. Roosevelt of America has invited Mr. Maxim Litvinov, Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, to Washington. It is doubtful whether the matter will develop into American recognition of the Soviet Union. If those two countries continue in favorable relations for years to come, they will teach a lesson to the world that capitalism and communism can agree. And if that is realized, it will be unnecessary for Japan to fear communism. America’s recognition of the Soviet Union is a great question mark in the history of humanity. If there is a man who observes that the possible American-Soviet agreement means pressure on Japan’s position in the Far East, he knows nothing of the Far Eastern situation.”

The Minister of War is stated to have said that he did not see how Japan was affected, that he considered that the motive was economic, and he supposed that the two nations would have to resume diplomatic relations at some time in any case. This point of view seems to be the general attitude of the Japanese public, which apparently regards the move as only remotely affecting Japan, and which was inevitable in one form or another.

Thus far there is no evidence to indicate that the Japanese believe that the action was in any way directed against Japan, an interpretation which seems to have been placed on the step in Paris and Berlin, according the [to] press reports in the papers this morning.

  1. Latter not printed; it quoted the exchange of letters between President Roosevelt and M. Kalinin.