711.61/293: Telegram

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

166. My 163, October 23, noon; and 164, October 23, 2 p.m.20 In casual conversation with Neville21 today Kurusu, Chief of the Commercial Bureau of the Foreign Office, said that the Japanese felt that the initiation of negotiations between the United States and Soviet Russia was a natural step and to be expected. One point, however, was occasioning the Foreign Office some anxiety. Hirota22 had been successful to a considerable extent in divorcing foreign relations from the discussions of the army and navy budget. If American recognition of the Soviets were to lead to a belief on the part of the Russians that the United States would support them in their discussions with the Japanese or if the [Page 798] Chinese were to believe that the United States would support Russia in the Far East, the Foreign Office felt that it might have its work with the military to do all over again. Thus far the press and public had remained quiet but there were elements in the country which would take advantage of any situation to stir up trouble. A false interpretation might be placed on the reference in the penultimate paragraph of Kalinin’s letter to the “element of disquiet complicating the process of consolidating world peace and encouraging forces tending to disturb that peace” which the Chinese and Russians might apply to the Far Eastern situation. Kurusu said that the point of view of the military is that Japan faces a hostile world with possibilities of a combination of the United States, Great Britain, Russia and China against Japan, and that the Foreign Minister had had great trouble in convincing them that there was no likelihood of any such combination. If political discussions should enter publicly into the negotiations between the United States and Soviet Russia, affording grounds or suspicions for the foregoing belief, there might be outbursts which would lead the military to renewed activity nullifying the progress made by Hirota in the recent Cabinet discussions.

I report the foregoing merely as a first-hand indication of the thoughts of the Foreign Office on this general subject.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Edwin L. Neville, Counselor of Embassy in Japan.
  3. Koki Hirota, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs.