894.00/488: Telegram

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

156. Reports of serious disagreement in the Cabinet continue. On what appears to be reliable authority the new Minister for Foreign Affairs has aligned himself with the Finance Minister in opposition to the demands of the Army and Navy for increased appropriations. Hirota is reported to be using his influence with the reactionary and super-patriotic societies to undermine the position of the chauvinistic military elements. As Hirota is friendly with this group, due to his early associations, they are stated to be willing to listen to him and to accept his views as to what is good for the nation in its relations with other powers.

This turn of affairs is said to be causing much anxiety to the militant faction in the Army which is pushing the Minister of War to insist on his demands for excessive military appropriations. This group cares little for foreign opinion and is ready to go to almost any lengths in what they consider to be the country’s needs.

The view of the Minister for Foreign Affairs is that the nation needs peace and friendly relations with foreign nations, that the country is in no danger at the moment, and that greatly increased military expenditures at this time will earn an ill-will abroad which will cost Japan more than the increased margin of safety is worth. If Hirota and Takahashi can carry their point, many qualified observers are of the opinion that there will be danger of a coup d’état or an attempt at one on the part of the dissatisfied military elements who see their power waning. In such an event much would depend on the attitude of the Ministry of the Interior which controls the police.

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The Diet is due to meet in December and the budget must be ready by that time. There is a measure of opinion that Viscount Saito may find himself unable to meet the Diet with his present Cabinet and that he will either resign or give a decision which will discomfit one or the other of the groups in the Cabinet.