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

No. 446

Sir: The U. S. S. Houston, flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, with Admiral Montgomery M. Taylor on board, called at Yokohama between June 2nd and 9th, and at Kobe between June 10th and 14th. This visit was the first made by an American warship to Japan since 1929, and was in return for the call made by a Japanese training squadron at ports in the United States.

When the visit was first proposed, the Embassy enquired informally of the Foreign Office as to whether the call would be welcomed, and was informed in reply that not only would the visit be welcomed, but that the Japanese Government would take particular pleasure in receiving Admiral Taylor in view of his cooperation and assistance at the time of the Shanghai affair. This attitude was made quite evident during the stay of the Houston in Japan.

The visit was undoubtedly a success in all respects. The official reception, as might be expected, was most courteous, but more significant was the attitude of the press. Translations of a few newspaper reports of the visit are appended hereto,79 which show, even in translation, an unmistakably friendly attitude. Several factors contributed to this feeling. Admiral Taylor had commanded the U. S. S. Wyoming which rescued Mrs. Inoue, wife of a Japanese military officer,80 from the sea after the sinking of the Vestris in 1930. She and her father, General Haraguchi, retired, were among the first callers after Admiral Taylor’s arrival, and this dramatic incident received considerable favorable attention in the press. Again, Admiral Taylor’s part in the Shanghai affair and his friendship with Admiral Nomura, then commander of the Japanese naval forces in Chinese waters and now Commandant of the Yokosuka Naval base near Tokyo, served to create a more than usually friendly atmosphere during his visit here. Moreover, the courteous treatment accorded the Japanese training squadron at American ports had received wide publicity in Japan and seemed to make the Japanese genuinely eager to reciprocate in kindness.

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It is also quite likely that the Japanese authorities, particularly in the Navy, had reason to desire that this visit be marked by special courtesies. In spite of the anti-American agitation of the past year or more, which has often had the ear-marks of official instigation, the more responsible officers of the government and navy are well aware of the danger of creating an antipathetic feeling against the United States. This agitation may have been useful at the time, in the course of carrying out expansionist ambitions in Manchuria and elsewhere, as well as in obtaining public support of huge armament appropriations. At the present, however, with a feeling of isolation since withdrawal from the League and confronted by ominous challenges from trade rivals abroad, Japan may well be inclined to seek conciliation with a powerful neighbor and a major customer. In my telegram No. 114 of June 8, 193381 I discussed in some detail the change in attitude toward the United States which has been observed in recent weeks.

As of record, and of possible interest to the Department, a copy of the schedule followed by the Commander in Chief, officers and men of the Houston during their visit in Yokohama and Tokyo is hereto appended.82

Respectfully yours,

Joseph C. Grew
  1. None printed.
  2. The late Commander Teruko Inouye, of the Japanese Navy.
  3. Ante, p. 702.
  4. Not printed.