500.A15A5/229: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan ( Grew ) to the Secretary of State 64

240. The Naval Attaché65 has had a confidential conversation with Captain Shimomura, Chief of the American Section of the Japanese Navy Department here, who said that the Japanese Navy has given up hope of any agreement being reached at London; that everything depends upon the attitude of the United States, and that he knew from his conversations in Washington that the United States would be unwilling to accept the Japanese proposals. Shimomura also stated that Great Britain would follow the lead of the United States which would add to the difficulty. He then asked our Naval Attaché if the United States would be willing to give Japan 90 per cent of our strength, and inquired about the retention by the United States of naval bases in the Philippines after their independence. The Naval Attaché pointed out that in the absence of a treaty capital ships could be replaced when over age, to which Shimomura significantly replied that this would be a difficult question for Japan.

The Naval Attaché considers that it might be inferred from this conversation that Japan may later bring forward compromise proposals, even during the 2 years after notice of abrogation of the Washington Treaty has been given.

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I feel strongly that the United States should make no material concessions at the present time.

  1. Repeated as telegram No. 14, November 1, to the Chairman of the American delegation.
  2. Capt. Fred F. Rogers.