500.A15A5/253: Telegram

The Chairman of the American Delegation (Davis) to the Secretary of State

31. In a conversation with Simon today he told me he assumed Craigie had told me about the two inquiries which the British put to the Japanese at their last meeting. I replied that Craigie had merely told us about one inquiry which is reported in my 26, November 9, 6 p.m. Simon then said the second inquiry was a very important one and he wished to tell me about it. He had told Matsudaira that Hirota had on several occasions made reference to the possibility of a pact of non-aggression, and that he would like to know just what Hirota had in mind; that he assumed he did not mean an Anglo-Japanese pact of non-aggression or expect Great Britain to enter into anything of the kind without the United States which she would not do; that he furthermore assumed Hirota would not expect anyone to enter into a pact of non-aggression without knowing definitely whether the policies to be pursued by the respective participants were such as not to provoke aggression; that England, for instance, was vitally interested in the independence of China and in the open door and that he would like to know whether Hirota contemplated full assurance with regard to that in any proposed pact of non-aggression.

Simon said they had not received any answer and he imagined the Japanese would find it difficult to give a satisfactory answer, but that he thought it advisable to let them know what they must expect in anticipation of the possibility of their proposing something of the kind. He also added that notwithstanding rumors to the contrary he could assure me that the British Government had had no negotiations whatever with the Japanese with regard to any political agreement.