500.A4B/572: Telegram

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

267. My French colleague48 has shown me his exchange of telegrams with his Government concerning Japan’s proposed denunciation of the Washington Naval Treaty. On November 27 Hirota informed Pila of Japan’s intention to give notice of termination of the treaty and of the Japanese desire to see the treaty replaced with an “equitable and Just” agreement limiting global tonnage on a purely defensive basis. He inquired as to the attitude of France in this respect. A similar inquiry was made of the Italian Embassy.

The French Government replied on November 29 that while certain elements of the Japanese thesis accorded with the French point of view and while France would have been glad to join in a common denunciation of the treaty, the French Government nevertheless could not comply with the Japanese “request” to join in a denunciation by only two or three of the signatories. Pila conveyed this information on December 1st to Hirota who stated that he had had no intention of seeking to drive a wedge between the signatories and that his démarche had been purely an inquiry, not a request.

I understand that the reply from Rome has not yet been received in Tokyo.

  1. Fernand Pila, French Ambassador to Japan.