500.A4B/601: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Bingham)

2. Your 638, December 31, 5 p.m. When Saito called on me on December 29, he gave me copies of four documents: (1) the note of denunciation, (2) a note verbale containing instructions from Hirota as to what Saito should say to me “with suitable amplifications”; (3) advance copy of an explanatory press handout by the Japanese Foreign Office spokesman, and (4) advance copy of an explanatory press handout by Saito himself. Saito further informed me that issuance of the Tokyo press statement by Amau and not by Hirota himself was planned with careful forethought; and he gave no indication whatsoever of intention that we circulate the note verbale. Since the receipt of your telegram, however, we have inquired of Saito whether it was the intention of Hirota that the text of the note verbale be communicated by us to the other signatory Powers. Saito replied that Hirota had given him no instructions to ask us to communicate this material; that Hirota had not even intended that he give it to us in writing; that it was something that he was to say to us; that it was not intended in any way to be a part of the communication giving notice of denunciation but that if we wished to communicate it to the other Powers, there would be no objection. In the circumstances, I should be glad to show the British Government the text which I assume is identical with that given the Foreign Office by Matsudaira but I would not feel warranted in authorizing reference to it in any communication by a third Government as a communication received through me.

By way of reply to the notification, we have contented ourselves with (1) a simple acknowledgment, text of which has been made public, of the formal note of notification of termination, in which after an introductory paragraph I say “In accordance with the pertinent provision of Article 23 of the Treaty, I am today transmitting to the other Powers a certified copy of this notification and am informing them of the date on which it has been received,” and (2) a press statement by me. These have undoubtedly been carried in the London press but, if you request, copies will be sent to you or Lindsay.76 We do not contemplate any further reply to the Japanese.

  1. Sir Ronald Lindsay, British Ambassador in the United States.