500.A15A5/443: Telegram

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

154. In my final talk this morning with the Minister for Foreign Affairs he mentioned on his own initiative the naval situation and [Page 80] said that unless there was some definite prospect of coming to an agreement and concluding a treaty this year he thought it much better to leave matters in abeyance, and to maintain the present “peaceful” situation. He said he thought the most important thing to avoid was the bringing of pressure by one country on another which could only cause irritation. The Japanese Navy had no plan at present and was content to let things remain as they are for the time being. He thought that a naval conference would have to be held before the end of the year but it could be a purely pro forma meeting and could adjourn for a year or two in the hope that in the meantime some satisfactory arrangement could be evolved.

The Minister said that he considered the relations between Japan and the United States as good and steadily improving; that he regarded the maintenance and development of these good relations as more important than Japan’s relations with any other country, and that he was steadily directing his efforts along the general lines which he had mentioned to me when he first took office (see Embassy’s 144, September 18, 4 p.m.;39 and 149, October 3, 2 p.m., 193340).