Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips) of a Conversation With the Japanese Ambassador (Saito)

During his call this afternoon the Ambassador mentioned the efforts which were being made in this country to exclude or, at least, to raise the tariff barriers against the importation of Japanese cotton textile goods. The Ambassador stated that if this Government found itself obligated to take drastic steps against such importation, the Japanese Government would be placed in an exceedingly difficult position politically. He mentioned that the Japanese adverse trade balance amounted to 375,000,000 yen; that the sale of textile goods made it possible for Japan to buy raw cotton from this country; he also mentioned the gentleman’s agreement which had been concluded with respect to pencils and rag rugs43 and that the importation into this country of various other articles had been regulated and limited by the Japanese merchants themselves—some of these items were porcelain ware, frozen tuna fish, canned tuna fish, matches, etc. He mentioned these items, he said, in order to show that Japan was not trying to compete to the disadvantage of this country and had gone far towards meeting the wishes of the various American industries concerned.

William Phillips
  1. See memorandum of April 2, 1934, Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. iii, p. 804.