Memorandum by Mr. Eugene H. Dooman of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs of a Conversation With the Counselor of the Japanese Embassy (Fujii)
Mr. Fujii called this afternoon at my request. I referred to the conversations which the Japanese Ambassador had yesterday with the [Page 954] Secretary47 and with Mr. Assistant Secretary Sayre. Mr. Fujii said that the Ambassador had informed him of the substance of those conversations. I then said that it was my purpose to go over with Mr. Fujii substantially the same ground that had been covered in yesterday’s conversation between the Ambassador and Mr. Sayre, but that in addition I wished to go into certain matters in somewhat more detail.
Generally speaking disturbances in market conditions were due more to the sudden influx of Japanese goods and to the wide margin in prices between American and Japanese goods than to the quantity imported from Japan. I referred in this connection to the figures of imports of sun goggles, pointing out that in 1931 only 48 gross of sun goggles were imported into the United States from Japan whereas in 1933 the imports amounted to 8,370 gross and approximately 20,000 gross in 1934. While this was not a very large figure, the fact that the rate of increase had been very sharp and the fact that there was a very large differential in price between Japanese goods and American goods had caused American manufacturers great alarm.
I also said that it was not the desire of the American Government to refuse to Japanese manufacturers a share in the American market; that, however, it was not believed that the opportunistic methods of certain Japanese manufacturers made possible the development of a steady market for their goods in this country; and that a sudden flood of Japanese goods into the United States not only tended to alarm American manufacturers but to create an opportunity for agitators to exaggerate the importance of Japanese competition.
Mr. Fujii remarked that he was not an economist and knew very little about commercial matters, but that he could very readily see that the methods followed by Japanese exporters of certain lines of goods might well create resentment in the United States.
There were, I continued, two matters in regard to which I wished to put forward suggestions. The first suggestion, one of considerable importance, was the question of Japanese exports of cotton textiles to the Philippine Islands. I invited Mr. Fujii to examine the figures of imports of cotton textiles into the Philippine Islands (Table I of the memorandum, dated April 11, 1935, of the United States Tariff Commission—attached48). I invited him also to note the manner in which the Japanese share of the trade had increased, and how the American share had correspondingly decreased. It was not our desire, I said, to exclude the Japanese from this trade, but at the same time we could not readily see the American share reduced to [Page 955] negligible figures. It was our thought that we could decide upon some arrangement which would secure to both countries an equitable participation in the trade. Mr. Fujii said that, speaking entirely for himself, he was very much gratified by the manner in which we had approached this problem, and he felt certain that his Government would respond in a similar spirit.
In regard to sun goggles, I said that we did not wish to deprive the Japanese manufacturers of a share in the American market in this commodity, and it was our thought that the Japanese Government might restrict annual exports to a maximum of 15,000 gross. In view of the large amounts that had been exported toward the end of last year in anticipation of restrictive action by the United States, we believed that it would be only fair if the allotment for the first year were to include imports into the United States on and after October 1, 1934.
I said for Mr. Fujii’s confidential information that Governor General Murphy of the Philippines would probably be in Washington next week, and that it would be helpful to me if Mr. Fujii could give me as soon as possible some indication of the views of the Japanese Government in regard to the Philippine cotton textile matter.
Mr. Fujii again expressed his appreciation of the manner in which the various questions had been presented to the Embassy; he said that the substance of my statements would be telegraphed to Tokyo, and he felt confident that the Embassy would be in position to make a reply early next week.