The Chargé in Japan (Dickover) to the Secretary of State

No. 2101

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s despatch No. 1753, March 30, 1936,1 in regard to a rumored German-Japanese military agreement and to enclose herewith a memorandum of conversation which I had on October 26, with Baron de Bassompierre, the Belgian Ambassador in Tokyo. The Ambassador’s opinion is that there is some truth in the rumors of this agreement, which he believes is now approaching some definite form.

Respectfully yours,

E. R. Dickover

Memorandum by the Chargé in Japan (Dickover) of a Conversation With the Belgian Ambassador in Japan (De Bassompierre)

In the course of a conversation this afternoon the Ambassador brought up the subject of the rumored German-Japanese military agreement against Russia and asked me if I had recently received any new information on the subject. I told him that I had not and asked him his opinion of the probable existence of such a pact. The Ambassador stated that he believed that some kind of an unwritten and informal agreement had been reached some time ago between Japanese and German military officers, but that this agreement was probably not even known to the Foreign Offices of the two countries. It was probably just some sort of a verbal agreement between army officers to combat the further spread of communism. The Ambassador, however, stated that he believed that some more concrete agreement was now being reached between the two countries. He said that as evidence of this, Colonel Ott, the Military Attaché of the German Embassy in Tokyo, had been suddenly called to Germany last summer while the German Ambassador was at home on leave. Baron de [Page 391] Bassompierre believed that this action was connected with some negotiations proceeding in Berlin. He went on to say that some time ago he had noticed an article in Le Matin pointing out the obvious advantages to Japan and Germany of some sort of an alliance against the Soviet Union. The thesis of the article was that it would be necessary for Germany, before waging war on the Soviet Union, to insure against the transference by the Soviet Union of its Far Eastern army to the western front. This could be done by some sort of an alliance with Japan, which would compel the Soviet Union to retain its army in the Far East. Baron de Bassompierre had clipped this article from Le Matin at the time, and recently on his return to Tokyo, when making his formal calls upon the Prime Minister, Mr. Hirota, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Arita, he had shown them both the clipping in question. He said that if there had been absolutely no truth in the rumor of a German-Japanese agreement, they would have waived the suggestion aside with a laugh. They did not do so, however, but simply sat, with immobile faces, and said nothing. Baron de Bassompierre considered this as very significant.

E. R. D[ickover]