762.94/90: Telegram

The Ambassador in Germany (Dodd) to the Secretary of State

343. Department’s 404, November 14, 2 p.m., to London.9 In conversation at Foreign Office yesterday afternoon it was stated by responsible authority there that no alliance or anything in the nature of a real agreement existed with Japan. We were given to understand guardedly, in view of the tremendous secrecy imposed on the Foreign Office, that there may well be a declaration in the near future by Japan with respect to Communism similar to the statement in a communiqué by Count Ciano10 at the end of his recent visit here. (See 4th paragraph of communiqué reported in Embassy’s 314, October 26, 1 p.m.11).

But we were told even such a declaration would not be directed against any particular power but rather to protect internal conditions in Japan. Our informant added that a similar statement on behalf of Austria might be expected in the next day or two at conclusion of Under Secretary Schmidt’s visit here.

Regarding recognition of Manchukuo our informant gave us impression that Italy and Japan were arranging to exchange consular representatives in Manchukuo and Abyssinia, respectively, which, in effect, would amount to a recognition of these two situations. However, it was underlined that the German attitude toward Manchukuo remained unchanged. It was one thing for Italy to recognize Manchukuo having no substantial present or potential trade relations with China or [Page 397] property holdings there, but quite a different thing for Germany with her great interest in trade with China. Germany could not afford to offend China.

Discussing German-Japanese relations generally my informant gave me every reason to believe that while Japanese have been pressing for some time for some form of alliance or entente with Germany, the latter has not made any such agreement since she is playing no favorites in the Far East. If the time ever should come when Japanese assistance would be desirable against Russia, that situation would work out so automatically for the best interests of both Germany and Japan that there is no necessity meanwhile to have an alliance or understanding to this effect which could be prejudicial to Sino-German as well as Anglo-German relations, not to speak of other considerations involved.

We were also informed that the Foreign Office had just received a telegram from their Minister at Nanking reporting that in a conversation with the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs the latter had stated that the Sino-Japanese situation had considerably improved and he was hopeful that it would work out satisfactorily. The Foreign Office also stated that they considered Russo-Japanese relations were better despite appearances in Mongolia. The Kwantung army was more under control than previously.

Cipher text mailed to London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Istanbul.

  1. See footnote 2, p. 392.
  2. Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Not printed.