894.797/18: Telegram

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

22. Department’s 14, January 31, 11 a.m. In a recent conversation the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs told the Counsellor of the Embassy that the attitude of the Japanese Government towards the treaty of 1911 is that article 1 applies to individuals; that it is not contemplated that any individuals as such would be permitted to operate automobile factories under the proposed law and in that respect there would be no discrimination between Japanese subjects and foreigners resident in Japan. So far as companies or corporations are concerned their position is regulated in article 7 and it therefore seems clear to the Japanese Government that the proposed automobile law would not be inconsistent with the provisions of the treaty.

He said further that while the Foreign Office considers the project unwise there are forces at work beyond its control and that there is a movement on foot to put the bill before the special session of the Diet, probably in the spring, but he did not know whether that could be done. Despite its dislike of the project the Foreign Office would not be in a position to state to other departments that there is a treaty obligation which would stand in the way of the proposed legislation.

Despatch follows.45

  1. No. 1659, February 5, not printed. The Ambassador’s telegram No. 112, May 23, 7 p.m., reported that “the automobile industry law passed the Diet today.” (894.797/23)