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

No. 2537

Sir: Reference is made to the opinion expressed in the last sentence of the first paragraph on page 4 of my despatch No. 2482 of June 24, 1937,2 to the effect that the motive of the Japanese Government in concluding with Germany the so-called Anti-Comintern Convention3 may have been to secure tangible evidence that Japan’s political isolation is approaching an end. There is enclosed a translation2 of for Foreign Affairs was as follows:

“With regard to relations between Germany and Japan, it is my earnest hope, as stated in the address which I previously made, that the relations between our two countries will become still more close (applause). For the past few years’ Japan had virtually no relations with each one of the various countries of Europe and America, and it has carried on its diplomacy in the Far East in an independent manner. However, with the conclusion of the Japanese-German Anti-Comintern Convention Japan has established a relationship with Europe; and it is our desire that, on the basis of that relationship, we may proceed in the future to develop friendly ties also with Great Britain, France, and Italy.”

The above-quoted statement of Mr. Hirota would seem to confirm the accuracy of the assumption that it has been the desire of the Japanese Government to modify the isolation into which Japan fell as a result of action taken by it in China.

According to the foreign editor of one of the leading Japanese newspapers, the German Government has indicated displeasure to the [Page 606] Japanese Government over the recent actions of the Japanese military in North China, on the ground that an annex to the Anti-Comintern Convention provides that Japan shall respect the territorial integrity of China, and the Japanese Government, on its side, has protested to the German Government for having permitted German officers to act as military advisers to the Chinese Government. Mr. Shiratori, who attained considerable notoriety as spokesman for the Japanese Foreign Office during the Manchuria incident, stated categorically to a member of my staff that there is no annex to the Anti-Comintern Convention such as that described by the editor above-mentioned, but he added confidentially that one clause of the Convention which relates to Soviet Russia has not been published.5

Respectfully yours,

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Not printed.
  2. Signed at Berlin, November 25, 1936, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941. vol. ii, p. 153.
  3. Not printed.
  4. For text of secret additional agreement signed at Berlin on November 25, 1936, see Department of State, Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, series D, vol. i, p. 734, footnote 2a. This secret agreement contained three articles.