Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hornbeck)

Reference, memorandum of Mr. Hamilton’s conversation with Mr. Ing this morning and Nanking’s telegram 265, July 12, 3 p.m.

It is believed that any step that might be taken by this Government toward action “in a mediatory capacity” would (at this moment) be premature and ill-advised; would be likely to aggravate rather than to ameliorate the situation.

The Secretary has already expressed to the Japanese Ambassador certain views,67 and Mr. Hornbeck has expressed to the Counselor of the Chinese Embassy certain views, the indication given in both cases being that this Government would look with great disfavor upon a development to the point of seriousness of hostilities between Japan and China.

There is a step which the British Government might take which might have some effect toward restraining the Japanese: the British Government might tell the Japanese Ambassador in London that so long as there are hostilities between Japanese and Chinese armed forces the British Government cannot continue conversations with the Japanese Government on the subject of a possible agreement with regard to Far Eastern matters.

For the moment, this Government should, it is believed, make no approach to either the Chinese or the Japanese authorities and make no public comment.

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]