793.94/10008: Telegram

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

360. 1. A prominent member of the House of Peers, with whom I am on terms of personal friendship, called today for a periodic talk and in the course of conversation spoke of the marked swing in public opinion in Japan, even including the military, towards [Page 522] friendship with the United States. He said that since the consummation of the pact with Germany and the results thereof, Japan is coming to regard America “as the only real friend left.” He said that events in China have moved very much farther and faster than even the military intended. He characterizes the Government as weak, with Hirota and Baba20 the only strong characters among the civilian members, but Hirota will not take initiative and Baba is interested only in domestic affairs.

2. I took this occasion to talk to my informant along the lines of the penultimate paragraph of your telegraphic instruction 187, September 2, 2 p.m., emphasizing the present strong trend of feeling in the United States concerning the policy and course which Japan is now pursuing. My informant said that information along these lines had recently been given by a member at a meeting of the Export and Import Committee of the House of Peers.

3. I likewise took this opportunity to mention the local press reports to the effect that the Japanese Government contemplates sending a good will mission to the United States to explain Japan’s point of view and said that speaking personally and unofficially I knew that such a step at the present time would be a mistake and inadvisable. My collocutor undertook to let this “important view” be known in appropriate circles.

  1. Eichi Baba, Japanese Minister of Home Affairs.