793.94/10043: Telegram

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

206. Under date September 13 the Chargé at London telegraphed that on that day the Foreign Office sent for him and referred to action taken by the British Government and the French Government by way of “warning” the Japanese Government that occupation by the Japanese of various islands, if and when, would inevitably involve serious difficulties with third powers. The Chargé reported further that the Foreign Office expressed “a very general wish” to know what, if any, action the United States proposed to take in this matter.

The Department suggests that you in your discretion make an informal approach to the Japanese Foreign Office, referring to reports that the Japanese have dismantled the Chinese meteorological station on Pratas Reef, mentioning the valuable services which the station has rendered shipping in the vicinity, and pointing out the dangers [Page 525]to which shipping may be subjected due to the dismantling of the station. You may inquire of the Foreign Office with regard to the Japanese Government’s intentions concerning Pratas Reef. In this connection, you make take opportunity to refer to statements made by Japanese officials to the effect that the Japanese Government has no territorial ambitions in China, draw attention to the remoteness of Pratas Reef from the scene of conflict in China, and express confidence that it is not the intention of the Japanese Government to alienate Chinese territory, including Pratas Reef.

Before taking any action, please consult with your British and French colleagues. Keep the Department informed with regard to the matter.

Hull