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

Dear Mr. Grew: It is gratifying to me to have your letter of September 15 in which you discuss the subject of policy dealt with in your telegram of August 27 to me and my telegrams of August 2837 and September 2 to you.

It was very useful to me to have—and, as stated in my telegram of August 28, I appreciated your having given me—your telegram of August 27 and I was sure that you would find helpful what I gave you in my telegram of September 2. I am sure that your views and mins of the situation and of the general attitude and position which this Government has adopted and must maintain with regard to it are as nearly the same as can be possible, due consideration being given to the difference in the locations and the atmospheres in which you and I are respectively functioning. It has been very gratifying to me to observe the spirit in which and the skill with which you have handled the approaches which you have made to the Japanese Foreign Office, both those which you have made on your own initiative and those which you have made under and in accordance with express instructions, in regard to the delicate and difficult problems with which we have had to deal in our relations with Japan during the period while you have been representing this Government at Tokyo, and especially during the period of great perplexity which began on July 7.

I have given very careful consideration to the suggestions which you were so good as to make in your telegram of August 27 and to the further analysis of problems and discussion of possibilities contained and communicated in your letter now under acknowledgment.

It is useful to us to be reminded of various factors in the situation in Japan of which officers of the Department of course have a certain awareness but which need to be had vividly in mind. We know, of [Page 619]course, that the information which reaches the Japanese public is incomplete and probably considerably colored. Further—a point which you have not mentioned—we realize that it is not possible for us to keep you completely informed of all of the many developments which affect our attitude and influence our course. There is little that we can do with regard to the first of these matters except keep it in mind. On the second of these points, it is our constant desire to give you all that time and dictates of discretion make possible. In mentioning dictates of discretion, I have in mind especially the possibility or even likelihood that confidential communication by cable and by radio cannot be relied upon.

I am making in my mind renewed note of the points which you bring out in the summary of the Embassy’s current thoughts which begins on page 5 of your letter. I can assure you that it is our desire to continue to employ those methods which have been ours since the beginning of the present administration. I fully realize the importance of exercising great patience and forbearance in relations with a people whose situation, psychology, problems, etc., are those of the Japanese. You will agree with me, I am sure, that the Japanese are making for themselves and for the rest of the world problems which seem more and more difficult of solution. They are, of course, not the only people who are doing that. We are, and we will have to continue to be, their neighbors. That fact this Government will at no time overlook. And, we will persevere in the effort to be a good neighbor.

Toward further orienting you in regard to our general position, I enclose copies of two instructions which we sent by telegram to Mr. Harrison while the Assembly of the League was in session and was considering the Far Eastern question.38 Further development of our attitude will doubtless occur in connection with and during the impending conference of powers party to the Nine Power Treaty. In its evolution, our course of action will of necessity be greatly influenced not only by the further activities of Japan and of China but by the attitude of and positions taken by other powers.

I note your suggestion that your letter under reference be placed in the files, and I shall gladly implement that suggestion.

Assuring you of my appreciation of the present detailed expression of your views and of my abiding confidence in your skillful handling of the many problems which devolve upon the important Embassy which is yours, in a difficult situation and at a difficult time, I am,

Yours sincerely,

Cordell Hull
  1. Telegram No. 176, August 28, 3 p.m., not printed.
  2. See telegrams No. 2, September 24, 6 p.m., and No. 7, September 28, 10 p.m., vol. iv, pp. 32 and 42.