793.94 Conference/286: Telegram

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

562. Department’s 305, November 19, 2 p.m., and 306, November 19, 5 p.m.

In the light of the two telegrams above cited which I brought to the attention of my British colleague, Craigie yesterday read to me a message which he was about to send to London and of which he has now sent me a paraphrase. Understanding that he has repeated it to Lindsay,47 I shall not cable the full paraphrase unless instructed.
Craigie stressed in that telegram his feeling that once the ball can be set rolling through Anglo-American agency its propulsion in the right direction may become easier and he suggested the possibility of the two Governments acting in the first instance as a sort of “post office” offering advice to either side only when solicited. He feels that if we surround by too many exactions at the start the conditions on which good offices would be forthcoming we might lose an important opportunity. He also believes that a great step in advance would have been taken if Anglo-American understanding could be made the basis of future action rather than a mandate under the League of Nations or the Nine Power Treaty.48
While agreeing substantially with Craigie, I prefer at the present moment to avoid recommendations with regard to the relative merits of American or British or Anglo-American good offices. The Department is in possession of various data which might be helpful in appraising this question.
The crux of the situation seems to me to be this: granted on the one hand that we would not be willing to recommend peace terms inconsistent with the Nine Power Treaty, would we be willing to act in an effort toward peace merely as a nation having important interests [Page 715] in the Far East and as a friend of both combatants but bearing constantly in mind the provisions of the Nine Power Treaty and the determination to emphasize or to render compelling those provisions in the formulation of the final peace terms?
Horinouchi’s49 statement to Craigie, reported in paragraph numbered 1 of my 554, November 19, 9 p.m., came as no surprise to me. In fact during the course of a conversation which I had with Craigie on November 18 the thought was expressed to him that before entering into any discussion of Japanese peace terms or of any method by which our two Governments could help to bring about peace negotiations between the combatants the Japanese would probably insist upon an assurance that our respective Governments would be prepared to discuss the question of good offices as independent agents and not as representatives of the collective signatories of and adherents to the Nine Power Treaty. I cannot, of course, state with confidence that even if such an assurance were given anything useful would eventuate from discussions with the Japanese Government. However, we frankly can see no other possible opening at the present time.
  1. British Ambassador in the United States.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. i, p. 276.
  3. Japanese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs.