The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan ( Grew )
185. The Department has received from the British Embassy an aide-mémoire dated August 31,89 inquiring whether this Government would be prepared to ask you to concert with your British colleague in making an inquiry of the Japanese Government directed toward eliciting a precise statement of the measures which the Japanese Government intends to take against shipping on the China coast.
The Department has replied in an aide-mémoire of the same date89 to the effect that the statement made by the Japanese Government seems to this Government sufficiently precise within its own limits. [Page 441] Reference was made in the reply to the Japanese statements mentioned in your 322, August 27, 7 p.m., and 329, August 31, 2 p.m., to the effect that interference with merchant vessels other than Chinese was not intended. The Department expressed the view that the intentions of the Japanese Government would not be likely to be altered by there being addressed to the Japanese Government a request for a more precise statement of its intentions, and that such an approach, if made now, would, in the light of the statements which have already been made by the Japanese Government, not be helpful or advisable.