394.115 Panay/43: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

772. My 767, December 13, 1 p.m. Cadogan65 has just read to me the telegram sent to Sir Ronald Lindsay, containing an expression of British views, which he said has by now doubtless been conveyed to you. The British have not yet, he said, received any factual reports which would throw any additional light on the incidents. He reemphasized what Mr. Eden had already said this morning that they regarded the situation as serious. He also said they attach great importance to the British and American action being at least along synchronized parallel lines if it is to have any effect on the Japanese. What they really hope for, as set forth in the telegram to Lindsay, is that we will consent to joint action. Cadogan pointed out that they [Page 495] realize that our views as to the advisability of joint action in the past has been different from theirs but he feels that the circumstances of the present situation might perhaps cause us to reconsider this attitude.

The Government obviously attaches great importance to having as united an Anglo-American front as may be possible to present to the Japanese and I gather that they are not displeased that America’s interests should have been so decidedly involved by these unfortunate incidents. There are indications from varying sources that the British authorities are hopeful American official and public opinion will react strongly towards these sinkings and that some positive action, such as the moving of the fleet, will be authorized. In such circumstances Great Britain would undoubtedly increase her own Far Eastern naval contingent. The British do not now see any early termination of the Sino-Japanese conflict and fear that hostilities will shortly move to the Canton area where their interests predominate.

  1. Sir Alexander Cadogan, British Deputy Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.