Memorandum by the Secretary of State
The Ambassador of Great Britain called upon his own request. He proceeded to say that Foreign Minister Eden was disappointed at [Page 500] the course of this Government when it stepped out so far ahead of the British Government in dealing with the Japanese Government with respect to the sinking of the Panay and other American ships. The Ambassador said Mr. Eden felt very strongly that there should be joint action in such a serious and critical situation; that the dangerous character of the Japanese military officials in control of the fighting area was such that a show of possibilities of force on a large scale was necessary to arrest their attention, their movements, and their policy of firing upon the nationals and warships of other countries in most reckless, criminal, and deliberate manner. He said that at this time it was doubtful whether either of our two countries, or any one country, could offer a showing sufficiently impressive to these military dictators to induce them to refrain from their outrageous assaults on the nationals and vessels of other countries; that the British Government may not be in a position now to make such necessary showing both in the Far East and in Europe as is highly important and urgent, but that it does expect, however, within another twelve months or within a number of months to be prepared to make such showing on each side of the planet.
He then argued Eden’s proposal and disappointment with respect to joint action by our two governments, ending up with a statement that the British would send a note to the Japanese Government probably today, in which they would ask for the punishment of the persons who fired on the British vessels and nationals.