894.6363/307: Telegram

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

6. Embassy’s 4, January 11, 1 p.m.

1. Matsushima, the Chief of the Commercial Bureau of the Foreign Office, today handed Dickover the following note verbale in reply to our representations of December 24. The note was delivered in English as well as Japanese (a most unusual proceeding with the Foreign Office) in order, as Matsushima said, to avoid any misunderstanding.

“Translation. Note verbale. The Department of Foreign Affairs having consulted the competent department on the subject of the aide-mémoire of the United States Embassy dated December 24, 1936 have the honor to state in reply as follows:

The Japanese Government have no intention to make any discrimination between business operations of the Standard Vacuum Oil Company which represents the American oil interests in Japan and those of any other oil industrialists. Nor have they any thought whatever of driving out of Japan the American oil interests represented by that company. To be more precise the phrase ‘they will be taken into full consideration’ in the reply addressed by the Director of the Mines Bureau in the Department of Commerce and Industry to the General Manager of the Standard Vacuum Oil Company under date of October 21, 1936 did not mean that consideration would be given to the question as to whether or not the four points enumerated in the letter addressed by the General Manager of the said company to the Minister for Commerce and Industry on October 9, 1936, would be carried into effect. On the contrary the reference was intended to be a confirmation in writing of the four points. The company therefore need entertain no misgiving and it is hoped that this information will be conveyed to it so that there shall be no misunderstandings in this connection.

The Japanese Government hereby declare that so long as the above mentioned company faithfully observes the Japanese laws and regulations concerned they will always be prepared to give favorable consideration [Page 726] to its business operations. At the same time they desire to point out that the company should speedily fulfill the obligations required by the Japanese laws and regulations.”

2. The note verbale was accompanied by a paper marked “unofficial” replying to my oral representations of December 24 and stating that:

In regard to the kerosene quotas for the latter part of 1936, increases were given to the Japanese companies and not to the foreign companies because of an increase in the domestic production of oil. It is therefore an exceptional matter and was treated in accordance with the first of the four points upon which the foreign oil companies request assurances.
The proposed tariff revision admits of no reasonable objection as it is applicable without distinction to any person or concern.

3. A note verbale substantially identical with the foregoing was handed to Sansom today. We concur with the British Embassy that this result of our representatives [representations?] is gratifying as definitely confirming the assurances previously given orally to the companies.