Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hornbeck) of a Conversation With the Japanese Ambassador (Saito)

I asked the Japanese Ambassador to be so good as to call at his convenience. The Ambassador called on me this morning by appointment. I opened the conversation with reference to the visit here during the past two days of the Japanese Economic Mission, the pleasure which it had given us to meet the members of the Mission, the very agreeable impression which they had made (the Head of the Mission, Mr. Kadono, had left Washington only two hours before this conversation was held, and two officers of FE18 had been present at the train), etc., etc.

I then said that the matter which I unfortunately had to take up with the Ambassador related to an incident which had occurred at Honolulu. I said that I had prepared a brief memorandum covering the facts in the case, as reported to us, and including comment which it was my duty to make. I then handed the Ambassador the ribbon copy of the informal memorandum of which copy is here attached.19 I supplemented the statement by saying that, as reported to us, the Naval “Chief Photographer” (U.S.N.) upon whom the Japanese Consul General had laid hands had made no physical resistance and had refrained from calling to his aid naval personnel who were within call, in order that there might not be created a disturbance. I said [Page 808] that I was sure that the Ambassador would agree with us that action on the part of a consular officer and associated nationals such as was reported in this account was objectionable, could not fail to make for ill-will, and should be definitely discouraged by the authorities of the country of which these persons are nationals. The Ambassador said that he shared these views, and he asked me what I thought he should do. I replied that I felt that I ought not endeavor to make any suggestion; that it seemed to me that this was a matter with regard to which the Ambassador should decide without any prompting from us what action on his part would be appropriate and what suggestions might appropriately be made by him toward ensuring against repetition by a Japanese consular officer and Japanese nationals of any similar activities. The Ambassador said that he thought that probably I was right and that the problem was his: he would give it careful consideration.

With some further references to the visit of the Japanese Economic Mission and reciprocal expression of gratification that it was possible for us to talk things over frankly, the conversation ended.

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]
  1. Division of Far Eastern Affairs.
  2. Infra.