394.1121 Keoahu, David L./2

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

No. 1335

Sir: Reference is made to the ultimate sentence of the Embassy’s despatch No. 2523 of August 4, 1937,34 in which it is suggested that if the Department should decide not to proceed toward the conclusion of the proposed consular convention with Japan it would be helpful for the Embassy and consular offices in Japan to receive standing instructions in regard to the policy which should be followed in cases wherein the Japanese authorities refuse to permit American consular offices to communicate with American citizens under detention or arrest.

[Page 817]

Although there has been no decision on the part of the Department to halt discussions looking toward the conclusion of a consular convention with Japan, actually the informal discussions in regard to the proposed convention between officers of the Department and officers of the Japanese Embassy have been in suspense for several months because of the failure so far of the Japanese to give satisfactory assurances that American consular officers in Japan shall have the right to visit American citizens under detention or arrest in that country. For your confidential information it may be stated that the Department is not disposed to proceed further with the discussions until such assurances are forthcoming.

The Department suggests that hereafter in each case coming to the attention of the Embassy of American citizens being held incommunicado, a communication, formal or informal as the Embassy may consider appropriate, be addressed to the Foreign Office in which should be set forth the circumstances of the case and inquiry made in regard to the reasons for refusal to permit a visit by the consular officer. In each instance the attention of the Foreign Office might be invited to the fact that it is the custom in the United States and most other countries to permit such visits by consular officers.

At the same time, the Department desires that the Embassy give consideration to the possibility that special effort on the part of consular officers to develop useful contacts among local officials might in some cases place them in position more effectively to intercede in protection cases of this nature. The Department in making this observation does not wish it to be implied that any criticism is intended of the handling by the Vice Consul at Yokohama of the case under reference. The observation is offered as a suggestion for consideration.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Hugh R. Wilson
  1. Not printed.