894.52/50: Telegram

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

70. Department’s 36, February 27, 2 p.m. I orally and informally advised the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs today that the United [Page 821] States Government is prepared to accept settlement of the perpetual lease question on the basis of the proposal presented to the Japanese Government by the British Ambassador in his note of January 14. I made it clear that the legal rights of American leaseholders can not be compromised by such an acceptance and in order that the Embassy may discuss the matter with the leaseholders I suggested that no publicity at present be given to my announcement. I, however, suggested to the Vice Minister that before any formal approach is made to our Government by the Japanese Government it would be helpful if he would advise me informally in advance of any such step so that if desirable a public announcement might then be made that the American Government had already indicated its willingness to accept settlement of the question prior to a formal approach by the Japanese Government. The Vice Minister agreed to this procedure. He expressed appreciation of our attitude.

I believe that the Embassy should now inform the principal American leaseholders of our Government’s position.