793.94/12046: Telegram

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

20. My 17, January 10, 2 p.m.

The Imperial Conference met at 2 o’clock this afternoon and adjourned after 1 hour’s deliberation. A bulletin issued to the press stated briefly that the conference approved the principle adopted by the Cabinet (see paragraph 4 of telegram above cited). An official in the Foreign Office informed us in reply to request for amplification of the bulletin that contrary to a rumor now current that a full statement would be given to the press of today’s proceedings nothing would be given out “for the time being”.
We have been unable to get any reliable information on even the trend of the discussion at the conference. As relatively full accounts have been given out of recent Cabinet meetings, in which it was made clear that there was a division of opinion on the question of a declaration of war, but that full agreement prevails on the basic policy of carrying on the hostilities to a successful conclusion, the brevity of today’s proceedings does not suggest that decision was taken to declare war. If a decision was reached to take any action of a concrete nature the probabilities are that it would involve de jure recognition of the “Provisional Government of China” and as a necessary preliminary act withdrawal of recognition of the Chinese Government.

Repeated to Peiping for relay to Johnson.