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

No. 3025

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a newspaper article65 commenting upon Foreign Minister Ugaki’s meeting of June 17 with the foreign press correspondents. In answering questions the Minister made liberal use of a large sheaf of notes which had been prepared in anticipation by the press section of the Foreign Office, and most of the correspondents were annoyed by the consequent lack of spontaneity in the replies. What seems to be most noteworthy in Mr. Ugaki’s statements on this occasion is his assertion that with sufficient change in the state of affairs in China the Japanese Government might come to a reconsideration of its decision not to deal with Chiang Kai-shek.

This assertion bears out statements made at somewhat greater length both by the Premier66 and by the Foreign Minister in separate interviews with Mr. John Gunther on June 2, as recounted by him to a member of my staff on that date. Mr. Gunther, well known as a correspondent and as author of Inside Europe, was granted [Page 199] interviews with several outstanding individuals of the present cabinet, among which interviews that with Premier Konoe was particularly successful. What would be the next step, asked Mr. Gunther, after the decisive defeat of the Chiang Kai-shek regime which the Japanese say is their aim, when the Imperial conference of January 11 committed the country to a policy of no negotiating with Chiang Kai-shek? Prince Konoe’s reply, according to Mr. Gunther, was that that decision was specifically necessary to counteract the effect of the Trautmann peace approach, which had proved itself a premature error; that the decision is not beyond the possibility of change; and that Japan, whose chief aim is peace, is ready to negotiate with Chiang Kai-shek whenever he shows a proper attitude.

Respectfully yours,

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Not reprinted.
  2. Prince Fumimaro Konoye.