793.94119/436: Telegram

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

285. Department’s 276, August 8, 6 p.m.,56 and Ambassador Johnson’s 376, July 27, 2 p.m.

[Here follows report of contents of telegram No. 748, August 11, 7 p.m., from the Chargé in the United Kingdom, printed on page 255.]

On April 14 the Department informed the British Ambassador here,57 in response to an approach made by the Ambassador,58 that insofar as the information in the possession of this Government indicates, neither the Chinese Government nor the Japanese Government would be prepared at this time to agree to terms of peace which would be acceptable to the other. That view remains unchanged and in this connection the Department has taken note of the views recently expressed by you and by Ambassador Johnson. As you know, we have repeatedly offered our good offices to the Japanese; we have made it clear to both the Chinese and the Japanese Governments that whenever both those governments considered it desirable we stood ready to exercise our good offices; and the Japanese Government is aware of our standing offer. In the absence of an indication by Japan of a readiness to accept an offer of good offices and without previous knowledge concerning Japan’s intentions and desires with especial reference to the extent to which Japan might wish to remain in China, we would be reluctant to associate ourselves in a procedure wherein we would function as a “post office”, because the powers so functioning would probably not only be called upon to transmit terms inconsistent with the provisions of treaties to which we are committed and with principles in which we believe, but because of the implication that the powers acting in such capacity were pressing such terms. In view of these considerations we do not desire that you make an approach to the Japanese Government similar to that which Craigie has been authorized to make. You may discuss the matter fully with Craigie and inform him that we are of the opinion that an offer of good offices at the present time would have no chance of success and that in the light of considerations set forth hereinbefore we are not prepared to make a démarche at Tokyo similar to that which he has been authorized to make. Please inform Craigie that we hope that the British Government will continue to keep us fully and currently informed of developments in order that we may, should developments make such action on our part practicable, be afforded [Page 258] opportunity to make such contribution as we appropriately might toward bringing about a settlement of the conflict on terms fair and just to all concerned.

In case your present views should not coincide with those expressed in this telegram, I should welcome your further comment.

Please repeat to Hong Kong with request that Hong Kong forward code text to Ambassador Johnson at Chungking by air mail.

  1. This telegram reported the Secretary’s memorandum of August 3, p. 252.
  2. Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 463.
  3. See aide-mémoire of April 11, p. 139.