793.94/13700: Telegram

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

543. Our 494, July 27, 3 p.m.

My British colleague yesterday inquired of the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether he was now in a position to reply to the five points presented by the Ambassador on July 26 as the principal desiderata of the British Government relating to British interests in China.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs replied that owing to recent statements in Parliament by the Prime Minister,66 Halifax67 and Butler68 of a nature threatening to Japan, public opinion in Japan had become greatly exacerbated and would tolerate no concessions to Great Britain at this time. Craigie asked if this reply was final. The Minister counseled patience and suggested that Craigie come to see him again at the end of August.
Craigie feels that the Japanese authorities are definitely determined to discriminate against Great Britain and he told Ugaki that if this were the case his own country would have no alternative but to discriminate against Japan. Craigie believes that the Japanese will try to avoid a showdown until after the fall of Hankow and that they will then openly snap their fingers in Great Britain’s face.
Craigie says that he therefore proposes to recommend to his Government that since conciliatory efforts are proving abortive, his Government should now or soon radically alter its tactics and proceed to take all counter measures “short of a casus belli” against Japan. He thinks that one of the first steps should be the denunciation of their Treaty of Commerce with Japan69 and that other measures, such for instance as action in the discount market, should follow. In other words, said Craigie, the time has come when Great Britain must “show her teeth”. He added, as usual, that similar action by the United States would double the effectiveness of the measures taken but he also believes that discriminatory measures against American interests in China will be far less marked than those against Great Britain. He especially observed that Mr. Hull’s recent public statements condemning military aggression had mentioned no names whereas the name of Japan had been emphatically and disparagingly mentioned by British officials in Parliament. Craigie considers those British statements as unfortunate, particularly because at the same [Page 266] time it was decided not to proceed with plans for a loan to China which he thinks the Japanese interpret purely as a weakening of British determination.

Repeated to Hong Kong for Chungking.

  1. Neville Chamberlain.
  2. Viscount Halifax, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Signed April 3, 1911, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. civ, p. 159.