793.94/13837: Telegram

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

590. Our 572, September 2, noon.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs received my British colleague this afternoon and in a 2-hour session did nearly all the talking, reading from copious notes with which Craigie believes he was furnished by the military authorities.
The Minister began with a long statement in which he charged Great Britain with aiding Chiang Kai Shek and said that until the British attitude should change, improvement in Anglo-Japanese relations could not be expected. Specifically he charged the British Navy with an attitude and actions contrary to Japanese interests while indicating that the American Navy had followed a correct course throughout the hostilities.
The Minister said that the fall of Hankow is imminent and that as soon as this occurs a strong Chinese central government will emerge which will cooperate with Japan and will render useless further assistance to Chiang Kai Shek.
The Minister then proceeded to reject scheme for the five points which Craigie had presented on July 26 (see our 494, July 27, 3 p.m.). Such reasons as the Minister advanced for this rejection centered about the requirements of the military campaign and the terrorist activities of Chinese in Shanghai. Under the heading “railways” the Minister made a single minor concession, namely, that the nominees of the British-Chinese Corporation would be permitted to inspect the North Station in Shanghai. With regard to the Whangpoo conservancy, the Minister thought that an agreement through local negotiations was impending. (Craigie at this point told me of his regret that the provisional agreement, which he considered reasonable, had failed owing to French objection.) When Craigie endeavored to discuss his five points specifically, the Minister pleaded ignorance of the details which he said were better understood by the Vice-Minister.86 Craigie replied that affairs of such importance should properly be discussed in detail by an ambassador with the Foreign Minister himself. He feels that Ugaki has no detailed comprehension of these matters.
At the end of the interview Craigie conveyed to the Foreign Minister, not as formal representations but as a personal message from Lord Halifax,87 certain proposals for the avoidance of bombing civilian populations which Craigie says he will send me later.
Craigie characterized the interview as completely unfavorable and discouraging. He has noted in the last few days a recrudescence of anti-British publicity in the Japanese press and has observed that this publicity so closely follows comments made to him by the Foreign Office as to render certain that this propaganda is officially inspired.
Craigie informs me in strict secrecy that owing to the crisis in Europe he has been directed by his Government to avoid a showdown with the Japanese Government at present and to carry on as best he can.

Repetition left to the Department’s discretion.

  1. Kensuke Horinouchi.
  2. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.