Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)35

My British colleague said to me today that a few weeks ago he had been told by “certain important sources” that if Great Britain would undertake mediation, the Japanese Government would be willing to consider peace with the Chinese Nationalist Government on three general conditions:

Withdrawal of Japanese troops from China.
Equal trade opportunity in China for all nations.
Discontinuance of all anti-Japanese activity and propaganda in China.

On the basis of this information Sir Robert Craigie called on Prince Konoye secretly on November 1 and said that if the information were correct, his Government would be willing to consider mediation on the aforesaid conditions on Japanese initiative. The Prime Minister replied that Japan did not at the present time desire such mediation.

At the end of this interview with the Prime Minister it was mutually agreed that if any publicity should occur, the Japanese Government would deny that Great Britain had offered mediation. The English interpreter, Mr. Tsuchiya, confirmed this understanding to the Ambassador.

A few days later, Mr. Shiratori36 approached Sir Robert at the club and spoke of Great Britain’s “offer of mediation” which Mr. Shiratori said was of course out of the question at the present time.

In a conversation day before yesterday with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Arita mentioned the matter in the same vein. Sir Robert told him the facts and protested at the publicity recently given to this subject in Yomiuri.

Sir Robert thinks that Mr. Shiratori was probably the source of the publicity, having heard of the secret interview, but that Mr. Arita himself might have taken offense because, although Sir Robert’s appointment with Prince Konoye was made on the evening before the announcement of Mr. Arita’s appointment, the interview actually took place after Mr. Arita had assumed office.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in his covering despatch No. 3493, December 2; received December 17.
  2. Toshio Shiratori, former Japanese Minister in Sweden.