793.94116/46: Telegram

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

185. Your 356, June 4, noon.

The British Ambassador here has approached the Department in regard to this matter. In reply the Department is taking note of the facts that the British approach to us was decided upon prior to the public statements made on June 3 by the Secretary and by the Acting Secretary13 in which there were reiterated this nation’s emphatic reprobation of ruthless bombing of unfortified localities and that the British have already taken action at Tokyo. The Department is also informing the British Ambassador that while we are in thorough accord with the views motivating the British démarche and with the humanitarian objectives of the British Government, we do not feel that any useful purpose would be served by repeating statements which this Government has just made and which have undoubtedly been made known to the Japanese Government.
The Department desires that you keep in mind the deep humanitarian interest of this Government and of the American people in the subject of bombings of civilian populations, and the Department authorizes you in your discretion, if and when an appropriate occasion should arise, to bring this interest to the attention of the Japanese Government.14
  1. For statement by the Acting Secretary of State, see Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 595.
  2. For Ambassador Grew’s reply, see telegram No. 368, June 9, 7 p.m., ibid., p. 596.