500.C1197/1209: Telegram

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

400. The Foreign Office on Monday orally expressed to the Embassy its regret that Mr. Fuller had made statements at a recent session of the International Opium Committee, now sitting in Geneva, that the drugs referred to in the penultimate paragraph on page 2 of narcotics seizure report No. 721, enclosed with the Department’s confidential instruction No. 1462 of April 6, 1938,82 came from the Japanese Concession in Tientsin.

The Foreign Office suggested that it would have been well had Fuller first referred his information to the Japanese authorities through the regular channels in order that the Japanese side of the matter could have been given before a public statement was made. We made clear in replying that on April 30, 1938, the Embassy had furnished the Foreign Office with a copy of the seizure report referred to and that to date we had received no report of any investigation which the Japanese authorities may have made in connection therewith.

The Foreign Office added that Fuller’s statement that 2875 cases of opium had been purchased by Japanese merchants for importation [Page 562] into China was inaccurate, and that the facts are that 3228 cases were purchased by Japanese merchants for legal entry into Manchuria, North China, Macao, Dairen, and Siam. The Foreign Office stated that according to an investigation carried out last March there was not a single case of the clandestine manufacture or sale of narcotics in the Japanese Concession in Tientsin at that time.

Comment: We feel that there has recently been shown by the Foreign Office a genuine desire to cooperate with us on the question of suppressing illicit international narcotics traffic. We gained the distinct impression at the above mentioned interview at the Foreign Office that, if the Japanese continue to be subjected at Geneva to public criticism without previous reference to them of information involving Japanese complicity with such traffic, we cannot expect to receive anything more than perfunctory interest in the control of that traffic.

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