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

No. 2799

Sir: The Tokyo public was treated in the latter half of February to a semi-official and much publicized exhibit on the subject of foreign propaganda and intelligence methods, as described in a clipping enclosed herewith.12 The newspaper account is a fairly accurate description.

[Page 594]

The exhibit is one illustration of the many means being currently employed in Japan to sustain support in public opinion for prosecution of the Government’s foreign policy. Its principal theme is that opinion abroad is manufactured, and that where such foreign opinion is anti-Japanese it has been made so by organized effort. There is of course no suggestion that opinion in Japan is amenable to like influences.

It is noteworthy that from Germany Japan has now taken over as new motif the campaign against the Jews. In the exhibit the Jews are identified with the Communist International, are described as having effective world-wide organization, and are represented as having sinister power in the control of the news. That this propaganda-stimulus can be thought potentially valuable by Japan, which has no Jewish question, is a provoking reflection on the susceptibilities of the human emotions.

The spy mania was deliberately fed by the exhibit. Increasing suspicion toward foreigners and annoyance by would-be patriots is probably to be expected as the wartime psychology grows hereafter.

The most disturbing symptom to be observed in this exhibit, as also in the present trend of the press and thought in Japan, is the unqualified acceptance of a world alignment of countries in hostile systems. Japan no longer sees herself as a country working out a solution of problems confined to one part of the earth: more and more the thought is being built up that Japan is party to a world-wide crusade against communism. The pact between Germany, Japan, and Italy is bearing fruit in the field of thought. In 1931 and 1932 the public mind was guided to think of Manchuria as the life-line of Japan; later it was pressed to see that a China not friendly to Japan could not be tolerated. Now the propaganda stage is further expanding.

Respectfully yours,

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Not reprinted.