894.00/826: Telegram

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

813. 1. There has recently been much activity among politically important persons and a keying up of the political atmosphere which is perceptible even if the causes are not definitely known. Various rumors therefore are now current: (a) that the Prime Minister is about to resign and is to be replaced by General Minami (Governor General of Korea) or Baron Hiranuma (president of the Privy Council) or Marquis Kido (Minister of Public Welfare); (b) that the Cabinet is about to be reorganized by limiting membership to the heads of those departments directly concerned with high national policy and perhaps by some change of personnel; (c) that the Japanese Government is now in touch with Wang Ching Wei23 and is formulating a definitive peace proposal.

2. The New Year holidays have already started and most of our reliable Japanese contacts are out of town. However, such inquiries as we have made brought out the opinion that it would be impossible for Konoye consistently with the sense of responsibility expected in this country of persons occupying a high public office to resign at this time. We are impressed by the fact that the Diet has just met for several days in a preliminary session and that the currency of rumors at this time of the year is seasonal. In the absence of reliable indications we are inclined to believe that rumors (a) and (c) above are being served out by those who find rumor (b) which contains some substantial element of probability too prosaic an explanation of actual symptoms of an impending political event.

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3. The foregoing is telegraphed as we understand that some of the American correspondents here have cabled speculative stories.

Cipher text by air mail to Peiping.

  1. Chinese deputy leader of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) until recent arrival in French Indochina.