711.008 North Pacific/308: Telegram

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

183. Department’s 92, March 16, 6 p.m., and 93, March 17, 7 p.m., Alaska salmon fisheries.

I called this evening on the Minister for Foreign Affairs and presented the Department’s views as fully and unequivocally as it was possible to express them. We discussed and argued the details for a long time. There appear now to remain only two important points of controversy: (1) the exclusion from paragraph 2 of the proposed communiqué of the phrase “for the time being”, and (2) the inclusion in paragraph 2 of the final phrase beginning “and that if Japanese nationals have in the past taken salmon”.
With regard to point 1, the Minister said that the Ministry of Agriculture absolutely insists on the inclusion of the phrase. I expressed the opinion that the entire intent and effect of the publication in the United Stated of the communiqué would thereby be seriously injured if not ruined and that the Minister, being responsible for our general relations, should be equally insistent on the removal of the phrase. We discussed this point at great length and I believe that Hirota was impressed by our arguments although he still expressed doubt as to the possibility of its exclusion.
With regard to point 2, the Minister maintains that it is utterly out of the question to authorize the inclusion of that phrase under the heading “Assurances” in spite of my pointing out that it involves no admission on the part of the Japanese authorities or Government. This point was also discussed at length. In a spirit of compromise the Minister undertook to recommend to the Minister of Agriculture [Page 186] that the desired point be covered in some form in the subsequent portion of the communiqué which is to be published only in the United States.
The Minister will let me know the result of his efforts as soon as possible but as Sunday and Monday are holidays it is doubtful if his reply can be expected before the middle of next week. I emphasized the importance of early action.
Department’s 92, paragraph 10. I informed the Minister of the Department’s intention to publish in the United States portions of our memorandum of November 22 last17 simultaneously with the publication of the finally adopted communiqué. The Minister made no comment. I can see no objection to such action.
I wish to say that whatever decision is finally taken by the Japanese Government will have been taken with full awareness of the implications thereof and its possible repercussions in the United States.
  1. See telegram No. 309, November 20, 1937, noon, to the Ambassador in Japan, Foreign Relations, 1937, vol. iv, p. 763.