740.00/662: Telegram

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

142. While speculation in Tokyo is rife as to the reasons for Arita’s visit yesterday to Prince Saionji22 (he saw the Prince’s secretary Baron Harada), a five-Minister conference last night and a visit of the Prime Minister to the Emperor this morning, unofficial comments from various informed quarters indicate that these talks have been of a general nature concerning the European situation and Japan’s action in the event of a European war. The consensus of opinion is that Japan will endeavor to avoid embroilment in such a war, at least at the start and that a military alliance with Germany and Italy is definitely in the discard.

The Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs told me today in reply to my informal inquiry that no negotiations for a strengthening of the Anti-Comintern Pact have yet commenced and that this general subject is still confined to inter-ministerial discussion in Tokyo.

  1. Surviving Japanese Genro, or “Elder Statesman.”