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.”