762.94/340: Telegram

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

215. Our 205, April 27, 5 p.m., paragraph 4.

1.
Recent intense activity among high Government officials culminated yesterday in a long audience of the Emperor by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the subsequent summoning to the Foreign Office of the German and Italian Ambassadors. While strict secrecy is being preserved as to the decision reached, informed sources believe that Japan has refused to enter a military alliance with the totalitarian states which might embroil this country in a general European war and would bind Japan to go to war with Soviet Russia at any time chosen by Germany for an attack. It is believed in some quarters that a formula has been evolved in the nature of a mutual assistance [Page 28]defensive pact against Soviet Russia but that this formula falls short of a general military alliance. It remains to be seen whether the new proposal, whatever [it may be?], will prove acceptable to Germany and Italy.
2.
Am informed unofficially there has recently been a strong recrudescence of pressure brought to bear on Japan by Germany and Italy but that the entire Cabinet, with the exception of the Overseas Minister, General Koiso, and the War Minister, is opposed to a general alliance. General Itagaki himself is believed to be opposed to such alliance but has been obliged to represent the views of the extremists in and out of the Army.
3.
My French colleague accepts as reliable reports that with a view to bringing Japan into the German camp the German Government recently threatened to denounce the Anti-Comintern Pact unless Japan consented to implement the commitment for an alliance alleged to have been signed several months ago by General Oshima, the Japanese Ambassador in Berlin, who thereby exceeded his instructions, and that Japan thereupon proposed some sort of secret agreement but that Germany declined this proposal.
4.
None of the many reports now pervading Tokyo is as yet susceptible of confirmation but I think it is safe to assume that those press correspondents who have cabled to the United States reports that a general alliance has been accepted by Japan have no certain ground for their beliefs.
Grew