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

No. 1647

Sir: The Department refers to recent Japanese pronouncements which have indicated that those powers which understand the “new order” in the Far East will be given privileges not available to powers which fail, in the view of the Japanese authorities, to understand the “new order”. Such intimations have occurred in (1) the “Statement of the Japanese Government” of November 3, 1938,82 in which, following a reference to the task of bringing about a “new order” in East Asia, the statement is made that “Japan is confident that other Powers will on their part correctly appreciate her aims and policy and adapt their attitude to the new conditions prevailing in East Asia”, followed by the sentence, “For the cordiality hitherto manifested by the nations which are in sympathy with us, Japan [Page 359] wishes to express her profound gratitude”; (2) the statement made on November 3, 1938, by the Japanese Premier,83 during the course of which the Premier stated that Japan did not grudge cooperating with the Powers for peace in the Far East, if the Powers understood the real intentions of Japan and devised a policy in accordance with the new situation in the Far East, and in which he also said that Japan was grateful to Germany and Italy for their understanding of Japan’s intention in the Far East and for their extending of moral support “in the current incident”; (3) the Japanese reply of November 18, 1938,84 to the American note of October 6, 1938,85 in regard to American rights and interests in China, in which, following a reference to a “new order” and a “new situation” in East Asia, there occur the words, “as long as these points are understood, Japan has not the slightest inclination to oppose the participation of the United States and other powers in the great work of reconstructing East Asia along all lines of industry and trade”; (4) the statement of the Japanese Premier of December 22, 1938,86 in which occur the words, “Japan does not intend to exercise economic monopoly in China, nor does she intend to demand of China to limit the interests of those third Powers, who grasp the meaning of the new East Asia and are willing to act accordingly”; and (5) the statement made on January 1, 1939, by the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, in which the Minister expressed the nation’s thanks to Germany and Italy which “accurately recognize the actual state of affairs in East Asia and show a sincere attitude in extending helping hands to the pacific construction works in this part of the world”.

It is desired that the Embassy endeavor to observe whether German and Italian interests are in fact given preferential treatment by the Japanese authorities or by those Chinese authorities who are under Japanese direction and that the Embassy report to the Department instances of such preferential treatment if and as they occur. It is possible that preferential treatment might manifest itself in matters such as settlement of claims arising out of the hostilities, removal of restrictions on freedom of movement on the Yangtze and Pearl Rivers, the granting of import and export and exchange permits, and the like.

Similar instructions are being sent to the Embassy at Peiping, the Consulates General at Canton, Shanghai, and Tientsin, and the Consulate at Tsingtao.87

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Sumner Welles