893.811/1097: Telegram

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

84. Department’s 30, February 9, noon, via Shanghai, navigation on Yangtze.

1. During the past few weeks a group of leading Japanese private individuals who are interested for various reasons in regaining American [Page 361] and British good will have been urging the Prime Minister and other Government leaders to take some specific action which would make it possible for the American and British Governments to put some degree of confidence in Japanese official assurances that foreign rights and interests are not to be driven out of China. These individuals are concentrating on the question of Yangtze navigation partly because the wide attention it is receiving abroad would give its settlement correspondingly wide and favorable attention and desired because the Japanese military authorities are said to be ready to hear arguments on this case.

We have been regularly in touch with a member of this group and also with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs91 who assures us that he is actively cooperating with this group and with Yoshizawa.92

2. It was not my intention to telegraph to the Department on these developments until I was in a position to report some concrete result. With the Japanese Government officially taking a non possumus position with regard to navigation on the Yangtze in reply to the contention of the American Government as set forth in our note of October 693 our inclination would be to watch the efforts of constructive elements both inside and outside the government and to hold off for the present from fresh formal representations on this specific question. In accordance with the Department’s instructions we shall continue informally to press the Foreign Office and to stress the need of removing the restrictions.

No repetition.

  1. Renzo Sawada.
  2. Director of the American Affairs Bureau, Japanese Foreign Office.
  3. Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 785.