Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The British Chargé d’Affaires called to see me this morning. Mr. Mallet was instructed by his Government to discuss with me the question of the possible taking of retaliatory measures against Japan dealt with in Mr. Mallet’s aide-mémoire of January 25. Mr. Mallet was instructed to give me to read the telegram sent the British Foreign Office by Sir Robert Craigie, the British Ambassador in Tokyo, in which the latter differed in some of the considerations advanced to the United States Government by the British Foreign Office. Upon reading the telegram which Mr. Mallet gave me I told him that the contents of this telegram had already been communicated to the Department by Ambassador Grew65 and that we were consequently familiar with the views expressed. Mr. Mallet replied that his Foreign Office knew that Sir Robert Craigie had showed this telegram to Mr. Grew but they had not been certain whether Mr. Grew had reported the contents thereof fully to the Department.

I told Mr. Mallet that he might inform his Government that very full consideration had been given to this question by the Secretary of State himself and that this Government had reached the conclusion that for the time being its point of view was more or less that expressed by the British Government in its aide-mémoire of January 25.

I said that this Government would not consider for the time being undertaking retaliatory measures against Japan. I stated that if as the time passed we desired to consider the matter further, we would inform the British Government accordingly and discuss further with them some of the issues involved.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. See telegram No. 53, January 31, 3 p.m., supra.