Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Sayre) of a Conversation With the Counselor of the Japanese Embassy (Suma)

Mr. Suma came in at 4:30 this afternoon at my request. After speaking to him about the renewal of the Gentlemen’s Agreement concerning the importation of Japanese cotton piece goods into the Philippines55 and his saying that the Japanese Government had issued almost word for word the same notice covering this renewal as we had issued, I turned to the subject for which I had asked him to see me, i. e., the denunciation of the Japanese Treaty. I handed to Mr. Suma a note, a copy of which is attached hereto.56 Mr. Suma read it carefully but betrayed no emotion of any kind. He asked me whether this was the result of the resolution introduced into the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations by Senator Vandenberg.57 I replied that the State Department had had the matter under consideration for some time and that the initiative in the matter was not the result of the Senate resolution. I went on to say, however, that the State Department naturally gives the most serious consideration to the views of the Senate and that the introduction of the resolution into the Senate [Page 560] Committee did have an effect so far as concerns the timing of this action.

I said to Mr. Suma that we proposed to issue a copy of this notice to the press at 10:00 o’clock this evening and asked him whether that would give sufficient time to allow the Japanese Foreign Office at Tokyo to receive the cable. I said that naturally we did not want to let the press know about this until after our note has been received by the Japanese Foreign Office. Mr. Suma replied that if we held up the notice until 10:00 o’clock that would be sufficient time. I cautioned Mr. Suma against saying anything himself about this since, if word got out through him, his Government might learn of it through the press instead of through our note. He agreed to say nothing about it to reporters.

The interview was friendly throughout.

F. B. Sayre
  1. See vol. iv, pp. 462 ff.
  2. Supra.
  3. Arthur H. Vandenberg, Republican, of Michigan, member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, introduced S. Res. 166 on July 18, Congressional Record, vol. 84, pt. 9, p. 9341. See also letter from the Secretary of State on July 21 to Senator Key Pittman, Chairman of the Committee, Department of State Bulletin, July 22, 1939, p. 61.