Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I do not need to tell you that I have a particularly intimate interest in developments that follow your notice to Japan—regarding the abrogation of the Treaty of 1911—following as it did a resolution to this effect which I presented in the Senate. You are of course in no sense obligated to observe the text of my Senate resolution which preceded your action. But I take the liberty [Page 569] of pointing out that the resolution asserted the desirability of this abrogation for the purpose of enacting a new treaty with Japan in the light of 1939 realities.

I want to take the liberty of making it plain that my own theory of abrogation is definitely predicated upon earnest efforts to agree upon a new engagement. I do not need to tell you that I would not be interested in a mere arbitrary prelude to a subsequent one-sided embargo. If such an embargo ultimately becomes indispensable to the adequate protection of legitimate American interests and rights in the Far East, and if the American people are ever deliberately and consciously ready to take what might thus be the first step toward war itself, we can meet that situation when the issue is unavoidably precipitated. I am writing this letter simply to state my own conviction that any such sinister step is not “unavoidably necessary” unless and until we have exhausted every pacific recourse. Therefore, it is my prayerful hope that our own government may promptly indicate to the government of Japan that we are prepared and anxious to negotiate a new treaty of commerce and amity between the United States and Japan for the purpose of resolving—if possible—any controversy between us affecting American interests. It seems to me that Japan’s response to a good faith effort of this character on the part of the United States will authentically determine whether Japan is prepared to deal justly with us in the perpetuation of mutually friendly and helpful relationships. Holding this view, I shall greatly appreciate it if I may be kept advised from time to time regarding any developments along these lines which I may appropriately be permitted to know about.

With sentiments of great respect, I beg to remain, with warm personal regards and best wishes,

Cordially and faithfully yours,

A. H. Vandenberg