711.942/256: Telegram

The Chargé in Japan (Dooman) to the Secretary of State

424. 1. The Asahi featured yesterday morning a story of which the following is a summarized translation:

“The action of the American Government in giving notice of termination of the commercial treaty, when considered against the background of the long time friendly relations between the two countries, must be looked upon as an unfriendly act. A committee set up in the Foreign Office has drafted a provisional policy plan in regard to questions relating to the United States and this plan has been presented to the Cabinet. It is still under review but it is understood that further positive measures by the United States will be met with a corresponding hardening of Japanese attitude. Under Secretary Welles informed the press that Senator Schwellenbach’s proposal of an arms export embargo89 is under consideration. The Japanese view is that such an embargo would be a partial or indirect application of the neutrality act and therefore recognition of the existence of a state of ‘war’ in relations between Japan and China. In those circumstances Japan could invoke as against American interests the rights of a belligerent with serious effects.”

2. Considerable attention has been attracted by a press despatch from New York describing a report which appeared in the New York Times under Washington dateline August 20 to the effect that the United States will hereafter take drastic measures to protect its rights and interests in China and will to that end concert with England measures calculated to deprive Japan of war materials.

3. I have had several conversations with Japanese during the last 2 days and notwithstanding the Tokyo story above reported, I have no reason for modifying the opinion which I have previously expressed that the Japanese Government is now awaiting definitive indications of American attitude before deciding what attitude it in turn should take toward the United States.

4. I have several appointments today and tomorrow and I hope subsequently to be in a position to make further comment.

Repeated to Chungking.

  1. S. J. Res. 143, introduced June 1; Congressional Record, vol. 84, pt. 6, p. 6473.