123G861/822: Telegram

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

542. 1. A highly placed Japanese in whom we place entire confidence informed me today that my address before the America-Japan Society has left a profound and lasting impression in the highest quarters. He said that the Emperor’s personal advisers including Yuasa (Lord Privy Seal), Matsudaira (Minister of the Imperial Household), and Makino, and the opposite factions and Minister of War can be regarded as a group which will work actively for the elimination of specific Japanese measures and acts injurious to American nationals and their interests in China.

2. My informant confirmed our belief that the prevailing thought here had been that a condition might arise (the participation of the United States in the European War) when the same tactics which are being employed with success against Great Britain could be employed against the United States, that is, the removal of stopping of such specific Japanese measures and acts could be put to profitable use in the direction of securing modification of the American attitude and policy vis-à-vis the Chinese Government. (This point of view is boldly put forward today in two press articles quoted in our 543, October 23, 7 p.m.1)

He said that the Minister of War had recently begun to argue against the pursuit of the course above described; and that my speech had given great weight to the arguments of the Minister of War and of those who think as he does and for this reason could not have been better timed. My informant warned me against assuming that there would be such modification of basic Japanese objectives in China as to bring about in the near future the removal of fundamental differences between the United States and Japan in respect of principles and policies. It was, however, felt here that the imminent danger in American-Japanese relations arises out of the resentment and anger in the United States which are being caused among other considerations by specific Japanese measures and acts injurious to American nationals and their interests in China; and that, if what might be termed the emotional element causing the tension in those relations can be removed, there will be time available for discussion and eventual solution of the basic issues.

3. My informant was highly complimentary of the manner in which the release in Japan of the text of the address had been handled. He said that it is being widely read and studied.

  1. Not printed.