701.9411/1126a: Telegram

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

72. 1. A UP news dispatch dated Tokyo, March 23, states:

“Japan plans one of the greatest receptions ever accorded a visiting foreign naval delegation when the U.S. heavy cruiser Astoria arrives here next month with the remains of Hirosi Saito, former Japanese ambassador in Washington. Scores of entertainments are being arranged for the American officers and men and gifts for them already are accumulating at the U.S. Embassy. An Osaka merchant, Toshio Okuno, added to the contributions today when he presented the embassy with 20 pearl necklaces for the wives of the American warship’s senior officers.”

2. The American Government has sent the Astoria to Japan for the purpose of carrying the ashes of the late Japanese Ambassador from the country to which he had been accredited, to his home land, as a gesture of courtesy but not on any diplomatic or political “mission”. The Astoria carries no “delegation”. It is our feeling that the activities of the Astoria and its officers and men should be restricted to the performance of the task for which the Astoria was sent; that any efforts to affix a political or social significance to the visit of the Astoria to Japan should be discouraged; and that the circumstances of this ceremonial visit should in no way be permitted to be made an opportunity for general entertainment or social gestures. Proffers of gifts and of entertainment outside the scope of official courtesies should be courteously declined. The Embassy should make clear to the Japanese authorities that entertainment beyond what may be in keeping with the ceremonial character of the visit cannot be accepted and no gifts can be received.

3. The Department has discussed this matter with the Navy Department which concurs in the foregoing. The Navy Department expects shortly to issue orders to the Astoria to leave Japan as soon as its ceremonial duties have been fulfilled, the moment of departure to be determined in consultation with the Embassy.

Hull