The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan ( Grew )
Washington , March 28, 1939—6 p.m.
77. Your 148, March 27, 2 p.m., and Department’s 72, March 25, 4 p.m.
- The information and comments given in your telegram under reference have been studied with care.
- This Government regards the trip of the Astoria to Japan as being something very different from an ordinary “visit” of a foreign naval vessel.
- Department perceives no objection to the plans for April 17, 18, and 19 outlined in your paragraphs 3 and 4, and no objection to acceptance by officers of the Astoria of presents for officers’ messes as reported in your paragraph 6.
- The Department is in doubt whether the statements in the first two sentences of your paragraph 7 regarding “plans for entertainment” and “program already elaborated” relate only to plans for April 17, 18 and 19 mentioned in your paragraphs 1 and 3 or to plans for later dates. Department hopes that they relate to the former.
- Department’s desire is indicated in the third sentence of paragraph 2 of its telegram 72. Giving full consideration to antecedents and to all that is said in your telegram and especially what is said in your paragraph 7, the Department feels that the less the program extends after plans indicated in your paragraphs 1, 3 and 4 have been carried out, and the sooner the Astoria can depart after April 19 without causing embarrassment or giving offense, the more accurate will be the impression both in Japan and in this country of this Government’s [Page 461] intention in the matter, and the better served will be the interests of all concerned.
- The dates mentioned in the first sentence of Department’s telegram 60, March 14, 7 p.m.,17 were given before this Government had been informed of dates definitely set for the ceremonies in Japan. It would seem that in the light of the subsequent determination of the dates of the ceremonies, the then indicated period of the stay of the Astoria might reasonably and appropriately be abbreviated. Moreover, Department understands that the rites connected with the Yasukuni shrine begin on April 23. Would not departure of the Astoria before that date be highly appropriate? Incidentally, Department has received no reply to its telegram no. 60, March 14, 7 p.m.
- Department desires that you exercise the discretion which it implicitly and constantly accords you toward working out the arrangements in a manner harmonizing as effectively as possible the various concepts and objectives involved.
- Navy Department’s order to Astoria is being temporarily withheld. Please telegraph as soon as convenient your opinion regarding date when the Astoria might most appropriately depart.17a
- Not printed.↩
- In telegram No. 155, March 30, 7 p.m. the Ambassador stated that a sudden change of plans would cause disappointment and unless accompanied by the announcement of a convincing reason would result in embarrassment and irritation. In telegram No. 78, March 31, 6 p.m., the Department replied that it shared his view that it would not be advisable to attempt to alter the program. (701.9411/1138, 1141a)↩