762.9411/40: Telegram

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

913. In an informal conversation with the Manager of the Standard Oil Company, Tokyo, a senior member of the Italian Embassy said this afternoon that the word “attacked” in article III of the Treaty of Alliance which was signed yesterday by representatives of Germany, Italy and Japan could be interpreted to mean various kinds of attack, including economic sanctions. He inferred that any complete embargo imposed by any third power on exports to Germany, Italy and Japan might cause these countries to declare war against the country which imposed the embargo. He also stated that the alliance was intended as a “stop light” for the United States.55

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The Press Attaché of the Italian Embassy informed a member of my staff that in the event the Kobayashi mission to the Netherlands Indies failed to achieve its objectives, the Japanese would be forced to enter that country. He added that he did not believe that the mission would be successful.

Sent to the Department. Repeated to Shanghai. Shanghai please repeat to Chungking and Batavia.