The Consul General at Geneva (Tittmann) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 30—3:02 a.m.]
187. Consulate’s 184, September 26, noon.60 Announcement of tripartite pact came as surprise to the source referred to61 in above mentioned telegram because when negotiations were first started in a conference between Ambassador Kurusu and Ribbentrop at Salzburg on August 26 a German-Japanese pact only was envisaged. According to this source the inclusion of Italy in the negotiations probably first occurred about 3 weeks ago and was kept so secret that even the Japanese Ambassador in Rome did not hear of it until the last minute.
My informant indicated that there are grounds for feeling that Japan must have entered the pact with a reservation, perhaps a secret clause of some kind with regard to the United States; in any event it is known that Ambassador Kurusu explained to Ribbentrop at Salzburg that Japan could not be expected to obligate herself to do anything under the pact that might involve her in war with the United States. Ribbentrop’s reply is stated to have been more or less non-commital. Shortly thereafter the locus of the negotiations was shifted to Tokyo.