894.00/947: Telegram

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

740. 1. In a long conversation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs at a dinner which I gave last night for Ambassador Steinhardt,28 Mr. Matsuoka developed his political philosophy with special emphasis on his long advocacy of eliminating from Japan all party politics which in this country resulted in constant bickering, jealousies and waste motion. He said that today Prince Konoye would announce the new structure, not as envisaging a single political party, but the absence of all parties. Matsuoka said that in view of his special interest in this subject he had hoped to be appointed either General-Secretary of the new political structure or else Minister of the Interior and that he had been surprised and overwhelmed with a sense of inadequacy when the Premier had appointed him Foreign Minister without previous consultation.

2. The Minister said that he is disgusted with the anti-foreign campaigns being waged in Japan and is doing his best to stop them. He said that he had obtained a definite promise from the Home Minister that the recent anti-British meeting in Hibiya Hall would not be permitted to take place and that he was exceedingly angry when he found that the promise had not been kept. Furthermore, he said that in receiving recent deputations from several so-called patriotic societies who wished to report on the good work they were doing in stirring up anti-foreign agitation, the Minister had roundly upbraided them as working directly against the best interests of their country and that he [Page 974] was ashamed of their procedure which was worthy of a third rate power and which if continued would rob Japan of all dignity. In the case of the British, he said that many difficulties existed between the two countries but “at least” he said, “let us fight like gentlemen.”

3. I report the foregoing because I believe it represents Mr. Matsuoka’s genuine opinion and attitude and that while he obviously cannot control the press he can helpfully be appealed to in the other phases of anti-American propaganda, if and when such an appeal becomes desirable.29

  1. Laurence A. Steinhardt, Ambassador to the Soviet Union.
  2. For a public statement by the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs on August 1, see Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, Vol. ii, p. 111.