793.94/15962: Telegram

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

470. 1. My British colleague has this moment sent me the following substance of telegram despatched to the Foreign Office, London, today:

[“] Director of Military Intelligence, Japanese General Staff sent for Military Attaché this morning and spoke as follows:

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Great Britain’s hostile attitude towards Japan’s aspirations in China and pusillanimous handling of national defense problems has driven Japan into Germany’s arms and now the overwhelming majority of the Japanese people and especially the fighting [forces?] are anti-British. With the collapse of France and the British impotent in the Far East, the Japanese people feel that they would earn the obloquy of their descendants if they do not seize the opportunity. The situation is critical and there is now nothing to stop Japan from seizing French Indo-China, the Netherlands Indies or Hong Kong or all of them. Japanese forces are already prepared to march to the frontier of Indo-China to ensure that the suspension of transit of goods to China is being enforced and they may even find it necessary [to] enter French Indo-China. The United States of America are in no condition to prevent Japan from taking whatever action she likes in the Western Pacific. Great Britain now has her last chance and if she takes it positive action by Japan may be averted. Japan’s demands are: (1) immediate closing of Burma frontier with China, (2) immediate closing of Hong Kong frontier, (3) immediate withdrawal of British troops from Shanghai. Instant and decisive compliance with these demands is the only thing that may yet avert a declaration of war by Japan against Great Britain.

Director of the Military Intelligence stated that the above is the opinion of the overwhelming majority of Japanese fighting forces and of the Japanese people and he stated that we deceive ourselves if we believe the soothing words of the Foreign Office. The Government is weak and the army all powerful. The Director of Military Intelligence requested the Military Attaché to convey the substance of their conversation to His Majesty’s Ambassador immediately. In view of the importance of this communication I am taking the matter up with the Minister of Foreign Affairs this afternoon.”53

  1. The Canadian Legation, on June 20, brought the same matter to the Department’s attention (893.24/781).