Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: With regard to the John Doe question29 and related matters, it seems to me that:

In case the Japanese Ambassador should bring up—which I doubt whether he will—the question of a possible visit by Mr. Matsuoka [Page 175] to this country at this time, it might be well for you to say30 that, as the Japanese army and navy are continuing to pursue courses to which this Government objects and as, in extending their operations in China, they are endangering the lives of American nationals (including those of our consular personnel—at Kunming), it is not clear what purpose the Japanese Government has in mind in such a visit; that consequently we are in no position to encourage the idea of Mr. Matsuoka’s coming here; but that if the Japanese Government should choose on its initiative and responsibility to send Mr. Matsuoka here we would of course give him an appropriate welcome and exchange views with him.
In view of the statement that Mr. Roy Howard, who is promoting the idea of the Matsuoka visit, is being given encouragement by Mr. Early, it might be well for you to suggest to the President that, in as much as this is a delicate matter and involves in some aspects a “mixing” into Japanese internal politics, it might be advisable, unless the President definitely wants Matsuoka to come, for Mr. Early and any other persons in official circles who may be interested, to refrain from giving encouragement or in any other way associating themselves with the project.

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]
  1. See Postmaster General Walker’s memorandum dated May 1, p. 172.
  2. See memorandum by the Secretary of State, May 2, 1941, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 411.