761.9411/131: Telegram

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

631. The following information was received today from a thoroughly reliable Japanese who is known to be in close touch with two members of the Cabinet:

The Minister for Foreign Affairs called on the Prime Minister in an intoxicated condition on the evening of his return from Moscow and disclosed that when concluding the Neutrality Pact at Moscow he had on his own responsibility given the Soviet Government an undertaking which he had not been authorized by the Cabinet to give (our informant said that he could not indicate the character of this undertaking, as he would render himself liable to the National Secrets Law if he were to do so. There are persistent rumors that Soviet troops are being partially withdrawn from the Manchurian border on [Page 176] the strength of a secret understanding with Japan reached when the Neutrality Treaty was signed).
The speech which Mr. Matsuoka delivered at the public meeting at Tokyo on his return from Moscow contained several veiled allusions to his colleagues in the Cabinet which were deleted from the press reports of the speech. When referring to the recent emasculation of the Imperial Rule Association, he mentioned the name of a figure in the Middle Ages whose name is execrated as that of the only Japanese who ever attempted to usurp the throne, the implication being that the Cabinet had been treasonable in clipping the wings of the association. Further by indirection he charged the Cabinet with willfully causing the breakdown in the system of commodity distribution.

As a consequence of the facts above set forth of Mr. Matsuoka’s efforts to exploit his diplomatic successes to promote his personal interests, the hitherto close personal relations between himself and the Prime Minister have become strained. The German military successes in the Mediterranean, along with certain positive results achieved by Mr. Matsuoka, preclude likelihood of his being displaced at this time as Foreign Minister. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister has decided that he will not permit Mr. Matsuoka to visit the United States under any circumstances—not even if he should receive an invitation from the American Government.

(I wish to add by way of comment that our informant is a highly responsible person and that, although his story is somewhat sensational, it is not out of line with disjointed rumors current here for some days which could not hitherto be pieced together.)