711.94/2070: Telegram

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

643. For the Secretary and the Under Secretary. The informant32 identified in the Embassy’s 535, April 10, 11 p.m.33 called yesterday and gave us in strict confidence information as follows:

He recently conveyed through a “close friend” (probably General Araki34) to the Prime Minister his opinion that the time was ripe for the Japanese Government to approach the American Government with a definite program looking towards solving problems impairing relations between the two countries. The Prime Minister replied that the Cabinet had decided that it would seek to bring about only one outcome of the present difficulties with the United States and that was peace, but that he had not yet decided whether the time had arrived for Japan to make a move in the direction suggested. When asked whether Mr. Matsuoka would be allowed to carry on the negotiations when initiated with the United States, the Prime Minister thought for a moment and then said that, although he was not pleased with Mr. Matsuoka’s personal conduct since his return to Japan, he felt that Mr. Matsuoka had some exceptional qualities and that he expected to have Mr. Matsuoka remain in office to direct negotiations with the United States.
Our informant personally called on Admiral Oikawa, Minister of the Navy, and presented as a conclusion derived from his visit to the United States, that if Japan expected to restore good relations with the United States, it should make it clear that the terms of peace with China exclude political, territorial or other special advantages for Japan in China. The Minister agreed.
Our informant said that he had seen several other prominent personages, including Marquis Kido, the Privy Seal, and had found a strong sense of expectation that some approach would be made to the United States. However, Admiral Oikawa and several others had emphasized that any statement issuing from any responsible American source during negotiations between the two countries, suggesting that the solution of Pacific problems would be desirable, primarily from the point of view of removing American apprehension in the Pacific in order to permit of American concentration on the defeat of Germany, would have serious repercussions in Japan—for two reasons: (a) effective Japanese opinion, while willing that the [Page 179] Japanese Government go far in order to restore good relations with the United States, would not permit the government to be placed in the position of appearing publicly to connive at the defeat of Japan’s ally; and (b) the United States would be suspected of aiming at removing danger of war with Japan merely as a stratagem, with intention of turning on Japan after Germany had been defeated. Our informant said that consensus here is that the question whether any initiative should be taken by Japan to restore good relations with the United States would depend on whether or not the United States would be prepared to examine outstanding issues on the basis that the object in view would, if achieved, be contributory toward and a step in the direction of securing stabilization of world peace.

  1. Tetsuma Hashimoto.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Former Japanese War Minister.