Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)48

The French Ambassador49 called to see me at his request. The Ambassador read to me a long telegram dated January 31 sent by the French Ambassador in Tokyo50 reporting upon the present situation in Tokyo. The telegram, which went into considerable detail, was exceedingly interesting and in general in accord with the information recently cabled by Ambassador Grew. There was one element in it, however, which had been absent from Ambassador Grew’s recent telegrams. The French Ambassador reported that opinion within the Japanese Diet and governmental circles, as well as within the Japanese Army and Navy, was crystallizing rapidly into two parts—one stressing the probability of war between Japan and the United States, the other insisting that the real danger to Japan was the Soviet Union and that the war propaganda against the United States was being stimulated by Soviet ambitions for aggression against Japan. The French Ambassador reported that during the two nights before he [Page 21] sent this telegram one of these anti-Soviet organizations, referred to in the telegram as the “Kokokukai”, had plastered the walls throughout Tokyo with posters claiming that the real danger which Japan had to fear was the Soviet Union and not the United States.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Noted by the Secretary of State.
  2. Gaston Henry-Haye.
  3. Charles Arsène-Henry.