The Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 54

Referring to your memorandum of January 26,55 forwarding the memorandum that was handed to you several days ago by Bishop Walsh on the subject of a possible procedure in relations with Japan, I have studied the matter carefully and I give detailed comments in the memorandum immediately hereunder.53

I doubt the practicability of proceeding on any such line at this time. It seems to me that there is little or no likelihood that the Japanese Government and the Japanese people would in good faith accept any such arrangement—at this stage. It also seems to me that, if through the good offices of this Government an arrangement were worked out which would extricate Japan from its present involvement in China, the likelihood would be that Japan would extend and accelerate her aggressions to the southward rather than that Japan [Page 22] would change her present course of aggression to one of peaceful procedures. At the same time, I feel that we should not discourage those Japanese who may be working toward bringing about a change in the course which their country is following. Admiral Nomura, Japanese Ambassador-designate to the United States, is expected here soon. Upon his arrival he may have some proposals and suggestions to offer. We shall of course wish to listen carefully to what he has to say and we can try to convince him that Japan’s own best interests lie in the development of friendly relations with the United States and with other countries which believe in orderly and peaceful processes among nations. We should not, I think, resort to other agents and channels before we have even talked with the Ambassador and while we can work through Mr. Grew at Tokyo.

The memorandum left with you by the Bishop is returned herewith. I am also returning to you, separately, the letter sent by the Bishop to Mr. Walker.

  1. Drafted by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hamilton) and approved by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck).
  2. See footnote 31, p. 14.
  3. Infra.