Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hamilton)

On June 30 the Secretary telephoned from White Sulphur Springs and said that his attention had been called to statements attributed to the Japanese Premier as reported in an article appearing in the June 30 issue of the New York Times. The Secretary suggested that we might care to consider the question of the advisability of Mr. Welles, in reply to questions at his press conference, stating that after conference with the Secretary he wished to make, in regard to the statements attributed to the Japanese Premier, observations as follows (The Secretary then asked Mr. Gray71 to read the following statement which was taken down by a stenographer in FE):

“It may be said in the first place that there has thus far been no official confirmation of the reported statement of the Japanese Prime Minister. Naturally this Government in observing all developments in the Pacific area takes notice of all phases of information—both favorable and unfavorable—emanating from the Government of Japan at Tokyo. This applies to the statement of Prime Minister Konoe in all its different phases, especially as it relates to self-defense against aggression, peace, and friendly relations between our two Governments and our peoples.

“The Government of the United States has consistently preached and practiced peace and friendly relations with other nations based upon the principles of law and justice and since the world-wide movement of conquest by Hitler this Government has also preached and practiced a policy of adequate preparation for national defense and the taking of every necessary step in carrying out the law of self-defense against such aggression. These three policies among others, always based upon the principles of law and justice and fair dealing, this Government continues earnestly to advocate and to pursue. It hopes that these high aims and purposes may be increasingly accepted by other nations.”

Mr. Hamilton then discussed with the Secretary over the telephone several points relating to the remarks attributed to the Japanese Premier, including the question whether the reported interview had been given publicity in Japan. It was agreed that we would study the matter further and that we would send a telegram to Mr. Grew72 asking him whether the reported interview had been given publicity in Japan and whether the statements attributed to the Japanese Premier had, in Mr. Grew’s opinion, any special significance. It was also [Page 294] agreed that the question of Mr. Welles making remarks at a press conference along lines suggested by the Secretary might advisedly await the receipt of a report from Mr. Grew.

  1. Cecil W. Gray, Assistant to the Secretary of State.
  2. No. 362, June 30, 6 p.m., p. 990.