The Chargé in Germany (Morris) to the Secretary of State

No. 4198

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 97 of January 10, 5. p.m.,8 relative to a prospective visit in transit to Japan of Saburo Kurusu, retiring Japanese Ambassador in Berlin and to draw the Department’s attention to the statements made by the Ambassador in the course of a conversation recounted in the enclosed memorandum.8 In that conversation Kurusu very clearly indicated, without definitely so saying, that one of his main motives in returning via the United States would be to endeavor through conversations with officials of the Department to explore the possibility of solving or at least arresting the decline in relations between the two countries. He asserted, however, that his visit, although it required the approval of his government, which he had not yet obtained, would be of a private and unofficial nature.

The Embassy has no knowledge of what the record of Kurusu’s attitude was toward Japan’s relations with Asia and the United States during his service at other posts and as the Director of Commercial Relations in the Japanese Foreign Office. Until shortly before the signing of the Three Power Pact9 he was extremely cordial in his relations with members of this Embassy and members of the American colony, as well as with members of the South American diplomatic missions, whose acquaintance he had made during his stay in Peru. He has rather convincingly given his American acquaintances the impression that he personally is opposed to the extremes of Japanese policy in recent years and particularly its lineup with the Axis powers. On several occasions he remarked on the necessity of Japan enjoying [Page 3] friendly relations with the United States while at the same time he has, usually in a humorous way, railed at American incomprehension of Japan’s allegedly difficult situation. As the Department is aware, his wife is of American birth and parentage.

Respectfully yours,

Leland Morris
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Signed at Berlin, September 27, 1940, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 165.