124.946/131: Telegram

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

970. For the Acting Secretary. My British colleague last evening showed me a long telegram marked “most secret” from the British Ambassador in Washington reporting in detail what purported to be his important and enlightening conversations with you on July 3, and also an equally important and enlightening conversation between the British Naval Attaché and the Director of Naval Intelligence in Washington the same date. I feel very strongly that the information revealed in those conversations should properly have been brought promptly to my attention.

Please remember that in Japan we are generally groping in the dark, and that now, more than ever, it is exceedingly difficult to ascertain what is going on behind the scenes, especially since few of our former Japanese contacts dare come to the Embassy or meet us elsewhere. Many have been warned by the police to avoid us. One of my principal duties is to appraise situations and developments in Japan, yet at the same time I am deprived of intelligence or clues available in Washington pertinent to issues which I am asked to deal with or to estimate here. It should be remembered that in rapidly [Page 300] developing situations, information forwarded by pouch mail seldom arrives in time to be of a more than academic value. Much of your conversations are sooner or later reported to me by my British colleague here but it seems to me to be distinctly infra dignitatem to have to depend on that source in order to learn the information and expressed views of my own government. In many previous communications to the Department and in oral discussion with you two years ago in Washington I have indicated this important consideration but without revealing my increasing discouragement at being deprived of the prompt confidences of the Secretary and yourself. When last in Washington I was given to understand that this deprivation was largely if not entirely due to inadequate Departmental machinery rather than to formulated policy. If the former consideration is responsible, I most earnestly recommend that steps be taken to rectify this unfortunate situation. If the latter consideration is responsible, I trust that you will be good enough to discuss this telegram with the President in order that he may fully understand the very great handicap and discouragement under which I, as his Ambassador, am working. A motor cannot function effectively unless it is hitting on all cylinders.