740.0011 Pacific War/467: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

3358. A United Press report from London August 22 states that “A usually reliable source reported today that within recent weeks the U. S. in the course of informal talks with Japan had suggested the neutralization of Indochina and Thailand,46 somewhat on the order of Switzerland. The informant described Japan’s answer as having been evasively negative. This development was reported to have taken place before Japan moved into southern Indochina, which constituted a reply.”

This is only one of many instances in which, shortly after giving the British Government information of the most highly confidential character, this Government has found stories regarding the matter emanating from sources in London.

Please inform the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the above and ask for an explanation of the facts which made it possible for information communicated to the British Government in the strictest secrecy to have become public in this way.

You may add that Mr. Eden will surely appreciate how difficult such cases as this make it for this Government to continue to keep the British Government fully informed of confidential matters in which both Governments are interested.

  1. For President Roosevelt’s proposal, see memoranda by the Acting Secretary of State, July 24 and 31, 1941, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, pp. 527 and 539.