Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Joseph W. Ballantine

Participants: Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura, Japanese Ambassador, Secretary of State
Mr. Ballantine.

The Secretary took advantage of the call of the Japanese Ambassador at the Secretary’s apartment in connection with another matter58 to refer to the question which the Ambassador had raised with the Secretary this morning59 in regard to the shipments of petroleum products from the United States to the Soviet Union. The Secretary said that he could not see why there should be occasion for such agitation and abuse of the United States in the Japanese press over this matter and that in his opinion the Japanese people should rather be grateful for the large quantities of oil which had been shipped over a long period to Japan from the United States. The Secretary pointed out that he had been subjected to personal criticism in this country for allowing this traffic. The Secretary asked the Ambassador whether the Japanese Government could not make known this aspect of the matter to the Japanese public in order to place the situation in its true perspective.

The Ambassador appeared to share the opinion expressed by the Secretary. He pointed out, however, that taxicabs in Japan had ceased operating because of being shut off from gasoline and it was difficult to reconcile the Japanese people to the shipments of oil passing through waters adjacent to Japan destined to Soviet Russia while Japan was being deprived of oil from the same source. He said that he had already telegraphed his Government the views expressed by the Secretary and had recommended to his Government that the Japanese Government purchase oil in this country by taking advantage of the quota allotted Japan.

  1. See memorandum of a conversation, August 27, 1941, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 571.
  2. See memorandum by the Secretary of State, ibid., p. 569.