861.24/578: Telegram

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

1334. Embassy’s 1330, August 28, 7 p.m. The Secretary of the Soviet Embassy today provided a member of my staff with the following details concerning the Japanese representations to the Soviet Government relating to the shipment of American gasoline to Vladivostok, and the Soviet reply thereto. He stated that the Japanese representations expressed the serious concern of the Japanese over the shipment of American gasoline to Vladivostok especially since its passage in close proximity to Japan would be very embarrassing in view of Japan’s association with the Axis powers and emphasized that the Japanese Government was concerned lest this gasoline should be kept in the Soviet Far East for possible future use against Japan. The [Page 407] Soviet Government in its reply stated that inasmuch as it was of no concern to the Soviet Government where Japan obtained its war materials, it failed to see why the Japanese Government should be concerned over the purchase of war materials by the Soviet Union from the United States, and consequently the Soviet Government considered the representations on the subject made by the Japanese Government to be “unfriendly”. The Japanese Government was furthermore informed that the destination and disposition of the gasoline were a matter which concerned the Soviet Government alone, but that in actual fact the greater part of these shipments was destined for use on the front against Germany, and only such quantity thereof as was deemed necessary would be kept in the Far East for industrial and economic needs.

In reply to his inquiry regarding the nature of the reply which the Government of the United States intended to make to the reported Japanese representations on the same subject, the Secretary of the Soviet Embassy was informed that beyond the fact that representations had been made we did not know the form or nature thereof nor the character of the reply thereto which would be made by the American Government.

In the course of the conversation the Soviet Secretary stated that it was his understanding that the port of Komsomolsk, north of Vladivostok, was equipped to unload tankers and handle the transshipment of oil.

Sent to the Department, repeated to Moscow.