711.94/2231a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Gauss)

209. Your telegram 367, August 27, 1 p.m. During the spring and early summer the Secretary and officers of the Department have from time to time held informal, exploratory, and unofficial conversations with the Japanese Ambassador and his associates without any commitment whatsoever, in an endeavor to determine whether there might be some basis for the working out of a peaceful settlement of the general problems of the Pacific area.

These exploratory conversations were disrupted following the Japanese occupation of Indochina. The Japanese Ambassador has, however, under instructions from his Government, continued to discuss with me the possibility of reaching an agreement on basic principles. The meeting between the President and the Japanese Ambassador on August 28,73 reported in Radio Bulletin No. 205, August 28, was the latest development. As has been indicated in the press, it is possible that future conversations of the same exploratory nature may take place. This Government of course does not have the slightest intention [Page 420] of sacrificing any of its principles and policies. It goes without saying that any proposals or suggestions affecting the rights and privileges of the United States or of Japan or of any third country will not be considered except so far as they might conform with the basic principles of the United States.

You are authorized in your discretion to inform the Chinese Government officials in whole or in part of the substance of this telegram.

  1. See memorandum by the Secretary of State, August 28, 1941, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 571.