711.94/2364: Telegram

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

1625. For the Secretary and the Under Secretary only. 1. Bishop Walsh left with us today a paper containing observations which were made to him, with the request that they be communicated to me, by a group of the Prime Minister’s personal advisers, including Messrs. Ito (President of the Cabinet Information Board), Ushiba and Saionji (private secretaries). A paraphrase of the document follows.

(Begin paraphrase) The memorandum of October 2 of the Secretary of State7 caused grave disappointment to the Japanese side, including all its central figures. The Japanese now think that sincerity is entirely lacking on the American side with regard to either holding a meeting or otherwise reaching an understanding, and they feel therefore that any further suggestion from the Japanese Government would serve no useful purpose. Unless there is given by the American Government some counteracting indication, for example, by the suggestion of some formula for removing the divergencies between the American draft statement of June 218 and the Japanese draft statement of September 279 (the latter should be regarded as having superseded all previous Japanese drafts), or by the giving in the near future by the President of some clear assurance either publicly or privately of his preparedness to confer with the Prime Minister which assurance would cause the Japanese Government to feel warranted in continuing the current conversations and hastening their conclusion as much as possible, the continuation of the conversations will be impossible and furthermore the way may be opened to very unfortunate and serious deterioration of the situation in the Pacific. However, [Page 509] if a gesture of an encouraging character with regard to the proposed meeting were forthcoming such gesture would remove effectively the present suspicion now existing in official Japanese quarters of having been deceived and would reconcile all factions each with its diverse responsibilities, solidify their confidence in the Prime Minister and thus enable the latter to moderate measures not in line with the principles which he supports but dictated by recent practical necessities and stop the seesaw performance in the regions to the south. (End paraphrase)

2. The foregoing statement of the situation might, of course, be interpreted as merely a continuation of the diplomatic pressure that has been brought to bear on me for some time from Japanese sources with a view to hastening arrangements for the proposed meeting between the responsible heads of the two Governments. From my knowledge of the situation here, however, I believe that the statement sets forth an accurate presentation of existing facts.

3. Bishop Walsh is leaving by air tomorrow morning for Hong Kong and will expect to proceed to the United States by the next Clipper.

4. In this connection, I have informed Bishop Walsh of the substance of Saigon’s 114 [113?] October 13, 11 a.m.,10 especially the final substantive paragraph thereof as an indication of what I conceive to be one important obstacle to the successful conclusion of the current conversations. This general thought, as I have already informed you, has also been conveyed by me to Admiral Toyoda.11

  1. Ibid., p. 656.
  2. Ibid., p. 486.
  3. Ibid., p. 652.
  4. Not printed.
  5. See memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan, October 10, 1941, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 677.