711.94/2364: Telegram

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

665. For the Ambassador and the Counselor only. Reference your 1604, October 10, 7 p.m., Department’s 649, October 11, 3 p.m., Department’s 661, October 14, 10 p.m.,12 your 1623, October 14, 8 p.m., and 1625, October 14, 10 p.m. You will have observed from the Department’s telegrams under reference that both the Japanese Ambassador and Mr. Wakasugi have raised questions similar to that which the Minister for Foreign Affairs raised with you on October 10. The Secretary, Under Secretary and other officers of the Department have endeavored at some length to answer those questions. We feel that the Japanese Ambassador and the Japanese Embassy should now understand [Page 510] clearly the views of this Government and we believe that they have no doubt fully reported those views to the Japanese Foreign Minister.

As you are, of course, aware, we have sought at great length to describe clearly in our informal and exploratory conversations with the Japanese the basic principles and policies which we believe should underlie the courses to be followed in pursuit of a broad-gauge program of peace in the Pacific area. In an endeavor to determine whether there exists a common basis for negotiations between our two Governments, we have devoted our efforts toward exploring with the Japanese our respective views in regard to relations between the United States and Japan and in regard to world problems and situations and toward discussing our respective concepts of certain fundamental principles. Believing that it would best serve the objectives in view, we have been glad to receive from the Japanese Government expressions of its own desires and intentions in regard to a program of peace in the Pacific, but we have consistently tried to avoid being placed in a position of possible criticism for having attempted to tell the Japanese Government what it must do or what it must not do. At the same time we have not wished to give the appearance of attempting to exert pressure on the Japanese Government by presenting in detail the specifications of commitments which we have desired that Japan give. It has been our aim rather to elicit from the Japanese Government a spontaneous expression of its intention, formulated in proposals for a program of a settlement which would manifestly be consistent with and supplementary to Japan’s affirmations and declarations of policy.

We feel that the Japanese proposals of September 613 and subsequent communications revealed differences between the concept of the Japanese Government and the concept of this Government in regard to the fundamental principles which underlie our discussions. In our October 2 statement14 we endeavored to point out clearly that we believed those principles to be of universal applicability while the Japanese Government seemed to envisage certain qualifications and exceptions to the actual application of those principles. We referred to qualifying phrases appended to assurances of Japan’s peaceful intent toward other nations, the limitation to the southwest Pacific area of the formula in regard to economic policies, the introduction of vague suggestions of desiderata with respect to economic rights in China based on propinquity, the insistence upon stationing troops within the territory of another sovereign power, the lack of a clear-cut manifestation of intent to withdraw expeditionary forces sent abroad from Japan, and in general the impression we have received [Page 511] that Japan is considering a program in the Pacific area circumscribed by qualifications and exceptions in the practical application of liberal and progressive principles while this Government has in view a comprehensive program of uniform application of such principles to the entire Pacific area.

In our October 2 statement mention was made of the President’s continued close and active interest in the proposed meeting with the Prime Minister and of the President’s earnest hope that fundamental questions would be so developed as to make possible that meeting. The Secretary of State (Department’s 632, October 2, 8 p.m.) has informed the Japanese Ambassador that we desire to proceed as rapidly as possible. The Under Secretary has assured Mr. Wakasugi (Department’s 661, October 14, 10 p.m.15) of the sincerity of this Government in these conversations.

The Department authorizes you in your discretion to seek an interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and refer to the statement which the Minister for Foreign Affairs made to you on October 10 (your 1604, October 10, 7 p.m.16) and review the statements which have been made to the Ambassador and to members of the Japanese Embassy here by the Secretary, the Under Secretary and officers of the Department as reported to you. You may use in your statement any reference to our October 2 statement that you feel desirable and such material from this telegram as you feel would be helpful.

In response to a request made by Mr. Wakasugi on October 15, Mr. Welles has arranged to receive him and talk with him on October 16.17

  1. None printed, but see memoranda of October 10, 9, and 13, ibid., pp. 677, 670, 672, and 680, respectively.
  2. Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 608.
  3. Ibid., p. 656.
  4. Not printed, but see memorandum of October 13, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 680.
  5. Not printed, but see memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan, October 10, 1941, ibid., p. 677.
  6. See memorandum by the Secretary of State, October 16 and 17, 1941, ibid., p. 687.