894.032/204: Telegram

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

97. The first regular session of the Diet today was featured by addresses by the Prime Minister,17 Foreign Minister and Army and Navy Ministers. The press reports that following the formal speeches, sessions in camera were convened at which Cabinet members were to explain frankly to Diet members the domestic and international situation facing Japan.

[Here follow summaries of speeches by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs.]

In discussing relations with the United States the [Foreign] Minister enumerated the embargoes and restrictions on exports to Japan18 since the abrogation of the commercial treaty.19 He stated that the situation had become so aggravated that Japan must now be adequately prepared not only to meet this pressure but to secure her economic [Page 9] life line within the area of greater Asia. In effect, he stated Japan’s demands of the United States to be:

understanding of the vital concern to Japan of the establishment of an East Asia co-prosperity sphere,
recognition of Japan’s superiority in the Western Pacific, and
cessation of economic pressure on Japan.

Mr. Matsuoka then appealed for reflection on the part of the United States for the sake of peace in the Pacific and in the world: the Foreign Minister envisaged American entry into the war and the possibility of Japan being “compelled to enter the war” which would then bring about another world conflict.20

For several days the press has suggested that the Foreign Minister would answer Secretary Hull’s statement21 and a strong attack aimed at American policy was expected. The fact that the Foreign Minister’s remarks were surprisingly mild and the fact that no Government statement has been issued in reply to Secretary Hull although such a statement has been twice announced (Embassy’s No. 87, January 17, 10 p.m.22) may indicate that careful consideration is being given within the Government to the avoidance of official utterances calculated to exacerbate American feelings towards Japan. This morning’s press announced that the Imperial Rule Assistance Association would tonight issue a “protest to America”. The Cabinet Information Bureau later informed us that such a statement would not be issued.

  1. Prince Fumimaro Konoye.
  2. See Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, pp. 211 ff.
  3. Signed at Washington, February 21, 1911, Foreign Relations, 1911, p. 315; for abrogation, see Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, pp. 189198; see also Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. iv, pp. 625 ff.
  4. The text of Mr. Matsuoka’s speech was received in the Department from the Japanese Embassy on January 22.
  5. January 15 before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 131.
  6. Not printed.