894.00/1026: Telegram

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

536. (a) Contrary to general belief the position of the Prime Minister is secure. Baron Hiranuma, whom our informant87 had just seen, had given our informant clearly to understand that he, along with general Yanagawa, now Minister of Justice, had been brought into the Cabinet for only one purpose and that was to help Prince Konoye to attain a position where the latter could effectively control the radical elements in the Army and elsewhere in the Government and that recent changes in the Cabinet reflect that purpose. The Minister of War is loyally cooperating with Baron Hiranuma to support Prince Konoye and is getting the Army extremists well in hand. These extremists had held up the appointment of General Yanagawa, a strong anti-German, as Minister of Justice, and it was due to General Tojo that this opposition was overcome.

(b) Matsuoka was unable to obtain anything tangible during his visits to Berlin and Rome and it is unlikely that he will procure anything at Moscow, as it is unthinkable that Japan would pay the high price demanded by Russia for a political agreement with Japan.

(c) Some indication of a change of attitude [on the part of?] Japan will be given shortly, probably during the month of May.

2. A series of articles by our informant being currently published in a Tokyo paper is receiving wider attention. The burden of these articles is that so long as Japan pursues her present policies she cannot expect American cooperation. They are being translated and will go forward in the next pouch.88

  1. Tetsuma Hashimoto, who had returned from a recent visit to Washington.
  2. Despatch No. 5542, April 24, not printed.