740.0011 P. W./193: Telegram

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

599. 1. We have received from several reliable sources indications that the southward advance elements here attach importance to “recent reports” from the United States which encourage the stubborn belief held by the extremists that (a) the United States would under no conditions short of a direct attack on the Philippines go to war in the Pacific as a result of Japanese action, and (b) even in the improbable event of hostilities between the United States and Japan, in view of Japan’s favorable geographic position the United States could not take effective naval or military action against this country. In the struggle which is apparently going on within the Japanese Government in regard to the southward advance the chief difficulty which the more far-seeing elements in the Japanese Government are encountering in [is?] their inability through any arguments to the contrary to shake the foregoing beliefs.

2. There is available nothing to identify the source of the “recent reports” above mentioned. Nevertheless I suggest that it might be [Page 139] helpful if the Secretary or possibly the President were to call in the Japanese Ambassador and make to the latter a statement which would be calculated to disabuse the extremist elements here of the belief outlined in the previous paragraph.

3. I make this suggestion advisedly and after careful consideration, for the reason that the British reverses in the Eastern Mediterranean are having substantial adverse repercussions in this country, on a [one] manifestation of which is the increasing frequency with which references are made that the United States will be wise to avoid giving to Japan a cause for war.