740.0011 P.W./576: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Leahy) to the Secretary of State

1360. Lacoste (who is again replacing Ostrorog in the latter’s absence for a few days) asked us to call this morning to say that the Japanese attitude toward Indochina is again becoming “menacing.” Following the “more satisfactory” attitude of the Konoye Government during its last few days (Embassy’s telegram No. 1317, October 15, 4 p.m.), the Tojo12 government or at least the Japanese military officials in Indochina are renewing their demands for additional troops in Tonkin. The latter officers, he said, have told the French authorities in Indochina that they propose to send additional forces into Tonkin in an amount “over 70,000.” A telegram received from Admiral Decoux yesterday indicates that the Japanese military authorities, said Lacoste, propose to communicate their “demands” or “intentions” with respect to these additional forces to the Indochinese authorities in writing. If and when such a communication is received, he said, Admiral Decoux will be instructed to state that such matters can only be discussed between the French and Japanese Governments and not by the authorities in Indochina. Lacoste has no information as to the date on which the Japanese plan this troop movement.

Lacoste stated that he is communicating the foregoing to us in confidence and that he is not informing the Chinese Embassy here.

  1. Gen. Hideki Tojo, Japanese Prime Minister succeeding Prince Konoye.