893.61331/261: Telegram

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

303. Embassy’s 1326, December 17, 6 p.m.,2 Universal Leaf Tobacco Company. A note from the Foreign Office dated February 19 in reply to my representations of December 17 was translated just prior to the arrival by mail of Peiping’s 66, February 21, 3 p.m., concerning a communication from the Japanese Embassy of February 20.

The Foreign Office note is in general evasive and makes no satisfactory reply to the points raised in my representations. It is advised that negotiations be continued in Peiping and the suggestion is made that the authorities there are considering the American company’s requests. The note denies that foreign tobacco interests will be driven out of North China, refers to the decrease in the tobacco crop, and states that the company has not been prohibited from re-drying or packing leaf tobacco. No mention is made of the company’s desire to sell to other than the North China Tobacco Company.

This reply and the action taken at Peiping would seem to be another instance of the Japanese granting minor “concessions” without discussing the fundamental points at issue.3

Sent to the Department via Peiping. Peiping please repeat to Chungking, Shanghai, Tientsin and Tsingtao.

  1. Foreign Relations, 1940, Vol. iv, p. 558.
  2. In telegram No. 361, March 5, 7 p.m., Ambassador Grew reported that a further note from the Japanese Foreign Office dated February 27 added that the amount of tobacco to be purchased and the period of purchase would be considered “later”.