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761.94/7–2145: Telegram

No. 580
The Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs (Togo) to the Japanese Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Sato)
[Translation]
very secret
urgent

890. Re my telegram No. 884.1

The foreign and domestic situation for the Empire is very serious, and even the termination of the war is now being considered privately. Therefore the conversations2 mentioned in my telegram No. 8521 are not being limited solely to the objective of closer relations between Japan and the U. S. S. R., but we are also sounding out the extent to which we might employ the U. S. S. R. in connection with the termination of the war.

Our readiness to promise long-term mutual support for the maintenance of peace, as mentioned in our proposal, was also intended for the purpose of sounding out the Soviet attitude toward Japan with reference to the above. The Soviet Union should be interested in, and probably will greet with much satisfaction, an abandonment of our fishery rights as an amendment to the Treaty of Portsmouth.3 With reference to the other items, the manner of answering the arguments would be to meet fully the demands of the Soviets according to my telegram No. 885.1 Therefore, although we of course wish the completion of an agreement from the Malik-Hirota negotiations, on the other hand, sounding out the Soviets as to the manner in which they might be used to terminate the war is also desired. We would like to learn quickly the intentions of the Soviet Government regarding the above. As this point is a matter with which the Imperial Court is also greatly concerned, meet with Molotov immediately whether or not T. V. Soong is present in the U. S. S. R.4 With the circumstances of the earlier part of this telegram in mind, ascertain as best you can their intentions and please answer by telegram immediately.

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As you are skilled in matters such as this, I need not mention this, but in your meetings with the Soviets on this matter please bear in mind not to give them the impression that we wish to use the Soviet Union to terminate the war.

  1. Not printed.
  2. i. e., the HirotaMalik conversations concerning a new Soviet-Japanese agreement. See Robert J. C. Butow, Japan’s Decision To Surrender (Stanford, 1954), pp. 121–123, and Toshikazu Kase, Journey to the “Missouri” (New Haven, 1950), pp. 170–171, 187–188. Sato had received instructions to try to expedite a Soviet reply to the Japanese proposals for such an agreement and to explain Japan’s intentions in this connection.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Signed September 5, 1905. Text in Foreign Relations, 1905, p. 824.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Concerning Soong’s negotiations in Moscow, see ante, pp. 857, 862864.