Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Ballantine) to the Under Secretary of State (Grew)
Mr. Grew: The Department has received from OSS,88 which apparently has a contact with the Vatican, a series of reports in regard to Japanese negotiations, beginning in early January, 1945, with the Vatican looking toward mediation by the Pope in the war in the Pacific. In the beginning it appears that the requests for mediation were made by Japanese “industrialists” to Catholic dignitaries in Japan, including Mgr. Marella, the Apostolic Delegate in Tokyo, and Mgr. Doi, a Japanese Catholic Bishop. More recently, however, it appears that the Japanese Government is involved, as negotiations are now being conducted at the Vatican by the Japanese Minister (Ken Harada) and his assistants.
The alleged Japanese minimum demands, which included Japanese retention of Hongkong and Hainan, an independent Philippines, dominion status for British India and the Netherlands Indies, and recognition of Japan’s “privileged position” in the Far East, were considered by the Vatican to be too far from the minimum demands (a return to the status quo ante 1937) which the Vatican believed that the Anglo-Americans would consider, to make mediation at all hopeful of success. The Pope therefore refused to attempt to mediate unless the Japanese demands could be brought closer to what it was hoped would be considered by the Allies.
On January 17 Masahide Kanayama, a Secretary of the Japanese Legation at the Vatican, urged upon a group of Vatican officials that mediation be started before the meeting of the Big Three because Japan expects that Far Eastern questions will be discussed at the meeting.89 It is represented that Japan expects that Stalin will be asked to denounce the Russo-Japanese Neutrality Pact90 and to place Soviet airfields at the disposal of the Anglo-American forces; and [Page 476] that Japan expects Stalin to ask that a serious attempt at mediation be made before these steps are taken, and to offer to act himself as mediator. Kanayama therefore hoped that the Pope would be the first to attempt to mediate (presumably because it is expected that Stalin’s price for mediation would be distasteful to the Japanese). The Vatican officials, however, insisted that the Japanese Government offer terms which would be closer to those expected of [by?] the Allies before the Holy See undertakes mediation. Kanayama said that he would communicate this view to his Government.
Later Harada informed the Vatican that the Japanese Ambassador at Moscow91 is negotiating with the Kremlin for the continuation of the existing Russo-Japanese Neutrality Agreement, in return for which continuation Japan will denounce the Tripartite and Anti-Comintern Pacts,92 will break completely with Germany, and will abolish Anti-Communist control in Japan.
These OSS reports are sufficiently circumstantial and sufficiently correct in detail to render it possible that they be given some credence. FE93 will continue to give its close attention to this matter and will not fail to report further developments.
- Office of Strategic Services.↩
- For meeting at Yalta between President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill, and Marshal Stalin, Chairman of the Council of Commissars of the Soviet Union, February 4–11, see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, pp. 562 ff.↩
- Signed at Moscow, April 13, 1941; see telegram 763, April 13, 1941, 11 p.m., from Moscow, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. iv, p. 944. Cf. Department of State Bulletin, April 29, 1945, p. 812.↩
- Naotake Sato.↩
- For the former, signed at Berlin, September 27, 1940, see Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 165; for the latter, signed at Berlin, November 25, 1936, and at Rome, November 6, 1937, see ibid., pp. 153 and 159, respectively.↩
- Office of Far Eastern Affairs.↩