740.00119 Control (Japan)/3–2948: Airgram

The Acting Political Adviser in Japan ( Sebald ) to the Secretary of State


A–58. Sir Alvary Gascoigne, Head of the United Kingdom Liaison Mission, informally approached me with a view to registering complaint concerning an apparent unwillingness on the part of the Department to take the British Foreign Office into its confidence concerning developments in the Japanese situation. Sir Alvary stated that he has received a number of telegrams and letters from the Foreign Office on this subject and said that considerable mystification exists in London as to why the United States has not freely discussed with the Foreign Office, as was formerly done, what appear to be impending fundamental changes in American policy towards Japan. He said that the relevant officials of the Foreign Office are totally in the dark as to why the United States is sending high officials, such as Mr. George F. Kennan, Chief of the Policy and Planning Staff of the Department, and Undersecretary William H. Draper and party, to Japan. He felt that the publicity attendant upon these visits has reached the point where “British officials are getting sore” at the apparent lack of confidence shown.

I told Sir Alvary that it is my personal opinion that these visits are more for the purpose of exploring the situation in Japan in order to crystallize American thought than to make immediate decisions in Tokyo, although he would understand that I am not too well-informed concerning any long-range aspects that might possibly attach to these visits. Sir Alvary replied that he had recently telegraphed to the Foreign Office exactly along the lines of my reply and was glad to have even my personal corroboration of his thinking in this regard.

Sir Alvary referred to his recent conversation with Mr. Kennan in which he had expressed the hope of Mr. Dening that Mr. Kennan or another high official of the Department might visit London in order to exchange ideas on the present Japanese situation and possible future policy of the United States vis-à-vis Japan. He reiterated the hope that the Department would find it possible for Mr. Kennan or Mr. Butterworth to visit London at an early date in order to discuss with [Page 720] interested officials of the Foreign Office any fundamental changes in policy that might be under consideration. In conclusion Sir Alvary said that his Government prefers dealing with Japan through the FEC and hoped that the United States is not considering taking unilateral action of some kind, notwithstanding the slowness of present procedures.