The Secretary o f State to the Ambassador in Japan (Grew), [Telegram: Paraphrase], WASHINGTON, May 30,1940-2 p.m.

1. In the light of the course of European events every Government which is not involved in the European war is giving, of course, most serious consideration to the various questions which are raised by developments there. Naturally intensive thought is being given by each such Government to its own national security problems and to questions both long? and short?range of national welfare and national interests in general. Should the present. onrush of the Germans be checked and the European war become prolonged the European peoples face a prospect of a long period of economic strain with lowered standards of living, lowered purchasing power, and the continued disruption of normal trade. Should the allies be defeated it will probably be followed by an extension of the German system of economic autarchy to most of Europe and by an effort to extend that system to African and Asian colonial possessions. The result of this would be generally a lowering of living standards and a social deterioration; moreover, in world markets being flooded with cheap goods produced under forced?labor conditions.

2. There is no part of the world which can avoid being affected adversely by either of such developments materializing. The Government of the United States has hoped, and does hope, that the war's adverse effects may be kept to a minimum and may be made temporary not only in respect to the Americas but also with regard to Asia by an increase of devotion in such areas to the policies and principles which contemplate and call for the lowering or removal of artificial or excessive trade barriers and through the intensification of the efforts of peoples and countries in such areas to protect and advance their national interests on peaceful lines and by peaceful means. Today every country must strengthen its national defense machinery. The people of the United States see that this is necessary and they are going forward strenuously with plans and production which will in a relatively short time make this country far stronger in a military way than it is at present. The United States has no aggressive designs, but it will be ready to defend itself against any aggression which may be undertaken against it. Whatever the results of the European war may be, the United States is very strong in resources and in a relatively short time will probably be more powerful militarily and better organized in the economic field than it has been for many years. It is the firm belief of the people and government of the United States that the general deterioration in the situation which the existing and spreading armed conflicts have brought on can be checked and kept from becoming universal only by determined and enlightened resistance to such deterioration by those nations which have the desire and intention that principles of law, order, justice, and national sovereignty shall survive and the principles of economic freedom prevail.

3. Consideration is being given by various countries which are not yet involved in the European war to the question of whether they will throw in their lot with such countries as Germany which are committed to the use of force for purposes of coercion and conquest or whether they will give their support and adherence to policies and principles of the character to which the United States and a large number of other nations are committed. It is indicated by your reports and by press despatches that the various aspects of that general question are being studied intensively by the Japanese Government. We of course desire to be informed of any significant indications discerned by you regarding the direction in which the thought, of the Japanese Government is moving in this matter.

4. We have reviewed your account of your various conversations during recent weeks with influential official and non?official Japanese. It is believed that it would be helpful that as the opportune occasion arises you continue to have such conversations with the purpose, among others, of obtaining information and of conveying as of your own thought whatever among the ideas and statements of fact outlined above you consider would be helpful. Of course it is essential that at all points we guard against the creation of an impression or giving ground for any inference that we have modified or will modify our position of opposition to courses and policies, whether of Japan or any other nation, which entail the attempt to achieve various positive national objectives in international relations by use of force.


Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943), pp. 540-41

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