15 August 1941
#739 (Separate message)
At the time of my conversation with Ambassador Smetanin the other day, I mentioned our desires in regard to the full realization of our rights and interests in Northern Saghalien and also the removal of danger zones in the waters of the Far East. Since then, we have been asked by the Soviet as to the attitude of Japan toward the German-Russian war; to which we have replied that there has been no change in our intentions of continuing friendly relations between Japan and Russia, that thus far we have maintained an attitude of observing the neutrality pact, and that it is still our desire to continue this in the future, but, that whether or not we can continue thus is a question that depends on the way in which the Soviet Union responds to this. For instance if (a) any of the Soviet Union's territory in East Asia should be ceded, sold, or leased to a third power, or offered as military bases, (b) the Soviet Union should take any steps that would cause the sphere of any third power's military movements to be extended into East Asia, or should conclude with a third power an alliance that might have the Empire as its object, we certainly could not overlook the threat that this would be to our nation.
To this the Soviet Ambassador replied, that the Soviet government is rigidly observing the Japanese-Soviet neutrality pact, and that as far as the above mentioned two points are concerned he could give assurance that there has been nothing of the kind and that there will be none in the future.
I furthermore took this opportunity to call the attention of the Soviet to the fact that of late it is persistently rumored that the United States will be shipping munitions to the Soviet via Vladivostok, and that if this should be true, Japan would have to take a serious view of it, as it would involve the three power pact relations.
In regard to the Japanese Government's attitude to the German- Russian war, I reiterated that there has been no change in our foreign policy, which has as its keynote the spirit and the objectives of the three power pact, even as Foreign Minister Matsuoka had communicated to the Soviet Government 2 July, and that this point is well understood by the Soviet.
JD-1: 4637 (F) Navy Trans. 8-19-41 (C-N R)
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)