551.5F1/116: Telegram

The Chargé in Japan ( Neville ) to the Secretary of State

[Paraphrase]

76. With reference to Department’s No. 78, May 14, 4 p.m. During the course of a conversation I had with Matsuzo Nagai (Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs) and Masaaki Hotta (Chief of the Europe-America Bureau), reference was made to the silver problem. The concern over silver manifested by American Senators touring the Far East had aroused their curiosity. I said that the United States was a great silver-producing country. I was asked by the Vice Minister whether it was the intention of the United States to sponsor a conference on silver. I replied that, in my opinion, it was not; but that American delegates would be sent if the Japanese or some other Government took the initiative. The division in financial and banking circles on the silver issue was such, Nagai informed me, that any attempt by his Government to call a conference would probably be embarrassing to itself.

His very silence on the point inclined me to believe that the fear exists here that the conference would be utilized by the Chinese as a sounding board for political issues.

Neville