Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Undated Statement Handed to the Secretary of State by the Japanese Ambassador, 8 October 1940

From the beginning of outright war between Japan and China in 1937, the U.S. government gradually imposed trade embargoes of increasing severity on goods and materials that might assist the Japanese war effort. At the end of September 1940, the regulations on iron and steel scrap were tightened dramatically. One week later, the Japanese ambassador delivered a formal protest on the matter to the secretary of state.

Since iron and steel scrap classified as No. 1 heavy melting scrap was placed under export-licensing system on July 26, 1940, permission of the United States Government was obtained up to August 19 of the same year for 99 percent of applications for shipments to Japan.

In the light of this fact, the sudden enlargement of the iron and steel scrap licensing system to include all grades of these materials is hardly explicable from the standpoint of national defense, on which the regulation of September 30, 1940, is purported to be based.

The discriminatory feature of the announcement, that licenses will be issued to permit shipments to the countries of the Western Hemisphere and Great Britain only, has created a widespread impression in Japan that it was motivated by a desire to bring pressure upon her.

The fact that the majority of essential articles and materials that Japan desires to import from America is placed under licensing system is causing a feeling of tension among the people of Japan, who naturally presume that the system is intended to be a precursor of severance of economic relations between Japan and the United States.

In view of the high feeling in Japan it is apprehended that, in the event of continuation by the United States Government of the present attitude toward Japan in matters of trade restriction, especially if it leads to the imposition of further measures of curtailment, future relations between Japan and the United States will be unpredictable.

It is a matter of course that the Governments of both Japan and the United States should endeavor as best they can to preclude such an eventuality. To this endeavor the Japanese Government will devote itself and trusts that it may have the full cooperation of the United States Government.


Further Reading
U.S. Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931–1941 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943), 312–314. .
 

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