"Missed Opportunities for Compromise? The Diplomatic Crisis in 1941 Japan from the Perspective of U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Grew and British Ambassador Sir Robert Craigie"
Spencer, James F.
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CitationSpencer, James F. 2020. "Missed Opportunities for Compromise? The Diplomatic Crisis in 1941 Japan from the Perspective of U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Grew and British Ambassador Sir Robert Craigie". Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThe British and U.S. ambassadors to Japan in 1941 both believed that war could have been averted, or at least delayed, if their respective home offices had made differ- ent diplomatic choices more in accord with their advice. Sir Robert Craigie and Joseph Grew saw missed opportunities for compromise, while the British Foreign Office and the U.S. Department of State gave more credence to the theory that Japan’s military extremists would prevail over the voices of moderation, and that Japan was ultimately un- willing to retreat from China; therefore, war was inevitable. Was the attention shown to the ambassadors’ warnings adequate and justified? Previous academic research has analyzed the reporting of Ambassadors Craigie and Grew leading up to the outbreak of war in the Pacific. This reporting was based primarily on their interactions with government officials and other members of the Japanese elite. Any conclusions as to the accuracy of the ambassadors’ predictions, quality of advice, and overall success of the embassies they led, can be enhanced by a comparison of their observations, a better understanding of their personal and professional relation- ship, and their reliance upon collaboration. Professional and personal correspondence reveals that Grew and Craigie main- tained an effective, collegial, professional association, notwithstanding an awkward so- cial relationship. Together, they labored under restrictions on the amount of sensitive information disseminated by the Foreign Office and the State Department. Their coun- tries did not always share the same agenda or national interest. Grew and Craigie bore the stigma of “appeasers,” due to their belief that U.S. and British diplomacy could have done more to support the cause of the Japanese moderates. Yet, they both were “on the record” as accurately warning about the risk of underestimating Japan’s response to economic strangulation from sanctions and the likelihood of heightened Japanese aggression should the 1941 peace talks falter. However, the two ambassadors, particularly Grew, also missed an opportunity to further delay or avert war by not being even more ardent in their 1941 entreaties. Consequently, they overestimated the extent to which their recommendations were likely to be adopted by the decision makers in London and Washington.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365069