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                               PAPER XXXI

"Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us." 

Address before a joint session of the Senate and House of 
   Representatives asking for the declaration of the existence of a
   state of war with the Japanese Empire, the Capitol, December 8, 1941 

To the Congress of the United States:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941-a date which will live in infamy- the United 
States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and 
air forces of the Empire of Japan. 

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation 
of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor 
looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour 
after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese 
Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the 
Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While 
this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing 
diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed 

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it 
obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks 
ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has 
deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and 
expressions of hope for continued peace. 

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to 
American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been 
lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the 
high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu. 

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against 

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. 

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. 

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. 

Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. 

This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island. 

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending 
throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for 
themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their 
opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and 
safety of our Nation. 

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all 
measures be taken for our defense. 

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Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. 

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated 
invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win 
through to absolute victory. 

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I 
assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will 
make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us 

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our 
territory, and our interests are in grave danger. 

With confidence in our armed forces-with the unbounded determination of 
our people-we will gain the inevitable triumph-so help us God. 

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly 
attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed 
between the United States and the Japanese Empire. 


See Paper XXXIII of this series for the message calling for a 
declaration of a state of war with Germany and Italy.