THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR  

 

THE MAGIC BACKGROUND

OF

PEARL HARBOR

 

VOLUME IV

(October 17, 1941-December 7, 1941)

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER IV

 

Advent of the TOJO Cabinet and redoubling of Japanese Government's insistence upon an early acceptance of its proposals.

 

 

Page

Outline of Volume IV

l

PART A Hull-Nomura Conversations (October 17, 1941-November 20, 1941)

 

1. Ambassador Nomura Complains of Lack of Coordination Between Japanese Foreign Office and Navy (October 18, 1941)

1

2. Tokyo Refuses Ambassador Nomura's Resignation (October 23, 1941)

2

3. Japanese Government Declares Policies of New Cabinet

2

4. Ambassador Nomura Reports British-German Peace Rumors

2

5. Welles-Wakasugi Conversation (October 24, 1941)

2

(a) Under Secretary Welles' Report

2

(b) Minister Wakasugi's Report

4

6. Tokyo Urges American Reply to Japanese Proposals

5

7. Ambassador Nomura Confers with Admiral Pratt (October 25, 1941)

 

8. Minister Wakasugi Reports on Status of Japanese-American Relations

6

9. Ambassador Nomura Reveals American Attitude Toward Japan 

7

10. Ambassador Grew's Report (October 25, 1941)

 

11. Grew-Togo Interview (October 30, 1941)

9

(a) Ambassador Grew's Report

9

(b) Foreign Minister Togo's Report

9

12. Tokyo Questions Nomura on American Proposal

10

13. New Japanese Cabinet Discusses Formulation of Policies

10

14. Ambassador Grew Learns Japanese Cabinet's Plans

11

15. Ambassador Grew Reports on Situation in Japan

11

16. Ambassador Kurusu Appointed Special Aid to Ambassador Nomura

12

16A. Japan Plans to Attack Hawaii on December 7, 1941 (November 5-7, 1941)

12

17. Ambassador Grew Receives Japanese Informant

13

18. Japan's Attitude Toward Present Negotiations Made Known

13

19. Japan Instructs Ambassador Nomura in Final Proposals

14

20. Ambassador Kurusu Leaves for Washington

14

21. Japan Seeks Agreement with Britain and the Netherlands

15

22. Tokyo Receives English Translation of Proposals

15

23. Japan to Avoid Ratified Treaty with United States

15

24. Japanese Diet Accepts Cabinet's Counter Proposals

16

25. Ambassador Nomura to Guard Secrecy of Conferences

16

26. Japanese Newspapers Publicize Tokyo's Proposals

16

27. Japanese and American Newspapers Impair Diplomatic Negotiations

17

29. Hull-Nomura Conversation (November 7, 1941)

17

(a) State Department' Report

17

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

19

30. Tokyo Re-emphasizes Policy of Self-Defense

20

31. Mr. Horiuchi Arranges for Undelayed Delivery of Telegrams

20

32. Foreign Ministry Bans Publication of Negotiations

21

33. President Roosevelt Confers with Naval Leaders (November 7,1941)

21

34. Japan Interested in Hull's Proposed Settlement of the China Affair.

22

35. Japan Seeks Facts on American-British Attitude Toward Axis

22

36. Grew-Togo Conversation (November 10, 1941)

23

(a) Ambassador Grew's Report

23

(b) Foreign Minister Togo's Report

25

 

i

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

37. Ambassador Nomura Reveals America's Pessimistic Attitude Toward the Negotiations

26

38. Roosevelt‑Nomura Conversation (November 10, 1941)

27

(a) Secretary Hull's Report

27

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

29

39. Japanese‑American Conversation (November 10, 1941)

31

40. Japan Doubts America's Awareness of the Critical Situation

31

41. The German Government Makes Demands on Japan

31

42. Foreign Minister Togo Confers with Ambassador Craigie (November 11, 1941)

32

43. Ambassador Nomura Seeks Clarification of Tripartite Pact Issues

33

44. The Chinese Ambassador Confers with President Roosevelt

33

45. Mr. Kase Calls on Ambassador Grew (November 12, 1941) 

33

46. Ambassador Nomura Seeks English Translation of Proposal B

35

47. Japanese Official Analyzes Roosevelt's Domestic and Foreign Strategy

35

48. Japanese Naval Activity Seen in the Mandates

36

49. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 12, 1941)

36

(a) State Department's Report

36

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

39

50. Ambassador Kurusu Reports on American Pessimism

41

52. Foreign Minister Togo Questions American Interpretation of Proposals

41

53. Finance Official Nishiyama to Study Japanese‑American Negotiations

42

54. Japan Seeks Undelayed Chinese Peace Negotiations

42

55. Japanese‑American Conversations (November 13, 1941)

42

(a) State Department's Report

42

(b) Minister Wakasugi's Report

43

56. Foreign Minister Togo Requests Summaries of the Conversations

44

57. Ambassador Nomura Warns of America's Preparedness for War

44

58. China Seeks Increased Aid from the United States

45

59. Japanese Government Considers Negotiations in Final Stage

45

60. Ambassador Nomura Speculates on Results of Possible Diplomatic Breach

46

61. Tokyo Instructs Ambassador Kurusu in New Duties

47

62. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(November 15, 1941)

47

(a) State Department's Report

47

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

50

63. Tokyo Instructs Ambassador Nomura in Interpretation of Japanese Proposals

52

64. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(November 17, 1941)

52

(a) State Department's Report

52

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

53

65. Roosevelt‑Kurusu Conversation‑(November 17, 1941)

54

(a) State Department's Report

54

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

55

66. Ambassador Grew Warns United States of Unexpected Japanese Attack

57

67. Japanese Air Forces Move to Mandates

57

68. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(November 18, 1941)

58

(a) State Department's Report

58

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

61

69. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(November 19, 1941)

63

(a) State Department's Report

 

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

64

70. Japan Prepares for Breakdown of Diplomatic Relations

64

 

Japanese efforts to extort an agreement on a narrow and one‑sided proposal

 

 

 

Hull‑Nomura Conversations (November 20, 1941‑December 1, 1941)

 

 

71. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(November 20, 1941)

65

(a) State Department's Report

65

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

66

 

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THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR  

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

72. Hull‑Kurusu Conversation‑(November 21, 1941)

67

(a) Secretary Hull's Report

67

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

67

73. Japanese Air and Surface Patrols Cover Shipping

68

74. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(November 22, 1941)

68

(a) State Department's Report

 

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

 

75. Japan Changes Agreement Deadline to November 29, 1941

72

76. Chief of Naval Operations Warns of Japanese Surprise Attack on Philippines

72

77. Ambassador Grew Discusses Japanese Proposals with Foreign Minister Togo

73

78. Ambassador Nomura Warns Against Inaccurate News Reporting

74

79. Foreign Minister Togo Questions Newspaper Interpretation of Proposals

74

80. Tokyo Wishes Agreement to Include Petroleum Exports

75

81. Japanese Ambassador Offer to Tokyo Final Suggestion for Peace

75

82. Tokyo Orders Reports on Negotiations to Be Made by Telephone

76

83. Secretary Hull Confers with Allied Representatives‑(November 24, 1941)

76

84. Conference with Japanese Representatives Postponed by Secretary Hull

76

85. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(November 26,1941)

77

(a) State Department's Report

77

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

80

86. Ambassador Kurusu Telephones Mr. Yamamoto the Outcome of the Conference

81

87. Ambassador Nomura Suggests Terminating the Present Negotiations

81

88. United States Occupies Dutch Guiana

82

89. American Armed Forces Prepare for War

82

90. Roosevelt‑Nomura Conversation‑(November 27,1941)

83

(a) Secretary Hull's Report

83

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

83

91. Ambassador Kurusu Telephones Yamamoto

85

92. Chief of Naval Operations Issues War Warning

86

93. Tokyo Notifies Embassies of Rupture in Japanese‑American Negotiations

86

94. Ambassador Nomura Urges Open Break in Diplomatic Relations

86

95. United States Forces Await Japanese Attack

87

 

Final Phase.

 

 

 

HULL‑NOMURA CONVERSATIONS (December 1, 1941‑December 7, 1941)

 

 

 96. Tokyo Investigates President Roosevelt's Sudden Return to Washington

89

 97. Ambassador Nomura Reports Unfavorable Reaction to Tojo's Speech

89

 98. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(December 1, 1941)

89

(a) State Department's Report

89

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

91

 99. Tokyo Prepares for Results of Diplomatic Break

92

100. Japan Safeguards Its Code and Cipher Systems

92

101. Japanese‑American Conversation‑(December 2, 1941)

92

(a) State Department's Report

92

(b) Japanese Embassy Report

93

102. Welles‑Nomura Conversation‑(December 2, 1941)

93

(a) State Department's Report

93

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

94

103. President Roosevelt Orders Reconnaissance of Forces Around Thailand

95

104. U.S. Navy Exchanges Information with British and Dutch

95

105. Japanese‑Military Attaché in Spain Reports on Japanese‑American Negotiations

95

106. American Officers in Far East Destroy Codes

95

107. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(December 5, 1941)

96

(a) State Department's Report

96

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

97

 

iii

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

108. Japanese Military Attaché Discounts Immediate Possibility of War with America

97

109. Japan Plans to Consider Holland a Semi‑Belligerent Country When at War with the United States

98

110. Japan to Send Form a Reply to American Proposals

98

111. Japan Seeks Information on Roosevelt Message

98

112. President Roosevelt's Message to Emperor Hirohito‑(December 6, 1941)

98

113. Hull‑Nomura Conversation‑(December 7, 1941)

99

(a) State Department's Report

99

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Report

101

114. Tokyo Extends Appreciation to Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu

101

115. Japanese Embassy Destroys Codes

101

116. The Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor‑(December 7, 1941)

102

(a) Secret Hull's Statement

102

(b) President Roosevelt's Message

102

117. The United States Declares War‑(December 8, 1941)

102

118. American Forces Begin Unrestricted Warfare

103

119. Japan Spreads Anti‑allied Propaganda in Allied Countries

103

120. Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor Surprises Turkish Foreign Minister

103

 

PART B JAPANESE INTELLIGENCE IN DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES

 

 

105

 

(a) Reports from the United States

 

 

105

121. Consul Sato Reports United States Navy Day Ceremony

105

122. Ambassador Nomura Requests Information Concerning the Warspite

106

123. Tokyo Outlines the Type of Information Needed

106

124. Consul Identifies Warspite, Colorado and Saratoga at Bremerton

106

125. Japanese Naval Officials in Mexico Disapprove of Furnishing General Intelligence

106

 

(c) Reports from Central America

 

 

106

126. Intelligence Dispatches Outline United States Activities in Central America

106

 

(d) Reports from the Panama Canal

 

 

107

127. Minister Akiyama Reports Canal Military and Naval Activity

107

128. Naval Intelligence Reports Military Construction Work and Navy Patrols

107

129. Reports Enumerate Vessels Passing Through Canal

107

130. Japanese Minister Corrects Identification of Vessel

108

131. Japanese Report Movement of the British Cruiser Liverpool

108

132. German Agents Correct Japanese Identification of British Cruiser

108

133. Intelligence Dispatches List Type, Nationality and Number of Ships Crossing Isthmus

108

134. United States Sets Up Defense Fortifications in Canal Zone

109

 

(e) Reports from South America

 

 

109

135. Agents Speculate Concerning Planes Flown to Bathurst

109

 

(f) Reports from the Hawaiian Islands

 

 

110

136. Foreign Minister Togo Asks for Semi‑Weekly Ship Movement Reports

110

137. American Experts, Allegedly en Route to Burma Road, Arrive in Hawaii

110

138. Foreign Minister Togo Requests Report of Vessels in "N" Area

110

139. Consul Kita Reports Regular Naval Maneuvers

110

140. Japanese Agents Observe American Defenses

111

141. Frequency of Ship Movement Reports Is Left to Discretion of Consul

111

142. Foreign Minister Togo Wires Instructions Regarding Japanese Communications

111

143. Japanese Continue to Watch Navy Maneuvers

111

144. Mr. Fujii Changes American Ship Maneuver Signals

112

145. Consul Wires Movement Report of Rarin and Wyoming

112

146. British Vessel Enters Honolulu Harbor on December 4, 1941

112

147. USS Lexington Departs Hawaii

113

148. Consul Kita Notifies Tokyo of Balloon Barrage Defenses

113

149. Last Intelligence Report Before Pearl Harbor Attack Lists Ships in Port

113

 

(g) Reports from the Philippine Islands

 

 

113

150. Consul Nihro Reports Movement of Philippine‑Based Ships

113

151. Consul Nihro Obtains Information from Newspapers and Foreign Office Reports

114

 

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THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR  

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

152. Brown Soldiers Puzzle Japanese Consul

115

153. Tokyo Directs Secretary Yuki To Investigate Philippine Defenses

115

154. Foreign Minister Togo Asks Confirmation of Report of November 1, 1941

115

155. Consul Nihro Wires Further Information on Military Installations at Manila

115

156. Twenty‑three Ships Anchored at Manila on November 8, 1941

116

157. Japanese Consul Corrects Previous Estimate of Airplanes in Philippines

116

158. Consul Gathers Information from Japanese Residents

116

159. Japanese Report Concerning Preparations on Cebu

117

160. Manila Identifies the British Ship Awatea

117

161. Consul Nihro Reports Tense Feeling in Manila

118

162. Submarine Tender Enters Port

118

163. Inaccuracy of Japanese Intelligence Reports

118

164. Manila Notifies Tokyo of Scouting Patrols

119

165. Intelligence Report Lists Ships in Port on December 1, 1941

119

 

(h) Reports from Singapore

 

 

119

166. Japanese Officials in Singapore Learn of Squadron Sailing

119

167. Tokyo Requests Information on Ships in Port

119

 

(i) Reports from Vladivostok and Hsinking

 

 

119

168. American Tankers en Route to Vladivostok

120

169. Russian Incidents

120

 

JAPANESE DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITIES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 

 

121

 

(a) Japanese-American Relations

 

 

121

170. Japanese Consul Considers Means of Evacuating Nationals

121

171. Consul Morishima Applies for Permit to Transfer American Mission Funds

121

172. Japanese Fear That Mr. Kasai's Lecture May Cause Embarrassment

121

173. Consul Originates Plan to Repay Nationals in Tokyo

121

174. Secretary Terasaki Suggests Delay of Orders for Official Harada

121

175. Japanese Plan to Route Money to Vancouver Through Seattle

122

176. Sailing of Kikawa Maru Forces Secretary Matsui to Leave Japan Without Visa

122

177. Japanese Consul at Vladivostok Views Pessimistically the Adjustment of Japanese‑American Relations

122

178. Propaganda Regulations Will Apply to Neutral Countries, Japan Decrees

122

179. Harada to Bring Wireless Apparatus on Hikawa Maru

122

180. Swiss Newspaper Reports Progress of Japanese‑American Negotiations

 

181. Delay of Sailing Permit Will Cause Financial Loss, Japan Declares

123

182. Ambassador Inquires Concerning Return of Japanese Students

123

183. Ambassador Nomura Sends Part of Personal Luggage to Japan

123

184. Foreign Minister Togo Urges Salary Remittance Exchange for Foreign Correspondents

123

185. Japan Asks for Foreign Broadcast Suggestions

124

186. American Embassy in Tokyo to Get Fuel

124

187. Tokyo Requests Officials to Bring Recording Apparatus

124

188. Exchange of Diplomatic Expense Funds Gives Rise to Discussion

124

189. Minister Directs That Cargo Ships Return to Japan

125

190. Broadcast Wave Length Proves Unsatisfactory

125

191. Japan Learns of Alleged Source of News Leak

126

192. Ambassador Nomura Sends Representative to America First Meeting

126

193. Japanese Officials Plan to Organize and Finance New Committee

126

194. Tokyo Foresees Need of Survey of United States Economic System

127

195. Ambassador Nomura Says American People Not Ready to Enter European War

127

196. Japan Asks Representations in Mail Examination

128

198. Ambassador Nomura Reports on Broadcast Reception

128

199. Tokyo Itemizes Diplomatic Expenditures of Officials in United States

128

200. Japan Reprimands Officials Concerning Dispatch Classification

128

201. Consul Muto Reports Further Investigation of Japanese Agents

129

202. Consul Muto Asks Confirmation of Salary as Employee of Japanese Newspaper

129

203. American Bank in Tokyo Receives no Instructions to Cooperate in Japanese Exchange Plan

129

204. Manchukuoan Officials Seize Baptist Missionaries in Harbin

129

 

v

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

205. Foreign Minister Outlines Policy in China in Event of United States War

129

206. Lima, Peru, Chosen for Gold Deposits for Emergency Use

130

207. Tokyo Sends Instructions for Emergency Destruction of Code Machines

130

208. United States Attempts to Separate Italy from Axis, Ambassador Nomura Reports

130

209. Japan Plans to Preserve Shanghai Public Peace When American Marines Evacuates

130

210. Tokyo Decides to Permit Remittances from America to Cultural Institutions

131

211. Tokyo Advises Ambassador Nomura of Plan of Evacuation

131

212. Japanese Officials in European Countries Warned of Critical Situation

131

213. Shanghai United Settlement Council Decides Cooperative Protection Plan

131

214. Japanese Agents Report American Hospital Staffs To Be Evacuating Peking, China

132

215. Foreign Minister Directs Havana Consul in Regard to Emergency Fund

132

216. Foreign Office Considers Scheduling Another Evacuation Vessel

132

217. Japan Makes Provisions for Financing South American Diplomatic Establishment

132

218. Consul Morishima Asks That the Tatsuta Maru Dock at New York

132

220. Japan Wires Washington Schedule of the Tatsuta Maru

133

221. Japan Decides to Close the Japanese Cultural Association

133

222. Bank Employees Receive Instructions to Evacuate With the Embassy Staff

133

223. Japanese Official List of Agencies Printing Japanese Propaganda

133

224. Ambassador Nomura Suggests Improvements in Broadcast Service

134

225. An Emergency Code System Becomes Effective

134

226. Ambassador Nomura is Asked to Request Permits for Entrance of Japanese from Hawaii

134

227. Japan Requests Manchukuo to Release American Missionaries

135

228. Secretary Terasaki Requests Addresses of Foreigners Receiving American Newspapers

135

229. Difficulties Arise Concerning Evacuation of Dual Nationality Holders

135

230. Japan Issues Orders Concerning Disposition of Codes and Code Machines

135

231. Courier Kosaka Ordered Back to Japan

135

232. Destruction of Code Machines Is Ordered in London, Hongkong, Singapore, and Manila

135

233. Havana Office Directed to Destroy Codes

136

234. Officials Directed to Destroy Codes

136

235. Officials Directed to Retain Emergency Code System Also

136

236. Provisions Are Made for Evacuation of Diplomats

136

237. Japan Requests Permission to Change Schedule of Tatsuta Maru

136

238. Ambassador Nomura Urges Magnanimity in Paying Employees Remaining in United States

137

239. State Department Approves New Schedule for Tatsuta Maru

137

240. Ambassador Nomura Is Instructed to Explain Japanese Military Activity in French Indo‑China

137

241. Manchukuoan Officials Decide to Release Americans

137

242. Japan Sends Funds for Returning of Families of Japanese Diplomatic Employees

138

243. American Embassy Requires No Permit for Taking Out Personal Belongings

138

244. Ambassador Kurusu Suggests United States Investigate Western Transportation Company

138

246. Mystery Dispatch or Coded Wire Sent to Rio de Janeiro

138

247. Iguchi Asks Permission to Delay Destruction of One Code Machine

138

248. Japanese Officials in Washington Learn That American Marines Will Evacuate Shanghai

138

249. Tokyo Orders Terasaki, Takagi, Ando, and Yamamoto to Return to Japan

139

250. Consul Morishima Requests Permission for Mr. Hikida to Return Home

139

251. Ambassador Nomura Requests Additional Expense Money

139

252. Ambassador Kurusu Asks That Secretary Terasaki Remain in the United States

139

253. Japan Continues Making Evacuation Plans

139

254. Tokyo Clarifies Code Machine Reference

140

255. Japan Issues Its Policy Regarding Allied Diplomatic Officials

140

256. Consul Nihro Desires Settlement of Akino's Fine

141

257. Consul Nihro Requests Competent Assistants

141

258. Tokyo Plans Utilization of Osaka Steamship Company Funds in Manila

141

259. Consul Nihro Destroys Useless Codes

141

 

(b) Japanese‑Panamanian Relations

 

 

143

260. Diplomatic Corps in Panama Acknowledges New Government

143

261. Latin American Countries Deny "Veiled Intervention" by the United States

143

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

262. Minister Akiyama Explains New Governments' Foreign Policy

143

263. Japanese Business Firms Ordered to Clue on October 28, 1941

144

264. Uncooperative Course of New Government is Result of Fear, Minister Alleges

144

265. Panama Restricts Minister Akiyama's Contacts

145

266. Japanese Minister Says the United States is Urging Panama to Take the Lead

145

267. Japan Sends Official Complaint to Panama

146

268. Minister Akiyama Suggests Retaliatory Measures

146

269. Japan Requests Immediate Reopening of Businesses

146

270. Radio Broadcast or Domei Service is Suggested to Publicize Panama's Action

147

271. Tokyo Foreign Office Protests to Panama Minister; Requests Formal Statement From Panama

147

272. Panama Cabinet Says Japanese Note is Phrased in Insulting Terms

147

273. Minister Akiyama Says Japanese Will Have Trouble Disposing of Large Stocks

147

274. Newspaper Article Originating in Japan Charges Panama with Inhuman Acts

148

275. Japanese Minister Reports Dismissal of Spanish Minister

148

276. Mexican Minister Incensed at Treatment of Japanese, Returns Home, Akiyama Declares

148

277. Mr. Izawa Negotiates for Reemployment of Japanese in Panama

 

278. Minister Akiyama Suggests Further Retaliatory Measures

149

279. Foreign Minister Togo Plans to Aid Nationals

 

280. Japanese Military Men are En Route to Homeland

149

281. Minister Suggests that Young Japanese Nationals be Attached to Central and Latin American Legations

149

282. Minister Akiyama Stresses Danger of Communication Stoppage

149

283. Japanese Nationals Urged to Evacuate to Latin American Countries

149

284. Arrangements Made for Tatsuta Maru to Dock at Balboa

150

285. Panamanian Minister Reports Arrival of Peruvian Minister in Washington

150

286. Japan Proposes Reparation for Treatment of Japan Nationals in Panama

150

287. Minister Akiyama Communicates With Buenos Aires and Tokyo Regarding Codes

151

288. Minister Akiyama Experiences Financial Annoyances

151

 

(c) Japanese‑Hawaiian Relations

 

 

153

289. Consul in Honolulu Requests Funds Before Arrival of Tatsuta Maru

153

290. Japanese Official Requested to Bring Money Back to Japan

153

291. Foreign Office Asks that ----- be Kept Under Strict Surveillance

153

292. Tokyo Suggests Nationals be Assigned to Second Evacuation Vessel

153

293. Special Codes to be Retained as Long as Situation Permits

153

294. Japan Ponders Recall of Staff

153

 

(d) Japanese‑Philippine Relations

 

 

155

295. Consul Nihro Advises Early Evacuation of Useful Nationals

155

296. United States Making Preparations for War in Earnest, Consul Says

155

297. Payment of Fine for Manila Youth in Japan Creates Problem of Exchange

155

298. Consul Protests Opening of Diplomatic Mail Pouch

156

299. Japan to Investigate the Seizure of Mail

156

300. The Asama Maru Tentatively Scheduled to Arrive November 10, 1941

166

301. Japan Changes Arrival Date of the Asama Maru to November 19, 1941

157

302. Consul Nihro Reiterates Advice that Fares be Reduced

157

303. Consul Arranges Permit to Enter Manila as Vessel Sails from Homeland

157

304. Passenger and Freight Fees to Buy Supplies for the Asama Maru

157

305. Asama Maru to Evacuate Japanese Officials and Business Men

158

306. Japanese Legation Staff Obtains a Loan

158

 

(e) Japanese‑Mexican Relations

 

 

159

307. Vice Consul Kobayashi Transports Secret Documents to San Francisco

159

308. Minister Miura Sends to Tokyo a Resume of Comments on Mexico's Position in the Event of a Japanese‑American War

159

309. Navy Department Retracts Alleged Statement by Secretary Knox of "Imminent Action Within 24 Hours"

159

310. Minister Miura Plans to Return to Japan

159

311. System of Importing Rayon Undergoes a Change

160

 

VII

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

312. Panama Incident Has No Noticeable Effect in Mexico

160

313. Mexican Newspapermen Return from Japan Via Vancouver and Cuba

161

314. Courier Inoma Dispatched to San Francisco

161

315. Mexican Reporter Returning from Japan Expresses His Gratitude for Hospitality Extended

161

316. Mexico Enforces Stricter Passport Policies

161

317. Minister Miura Gives His Opinion Regarding Oil Agreement Between United States and Mexico

162

318. Agreement Signifies Desire for Mutual Understanding Between United States and Mexico

162

319. Minister Miura Request Traveling Expenses and Reservations on the Tatsuta Maru

163

320. Japanese Nationals Request Aid in Obtaining Reservations on Tatsuta Maru

163

321. Minister Miura Asks that the Tatsuta Maru Load Freight at Manzanillo

163

322. Japanese Officials Use Mexico‑Tokyo Diplomatic Channel for Intelligence Routing

163

323. Tokyo Sends Instructions by Courier Kosaka Regarding Japanese and Manchurian Daily Broadcasts

163

324. Tokyo Wires Formal Authorization for Minister Miura's Return

164

325. Minister Miura Reports Impossible Reception of General Broadcast

164

326. Foreign Minister Togo Instructs Minister Miura to Arrange for Employment of Japanese from Panama

164

327. Tokyo Orders Mexico to Limit Expenses and to Use "S" Code

164

328. Minister Miura Discusses with Panama the Employment of a New Staff Member

164

329. Tokyo Makes Plans for the Tatsuta Maru to Enter and Leave Port at Manzanillo

164

330. The Mexican Government Reopens Its Legation in China

165

331. Minister Miura Asks for Confirmation of Schedule of Tatsuta Maru

165

332. Tokyo Informs Minister Miura It Approves Taking American and Mexican Money to Japan

165

333. Japanese Minister in Mexico Informs Tokyo of Destruction of Ciphers and Code Machines

165

 

(f) Japanese‑South American Relations

 

 

167

334. Columbia Refuses United States Overflight Requests

167

335. Japanese Naval Authorities Ship Transmitter Despite Protests of South American Foreign Offices

167

336. Mitsubishi Unable to Ship Supplies Aboard Toa Maru

167

337. German Representatives Reserve Cabins Aboard Toa Maru

167

338. Japanese Navy Promises to Stow Radio Transmitter

168

339. Brazil Begins Close Inspection of Japanese Exports and Imports

168

340. Terukawa Maru to Stop at Callao

168

341. South American Countries Change to Code Machine November 7, 1941

169

342. Minister Yanai Advises Instigation of New Radio Code

169

343. Tokyo Urges That Maltreated Japanese in Panama Be Taken to South America

169

344. Minister Tomii Advises Adjustment of Japanese American Relations to Give Japan More Time

170

345. Minister Koseki in Paraguay Burns Codes

170

346. New Code Words Issued November 29, 1941

170

347. Tokyo Lists Accomplishments of Pearl Harbor Day

170

 

(a) Argentina

 

 

170

348. Japan Attempts to Improve Trade With Argentina

171

349. Japan Undecided as to Sympathies of Argentina

171

 

(b) Brazil

 

 

172

350. Japan Improves Communications Facilities to Brazil

172

351. Courier Kosaka Leaves Rio de Janeiro for Washington

172

352. Japan Recognizes Strong United States Sympathies in Brazil

173

353. Japan Transfers Bank Funds

173

354. Ambassador Ishii Asks for Additional Funds

173

355. Ambassador Ishii Has Difficulty in Radio Reception

173

356. Japan Prepared for Crisis as Brazilian Army Supports America

174

357. Ambassador Ishii Requests Release of Secret Kusano

174

358. Japan Sees United States Military Occupation of South America

174

359. Japan Issues Instructions for Burning Codes

175

 

(c) Chile

 

 

175

 

viii

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR  

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

360. Minister Yamagata Suspects United States Machinations in Chile

175

361. Japan Limits Tour of Chilean Press

175

362. Japanese Watch Development of South American Sympathies in Face of War

176

363. Minister Yamagata Asks Chile to Take in Maltreated Japanese from Panama

176

 

(d) Peru

 

 

178

364. Minister Sakamoto Asks Permission to Confer with Ambassador Kurusu

178

365. Acting Minister Yodokawa Analyzes Peruvian Attitude

178

 

(g) Japanese‑British Relations

 

 

181

366. Custom Question Forces Ambassador Tsurumi to Remain in Singapore

181

367. Ambassador Tsurumi Receives Permit for the Loading of Raw Cotton

181

368. Spanish Ambassador Reports Improvement of Conditions in Britain

181

369. Details of Unloading Scrap Iron Remain Unsettled

182

370. The Asama Maru Prepares to Evacuate Japanese Nationals from British‑Controlled Ports

182

371. The Kito Maru Abandons Trip to Dairen

182

372. Japanese Officials in Singapore Continue Negotiations in Regard to the Frozen Accounts

183

373. Japanese and Canadian Officials Disagree Concerning the Purchasing Rate of ¥100

183

374. Mr. Wataru Assumes Post as Commercial Attaché in Shanghai

183

375. Japan is Concerned Over the Attitude of Great Britain

183

376. Spanish Charge d'Affaires in Cairo Comments on the Situation in Egypt

184

377. Japanese Naval Reconnaissance Bomber Flies Over Hongkong

184

378. Ambassador Craigie and the Foreign Minister Culminate the Honma Incident

185

379. Japanese Foreign Minister is Concerned Over Family Remittance Permits

185

380. Canadian Army Troops are Sent to the Orient

185

381. Makino of the Johol Rubber Plantation is Instructed to Return to Japan

185

382. Diplomatic Relations Between Iraq and Japan are Severed

186

383. Britain Removes from Office the Chief of Staff and His Assistant

186

384. The Boris Arrives in Seattle

186

385. Mr. Yoshizawa Seeks Funds for the Ottawa Legation

186

386. Mr. Kawakasi Negotiates for Funds for the Nisso Company in Vancouver

187

387. Foreign Minister Togo is Concerned Over the Remaining Japanese Residents in Singapore

187

388. Tokyo is Concerned Over British Code Material

188

389. The Premier of Burma Attempts to Attain an Independent Status for His Country

188

390. Hongkong Economic Condition is Becoming Critical

188

391. Tokyo is Concerned With Code and Cipher Systems

189

392. Japan Prepares for Hostilities

189

 

(h) Japanese‑German Relations

 

 

191

393. Ambassador Oshima Asks to Resign

191

394. Japan Sees an Increase of British and American Aid to Russia

191

395. Exchange Broadcasts Become Acceptable to Japan and Germany

192

396. Progress of the Russo‑German War (October, 1941)

192

(a) Report from Finland

192

(b) Report from Roumania

193

397. Tokyo Relays a Summary of Diplomatic Relations as Advanced by Germany

193

398. Asama Maru Departure is Delayed Because of Unsuitable Routing

194

399. Axis Powers Reacclaim the Anti‑Comintern Pact

195

399A. DoD Comment, Also includes Japanese Account of the SORGE

 

400. Halting of American Shipping at Manila Impedes Japanese‑German Trade

199

401. Progress of the Russo‑German War (November, 1941)

199

402. Fresh Rumors of a Combined Europe Meeting Under Hitler Arise

202

403. Progress of the Russo‑German War (November l3‑14, 1941)

202

(a) Report from Finland

202

(b) Report from Berlin

203

(c) Report from Alexandrovsk

204

(d) Report from Bulgaria

204

404. Japanese Specialists Study German Industries

204

405. President Inonu Offers Turkey as a Mediator Between Germany and Russia

206

406. Axis Powers Bicker Over Vital Rubber Shipments

206

 

ix

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

407. Ambassador Oshima Says Axis Political Aim of the War is the Dismemberment of Russia

206

408. Japanese Officials in Ankara, Helsinki, and Vienna Report German Activities to the Home Office

207

409. Germany Proposes Final Draft of the German‑Manchukuoan Economic Relations Pact

208

410. Ambassador Oshima Interviews Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop

208

411. Axis Powers Arrange for Simultaneous Declarations of War on the United States

209

412. Tripartite Powers Strengthen Their Positions in the Near East

213

413. Japan Attempts to Pacify Germany in Regard to Japanese‑Russian Relations

213

 

(i) Japanese‑Manchukuoan Relations

 

 

215

414. Japan is Concerned with Mongolian Uprisings

215

415. Manchukuoan Border Incidents Cause Increasing Concern in Tokyo

215

416. Japan is Concerned with Communist Activities in Manchukuo and China

215

417. Japan and Russia Equally Unprepared for War Against Each Other, Minister at Hsinking Declares

216

418. Russia Thought to be Moving Border Troops to Western Frontier

216

419. Japan Questions Manchukuo's Motives in Canceling Visas

216

420. Government Authorities Agree on Manchukuo's Policy in the Event of War

217

421. Japan Ponders Disposition of Its Manchukuoan Army

217

422. Japan Asks Renewal of Five‑Year Rights to Northern Sakhalin Coal and Oil

217

 

(j) Japanese‑Italian Relations

 

 

219

423. Italy Urges Japan to Restrain United States from Participation in the War

219

424. Italy Disapproves Japan's Dissemination of British Propaganda

219

425. Ambassador Horikiri Finds Count Ciano Uninformed on Japanese‑American Negotiations

219

426. Ambassador Horikiri Urges Japan to Publish More Italian Propaganda

219

427. Japan Desires Italian Reciprocity in Air Transportation to South America

220

428. Japanese Officials Discuss Trade Relations With Italy

220

429. Ando Rebukes Gayda for Attempting to Utilize Japan in Axis Machinations

220

430. Ambassador Horikiri Explains Italian Censorship of Japanese Mail

221

431. The Japanese Ambassador Reveals Revolutionary Plot in India

221

432. The Catholic Church at Rome Seeks to Forestall Breach in Japanese‑American Relations

222

433. The Catholic Church Is Unmoved by Arabic Situation

222

434. Ambassador Horikiri Complains of Weaknesses in Japanese Radio Transmission to Rome

223

435. Ambassador Horikiri Obtains Information Concerning Italian Relations with Croatia, France, and Russia

223

436. Ambassador Horikiri and Secretary Ando Confer with Mussolini and Count Ciano

224

437. Ambassador Horikiri Learns of Italian Position in Regard to the War with the United States

224

 

(k) Japanese‑French Relations

 

 

225

438. Mr. Arnald Refuses to Make Military Expense Payment in Piastres

225

439. Japan Instructs Ambassador to Procure Export Permit by October 24, 1941

225

440. Japan Protests Movement of Troops into Unfortified Zone

225

441. Tokyo Plans to Land Planes in Indo‑Chinese Waters

225

442. Foreign Minister Togo Applies Pressure in Shanghai by Limiting Exportations

225

443. Japan Threatens Action Unless French Agree to Payment of Military Expenses

226

444. Tokyo Decrees Further Export Restrictions to Combat Freezing of Assets

226

445. Consul Hayashi Investigates Pro‑Japanese Party Members

226

446. Special Committee Receives Codes

227

447. Tokyo Instructs Kato To Request Only Plane Landing Space

227

448. Hanoi Consul to Negotiate for Plane Landings Independently

227

449. Government Officials are Listed as Dangerous to Franco‑Japanese Cooperation

227

450. Frenchman Intercedes in Behalf of Japan

228

451. Togo Plans to Send Emissary Group Despite Visa Procurement Difficulty

228

452. Japan Reiterates Threat to Secure Military Expenses

228

453. French Authorities Agree to Issue Visas for Entire Yoshizawa Group

229

454. France Accedes to Japan's Military Expense Payment Demand

229

455. French Indo‑China Remits Occupation Expenses

229

456. Japanese Officials Arrive at Hanoi

230

 

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THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR  

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

457. Japan Demands Payment in Full from French Indo‑China

230

458. Tokyo Forwards New Code Machines for the Hanoi and Saigon Offices

230

459. French Indo‑China Makes Payment in Philippine Dollars

230

460. Investigation Discredits Aid of Pro‑Japanese Frenchman

230

461. Foreign Minister Togo Outlines Duties of Ambassador Yoshizawa

231

462. Ambassador Kato Asks for Schedules of Yoshizawa Party Members

231

463. Tokyo Officials Demand Release of Shipment

232

464. Consul Ogawa to Sail on Chicago Maru

232

465. French Government Approves Rubber Shipment

232

466. Expansion of Japanese Army in French Indo‑China Creates Difficulties

232

467. France Agrees to Provide Additional Supplies to Japan

233

468. Tokyo Releases New Broadcast Schedule for Far East

233

469. Vice‑Minister Roshier Considers Movement of Japanese Troops

233

470. Secret Messages Withheld from Staff Members are to be Headed by "Gaisin"

233

471. Japan Vests Negotiating Authority in Ambassador Yoshizawa in French Indo‑China

234

472. Japan Agrees to Transport Rubber for Germany as Far as Japan

234

473. German Official Says Germany and Japan Must Agree on Division of Indo‑Chinese Rubber

234

474. Planning Committee Draws up Bill to Export Materials

234

475. Japan Obtains Visas for Members of Yoshizawa Party

235

476. Japanese Suspect Decoux of Collaboration With Americans and English

235

477. Resignation of General Weygand is Considered to be German Victory

235

478. Japanese Insist on French Indo‑China as Site for Negotiations

235

479. Tokyo Arranges Contract for Additional Rubber

236

480. Specialists are En Route to Bangkok Office

236

481. Minister Iwaturo Uchiyama Complains of Lack of Information Concerning Japanese‑United States Negotiations

236

482. Japanese Officials Told to Disregard French Attitude

236

483. Japan Encounters Difficulty in Securing Round‑About Visas

237

484. French Accede to Japanese Demands Concerning Rubber Negotiations

237

485. Mr. Ogawa Suggested as Liaison Officer

237

486. Japan Promises Not to Increase Her Troops in Indo‑China

237

487. Mr. Yokoyamu in Hanoi Negotiates for Supplies

237

488. Japan Prepares to Invade French Concession in Shanghai

238

489. Tokyo Orders French to Cooperate in Efforts Against Sabotage

238

490. Japan Decrees Removal of British and American Consuls

238

491. Joint‑Defense of French Indo‑China Proclaimed

239

492. Japan Denies Change in Troop Disposition in French Indo‑China

239

493. Darlan Declares that France will take a Neutral Stand

241

 

(1) Japanese‑Chungking Relations

 

 

241

494. Tokyo is Informed of a British‑American‑Chinese Financial Conference

241

495. Rumors Reach Tokyo of Secret Chungking‑Communist Agreement

242

496. Japanese Authorities Increasingly Suspicious of Chungking‑American Activities

242

497. Hongkong Is Informed of Measures to be Taken in China in the Event of a Japanese‑American War

243

 

(m) Japanese‑Nanking Relations

 

 

243

498. Nanking Appoints Minister Li Fang Commercial Attaché to Berlin

243

499. German Diplomats Depart for Nanking

243

500. Nanking Refuses to Comment on Tojo Cabinet

244

501. Occupied China Attempts to Stabilize Its Currency.

244

502. Japan Distributes Newspapers to the Chinese

244

503. Ambassador Honda Plans Trip to Tokyo

244

504. The Vatican Reportedly Favors the Nanking Government

245

505. Administration Difficulties Arise in Shanghai

245

506. Japan Concludes Agreement with the Shansi Army

246

507. President Wang Desires Collaboration with Chungking

246

508. Japan Initiates New System for the China Affairs Board

246

509. Japan Proposes Methods of Controlling Chinese Nationals Aboard

247

510. Japanese Apprehend Blue Shirt Terrorists

247

 

xi

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

511. Ambassador Oshima Urges Mr. Li Sheng‑wu to Report to Berlin Immediately

247

512. Japan, Manchuria, and China Plan Exchange Broadcasts

247

513. Japan Plans to Confiscate Third Country Concessions in China

247

514. Japan Extends Its Control Over the Chinese

248

515. Japanese Leaders Outline Their War Policy in China

248

516. Japan Fights Espionage in Northern China

249

517. Nanking Outlines Method of Handling Enemy Nationals and Property

249

518. Japan Directs Nanking Not to Participate in the War

250

519. Tripartite Powers Secure Shortwave Broadcasting Unit in Shanghai

250

 

(n) Japanese‑Netherlands East Indies Relations

 

 

251

520. Consul General Ishizawa Arranges To Leave Batavia

251

521. Dutch Officials Become Suspicious of Japanese in the Indies

251­

522. Japanese Trade and Shipping Problems (October 18‑30, 1941)

252

523. Japanese Agents Secure Military Information Concerning the Indies

253

524. Dutch Governor‑General Evinces No Alarm Over Impending Crisis

254

525. Tokyo Plans the Evacuation of Japanese Nationals

254

526. Mr. Ishizawa Requests Subsidy for Japanese Newspaper in Batavia

255

527. Communication Difficulties Arise in Batavia

255

528. Major Kuriya is Ordered to Return to Japan

255

529. Dutch Authorities in Netherlands East Indies Prepare for War

256

530. Supittai Denounces Japanese Foreign Policy

256

531. Japan Orders Remaining Nationals to Return Immediately

256

532. Japanese Trade and Shipping Problems (November, 1941)

256

533. Netherlanders' Attitude Remains Anti‑Japanese

258

534. Japanese Businesses Close in Preparation for Evacuation

258

535. Consul General Ishizawa Complains of Minor Problems

259

536. Netherlands East Indies Government Suppresses Japanese Agents

259

537. Germany Requests That Its Nationals Be Evacuated by the Fuji Maru

260

538. Japan Prepares to Invade the East Indies

260

539. Consul Ishizawa Orders Consulate Classified Material Burned

260

540. Japanese Foreign Office Declares the Netherlands a Quasi‑Enemy Nation

261

 

(o) Japanese‑Thaiese Relations

 

 

263

541. Japanese Plan Invasion of Southern Thailand

263

542. Intelligence Agent Reports Thaiese Troop Movement to Border

263

543. Ambassador Tsubokami Requests Funds, Supplies to Open Drug Concern

263

544. Japanese Officials Plan the Use of Indian Troops in Malaya

263

545. Foreign Minister Togo Proposes Set‑Up of Short Wave Radio in Bangkok

264

546. Ambassador Tsubokami Asks Permission to Remain at Post Because of Difficult Situation

264

547. Tokyo Adds Army Man to Bangkok Legation Staff

264­

548. Japanese Plan Establishment of Air Wireless Section

265

549. British Cabinet Member Submits Proposals to Thailand

265

550. Major Aoyama Reports on Code, Espionage Work

265

551. Tokyo Forwards Instructions for Operation of Beacon Radio Set

265

552. Japan Continues Plans to Establish a Navy‑Controlled Steamship Company

266

553. Japanese Ambassador Requests Ten Large Radios For Use in Thailand

266

554. Japanese Ambassador Asks for Restriction on Number of Japanese Merchants Entering Thailand

266

555. Rumor Discloses That Britain Asks Exclusion of German Fifth Columnists

266

556. Japanese Government Has Difficulty in Securing Export Permit

266

557. Japan to Sell Gold to Thailand

267

558. Tokyo Attempts to Purchase Thaiese Rice

267

559. Foreign Minister Plans to Send Money for Purchase of Radio Sets

267

560. Thaiese Official Considers Re‑exportation of Armaments to British Possessions

267

561. Two Japanese Officials Receive Ill‑Treatment

267

562. Tokyo Informed Concerning British Forces in Malaya

268

563. Foreign Minister Togo Dispatches Official to Shanghai to Speed Plans for Bangkok Drug Dispensary

268

 

xii

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR  

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

564. Japan Enlarges Bangkok Staff

268

565. Ambassador to Ask Nationals to Secure Rubber, Tin

269

566. Japanese Ambassador Establishes Name, Stock Holders for Shipping Concern

269

567. Japanese Officials are Disappointed in Advancement of Proposal to Establish a Commission

269

568. Bangkok Papers Print Reports of Japanese Army Campaign in Burma

269

569. Disguised Army Experts to Be Sent to Thailand

270

570. Intelligence Agents Report Discussion Between Mr. Duff Cooper and Premier Pibul

270

571. Tokyo Sends 3,300 Yen to Purchase Radios

271

572. Japan Approves Plan to Purchase Rice Unobtrusively in Small Amounts

271

573. Japan Will Have Controlling Interest in New Shipping Concern

271

574. Japan Fears that Chinese and British Interests Are Buying Rubber

272

575. Japan Asks Investigation of Report that Prime Minister Pibul Desires to Resign

272

576. Gold Negotiations Do Not Permit Optimistic Outlook, Ambassador Says

272

577. Tokyo Cautions Regarding Operational Plans

272

578. Japanese Return Imperial Portrait to Homeland

272

579. Intelligence Report Informs Tokyo of Planned Chinese‑Thaiese Cooperation

272

580. Prime Minister Pibul Assures Ambassador That Thailand Desires to Cooperate Despite Difficulties

273

581. Japan Learns of Alleged British Proposal to Supply Thailand with Arms

273

582. British Minister Points to Thailand's Danger

273

583. Japan to Receive Less Rubber Due to Production Decrease

274

584. Supplies for Japanese‑Owned Drug Dispensary are Sent From Shanghai

274

585. Ambassador Tsubokami Requests Assistance for Five Newspapermen

274

586. Thailand Consortium Makes Written Proposal Regarding Liquidation of Japanese Gold

274

587. Foreign Minister Togo Sends Secret Fund to Bangkok Foreign Office

274

588. Bangkok Office Returns Code Machines to Japan

275

589. Ambassador Tsubokami Believes that Thailand Should be Led to Cooperate Voluntarily

275

590. New Pro‑Japanese Party Advocates Collaboration with Japan

275

591. Prime Minister Pibul, Defense Minister Puromu Differ Concerning Thailand's Policy

275

592. Ambassador Requests Funds for Machinations

276

593. Ambassador Recommends that Crew of Fishing Vessel Escape to Saigon District

276

594. Japan Agrees to 25,000,000 Baht Exchange of Gold

276

595. Japan Discovers Discrimination in Thaiese Censorship

276

596. Ambassador Advises that Railway he Completed Quickly

276

597. Foreign Minister Togo Asks that Additional Rubber be Secured

276

598. Japan Plans to Investigate Raw Opium Market

277

599. Consul General Asada Carries Important Papers to Thailand

277

600. High Ranking Official Says Thailand Friendly to Japanese Army

277

601. Agreement Stipulates Continuance of Gold Exchange to March, 1942

277

602. Ambassador Requests Additional Secret Fund

277

603. Ambassador Tsubokami Explains Objectives of Prime Minister Pibul's Speech

278

604. Ambassador Tsubokami Suggests that Thailand be Persuaded to Cooperate

278

605. Thaiese Government Officials Still Vote for Neutrality

278

606. Officials Originate Plan to Force Mr. Pibul to Declare His Position

279

607. Ambassador Sends List of Codes to be Destroyed

279

608. Japanese Ambassador Suggests Counter‑Propaganda Tactics

279

609. Foreign Minister Togo Remits Funds for Propaganda Purposes

279

610. Japanese Officials Set Up Secret Wireless Communication Facilities

279

611. Nai Wanitto Believes Thailand Will Cooperate with Japan in Two or Three Days

279

612. Thailand Sends Official Reply to Financial Proposal

280

613. Propaganda, to be Disseminated in Thailand, is Sent to Japan

280

614. British and American Residents Evacuate Bangkok

280

615. Ambassador Informs Tokyo of Schedule of Batavia Maru

280

616. Japan to Issue Proclamation on December 8, 1941

280

617. Invasion of Thailand to be Announced by Separate Wire

281

618. Foreign Office Provides Ambassador with Varying Explanations in Case Occupation is Peaceful or by Force

281

 

xiii

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

 

 

Page

619. Thailand Gives Right of Passage Through Territory to Japanese Army

281

620. Tokyo Announces Armies' Advance and Occupation of Bataan

281

Concluding page

 

 

xiv

 

OUTLINE OF VOLUME IV

 

Part A

Hull‑Nomura Conversations (October 17, 1941‑December 7, 1941)

(a) Secretary Hull's Reports

(b) Ambassador Nomura's Reports

 

Part B

Japanese Intelligence in Diplomatic Messages

(a) Reports from the United States

(b) Reports from Mexico

(c) Reports from Central America

(d) Reports from the Panama Canal

(e) Reports from South America

(f) Reports from the Hawaiian Islands

(g) Reports from the Philippine Islands

(h) Reports from Singapore

(i) Reports from Vladivostok and Hsinking

 

Part C

Japanese Diplomatic Activities Throughout the World

(a) Japanese‑American Relations

(b) Japanese‑Panamanian Relations

(c) Japanese‑Hawaiian Islands Relations

(d) Japanese‑Philippine Islands Relations

(e) Japanese‑Mexican Relations

(f) Japanese‑South American Relations

(g) Japanese‑British Relations

(h) Japanese‑German Relations

(i) Japanese‑Manchukuoan Relations

(j) Japanese‑Italian Relations

(k) Japanese‑French Relations

(1) Japanese‑Chungking Relations

(m) Japanese‑Nanking Relations

(n) Japanese‑Dutch Relations

(o) Japanese‑Thaiese Relations

 

xv

 

xvi (blank)

 

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

CHAPTER IV

 

PART A‑HULL‑NOMURA CONVERSATIONS

 

(October 17, 1941‑ November 20, 1941)

 

Advent of the Tojo Cabinet and Redoubling of Japanese Government's Insistence Upon an Early Acceptance of Its Proposals. [1]

 

1. Ambassador Nomura Complains of Lack of Coordination Between Japanese Foreign Office and Navy (October 18, 1941)

 

Following the change of government in Japan, Ambassador Nomura on October 18, 1941, offered his congratulations to the new Cabinet. At the same time, however, he pointed out that throughout the term of the former Japanese Cabinet he had been unable to accomplish anything through Japanese‑American conversations. According to Ambassador Nomura, certain things which had taken place in spite of his personal recommendations had forced him to question his own value to a future Japanese government.

Since Minister Wakasugi and Mr. Iguchi were capable of handling negotiations, Ambassador Nomura requested that he be allowed to return to Japan in order to report personally on the existing Japanese‑American situation and to receive instructions regarding future policies. [1a]

Two days later, on October 20, 1941, Ambassador Nomura stated that, since his appointment to the post in the United States, there had existed a complete lack of coordination between the Japanese Navy Department and the Japanese Foreign Office. [2]

Referring again to Japanese‑American problems, Ambassador Nomura emphasized that, although the United States might desire to avoid military action in the Pacific because it was already faced with war on the Atlantic front, America would still refuse to renounce its national policies even to effect a conciliation. In Ambassador Nomura's opinion, China was primarily responsible for the present attitude of the United States toward Japan. For that reason, Ambassador Nomura had attempted to bring about a "modus vivendi" between the two countries, leaving out the China question entirely. But Secretary Hull had insisted that China was inseparably concerned with the stability of the Pacific. However, from a conversation with Lord Halifax, Ambassador Nomura learned that Great Britain agreed with Japan that a "modus vivendi" should be worked out in order to avoid a crisis in the Far East.

At the conclusion of his report, Ambassador Nomura re‑emphasized his ineffective position as Ambassador from Japan possibly because of his lack of understanding of the principles of the present Japanese government. [3] In fact, Ambassador Nomura frankly stated that he should have been asked to resign along with the members of the former Japanese Cabinet. In spite of the encouragement of Secretary Hull and other American statesmen who trusted his sincerity, Ambassador Nomura recognized that his lack of actual influence in Japan forced him to lead a hypocritical existence as Japanese Ambassador to the United States. Although not anxious "to flee from the field of battle", Ambassador Nomura urged his government to order his recall. [4]

 


[1] Chapter title taken from the division arrangement of the State Department documents‑Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States‑Japan, 1931‑1941 in two volumes, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1943, Volume II, 343. Hereafter referred to as S.D., II.

[1a] Appendix IV, No. 1. Hereafter Appendix IV will be referred to as IV, 1.

[2] IV, 2.

[3] Ibid.

[4] IV, 3.

 

1

 

2. Tokyo Refuses Ambassador Nomura's Resignation (October 23, 1941)

 

After considering Ambassador Nomura's report of the Japanese‑American situation and his request for a transfer of duty, on October 23, 1941 Tokyo asked that Ambassador Nomura sacrifice his personal wishes and remain at his post. Assuring Ambassador Nomura that the Japanese government was relying completely upon his judgment, Tokyo stated that the policies of the Japanese government, determined by the outcome of these negotiations, would be based upon the information which Ambassador Nomura forwarded. [5]

 

3. Japanese Government Declares Policies of New Cabinet

 

Agreeing with Ambassador Nomura that the Japanese Embassy in Washington must be kept well informed on any changes of policy made in Tokyo, the Foreign Office assured the Japanese Ambassador that instructions had been unavoidably delayed because of the formation of a new Cabinet. [6] Tokyo assured Ambassador Nomura, however, that the new Cabinet still retained the desire of the former Japanese government to adjust relations with the United States on an equitable basis. Yet, Ambassador Nomura was told that the Japanese government, having set forth its principles completely, could take no further action.

In order to emphasize Japan's desire that a formal United States counter proposal to the Japanese document of September 25, 1941 be submitted, the Japanese government urged Ambassador Nomura to discuss this matter discreetly with American representatives. [7]

 

4. Ambassador Nomura Reports British‑German Peace Rumors [8]

 

Realizing that the trend of events in Europe would affect the situation in the Pacific, Ambassador Nomura kept his government informed on developments in the war between Britain and Germany.

In the latter part of October, 1941 Ambassador Nomura was told that Germany was preparing to offer Great Britain generous peace terms. Since the British public was apparently satisfied with taking Ethiopia, Syria and Iraq, and since Lloyd George appeared to be gaining in popularity over Prime Minister Churchill, it was thought that Hitler's offer of peace might be accepted. On the other hand, Ambassador Nomura believed that the English people would continue to place their trust in Prime Minister Churchill and that President Roosevelt, representing the United States government as a whole, would assist the British in withstanding German movements.

Yet, Ambassador Nomura felt it necessary to point out that up until this time his informant had believed in a German defeat while now he was convinced that Germany and Great Britain were ready to arrive at a satisfactory peace. [9]

 

5. Welles‑Wakasugi Conversation (October 24, 1941)

 

a. Under Secretary Welles' Report [10]

At his own request Mr. Wakasugi called upon Under Secretary of State Summer Welles on October 24, 1941 to inform the United States government that the new Japanese Cabinet desired to continue the informal conversations with a view to resuming friendly diplomatic and economic relations.

Mr. Wakasugi then inquired whether the United States had any counter proposals to make to those offered by Tokyo on September 25, 1941. In reply, Mr. Welles pointed out that during

 


[5] IV, 4.

[6] IV, 5.

[7] Ibid.

[8] IV, 6.

[9] Ibid.

[10] "Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State Welles", October 24, 1941, S.D. II, 692‑697.

 

2

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

the past seven or eight months the United States government had earnestly endeavored to establish the basis for an equitable agreement between the two governments. However, recent statements made by prominent authorities of the Japanese army and navy and other parts of that government had created an atmosphere detrimental to the conclusion of such an agreement. [11] The recent public statement made by an officer of the Japanese navy declaring that the Japanese navy was "itching to fight [12]" had had an undesirable effect upon the American navy. Furthermore, Mr. Welles continued, the tone of articles and editorials appearing in Japanese newspapers created a serious obstacle to any satisfactory agreement which might be arrived at during the informal conversations.

In an attempt to show that the attitude of the United States government was not wholly conducive to peace, Minister Wakasugi stated that he had seen a statement by Secretary Knox indicating that because war between Japan and the United States was inevitable [13], the United States navy was forced to remain on twenty‑four hour duty. In correcting this interpretation, Mr. Welles insisted that the statement attributed to Secretary Knox merely implies that. the situation was such that some incident might possibly occur and consequently the United States navy must be prepared for an emergency. If the Japanese navy was willing to announce that "it was itching to fight" with the United States, Mr. Welles pointed out, the United States navy had to adopt precautionary measures. Although anxious to find a successful outcome to the present conversations, Under Secretary Welles said, the United States government must seriously consider the attitude of the Japanese press and public as a whole.

In answering Minister Wakasugi's questions regarding American counter proposals to those offered by Japan on September 25, 1941, Mr. Welles stated that both he and Secretary Hull in previous conversations with Mr. Wakasugi had emphasized that the views of the United States government had been completely clarified in the communication handed to the Japanese government on June 21, 1941. Since another United States document was delivered to the Japanese Embassy on October 2, 1941, Mr. Welles did not feel that any further counter proposals would be forthcoming from his government. In fact, during the last conversation between Mr. Hull and Minister Wakasugi, the American Secretary of State had impressed upon the Japanese representative the benefits which Japan would derive from following those economic principles already laid down by the American government in the documents mentioned. Minister Wakasugi stated that he had transmitted the details of that conversation to his government but had received no opinions upon it from Tokyo.

As far back as April 1941, Minister Wakasugi declared, he had urged Ambassador Nomura to find a practical, concrete basis for an agreement with the United States on any phase of the situation affecting the Pacific. However, the interference of both American and Japanese gentlemen, introducing certain peace formulas without any authority from either government, had succeeded in complicating the situation. Since these unofficial, unauthorized documents had created misunderstandings, Minister Wakasugi suggested that a fresh approach to the situation be made by having both governments submit entirely new formulas, setting forth basic principles upon which to formulate peace. Mr. Welles stated that all the officials of the United States government would be willing to contribute any time and effort necessary to arrive at a satisfactory agreement.

 


[11] Ibid.

[12] Captain Hideo Hiraide, Director of the Naval Intelligence Section of Imperial Headquarters, Stated‑"the Imperial Navy is itching for action when needed." It is important to note here that the promotion of Premier Tojo to full General (New York Times, October 19, 1:6), and the statement of Naval Minister Shimada that the Japanese navy was ready for any situation, added to the existing martial atmosphere. (New York Times, October 20, 1941, 3:1, 3, 4.)

[13] The New York Times reported that Secretary Knox's statement that a Japanese‑American war was inevitable and the clash of the two countries only a few days ahead, was viewed in Japan as unfortunate. (October 25, 1941, 1:8).

 

3

 

From the standpoint of expediency, Mr. Welles felt it advisable to reach an agreement on the economic principles first. Therefore he was anxious to illustrate to the new Japanese Cabinet the practical advantages Japan would experience if Secretary Hull's economic policies were adopted. Mr. Welles pointed out that the abolition of such trade barriers as British Imperial preferences, Japan would be able to trade with Canada, Australia and New Zealand without danger of discrimination.

Mr. Wakasugi agreed wholeheartedly, but he insisted that a lack of natural resources made Japan the victim of economic aggression and encirclement. Under Secretary Welles returned that Japan's modern history up to the year 1930, a time when its relationship with Both Great Britain and the United States was most friendly, showed Japan capable of becoming one of the great powers of the world. Mr. Welles continued that only Hitler's propaganda about the "have and have not nations" had caused Japan to adopt its aggressive policies. Disagreeing with Mr. Welles' conclusions, Minister Wakasugi asserted that Japan had pursued its own national determinations of policy regardless of Germany or Italy, and in spite of the liberal tendencies of Japan's younger generation. Nevertheless, Mr. Welles replied, Japan had allied itself officially and publicly with the Axis policies. Mr. Wakasugi made no comment, but turned the conversation to the Japanese‑Chinese situation. In order that every approach be undertaken to settle this conflict, Minister Wakasugi suggested that Mr. Welles meet with the Chinese Ambassador and any other Chinese officials to discuss the problems in a purely unofficial manner. If President Roosevelt intended to mediate in the peace between Japan and China, Minister Wakasugi believed it advantageous to ascertain the attitude of the Chiang Kai‑shek government. Since Under Secretary of State Welles did not feel authorized to give even a personal and unofficial response without careful consideration, he promised to discuss the suggestion in a future conversation with Mr. Wakasugi.

Although Minister Wakasugi made no reference to any plans for Ambassador Nomura's departure, he specifically stated that the conversations between the two governments would be resumed as soon as detailed instructions were forthcoming from Tokyo. After promising to notify Secretary Welles of any further instructions from his government without delay, Minister Wakasugi ended the conversation [14].

 

b. Minister Wakasugi's Report

In compliance with Tokyo's instructions, Ambassador Nomura ordered Minister Wakasugi to continue his informal conversations with Under Secretary of State Summer Welles in a friendly fashion [15].

Throughout the hour‑long conversation with Mr. Welles, Minister Wakasugi attempted to explain that the new Japanese Cabinet, anxious for an immediate readjustment of relations, saw no reason why negotiations should not be concluded without further delay since the Japanese government had entirely clarified its principles. Minister Wakasugi then asked that the United States make a counter proposal to the Japanese document of September 25, 1941.

Mr. Welles pointed out that the attitude of Japanese statesmen and newspapers was provoking the breach of diplomatic relations, and cited the example of the naval spokesman who said that "the Japanese navy is 'itching for action.' [16]"

In reply, Minister Wakasugi referred to the criticisms of Japan that Senator Pepper had made and to the speech of Secretary Knox, who was quoted as saying that a Japanese‑American war was only a few days off. To convince Minister Wakasugi that this speech was merely intended as a morale‑builder for the United States Navy, Mr. Welles said that Secretary Knox often used exaggerated terms to achieve this purpose. Furthermore, Mr. Welles blamed the

 


[14] "Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State, Welles", October 24, 1941, S.D. II, 692‑697.

[15] IV, 7.

[16] IV, 8.

 

4

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

newspapers for placing too much emphasis on certain passages of the speech, thereby throwing the entire speech out of proportion.

In replying to Minister Wakasugi's request for an American counter proposal to the Japanese statement of September 25, 1941, Mr. Welles stated that the principles of his government were clearly set forth in the United States proposal of June 21, 1941. However, Mr. Welles felt that a solution could be effected if the wording of the American proposal of June 21, 1941 were adjusted to parallel that of the Japanese proposal of September 25, 1941 [17].

Since the mere consideration of each paragraph of past proposals would only result in the repetition of old arguments, Mr. Welles suggested that a general agreement be reached on the three major problems by means of a new short‑cut formula. First of all, Under Secretary of State Welles continued, it would be necessary to work out some understanding with regard to commerce. At this point in the conversation Mr. Welles asked if Minister Wakasugi had transmitted Secretary Hull's proposal to his government. Minister Wakasugi assured Mr. Welles that he had done so. Mr. Welles then touched on the possibility of adjusting the United States and Japanese views toward the Tripartite Pact [18].

Finally, when Mr. Welles turned the discussion to the China question [19], Minister Wakasugi asked that United States authorities enumerate suggestions in the form of a proposal and submit them to the Japanese representatives during the next conversation.

Next Minister Wakasugi mentioned the matter of the two Japanese tankers and three ships of the NYK line. All arrangements for the sailing of these NYK vessels had been completed by the Treasury Department. However, with regard to the matter of the tankers, Mr. Welles said, the United States banking laws required strict investigation of all deposits. In view of the fact that the money allotted to these ships had been transferred to an account with the Yokohama Specie Bank and because of the United States' freezing order, it was impossible to release the funds either in cash or draft form. In an effort to maintain some degree of the former friendly Japanese‑American trade relations, Mr. Welles promised that the State Department would assist in transferring the money through an American bank. [20]

 

6. Tokyo Urges American Reply to Japanese Proposals

 

Anxious to receive the United States' reply to its proposals of September 25, 1941, the Foreign Office in Tokyo urged Ambassador Nomura to attempt to ascertain the United States' attitude through the continuation of the informal conversations. [21] The Japanese government hoped that American views would be clarified during the Welles‑Wakasugi talk on October 25, 1941 [22].

In answering Ambassador Nomura's questions regarding a message sent by the Military General Staff [23], the Japanese government stated that the General Staff was studying the results of the Japanese‑American negotiations in an attempt to establish a national basic policy [24].

 

7. Ambassador Nomura Confers with Admiral Pratt (October 25, 1941) [25]

 

On October 27, 1941 Ambassador Nomura reported to Tokyo that on October 25 he had spoken with Admiral Pratt concerning the Japanese‑American situation. At that time

 


[17] IV, 9.

[18] IV, 10.

[19] Ibid.

[20] IV, 11.

[21] IV, 12.

[22] The State Department records no conversation between Under Secretary of State Welles and Minister Wakasugi on October 25, 1941.

[23] IV, 7.

[24] IV, 12.

[25] IV. 13.

 

5

 

Admiral Pratt had admitted to Ambassador Nomura that economic warfare produced results as devastating as actual armed conflict.

In regard to open warfare between the two countries, however, Admiral Pratt expressed the opinion that war would not be declared should Japan's aggression in the Far East be limited to China. If Japan moved either northward or southward, Admiral Pratt warned, war between the United States and Japan might be declared, although the final decision would rest with President Roosevelt and Emperor Hirohito.

Agreeing that Secretary Knox's speech was unfortunate, Admiral Pratt stated that Japan should be considered when any magazine articles or radio speeches were written. In an attempt to give Ambassador Nomura a clear picture of the navy's attitude toward Japan, Admiral Pratt said that the views of Admiral Stark, who was actually the Commander‑in-Chief of the Navy, and those of President Roosevelt coincided. Admiral Pratt continued by saying that President Roosevelt sincerely desired to maintain the peace and stability of the Pacific area, and that the views of Admiral Hart must be considered since he was a man of strong influence.

Referring then to the European war, Admiral Pratt said that Mr. Harriman, recently sent to Russia by the United States, had reported that Germany would be the victor in the German-Russian war and that Stalin was not even in a position to discuss peace.

Italy's status in the European war was a little unstable, according to Admiral Pratt; he did not feel that Italy could afford to seek a separate peace since it would put that country in a position similar to that of France.

In concluding his talk with Ambassador Nomura, Admiral Pratt said that the Atlantic should be saved for Great Britain and that Japan, in order to have a voice in the peace, should maintain its naval strength and avoid impairing its might on the seas [26].

 

8. Minister Wakasugi Reports on Status of Japanese‑American Relations

 

Since Japanese‑American relations were approaching a crisis, Minister Wakasugi felt it necessary to send Tokyo an informal report on the general attitude toward the Pacific situation which he had observed through numerous conferences with American representatives [27]. The basic policy of the United States, according to Minister Wakasugi, was the desire to crush so‑called "Hitlerism" throughout the world. In order to prevent the establishment of this new order through the force of arms, the United States set up Great Britain and China as a first line of national defense. Determined to plan for a long‑term program of peace, the United States instructed its government and people that no local agreements concerning separate questions in the Pacific area could be drawn up with Japan. For that reason, Secretary Hull insisted upon a general understanding covering the entire Pacific area.

During the conversation between Mr. Wakasugi and Mr. Welles on October 24, 1941, the Under Secretary of State had made it clear that the United States would continue to advocate absolute non‑discrimination for Japan, the United States, Britain, China, Australia and the Netherlands East Indies throughout the Pacific. Under this policy every nation offered to other countries opportunities equal to those existing between itself and its colonies. To this statement Minister Wakasugi replied that the United States presumed that Japan would develop French Indo‑Chinese and Thaiese areas in a monopolistic manner by means of military force. For that reason, the United States insisted that all countries be given equal access to the natural resources of French Indo‑China and Thailand.

Referring next to the effect of the China problem on Japanese‑American relations, Minister Wakasugi said that the United States would deal with it as only one phase of the "peace in the Pacific" issue. Furthermore, Minister Wakasugi reminded Tokyo that Secretary Hull

 


[26] Ibid.

[27] IV, 14.

 

6

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

had once stated to former Ambassador Saito that the United States would never war with Japan over China. On the other hand, China was relying solely upon the United States for aid in carrying on its warfare with Japan. Mr. T. V. Soong and other Chinese officials were negotiating with the Treasury Department to secure even greater financial assistance for  their country. In view of the fact that China was entirely dependent upon the United States,  it did not seem probable that the United States would cut off its aid to China.

Yet, in spite of the insistence of the United States to continue supplying China with the  means for continuing its warfare with Japan, Mr. Welles, on October 24, 1941, had assured  Minister Wakasugi that the United States would not be unreasonable in making demands  upon Japan. Although the implications of his statement were not entirely clear to Minister Wakasugi, he felt that they could be interpreted as meaning that the United States would not insist that Japan withdraw its troops from China immediately. Regardless of any interpretation placed upon the statements made by American officials, however, it was apparent that Japanese‑American relations were at a breaking‑point.

Although the United States insisted that it was anxious to adjust conditions between the two countries, it was willing to effect an agreement only on the basis of its June 21 and October 22, 1941 proposals. Minister Wakasugi did not believe that the United States' informal conversations were means of gaining time, however, since American preparations in the event of war were already completed. At the same time, Minister Wakasugi did not expect that any further counter proposals would be forthcoming from the United States government nor that any concessions would be made. If Japan were to insist upon an immediate settlement of differences, Minister Wakasugi believed that all negotiations would be terminated. Therefore, he suggested that the Japanese government continue the informal conversations in continued attempt to break down differences of opinion.

Minister Wakasugi asked that the new Japanese Cabinet inform him of its basic policies as speedily as possible in order that he might know what attitude to take in future conversations with American representatives. [28]

 

9. Ambassador Nomura Reveals American Attitude Toward Japan

 

The same day, October 29, 1941, Ambassador Nomura sent a similar report to his government, reporting on the general attitude seen throughout official circles regarding the present situation with Japan. [29]

Because the Middle West was populated by many Americans of German descent, this section of the country opposed war with Germany but favored a Japanese‑American war. In reporting this condition to Mr. Kasai, Admiral Standley stated that Germany's propaganda had been very effective. The Editor of the Army‑Navy Journal, had also expressed the opinion that German propaganda was largely responsible for the pro‑German attitude of the Middle West.

Furthermore, Secretary Hull, speaking before Congress, pointed to the Tripartite Pact as an instrument to be used against the United States. By cutting off United States' aid to Great Britain, Germany hoped to push America's line of defense back to its shores. Although desiring peace, Secretary Hull felt that the United States must not exhibit weakness by consenting to the demands of the Axis powers. Secretary Hull felt that Tokyo, as well as Berlin, would increase its demands unless the United States built up a strength too powerful for either nation to face. Secretary Hull felt that Japan's attitude toward the Tripartite Pact would be largely determined by the outcome of the German‑Russian war.

 


[28] Ibid.

[29] IV, 15.

 

7

 

In the report of Secretary Hull's speech, printed in the New York Times on October 28, 1941, Secretary Hull was quoted as saying that the situation was "very delicate and very changeable".

Ambassador Nomura had further learned from one of his representatives that Assistant Secretary of State, Breckenridge Long, had said that the United States would not be able to arrive at any agreement before November 15 when the Japanese Diet would meet.

In reporting Britain's attitude toward the Japanese‑American situation, Lord Halifax said that although Great Britain would back the United States' policies in accordance with Prime Minister Churchill's speech, the British hoped that Japan would dive the Pacific problems thorough study and arrive at a satisfactory answer. Lord Halifax declined to discuss British or American embargo restrictions on Japan. [30]

 

10. Ambassador Grew's Report (October 25, 1941) [31]

 

On October 25, 1941 Ambassador Grew, reporting the details of a conversation with a reliable Japanese informant, learned that while the Konoye Cabinet was in power, the Japanese Emperor had called a conference of the leading members of the Privy Council and the Japanese armed forces. When the representatives of the Japanese army and navy refused to give a definite indication that they were prepared to pursue a peaceful policy in their relations with the United States, the Japanese Emperor, following the progressive policy of his grandfather, Emperor Meiji, issued the unprecedented command that the armed forces obey his wishes. As a result of this action, a new Prime Minister in control of the army was necessarily selected and General Tojo, on the army active list, was appointed to the position.

In spite of the recent anti‑American attitude of the Japanese press, the informant insisted that the present political leaders desired nothing more than an immediate adjustment of relations with the United States. In an endeavor to conclude the present conversations successfully, Mr. Togo, the new Foreign Minister, promised to resign his post if he failed in attaining this goal.

Even though the principal difficulty between the United States and Japan was the question of Japanese armed forces in China and French Indo‑China, the Japanese informant felt that the leaders of his government would be able to settle the problems satisfactorily if Japan were not asked to remove all its troops immediately. For the first time in ten years, the informant continued, the political organization in Japan presented an opportunity for reorientation of policy and action. [32]

In Ambassador Grew's own opinion, the Japanese leaders appeared willing to forsake any expansionists' plans for a workable understanding with the United States. At the present time, however, the Japanese press was commenting to a great extent on Secretary Knox's remarks regarding the United States' conviction that Japan's policy of expansion would eventually end in an unavoidable conflict with the United States. [33]

Ambassador Grew pointed to his remarks made in a telegram sent to Secretary Hull on September 29, 1941 in which he stated that constructive results could be produced by a meeting of the leaders of the two governments if an agreement were reached in the preliminary discussions. At that time, Ambassador Grew believed that the United States would face a greatly increased risk of war if it would not take the present opportunity of halting Japan's aggressive program by continuing negotiations. Unless the United States placed a reasonable amount of confidence in Prince Konoye's objective and, in this way, created a new orientation in Japan which would eventually lead to an improvement in Japanese‑American relations, the initial force and impetus of these informal conversations would be entirely lost. [34]

 


[30] Ibid.

[31] "Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)" October 25, 1941, S.D. II, 697‑698.

[32] Ibid.

[33] "Memorandum of Comment by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)", October 25, 1941 S.D. II, 698‑699.

[34] "The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State", September 29, 1941, S. D. II, 648‑650.

 

8

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

If the Japanese Emperor were actually engaged in the formulation of Japan's policy, then Ambassador Grew was convinced that General Tojo and Foreign Minister Togo would probably produce more concrete concessions at future conversations. However, Ambassador Grew assured the American State Department that he would initiate nothing in his conversations in Tokyo without instructions. [35]

Ambassador Grew referred again to his telegram of September 29, 1941, stating that unless the Japanese Emperor had taken his present active interest in the Japanese‑American conversations, unbridled anti‑American feeling would undoubtedly have sprung up throughout Japan, resulting in the formation of a military dictatorship lacking either the disposition or temperament to avoid war with the United States. [36]

 

11. Grew‑Togo Interview (October 30, 1941)

 

a. Ambassador Grew's Report [37]

At a reception for Mr. Shigenori Togo, the new Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Togo spoke of the deterioration of relations between the United States and Japan, emphasizing his desire to conclude quickly and successfully the informal conversations and requesting the continued cooperation of Ambassador Grew.

Urging the United States to face certain realities related to the stationing of Japanese armed forces in China, Mr. Togo pointed out that Russian troops were stationed in Outer Mongolia and the soldiery of other nations were maintained in certain areas of China. After assuring Foreign Minister Togo of his desire to cooperate, Ambassador Grew stated that the main conversations must necessarily take place in Washington because of President Roosevelt's active interest in them. Nevertheless, parallel discussions in Tokyo would afford an opportunity for enlarging upon the views of the United States government regarding any changes of Japan's attitude.

In the past, Ambassador Grew said, he had made it a practice to keep the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs well informed on the conversations in Washington as reported directly to him by Secretary Hull. By way of example, Ambassador Grew then presented Mr. Togo with a paraphrased report of Under Secretary of State Welles' conversation with Minister Wakasugi on October 24, 1941. After Mr. Togo assured Ambassador Grew that he wanted to be kept informed on all correspondence relating to these conversations, the interview was ended.

Before leaving the Japanese office, Mr. Toshikazu Kase, who had acted as interpreter during the reception, told Ambassador Grew that he had been appointed the new Chief of the First Section of the American Bureau in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Because of his long and pleasant association with Mr. Kase, Ambassador Grew expressed his approval of this appointment. [38]

 

b. Foreign Minister Togo's Report [39]

On November 2, 1941 Foreign Minister Togo sent Ambassador Nomura a report of his reception for the Japanese diplomatic corps and his subsequent conversation with Ambassador Grew on October 30, 1941.

During the discussion with Ambassador Grew, Foreign Minister Togo had stated that during the six months of informal negotiations, Japanese‑American relations had steadily grown worse. In order to arrive at a workable understanding, Foreign Minister Togo urged

 


[35] "Memorandum of Comment by Ambassador in Japan (Grew)" October 25, 1941, S.D. II, 698‑699.

[36] "The Ambassador in Japan ( Grew) to the Secretary of State", September 29, 1941, S. D. II, 648‑649.

[37] "Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)", October 30, 1941, S.D. II, 699‑700.

[38] Ibid.

[39] IV, 16‑17.

 

9

 

the United States to view the oriental situation more realistically. By way of example the Japanese Foreign Minister pointed out that there were other countries besides Japan with occupation forces stationed in China. Although Outer Mongolia was actually a part of Chinese territory, Russia concentrated large forces there. Therefore, the Japanese government could not understand why the United States did not appreciate Japan's attitude toward evacuating its troops. Ambassador Grew stated that he would like to continue amicable parleys between his country and Japan. [40]

Foreign Minister Togo had already discussed the Utopian attitude of the United States toward the Far Eastern situation with British Ambassador Craigie on October 26, 1941. At that time, Foreign Minister Togo stated that the United States' policies were too theoretical and offered small chance of settling Far Eastern problems. Insisting that the situation would not permit further procrastination, Foreign Minister Togo urged Ambassador Craigie to cooperate in improving Japanese‑English‑American relations in order to reestablish and maintain world peace. [41]

 

12. Tokyo Questions Nomura on American Proposal

 

Since the Japanese government was concerned with the relationship between the proposals submitted by the United States and Japan, it questioned Ambassador Nomura on November 1, 1941 on the exchange of official text. Tokyo wished more complete information on those sections of the United States proposal submitted on June 21, 1941 which referred to the European war, non‑discrimination in trade and peace between Japan and China. [42]

According to a message which Ambassador Nomura had sent Tokyo in June 1941 [43], it appeared that the United States government's views differed widely from those held by Japan, and that the United States refused to understand Japan's right for self defense. Although the new Japanese Cabinet did not want to bring up old issues, it nevertheless requested more complete information concerning the exchange of official notes between the two countries. [44]

In reply, Ambassador Nomura stated that he had refused to relay the text of the American proposals since the United States had not modified its demands or made any further concessions and, therefore, the proposals issued by Japan and the United States differed too greatly to effect any conciliation. [45]

 

13. New Japanese Cabinet Discusses Formulation of Policies

 

Since the formation of the new Japanese Cabinet on October 17, 1941, meetings had been held with the Imperial Headquarters in order to determine the policies of the new government.

On November 2, 1941, Foreign Minister Togo notified Ambassador Nomura that a final decision on the fundamental policy to be adopted would be reached on November 5, 1941 at the meeting of the Japanese Diet. In view of the fact that Japan was about to make its last effort to improve relations with the United States, Foreign Minister Togo urged Ambassador Nomura to handle all the problems with extreme care. [46]

The following day, Ambassador Nomura told the Japanese government that he would meet with Secretary Hull in a few days and requested that he be advised of the Cabinet's decision on policy before that time. If this were impossible, Ambassador Nomura asked that he be instructed what points to emphasize when speaking with Secretary Hull. [47]

 


[40] IV, 16.

[41] IV, 17.

[42] IV, 18.

[43] IV, 78.

[44] IV, 18.

[45] IV, 19.

[46] IV, 20.

[47] IV, 21.

 

10

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

14. Ambassador Grew Leans Japanese Cabinet's Plans [48]

 

On November 3, 1941 Ambassador Grew was again visited by the same Japanese informant who had called on him on October 25, 1941. During a conversation with Foreign Minister Togo, the Japanese informant reported, he had learned that the Japanese Foreign Minister, Prime Minister and the Minister of the Navy had determined upon the maximum commitments which Japan could make in order to adjust its relations with the United States. This decision was given to the Japanese Emperor by the Prime Minister on the afternoon of November 2, 1941 and since Foreign Minister Togo anticipated that Ambassador Grew would call within a few days, it was expected that some conclusion would be reached before that time.

For the first time in many years the Japanese Foreign Minister had been able to assume certain obligations with the entire approval of the Prime Minister and, consequently, of the War, Navy and Home Ministries. Since the question of relations with the United States would necessarily have to be clarified before the Japanese Diet met on November 15, 1941, the Japanese informant believed that Foreign Minister Togo would request an interview with Ambassador Grew not later than November 7, 1941. [49]

 

15. Ambassador Grew Reports on Situation in Japan. [50]

 

In a telegram to Secretary Hull and Under Secretary Welles on November 3, 1941, Ambassador Grew reported the attitude of the Japanese newspapers, citing an article from the Tokyo Nichi‑Nichi which commented on a statement which the Japanese Embassy reportedly gave to the New York Times regarding the end of the Japanese‑American economic war, under the banner headline "Empire Approaches Its Greatest Crisis." Both the article and the accompanying editorial, according to Ambassador Grew, reflected the average Japanese sentiment.

Referring to the various other reports which he had made during the past several months, Ambassador Grew stated he had no substantial revisions to make upon any of them. However, there were certain points that he desired Secretary of State Hull and Under Secretary Welles to apply to future conversations with Japanese representatives. First of all, Ambassador Grew did not believe it was possible for Japan to disassociate its war with China from that being waged in Europe. Since political thought throughout Japan ranged from medieval to liberal ideas, events beyond the Japanese Empire itself determined what body of principles would predominate. For example, when the Germans were victorious in western Europe during the past year, Japan turned pro‑Axis; yet with Germany's failure to invade the British Isles and its attack upon the Soviet Union came the conviction in Japan that the Tripartite Alliance had been a serious mistake of Japanese diplomats.

Nevertheless, if Japan's efforts to adjust relations with the United States and to conclude the war with China failed, a stronger Axis alliance could still be effected. Apparently leading American economists believed that the eventual exhaustion of Japan's economic resources would end in the collapse of Japan's militaristic power. However, Ambassador Grew pointed out that although the greater part of Japan's commerce, industrial production and natural resources had been depleted as a result of America's economic war, Japan could avoid complete collapse by forsaking the capitalistic system of economy. Therefore, Ambassador Grew did not believe that the imposition of a trade embargo and blockade would necessarily avert war in the Far East. [51]

Ambassador Grew then referred to a telegram which he sent to the American State Department on September 12, 1940 in which he had warned that the Japanese army saw an

 


[48] "Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)" November 3, 1941, S.D. II, 700, 701.

[49] Ibid.

[50] "The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State"‑November 3, 1941, S.D. II, p. 701‑704.

[51] Ibid.

 

11

 

opportunity for expansion following German victories in Europe. As a result of policies which the Japanese government adopted, Ambassador Grew had advised the strong attitude subsequently adopted by the United States. However, while Japan was eventually forced to seek conciliation with the United States, if it were not reached in time, Japanese national temper and psychology would force it to risk hara‑kiri rather than to yield to foreign economic pressure. When attempting to avert war, therefore, Ambassador Grew urged that the fibre and the temperament of the Japanese people themselves be kept in mind. Although stating merely his own personal opinion, Ambassador Grew felt that the continued imposition of drastic economic measures would, in the long run, be contrary to American national interests since it meant the breakdown of diplomacy. Ambassador Grew assured the State Department that he was not questioning the intentions or motives of the Roosevelt Administration, nor was he implying that the Department was pursuing an undeliberated diplomatic policy. He agreed that there should be no compromise with the principles America had laid down and, therefore, he did not advocate any appeasement with Japan arrived at by forsaking these fundamental principles. At the same time, however, Ambassador Grew was certain that the methods of applying these basic principles were flexible. He particularly wished to correct any misconception of Japan's unpreparedness for war. He urged that the United States not underestimate Japan's obvious preparations to implement an alternate program in the event the conversations for peace failed. From the bellicose tone of the Japanese press and of several high officials it was obvious that Japan was capable of actions which might render armed warfare with the United States unavoidable. [52]

 

16. Ambassador Kurusu Appointed Special Aide to Ambassador Nomura [53]

 

After studying certain official papers in connection with his new position in the Japanese Embassy in Washington, Mr. Saburo Kurusu, former Japanese Ambassador to Germany, called on Ambassador Grew on November 4, 1941 before leaving for the United States.

As an endeavor to aid in the successful conclusion of the conversations in Washington, Mr. Kurusu was being sent by the new Japanese Cabinet as a special aide to Ambassador Nomura. Mr. Kurusu told Ambassador Grew that he was taking with him Mr. Shiroji Yuki, who was familiar with the developments in Washington as a result of his former position as Chief of the First Section of the American Bureau in the Japanese Foreign Office. [54]

 

16‑A. Japan Plans to Attack Hawaii on December 7, 1941‑(November 5‑7, 1941 ) [54a]

 

Three weeks before Secretary Hull presented to Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu his note of November 26, 1941, which some American commentators have described as the ultimatum which caused Japan to go to war, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander‑in-Chief, Combined Fleet of the Japanese Navy, had issued orders that an advanced expeditionary force should attack Hawaii on December 8, 1941 (Japanese time) or December 7, 1941 (United States time). The plan of attack was issued on November 5, 1941, as Combined Fleet Ultrasecret Operation Order 1, [54b]. and the date of Y Day was established in Combined Fleet Ultrasecret Operation Order 2 of November 7, 1941. [54c]

 


[52] Ibid.

[53] "Memorandum by the Ambassador In Japan (Grew)", November 4, 1941, S.D. II, p. 704, 705.

[54] Ibid.

[54a] This information was not available until June 4, 1945 when the material recovered from the Japanese cruiser Hachi was translated.

[54b] See Naval Operation Plans and Orders, 1941‑1944, recovered from CA Hachi, Part VII, Combined Fleet Operation Orders, Orders and Serial, pp. 2, 44.

[54c] op cit., p. 55.

 

12

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

17. Ambassador Grew Receives Japanese Informant [55]

 

At the request of Foreign Minister Togo, the leading Japanese informant again called on Ambassador Grew. Since the Japanese Foreign Minister did not feel that he could speak officially with the American Ambassador at this time, he had indirectly made the suggestion that the United States government continue the Washington conferences since the Tojo government had desired to extend the limits to which it would go in order to reach an agreement with the United States.

Expressing then his own personal opinion on the matter, the Japanese informant stated that since present conditions were having a calamitous effect upon Japan, his government was compelled to accept the views of the United States. Ambassador Grew, however, pointed to the violent tone of the Japanese press as seen in the editorial of the Japanese Times and Advertiser on November 5, 1941 which was known to express the attitudes of the Japanese Foreign Office. Another article appearing in the Nichi Nichi on November 6, 1941 accused the United States of talking like a harlot thereby complicating the adjustment of relations between the two countries. The Japanese informant promised to draw Mr. Togo's attention to the articles in question. Nevertheless, he insisted that too much attention should not be paid to the Japanese newspapers nor should the United States treat the Japanese people entirely as adults. Pointing out how the Germans had utilized this aspect of Japanese psychology to their own advantage, the Japanese informant stated that Japanese confidence could be gained easily by a friendly gesture or word. Irrespective of any future developments, the Japanese informant before leaving Ambassador Grew, urged once more that the informal conversations continue. [56]

 

18. Japan's Attitude Toward Present Negotiations Made Known

 

By way of reply to Ambassador Nomura's request for information on the policies of the new Japanese Cabinet, Tokyo informed the Japanese Ambassador on November 4, 1941 that as a result of numerous conferences a counter proposal had been formulated and unanimously approved by the government and the new military high command. On November 5, 1941 this counter proposal, together with other basic policies, would be approved by the Japanese Diet.

Since domestic and foreign conditions made it necessary to conclude the present informal conferences successfully without delay, Japan was ready to submit these new counter proposals. However, these counter proposals would be the last the Japanese government intended to submit. Should these fail to achieve the desired goal, all further negotiations would end. [57]

Because the Japanese government was anxious to conclude the conferences with the United States successfully, it had yielded to many of the demands of the United States, while, on the other hand, refusing to appreciate the position of Japan, the United States had made no concessions. As a result of this American attitude, the Japanese government and public suspected the sincerity of the United States. At the present time the patience of Japan was exhausted. If the existence and honor of Japan were threatened further, the Japanese government would take measures to defend them. As a last effort to show its friendship toward the United States, then, the Japanese government was submitting its proposals. [58] If the United States would only make a sincere attempt to establish peace in the Pacific, the entire world situation would be greatly aided. Tokyo promised to inform Ambassador Nomura immediately of the outcome of the meeting of the Japanese Diet in order that he

 


[55] "Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)", November 7, 1941. S.D. II, 705‑706.

[56] Ibid.

[57] IV, 22.

[58] IV, 23.

 

13

 

might confer with President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull. While Ambassador Nomura was discussing the problems with American representatives in Washington, Foreign Minister Togo would hold a conference with Ambassador Grew in Tokyo. Foreign Minister Togo emphasized that Ambassador Nomura must follow his instructions to the letter, giving no personal interpretation to any of them. [59]

 

19. Japan Instructs Ambassador Nomura in Final Proposals

 

On November 4, 1941, the Japanese government sent Ambassador Nomura the revised final proposal in which Japan attempted to meet the demands of the United States government. [60] Explicit instructions for Ambassador Nomura to follow in presenting these proposals were inserted in this message. For example, Tokyo advised Ambassador Nomura that in any formal negotiation reached between Japan and the United States, the government was anxious to avoid incorporating guarantees of evacuating Japanese troops from French Indo‑China upon the conclusion of the Chinese Incident.

The Japanese government expressed the opinion that the United States would agree with Japan's concessions regarding non‑discrimination in commerce and the interpretation of its obligations under the Tripartite Pacts. [60a] However, the new Cabinet recognized that the question of evacuation would continue to present an obstacle to peace. Since the United States was opposed to Japanese troops in China, the Japanese government proposed to shift its troops and officials to other occupied areas in order to dispel American suspicion. Although Japan would call it "evacuation", it was actually impossible for the Japanese government to recall its forces from China. Foreign Minister Togo asked that Ambassador Nomura euphemize the stationing of Japanese troops in China by insisting that unlimited occupation by no means meant perpetual occupation. Since Japan had been forced to make tremendous sacrifices during its four years war with China, its internal situation prevented Japan from making further concessions regarding the Chinese problem. [61]

In the event that these new Japanese counter proposals did not meet with American approval, the Japanese government had prepared a subsequent plan considered by Japan as a last effort to prevent disaster in the Far East. [62]

 

20. Ambassador Kurusu Leaves for Washington

 

In order to assist Ambassador Nomura in presenting these new Japanese counter proposals to the United States government, Japan sent Ambassador Kurusu to Washington. Since the Japanese Cabinet had given him no additional instructions concerning his post, it requested Ambassador Nomura to prepare him for the conferences with Secretary Hull and President Roosevelt. Ambassador Kurusu's activities in the United States were to be kept strictly secret. [63]

On November 5, 1941 Ambassador Kurusu and Secretary Yuki left for Shanghai. [64] Tokyo explained to Ambassador Nomura that these two representatives were being sent to Washington immediately in an attempt to show the United States that Japan sincerely desired to bring the present conferences to a successful conclusion. By giving Ambassador Nomura a clear picture of Japan's internal situation, the new Japanese Cabinet hoped that he would be more fully equipped to carry out Tokyo's instructions. [65]

 


[59] IV, 24.

[60] "For text handed by Ambassador Nomura to Secretary Hull on November 10, 1941 see S.D. II, 715‑717.

[60a] IV, 25-27.

[61] IV, 28.

[62] IV, 29. Ambassador Nomura did not present this alternate proposal to Secretary Hull until November 20, 1941. See S.D. II, 775‑776.

[63] IV, 30.

[64] IV, 31.

[65] IV, 32.

 

14

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

21. Japan Seeks Agreement with Britain and the Netherlands

 

Since Great Britain and the Netherlands had vast interests in the Far East, the Japanese government realized that some understanding would have to be reached with these countries. If an agreement were concluded with the United States alone, it could never be completely carried out without the cooperation of Britain and the Netherlands.

On November 4, 1941, Foreign Minister Togo requested that Ambassador Nomura impress American officials with this point. It was hoped that the United States would formulate an understanding which Great Britain and the Netherlands government could sign. [66]

Not quite certain of Tokyo's attitude in this matter, Ambassador Nomura asked for further instructions on the following day. He wished to know whether Great Britain and the Netherlands East Indies were expected to sign an official document with Japan at the same time that America did or if separate documents would be prepared for the British and the Dutch, or if the four countries would exchange official documents. [67]

 

22. Tokyo Receives English Translation of Proposals

 

In order to avoid discrepancies between the English text handed to Ambassador Grew by Foreign Minister Togo and the one presented to Secretary Hull by Ambassador Nomura, Ambassador Nomura was sending the Foreign Ministry a complete translation of both Japanese counter proposals. [68]

At the same time he reminded the Foreign Minister that he had received instructions from Japan ordering him to make no personal interpretations of Japan's latest counter proposals. For that reason, Ambassador Nomura was taking the utmost care in dealing with these proposals. [69]

On November 5, 1941, Ambassador Nomura forwarded these English translations to Japan. [70]

 

23. Japan To Avoid Ratified Treaty with United States

 

In order to avoid further delay in concluding peace negotiations, Tokyo wired Ambassador Nomura on November 5, 1941 that it preferred to avoid drawing up any treaty with the United States requiring the ratification of the Senate. The Japanese government believed that the United States might adopt "an executive agreement" requiring only the approval of President Roosevelt. Under present conditions, the Japanese government was convinced that speed was an essential factor in the present negotiations. [71]

Ambassador Nomura replied that the United States did not wish to place any agreement with Japan before the Senate for the constitutional two‑thirds majority approval. As Mr. Hamilton and other American representatives had already stated, the United States government wished to leave any understanding between the two countries within the presidential jurisdiction.

In the proposal submitted by the United States on June 21, 1941, Ambassador Nomura pointed out, Article I mentioned "a general agreement of understanding as expressed in a joint declaration", and "mutual understanding and declaration of policy". However, it might be difficult for the United States to keep an agreement with Japan secret because of its domestic politics. [72]

 


[66] IV, 33.

[67] IV, 34.

[68] IV, 35‑36.

[69] Ibid.

[70] IV, 37‑39.

[71] IV, 40.

[72] IV, 41.

 

15

 

24. Japanese Diet Accepts Cabinet's Counter Proposals

 

At the Japanese Imperial Conference on November 5, 1941, the Japanese counter proposals drawn up by the Foreign Ministry were approved. Therefore, Tokyo wired Ambassador Nomura further instructions concerning their delivery to the American government.

The Foreign Ministry instructed Ambassador Nomura to submit proposal "A" for discussion in spite of the fact that many of the terms in the last United States proposal had not met with Tokyo's approval. If the United States objected too strongly to Proposal "A", Ambassador Nomura was instructed to advise the Japanese Foreign Ministry and then, subsequently, offer proposal "B" to the United States.

Because the situation had become so critical and no further delay could be tolerated, the Japanese government informed Ambassador Nomura that it had made its final concession. However, it warned Ambassador Nomura to avoid giving the United States the impression that this proposal was actually Japan's ultimatum. [73]

The Japanese government was certain that some agreement could be reached through the efforts of its representatives, the Foreign Minister continued, since the problem of self defense stemming from the Tripartite Treaty had been clarified to the United States' satisfaction. American policies were set forth completely in the proposal of June 21, 1941 and had been answered by the Japanese proposal of September 25, 1941; and the new Japanese Cabinet took it for granted that all further exchange of notes would be eliminated from the negotiations. The Foreign Minister urged Ambassador Nomura to make it clear to the United States that Japan wished to avoid the exchange of documents. [74]

Although Foreign Minister Togo realized the difficulty of culminating negotiations immediately, he urged Ambassador Nomura to complete all arrangements for the signing of a mutual agreement by November 25, 1941. [75]

 

25. Ambassador Nomura to Guard Secrecy of Conferences

 

In reply to Tokyo's instructions, Ambassador Nomura informed the Japanese Ministry on November 5, 1941 that he would continue his efforts to bring about a satisfactory understanding. Toward this end, he planned to make arrangements for meeting with President Roosevelt in the near future.

In his own opinion, Ambassador Nomura felt that these conferences with President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull should remain secret. However, if the Foreign Office desired that they be considered as official interviews, Ambassador Nomura promised to announce them to the public. [76] The Japanese government agreed with Ambassador Nomura that the present informal conversations should remain secret. If the newspapers of either country were allowed to speculate on the questions discussed, at Ambassador Nomura's conferences with President Roosevelt, the Foreign Ministry felt that the effectiveness of an informal agreement would be impaired. In fact, the Japanese government urged that Ambassador Nomura avoid publicity of any subsequent conferences with American officials. [77]

 

26. Japanese Newspapers Publicize Tokyo's Proposals

 

In spite of the efforts of both governments to maintain the secrecy of these conferences, on November 5, 1941 Ambassador Nomura reported to Tokyo that the United States newspapers, through the Domei News Agency in Japan and the Times Advertiser, had learned

 


[73] IV, 42.

[74] IV, 43.

[75] IV, 44.

[76] IV, 45.

[77] IV, 46.

 

16

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

that November 15, 1941 was the Japanese "deadline" for the successful conclusion of negotiations. In fact, these two newspaper syndicates, known to be the official press of the Japanese government and the Foreign Office, respectively, stated their intention to list the seven Japanese demands upon the United States.

Realizing that the Japanese government wished a favorable reception of its negotiations, Ambassador Nomura believed that the publication of such statements in Japanese newspapers would alienate American public opinion. Therefore, although appreciating the seriousness of Japan's internal situation and the grave responsibility of Foreign Minister Togo's position, Ambassador Nomura nevertheless urged that the Foreign Office censor the material given to Tokyo newspapers. [78]

 

27. Japanese and American Newspapers Impair Diplomatic Negotiations

 

In spite of censorship measures enforced by the Japanese Foreign Office, newspaper speculation on the outcome of the Japanese‑American conversations continued to impair diplomatic negotiations. Even while Ambassador Kurusu was enroute to the United States to supplement Ambassador Nomura's efforts for peace, the Tokyo Nichi Nichi was labeling America's negotiations as a means of gaining time to complete military preparations against Japan. [79]

Conditions as reported by the New York Times, November 6, 1941 were so close to a crisis that the United States Congress voted to remain in session indefinitely. [80]

Apparently Washington newspapers did not place much faith in Mr. Kurusu's appointment as advisor to Ambassador Nomura. In spite of Ambassador Nomura's efforts to curtail unfavorable newspaper stories, he reported to Tokyo on November 6, 1941 that conjectures on the effect of Mr. Kurusu's presence in Washington were being published constantly. [81]

If these stories once reached the Japanese public, Ambassador Nomura feared that conditions would become even more tense. In view of the Japanese internal situation, Ambassador Nomura urged that every precaution be taken to control the Japanese press and force them to follow an editorial policy in keeping with the tone of Japanese‑American conversations. [82]

 

29. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 7, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [84]

Accompanied by Mr. Wakasugi, Ambassador Nomura called at Secretary Hull's apartment at his own request on November 7, 1941. Without permitting the Japanese Ambassador to state the purpose of his call, Secretary Hull immediately brought up the question of the three American missionaries interned by the Manchurian authorities at Harbin. Secretary Hull declared that similar situations, together with the extremist policies voiced in the Japanese press, made it difficult for the United States to continue normal diplomatic relations with Japan. When reports of anti‑American activities were released in this country, Secretary Hull stated, people questioned the advisability of improving relations with Japan. Ambassador Nomura replied that until recently he had not received any instructions from the new Japanese Cabinet. However, he now had the authority to resume the conversations.

After deliberating on the various proposals for peace, particularly on the American draft of June 21, 1941, the new Japanese Cabinet had decided upon the maximum concessions it

 


[78] IV, 47.

[79] New York Times, November 6, 1941, 1:4‑8.

[80] New York Times, November 6, 1941, 6:3.

[81] IV, 48.

[82] Ibid.

(No footnote 83 in text. LWJ)

[84] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑November 7, 1941, S.D. II, 706‑709.

 

17

 

would make in order to alleviate the situation in the Far East. Referring to the three principal questions upon which the respective views of the two countries had diverged, Ambassador Nomura said that it would not be difficult to reconcile the views concerning Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact and non‑discrimination in international commercial relations. However, he was aware that some difficulties would arise out of Japan's desire to retain certain troops in North China and Inner Mongolia.

In view of the grave situation which might arise if any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of policies occurred at this time, Ambassador Nomura had asked for and received from his government an experienced diplomat, namely Mr. Kurusu, the former Ambassador to Germany. In view of Mr. Kurusu's Ambassadorial rank, Ambassador Nomura hoped that President Roosevelt would speak with him. At this point in the conversation, Ambassador Nomura handed Secretary Hull a document prepared by the Japanese government in connection with its views on the withdrawal of Japanese forces from China and French Indochina and the principle of non‑discrimination. [85]

With regard to the Japanese forces stationed in China as a result of the Sino‑Japanese War, the Japanese government stated that it would be necessary to retain troops in specified areas in North China, Inner Mongolia and Hainan Island for a certain time after the restoration of peace between Japan and China. As soon as general peace was restored, however, the other forces would begin their withdrawal according to a separate agreement between Japan and China and this withdrawal would be completed within two years after the peace treaty. When an equitable basis was established in East Asia and the China affair settled, Japanese forces would be recalled from French Indo‑China and, in this way, the territorial sovereignty of that country would be guaranteed.

With regard to the principle of commercial nondiscrimination, the Japanese government agreed to the application of this principle throughout the Pacific area, including China. It was understood at the same time, however, that the principle would be applied to the entire world. [86]

After reading the document, Secretary Hull asked concerning the proportion of Japanese troops to be retained in the areas stated. In reply the Japanese Ambassador reminded Secretary Hull that, under the Boxer Protocol, Japan had the right to station troops in the Peiping and Tientsin areas. Since Soviet Russia maintained forces in Outer Mongolia, Japan desired to station .enough of its own troops in Inner Mongolia to balance those of Russia. Without specifying the exact number of troops that Japan wished to retain in China, Ambassador Nomura began to discuss the armed forces maintained by other countries in China. He referred specifically to March 1927 when Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑Shek first entered Shanghai. As a result of that action the British had requested Japan to take joint action to prevent this measure. Yet, in spite of the fact that the Japanese had declined to interfere in Chinese affairs, they soon after became the object of a bitter Chinese boycott campaign. In discussing the Chinese question, Secretary Hull said that he had mentioned these exploratory conversations to the Chinese Ambassador but had not acquainted him with any of the points under discussion.

However, before entering into any formal negotiations with Japan, Secretary Hull reminded Ambassador Nomura that the United States planned to negotiate with the Chinese, British and Dutch. Secretary Hull asked Ambassador Nomura whether Japan would launch

 


[85] Ibid.

[86] Document handed by the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) to the Secretary of State on November 7, 1941, S.D. II, 709‑710. For Japanese version of text sent to Ambassador Nomura on November 4, 1941 and decoded by American cryptanalysts see IV, 25‑28. It is well to note the explicit terms in which the Japanese government instructs Ambassador Nomura on the presentation of these proposals. For English translation of Japanese proposals sent to Tokyo by Ambassador Nomura, see IV, 37‑39.

 

18

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

on a true new order in the Far East and, in this way, gain its leadership in the Pacific if the Chinese expressed an earnest desire to end the present war.

Referring again to the advantages derived by the United States from the renunciation of its aggressive policies in the Latin American countries, Secretary Hull expressed the conviction that Japan would derive trade advantages from the adoption of a similar policy in its relations with China. Secretary Hull hoped that some concrete agreement could be worked out on the question of Japanese relations with the Axis powers. Secretary Hull pointed out that the mere manifestation of the desire for peace might not be adequate if a new government came into power in Japan.

In view of the urgency of the internal situation in Japan, Ambassador Nomura requested that the American Department of State expedite the study of the document delivered on this day. Ambassador Nomura requested that he be allowed an interview with President Roosevelt. Stating that he would comply with the Ambassador's request, Secretary Hull then asked whether this document was to be viewed in conjunction with the previous Japanese documents which had been submitted. Replying in the affirmative, Ambassador Nomura mentioned the United States' document of June 21, 1941 and the Japanese document of September 25, 1941. Secretary Hull reminded him that the American document of October 2, 1941 was to be included in this category. [87]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report

After first scheduling an appointment with Secretary Hull for Minister Wakasugi and himself, [88] and after ascertaining the phraseology and interpretation of his government's latest proposals, [89] Ambassador Nomura visited Secretary Hull secretly on November 7, 1941. [90]

During the conversation with Secretary Hull and Mr. Ballantine, Ambassador Nomura explained that he had been ordered to clarify his government's position to both President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull in the hope of settling the various problems existing between Japan and the United States. In reply Secretary Hull commented that the two political factions at varying odds in the world today were threatening to throw all civilization into the chaos of anarchism. Therefore, Secretary Hull urged that American and Japanese representatives find a basis for maintaining peace in the Pacific. Ambassador Nomura took this opportunity to point out that agreements had been reached on two of the three outstanding Pacific problems. In regard to the third, the stationing of troops in China, the Japanese government was now prepared to make further concessions in order to meet the demands of the United States. Because of the conciliatory attitude of his government, Ambassador Nomura requested that the United States take a philosophical view toward the questions relating to the Far East. [91]

In view of the critical domestic situation in Tokyo which had become more tense during the six months of informal conversations with the United States, Japan was now prepared to make the maximum number of possible concessions in order to bring the present negotiations to a satisfactory close. After these introductory remarks Ambassador Nomura handed Secretary Hull the Japanese government's counter proposal. [92]

After reading this document Secretary Hull showed indications of being satisfied with Japan's comments on America's desire for non‑discrimination in commerce. However, Secretary Hull refused to commit himself regarding Japan's proposal for the withdrawal of troops, or toward Japan's attitude regarding the rights of self defense. [93] Nevertheless, the

 


[87] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑November 7, 1941, S.D. I, 706‑709.

[88] IV, 50.

[89] IV, 51.

[90] IV, 52.

[91] IV, 53.

[92] IV, 54.

[93] IV, 52, 54.

19

 

American Secretary of State did ask what proportion of Japanese troops would be withdrawn from China. Ambassador Nomura replied that Japan was willing to withdraw the greater number of its troops now stationed in China. Then the Japanese Ambassador went on to emphasize Japan's attitude toward "the right of self‑defense." After examining the Japanese proposals more carefully, Secretary Hull said the United States government would be ready to give Japan its reply.  [94]

At the same time, however, Secretary Hull continued, the United States representatives would consider it necessary to discuss the methods for maintaining peace in the Pacific with representatives of Great Britain, China and the Netherlands East Indies. From Secretary Hull's remarks Ambassador Nomura concluded that China had already been consulted regarding the matters relating to the settlement of its affairs in the Far East. As if to prove Ambassador Nomura's assumption Secretary Hull then inquired what Japan's attitude would be if the United States arranged for conversations between "the person of highest influence and integrity in China" with suitable Japanese representatives. Minister Wakasugi asked if the United States would first determine whether China desired to resume friendly relations with Japan. Since Secretary Hull claimed only to have thought of this suggestion during the day's conversation, he declined to expound on the theory. However, he requested that Ambassador Nomura and Minister Wakasugi relay this proposal to their government and ascertain its attitude toward the matter. [95]

During this conversation Secretary Hull brought up the incident arising out of the imprisonment of American missionaries in Harbin. Reminding Ambassador Nomura that three Japanese Naval officers had been allowed to return to Tokyo, Secretary Hull stated that the United States government could not sympathize with Japan's unreasonable treatment of American citizens. Insisting that this incident involved only Manchurian officials and not the Japanese government, Ambassador Nomura, nevertheless, promised to refer the question to Tokyo with the request that suitable steps be taken to release the missionaries in question. [96]

 

30. Tokyo Re‑emphasizes Policy of Self‑Defense

 

After receiving Ambassador Nomura's report of his conversation with Secretary Hull, Tokyo asked the Japanese Ambassador in Washington if he had explained in detail Japan's views concerning the rights of self‑defense. [97] Foreign Minister Togo reminded Ambassador Nomura that he had elaborated on this Japanese policy in his earlier instructions concerning the Japanese counter‑proposals. If this message had not reached Ambassador Nomura in time, Foreign Minister Togo requested that the Japanese Ambassador make certain to explain the matter fully to the American representatives. [98]

 

31. Mr. Horiuchi Arranges for Undelayed Delivery of Telegrams

 

In view of the urgency of the present American‑Japanese negotiations Mr. Horiuchi, telegraphic clerk of the Japanese Embassy in Washington, felt it necessary to make certain provisions for the delivery of urgent telegraphic messages. [99] On November 8, 1941 he informed the Japanese Foreign Office in Tokyo that with a crisis so near at hand all instructions between Tokyo and Washington must be received without any delay. By way of emphasizing his point Mr. Horiuchi reminded the Japanese Foreign office that at 9:56 p.m. on November 5, 1941 he had sent Ambassador Nomura's message relating to the English translations

 


[94] IV, 54.

[95] IV, 55‑56.

[96] IV, 57.

[97] IV, 58.

[98] Ibid.

[99] IV, 59.

 

20

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

of the Japanese counter proposals. It was presumed that this message reached Tokyo on November 6, 1941. However, the Japanese reply did not arrive in Washington until 8:20 a.m. Washington time, on November 7, 1941. Since Ambassador Nomura's appointment with Secretary Hull was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on November 7, 1941, the Japanese Embassy was allowed only forty minutes in which to decode and revise the message. In view of the fact that all officials connected with the telegraphic office remained on duty all night when expecting an urgent message from Tokyo, Mr. Horiuchi requested that the Foreign Office send any reply over the wires immediately regardless of the hour. Formerly, Mr. Horiuchi continued, the telegraph company notified the Embassy whenever a "very urgent" telegram was received. Since the Japanese Foreign Office had recently changed the word to "kinqu" the delivery of many important messages had been delayed. In order to avoid this delay in the future, Mr. Horiuchi asked that all important telegrams be captioned "very urgent". [100]

In replying to Mr. Horiuchi's request the telegraphic section of the Foreign Office in Tokyo stated that in the future all messages headed by the words "kinqu" or "daiqu" were to be given the same handling by the telegraphic companies as those marked "very urgent". By way of explaining the delay in replying to Ambassador Nomura's message, Tokyo stated that unfavorable atmospheric conditions had held up the dispatch until 1734 on November 7, 1941. [101]

 

32. Foreign Ministry Bans Publication of Negotiations

 

Agreeing with Ambassador Nomura's request that secrecy be maintained throughout the Japanese‑American negotiations, [102] the Foreign Office stated that it would attempt to guide public opinion by censoring unfavorable comments regarding the present conversations. [103] Furthermore, Tokyo promised that the contents of these negotiations would be kept from the press and that any information regarding the time of the Japanese‑American conversations would be suppressed. Already the Japanese government had warned the Times that the publication of any contents capable of exciting anti‑Japanese feeling in the United States would bring about dire consequences. While promising to curtail the activities of Japanese newspapers in Tokyo, the Foreign Office took the opportunity of pointing out security breaks in the newspapers throughout the United States. For example, the Domei office in Washington had already printed articles entirely out of keeping with Tokyo's policy of maintaining a calm and patient attitude toward the American conversations. [104]

To be more explicit Foreign Minister Togo referred to the Associated Press dispatch from Manila which quoted Ambassador Kurusu as stating, "I am going to Washington but I have no great hope for a successful conclusion to the negotiations." [105] As a result of this newspaper report, the American public, felt that no new compromise which Japan offered would be able to meet the demands of the United States. [106]

 

33. President Roosevelt Confers with Naval Leaders (November 7, 1941)

 

On November 8, 1941 Ambassador Nomura reported that on the previous day President Roosevelt had conferred secretly with Secretary of the Navy Knox, Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Stark, and other American naval leaders. Although uncertain of the actual purpose of the meeting, Ambassador Nomura surmised that President Roosevelt wished to discuss

 


[100] Ibid.

[101] IV, 60.

[102] IV, 47.

[103] IV, 61.

[104] Ibid.

[105] IV, 62; N.Y. Times, Nov. 9, 1941, 1:40.

[106] Ibid.

 

21

 

the latest Japanese counter proposals and to formulate a method of withdrawing American Marines from China. [107]

 

34. Japan Interested in Secretary Hull's Proposed Settlement of the China Affair

 

After carefully considering Ambassador Nomura's report on his conversations with Secretary Hull, the Japanese government exhibited great interest in Secretary Hull's proposed settlement of the China affair. [108] In view of the fact that Secretary Hull had suggested that a high ranking Chinese official discuss Far Eastern problems with the Japanese representative, the Japanese government felt that the United States was now willing to permit Japan and China to settle their differences directly and without American interference. Naturally Tokyo expected that Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek would initiate the move for peace. Recognizing Secretary Hull's suggestion as a great contribution toward Sino‑Japanese peace, Foreign Minister Togo urged Ambassador Nomura to secure more information on America's concrete plans for carrying the suggestion into effect. [109]

Foreign Minister Togo felt that the United States, as well as Japan, was fully aware of the importance of the Chinese question on Far Eastern peace. If the United States actually proposed to leave the settlement of peace terms up to the Japanese Chinese governments themselves, then Tokyo felt the question of withdrawing its troops from China could be left out of future negotiations with the United States. In this way not only could Japanese‑Chinese peace be effected without further American interference, but the relations between Japan and the United States could be settled quickly and satisfactorily. Before going ahead with Secretary Hull's proposal, however, the Japanese government felt it necessary to secure a guarantee that the United States would not interfere with the peace terms established between Japan and China. This guarantee would naturally include the cessation of any American activities designed to aid Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek in his war upon Tokyo. Naturally the Japanese government also expected that an agreement between Japan and the United States for the settlement of their respective problems in the Pacific would be signed without further delay. [110]

If Ambassador Nomura determined that Secretary Hull's suggestion was a workable one, then the Japanese Ambassador was to eliminate the stipulations regarding Japanese‑Chinese peace from proposal A submitted to the American government; instead that section of proposal B, requesting that the United States refrain from any action detrimental to the establishment of peace between Japan and China, should be substituted in its place.

In view of the fact that Foreign Minister Togo firmly believed the United States sincerely wished to establish an agreement between its government and Japan, he felt that Secretary Hull's proposal could be carried out. Nevertheless, the Japanese government insisted that its negotiations with the United States be brought to a satisfactory conclusion even before the Japanese‑Chinese peace was concluded. Furthermore, Foreign Minister Togo reemphasized the fact that the United States must cease all aid to Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek during Japanese peace negotiations. [111]

 

35. Japan Seeks Facts on American‑British Attitude Toward Axis

 

In order to determine the true facts concerning the existing international situation, the Japanese Vice‑Chief of the General Staff on November 9, 1941 in a circular message to the

 


[107] IV, 63.

[108] IV, 64.

[109] Ibid.

[110] IV, 65.

[111] IV, 66.

 

22

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Embassies abroad requested any and all information regarding the British and American attitude toward Japan and Germany. [112]

In order to determine to what extent. Japan could go before the two Allies would open war on the Axis Powers, Tokyo asked for detailed information regarding American reciprocal relations with Japan and Germany and the military, political and economic union between the United States, Great Britain, China, Holland and Russia. Japan also wished to determine the influence that it had upon America, Great Britain and these other countries, and to see how greatly the Japanese‑American negotiations had affected the international situation.

Since Japan was aware of the American and British increased defenses in the Pacific, Tokyo asked for an evaluation of the present situation regarding the expansion of the island bases scattered around the Pacific, the dispatch of additional American and British military strength to the South Pacific and to the Aleutians, and, finally, the movements of American and British troops in China, the southwest Pacific and in Japan. [112a]

 

36. Grew‑Togo Conversation (November 10, 1941)

 

a. Ambassador Grew's Report [113]

During a meeting on November 10, 1941 at which Mr. Togo, Ambassador Grew, Counselor Dooman and Mr. Kase were present, the Japanese Foreign Minister referred to a conversation with the American Ambassador held on October 30, 1941 during which he had asserted his desire to maintain friendly relations between the United States and Japan.

After carefully studying the documents which had been passed by the representatives of the two countries thus far, Mr. Togo was more determined than ever to maintain peace in the Pacific. Keeping in mind that the object of the present Japanese Cabinet was to establish a "Greater East Asia", as its contribution to world peace, Mr. Togo's government had formulated new proposals and sent them to Ambassador Nomura as the basis for negotiations with President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull. At this point, Ambassador Grew emphasized that the conversations taking place between the two governments were "only preliminary and exploratory". While not wishing to press the point, Mr. Togo stated that he felt the time had come for formal and official negotiations.

Then Mr. Togo thanked the American government through Ambassador Grew for the assistance which it had given Mr. Kurusu in his journey from Tokyo to Washington to take his place as advisor to Ambassador Nomura. Aware of Ambassador Grew's previous efforts to re‑establish friendly relations between Japan and the United States, Mr. Togo pledged his cooperation toward finding a compatible solution. Nevertheless, after reviewing the documents recording the conversations which had already taken place, Foreign Minister Togo believed that the United States lacked an adequate appreciation of the Far Eastern situation. While Secretary Hull was apparently aware, from his own statements, that Japan was a stabilizing force in the Far East, the attitude of the United States government as a whole did not support this fact. Foreign Minister Togo felt that the United States government must take into consideration that Japan had been at war with China for four and a half years and this had a strong bearing on the Pacific situation. [114] Foreign Minister Togo then recalled a conversation between Secretary Hull and Minister Wakasugi on October 16, 1941 during which Secretary Hull had remembered telling former Ambassador Saito that he recognized Japan as a stabilizing force and was prepared to express such recognition in an official manner. [115]

 


[112] IV, 67. This message was not translated until February 3, 1945.

[112a] Ibid.

[113] Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)" November 10, 1941, S.D. II, 710‑714.

[114] Ibid.

[115] This statement attributed to Secretary Hull by Foreign Minister Togo is not recorded in Secretary Hull's memorandum of the conversation‑see S.D. II, 687‑689.

 

23

 

Although the Japanese government had repeatedly attempted to approach the American point of view during the past six months, Foreign Minister Togo did not believe that the United States had attempted in, any way to study sympathetically Japan's position. America was apparently unaware that the population of Japan had increased to approximately 100,000,000 and in order to support this increasing number of people it would be necessary to secure more raw materials. In order to offset this growing situation, further delay in arriving at a satisfactory conclusion to the present conversations could not be tolerated. Foreign Minister Togo urged that the United States government adopt a statesmanlike position by overcoming the major difficulties by the time the Japanese Diet met on November 15, 1941. Foreign Minister Togo continued by saying that the new Cabinet had arrived at the maximum number of concessions which Japan could make to the United States government. [116] With this statement the Japanese Foreign Minister handed Ambassador Grew the new Japanese proposals. [117] and then commented upon them.

Although the Japanese proposals of September 25, 1941 were based largely on those of the United States issued on June 21, 1941, Foreign Minister Togo recognized that it contained many unsatisfactory clauses with regard to both text and substance. Nevertheless, in order to expedite the present conversations, Foreign Minister Togo had used the Japanese draft of September 25, 1941 as the basis for these which he was now handing to Ambassador Grew. However, they contained certain modifications in order to meet the United States proposals as set forth in the American memorandum of October 2, 1941. [118]

In regard to the attitudes of both governments toward the European War, it was Foreign Minister Togo's understanding that the views expressed in the Japanese draft of September 25, 1941 were agreeable to both governments. In the matter of commercial discrimination the Japanese government had expanded its concessions in these new proposals in order to meet the requirements set down by the United States. Recognizing that the question of Japanese troops in China remained the greatest obstacle to the successful conclusion of the conversations, the Japanese government, in spite of grave domestic problems, had made further concessions.

Since Japan realized that British interests in the Far East would be affected by the discussions between Japan and the United States, Foreign Minister Togo appreciated Secretary Hull's desire to consult the British government. In fact, he hoped that the United States would persuade the British government to conclude an agreement with Japan along the same lines as the one being discussed between Japan and the United States.

At the conclusion of these observations on the new Japanese proposals, Foreign Minister Togo again urged that Ambassador Grew continue his cooperation toward a speedy end to the negotiations. Foreign Minister Togo felt that Tokyo should not merely duplicate the conversations taking place in Washington but should supplement exchanges of information already handled in the Washington conferences with the goal of expediting the progress of peace.

Ambassador Grew did not feel that he had the authority to debate at the present time the questions which would be discussed in Washington; however, he did raise three points pertinent to those discussions. Ambassador Grew disagreed with the idea that the United States government did not recognize the situation in the Far East. He felt that Ambassador Nomura in Washington and the Japanese Embassy as a whole had given the United States a very clear picture of the problems there. Foreign Minister Togo's description of Japan as a "stabilizing force in East Asia" was, Ambassador Grew stated, open to very wide interpretation.

 


[116] S.D. II, 710‑714.

[117] See "Document handed by Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) to the Secretary of State on November 7, 1941", S.D. 11, 709‑710.

[118] S.D. II, 710‑714.

 

24

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

However, Ambassador Grew realized that Foreign Minister Togo's observation that Japan must have access to necessary supplies penetrated to the very center of the problem. Here Ambassador Grew took the opportunity to point out that Secretary Hull's peaceful program visualized for Japan a free flow of trade and commerce and the opening of new markets for its industries.

In reply, Foreign Minister Togo admitted that the Japanese Embassy had reported the Far Eastern situation accurately to the American State Department, but he still doubted whether the United States government appreciated its seriousness. By way of illustrating his point, Foreign Minister Togo referred to the Russian troops stationed in Outer Mongolia, recognized as part of China, and he remarked that no one had as yet objected to the presence of these troops. In answering Ambassador Grew's comment on the "interpretation of stabilizing force in East Asia", Foreign Minister Togo stated that it could be understood from a purely common sense point of view. In regard to Ambassador Grew's statements on the question of assuring raw materials to Japan, Foreign Minister Togo referred briefly to the economic pressure applied by the United States which had menaced the national existence of Japan to a far greater degree than the direct use of force. He warned of the possibility of Japan's being forced to measures of self‑defense in order to overcome the effects of continued economic pressure. If the American government realized that Japan would collapse if forced to sacrifice the fruits of its protracted war with China, Foreign Minister Togo believed that the United States would conclude the conversations successfully without further delay.

Ambassador Grew pointed out that Japan could not hope to retain the fruits of aggression and, at the same time, propose the rejection of aggression and force. However, Foreign Minister Togo stated that Japan was not conducting an aggressive war with China. Then he insisted that under the plea of self‑defense, the American government had resorted to measures far beyond those generally recognized by international law as defensive. Summing up his opinions, Foreign Minister Togo stated that theoretical talks should end and that conversations in the future should be pursued along realistic lines. [118a]

 

b. Foreign Minister Togo's Report [119]

On November 10, 1941 Foreign Minister Togo met with Ambassador Grew and Counselor Dooman in order to inform the American representatives that after a conference between the Foreign Office and the military high command the Japanese government was now prepared to submit its final proposals. After examining the results of the negotiations between Japan and the United States so far, Foreign Minister Togo had come to the conclusion that the United States did not have a workable understanding of the far Eastern situation. In spite of the fact that Secretary Hull called Japan the stabilizing influence of the Pacific, Foreign Minister Togo said it was obvious from his other remarks that he did not fully appreciate Japan's actual status. Because the United States lacked this understanding it had refused to make any concessions whatsoever during the six months' long conversations with the Japanese representatives. Apparently the United States did not take into consideration the fact that Japan's population of 100,000,000 people was ever increasing, and it was necessary for them to obtain raw materials in order to maintain their existence. Urging the United States government to take all these points into consideration in future negotiations, Foreign Minister Togo stated emphatically that unless some change was evident in America's attitude the Japanese people as a whole would be forced to doubt the sincerity of the American government. [120]

 


[118a] Ibid.

[119] IV, 68-71.

[120] IV, 68

 

25

 

After these preliminary remarks Foreign Minister Togo handed Ambassador Grew the English text of the final Japanese counter proposals. [121]

In an attempt to clarify certain points contained in these proposals, Foreign Minister Togo said that his government believed it had set forth its attitude toward the European war fully in the Japanese proposal of September 25, 1941. Therefore, it had seen no reason to elaborate on that point further in these present proposals. In regard to the policy of nondiscrimination in commerce, Japan had made more liberal concessions in order to meet the demands of the United States. As a final attempt to reach an understanding regarding, the important problem of Japanese troops in China the Japanese government had decided to make further compromises. In view of the liberal concessions made them, Foreign Minister Togo urged that the United States accept Japan's latest proposals and also induce Great Britain to sign a similar agreement with Japan. Since he had no instructions from Washington, Ambassador Grew declined to pass his opinion on the Japanese proposals. However, he did feel it necessary to point out to Foreign Minister Togo that the United States government had a very clear picture of the Oriental situation since he himself had submitted detailed reports. Furthermore, Ambassador Grew felt that the present negotiations were aimed at supplying Japan all the materials necessary to maintain an advantageous position in the Far East. [122]

While expressing his appreciation of Ambassador Grew's cooperation, Foreign Minister Togo refuted the Ambassador's insistence that the present negotiations were designed to grant Japan a larger market for purchasing raw materials by pointing out that America's freezing regulations had placed such strong economic pressure on Japan that the Japanese people themselves were beginning to feel the need for effecting even stronger measures for self‑defense. From the attitude of the United States toward China, Foreign Minister Togo continued, it was obvious that the American government wished to ignore the sacrifices that the Japanese people had been forced to make during the four and one‑half years of warfare. In view of that fact, it would be suicidal for Japan to make such liberal concessions to China as the United States government desired. At this point in the conversation Counselor Dooman interrupted Foreign Minister Togo to state that the United States could never accept the results of aggression. Foreign Minister Togo replied that the Japanese government had never considered its war with China one of aggression. Any military action taken by Japan in the Far East, he continued, had been merely in the interest of self‑defense. Although not wishing to argue this point further, Foreign Minister Togo insisted that the United States had been wrongfully magnifying Japan's moves in the Pacific. [123]

From the conversation Foreign Minister Togo concluded that the United States still considered that its negotiations with Japan were in the preliminary stage. Ambassador Grew had continually referred to them merely as "conversations". Foreign Minister Togo had stressed that by this time the conversations were well within the realm of "negotiations". Ambassador Grew was apparently satisfied with this term. [124]

 

37. Ambassador Nomura Reveals America's Pessimistic Attitude Toward the Negotiations

 

From informal discussions with various American officials Ambassador Nomura came to the conclusion that America regarded its present negotiations with Japan in a pessimistic light.

On November 10, 1941 Ambassador Nomura sent a summary of the remarks of these Americans to the Foreign Office in Tokyo. [125] As one example of America's attitude Ambassa‑

 


[121] IV, 25‑28.

[122] IV, 69.

[123] IV, 70.

[124] IV, 71.

[125] IV, 72.

 

26

 

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

dor Nomura pointed to a conversation between Frederick Moore, legal advisor to the Japanese Embassy in Washington, and Senator Thomas of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Mr. Moore had reported to Ambassador Nomura that the United States was prepared to fight if Japan made another invasion in the South Pacific. Not only was the American navy ready for action, but psychologically, the American people were expecting a war.

On the previous evening a member of President Roosevelt's Cabinet had discussed the question of Japanese‑American relations with Ambassador Nomura. In view of his friendship with the Japanese Ambassador, this unnamed Cabinet member stated frankly that the United States government was expecting another aggressive move on the part of Japan in the Far East within a few days. Because of this information neither President Roosevelt nor the United States government, as a whole, believed that Ambassador Kurusu's arrival in the United States would be able to improve the present situation. In an attempt to offset this feeling Ambassador Nomura had explained that the Japanese people were forced to take some action because of the American freezing negotiations. Nevertheless, anxious to avoid a war with the United States, Japan desired an immediate agreement. Ambassador Nomura's remarks, however, failed to convince the American Cabinet member. [126]

With the exception of the Daily News and the Hearst papers, Ambassador Nomura reported American newspapers and magazines held the opinion that the American people were more eager for war with Japan than with Germany. Ambassador Nomura firmly believed that the British government was using this American attitude to its own advantage by initiating negotiations for joint Anglo‑American action in the Pacific. Ambassador Nomura reminded his government that at the present time Britain was forced to divert some of its fleet to the Pacific. Even in the event that President Roosevelt and other American statesmen did not desire to replace the British fleet in the Far East with American warships, Ambassador Nomura had it on good authority that the United States could not stop its aid to Britain since by this time it had become a question of saving American "face." Ambassador Nomura concluded his report by stating that he was to confer with President Roosevelt and would submit a more detailed statement on the results of the conversation. [127]

 

38. Roosevelt‑Nomura Conversation (November 10, 1941)

 

a. Secretary Hull's Report [128]

Accompanied by Minister Wakasugi, Ambassador Nomura called on President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull on November 10, 1941. After a few preliminary remarks, Ambassador Nomura read the following communication from the Japanese government. He recalled to the American representatives' minds that on September 25, 1941 the Japanese government made its last proposals. From the observations of the American State Department seen in the answering document of October 2, 1941, the Japanese government had determined that the present difficulties arose from three major points: (1) the application of the principle of non‑discrimination in international commercial relations; (2) the attitude of the two governments toward the European War; (3) the question of the stationing and withdrawing of Japanese forces.

Ambassador Nomura stated that, in regard to the principle of non‑discrimination, the Japanese government had now decided to agree to its application in all the Pacific areas including China, provided that the principle was similarly applied to the rest of the world. Since Secretary Hull had repeatedly stated that it was his long‑cherished desire to apply the non‑discriminatory principle to the whole world, Ambassador Nomura felt that the United States government would be gratified at Japan's statement.

 


[126] Ibid.

[127] IV, 73.

[128] "Memorandum by the Secretary of State"‑November 10, 1941, S.D. II, 715‑719.

 

27

 

On the second question regarding the European war, the Japanese government had proposed on September 25, 1941 that both governments be guided in their conduct by considerations of preservation and self‑defense. However, Ambassador Nomura had been instructed to inquire whether the United States would give assurance that it had no intention of interpreting "preservation and self‑defense" too liberally. On the basis of reciprocity, the Japanese government was willing to give similar reassurances. In the Japanese proposals of September 25, 1941 it was stated that "in case the United States should participate in the European war, Japan would decide entirely independently in the matter of interpretation of the Tripartite Pact between Japan, Germany and Italy and would likewise determine what actions might be taken by way of fulfilling the obligations in accordance with the said interpretation". Under the present circumstances, Japan could not make any further concessions in this matter for, unless there was mutual trust and confidence between Japan and the United States, a thousand words would not be a satisfactory assurance. [128a]

However, in regard to the stationing and withdrawal of Japanese forces, the government in Tokyo had decided to submit further guarantees. Japanese forces would be retained in specified areas of North China, Inner Mongolia and Hainan Island for a certain required time after the restoration of a Japanese‑Chinese peace. The withdrawal of forces from the other parts of occupied China would be accomplished within two years after the establishment of peace and order. Ambassador Nomura emphasized, however, that the Japanese government had made a great many more concessions along these lines than previously. He hoped that the United States government would agree that the complete and immediate withdrawal of Japanese forces from all of China was impracticable at the present time. The recall of forces from French Indo‑China would follow the firm establishment of equitable peace in East Asia by the settlement of the China affair.

After completing his observations on the concessions made by the new Japanese government, Ambassador Nomura read a statement which he had prepared. As viewed from the Japanese standpoint, Ambassador Nomura said, the United States government had shown little signs of reciprocating the concessions forwarded by Japan in an endeavor to terminate the six months of informal conversations successfully. Ambassador Nomura declared that for this reason certain factions in Japan viewed the true intentions of the United States government with skepticism. Japanese public opinion viewed the freezing of Japanese assets as economic warfare insomuch as it cut them off from the supply of materials vital to their industries. From reports of the growing intensity of the situation, Ambassador Nomura concluded that an amicable and satisfactory understanding must be arrived at without any unnecessary loss of time. In an effort to surmount the present difficulties, the Japanese government had submitted these new proposals. Ambassador Nomura was of the firm opinion that if some understanding were reached by the two countries, the psychological effect upon the Japanese people would be extremely favorable. [128b]

Ambassador Nomura then stated that Ambassador Kurusu had been sent to assist him in the present conversations and that parallel conversations would take place in Tokyo between Foreign Minister Togo and Ambassador Grew. Attempting to forestall any misinterpretations of the statements he had made, Ambassador Nomura asked that President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull forgive his transgression from the terminology of trained diplomats since his main objective was the establishment of peace.

In speaking of the present commercial policy which was unfavorable toward Japan, Ambassador Nomura mentioned the sea conference which had taken place between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill. He complained that when Japan went

 


[128a] Ibid.

[128a] Ibid.

 

28

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

into Shantung, they were allowed to remain only some six years, at the end of which time they were forced to move out their troops.

As a means of establishing a basis for peace, stability and order in the Pacific area and, in the time to come, throughout the world, President Roosevelt said he believed it essential to lay practical emphasis on the sound philosophy of human welfare and that the exploratory conversations would achieve favorable results as the American government would expedite the conversations in accordance with the wishes of the Japanese government. However, President Roosevelt desired that Japan demonstrate its intention of pursuing a peaceful course instead of the aggressive one which it had been following up to the present time. Then President Roosevelt declared that during the age through which the world was passing, it was necessary to look one hundred years in the future. He referred to the extra‑territorial costs and the unusual conditions which had been existing throughout China in the past thirty years and he stated that the Chinese government had gone through a new experience. Referring to Ambassador Nomura's statements regarding the Shantung problem, President Roosevelt pointed out that it had taken three years to dispose of that question while the Japanese-American conversations had consumed only six months.

Ambassador Nomura then dwelled briefly on the problem of getting the Japanese troops out of China by degrees, insisting that there would be neither annexation nor indemnity in doing so.

As the interview drew to a close, nothing was said about the time for the next conversation, however, Ambassador Nomura reminded President Roosevelt that Ambassador Kurusu was expected about Saturday, November 15, 1941, and although he had nothing new to add to the present discussion, Ambassador Nomura stated that Mr. Kurusu would assist him in future conversations. President Roosevelt assured the Japanese Ambassador that he expected to confer with Mr. Kurusu. [129]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report

At a conference with President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull held in a private room in the White House in order to avoid newspaper publicity, Ambassador Nomura explained to the American representatives Japan's final concessions toward peace. [130]

Ambassador Nomura began by saying that he had been unable to speak with Secretary Hull for almost three weeks, [131] and ever since the resignation of Prince Konoye's Cabinet Ambassador Nomura had been hoping for an interview with President Roosevelt. Since the informal conversations had been in progress for almost six months the Japanese government at this time hoped for a quick settlement of all the Far Eastern problems. However, as the negotiations dragged on without any apparent progress, the Japanese people had become impatient. In view of the fact that the United States had refused to make any concessions equal to those made by Japan, the Japanese people were doubting America's sincerity. At the present time Japan's domestic situation was serious because the Japanese people were unable to obtain the supply of materials necessary to their industry. Here Ambassador Nomura stated that an economic blockade was as harmful to a country as a shooting war. Nevertheless, anxious to maintain peace in the Pacific, the Japanese government had continued the conversations with the United States representatives. [132]

As a final effort in obtaining its objective, the Japanese government had made a maximum number of concessions in its proposal to the United States. [133]

In response to these remarks President Roosevelt stated that the United States government also had as its main objective the establishment of peace in the Pacific based on the spirit

 


[129] Ibid.

[130] IV, 74‑76.

[131]  Note Ambassador Nomura's conversation with Secretary Hull on November 7, 1941.

[132] IV, 76.

[133] IV, 77.

 

29

 

of fair play. Agreeing with the desire of the Japanese government to continue peace parleys, President Roosevelt said that the United States had two objectives in mind: one, the prevention of war and, two, the maintenance of a lasting peace. [134]

Since the Japanese government appreciated the seriousness of the situation at this time, Ambassador Nomura continued, Ambassador Kurusu was being sent to the Embassy in Washington.

Ambassador Nomura then resumed his explanation of the latest Japanese counter proposals. He stated that these present proposals were based on the former Japanese proposals of September 25, 1941 and modified to meet the demands of the American government expressed in the United States proposals of October 2, 1941 as well as the opinions of Secretary Hull and Under Secretary Welles in subsequent conversations. In regard to the application of the non‑discriminatory commercial policy in the entire Pacific area, Ambassador Nomura pointed out that his government had guaranteed the extension of this policy even to China. In view of the fact that Secretary Hull had continually spoken of his desire to see this commercial policy in practice throughout the world, the Japanese government was certain that its guarantees would meet with the approval of the United States. The attitude of the Japanese government toward the European war, as it had previously stated in its proposal of September 25, 1941. would be based on the need for "protection and self-defense." However, Japan expected to receive a guarantee that the United States would not interpret these terms in too broad a sense. Unless, however, both governments placed unreserved confidence in each other, Ambassador Nomura said, no guarantee would be satisfactory. [135]

In clarifying the third and most important issue between the two governments Ambassador Nomura stated that Japan was now prepared to establish the localities in China where it would be necessary to retain its troops, and also to guarantee the period of occupation. Although realizing that the United States desired to have Japanese forces withdrawn immediately, Ambassador Nomura pointed out that it would be impossible to effect such a move at the present time. However, he urged the United States to consider Japan's concessions in the light of actual circumstances. Ambassador Nomura concluded his remarks by submitting Japan's proposal regarding its troops in French Indo‑China. After Ambassador Nomura had finished, President Roosevelt said that the whole world had fallen into a state of confusion because of the militaristic policies of certain countries. In an attempt to return to normalcy, the United States government has sought the establishment of peace and order in the Pacific. With that goal in mind President Roosevelt himself had assisted in the preliminary conversations in order to find a basis for such peace. Before going any further, however, President Roosevelt felt it necessary to receive a definite guarantee that the Japanese government intended to cease its aggression and adopt a peaceful course in the Far East. [136]

In an attempt to abolish the economic limitations to which Japan referred, President Roosevelt continued, he had conferred with Prime Minister Churchill on the issue of nondiscrimination. Both countries' main objection to Germany was the fact that it followed a policy contrary to that idea while both Great Britain and the United States wished to apply the principle of non‑discrimination to the entire world. Referring to the administration of President Taft when the United States had resorted to a policy of force in Cuba, President Roosevelt pointed out that America's relations with the Latin American countries had been highly favorable. Once the United States had adopted a new and peaceful policy, relations

 


[134] IV, 75.

[135] IV, 77.

[136] IV, 78.

 

30

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

with those countries had improved. At this point Ambassador Nomura reminded President Roosevelt that America's economic pressure was now causing the anti‑American attitude throughout Japan. President Roosevelt continued his remarks by stating that it was necessary to find a modus vivendi before a satisfactory conciliation could be worked out between the two countries. Ambassador Nomura interpreted this statement to mean that President Roosevelt desired a provisional agreement. As the conference drew to a close, President Roosevelt asked whether Ambassador Kurusu was bringing additional Japanese proposals from Tokyo. Ambassador Nomura replied that Mr. Kurusu's only reason for coming was to act as an assistant to the Japanese Ambassador. Since President Roosevelt was leaving for Warm Springs, Georgia, on November 15, 1941 to attend a Thanksgiving celebration there, he hoped for the opportunity of conversing with Ambassador Kurusu before his departure. [137]

 

39. Japanese‑American Conversation (November 10,1941) [138]

 

Because of an interruption, Ambassador Nomura had failed to make two points clear to Secretary Hull during the conversation earlier that morning. Therefore, Minister Wakasugi called upon Mr. Joseph W. Ballantine to make an appointment for Ambassador Nomura to see Secretary Hull either on the evening of November 10, 1941 or in the morning of November 11.

The first of the points to be discussed in the next conversation related to Japan's desire to reach some successful agreement before the Japanese Diet met on November 15, 1941. The second point was in connection with Secretary Hull's statement made on November 7, 1941 proposing the development of a new relationship between Japan and China by means of mutual pledges of conciliation and friendship.

Mr. Wakasugi said that the Japanese government was extremely interested in Secretary Hull's proposals and desired that he elaborate on them further. Mr. Ballantine promised to speak with Secretary Hull and relay his message to Minister Wakasugi. [139]

 

40. Japan Doubts America's Awareness of the Critical Situation

 

From the fact that little progress had been made in the informal conversations, Foreign Minister Togo concluded that the United States did not appreciate how critical the situation in the Far East actually was. [140] In order to emphasize this fact Foreign Minister Togo urged Ambassador Nomura to speak to Secretary Hull and other American representatives in order to give them a clear picture of Japanese‑American relations. As Foreign Minister Togo had stated in previous messages to the Japanese Ambassador, a settlement of some kind must be reached before November 25, 1941. The Japanese Parliament would begin its session on November 15, 1941 and before its meeting was concluded it would be necessary that Japan have on hand at least a tentative agreement with the United States. [141]

 

41. The German Government Makes Demands on Japan

 

As Tokyo had informed Ambassador Nomura over a month ago the German government was demanding that Japan force the United States to cease its action against the Axis powers. Unless some definite measures were taken, Berlin warned, the German government would be

 


[137] IV, 79.

[138] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Joseph W. Ballantine, November‑10, 1941, S.D. II, 719.

[139] Ibid.

[140] It should be noted that the New York Times announced the approach of a diplomatic crisis (November 11, 1941, 1:13), warning the American public that the Japanese were expected to strike in early December (November 12, 1941, 7:1, 4).

[141] IV, 80.

 

31

 

forced to convoke the Tripartite Pact, thus ending any negotiations between Japan and the United States. [142]

Since the time of that first message from Berlin, the Japanese government had received two additional demands from the German government. However, Foreign Minister Togo had attempted to convince the German Ambassador on November 6, 1941 that Japan would be more likely to convince the United States that it should cease action against Germany after Japanese‑American negotiations had been brought to a successful conclusion. 143

 

42. Foreign Minister Togo Confers with Ambassador Craigie (November 11, 1941)

 

Although Ambassador Craigie had called upon Foreign Minister Togo to discuss other business, the representative of the two countries turned the conversation to the subject of Japanese‑American negotiations. Ambassador Craigie stated that the British government was not aware of the full details of those conversations under way in Washington. However, since the success of those negotiations would affect British interests in the Far East, the English government was naturally interested in their success. Once the United States and Japan had reached an agreement on the basic principles for peace and the two countries were ready for real negotiations, Great Britain wished to enter into an agreement with both the United States and Japan. [144]

In reply Foreign Minister Togo stated that the matters under discussion between his government and the United States greatly affected England. It was the Japanese government's desire that Great Britain enter into an agreement with both the United States and Japan at an appropriate time. Although not fully informed on the progress already made during these informal conversations, Ambassador Craigie said he assumed negotiations were still in the preliminary stages. By way of refuting this assumption Foreign Minister Togo pointed out that the Japanese had already handed the United States government its final proposal in an effort to bring the negotiations to a speedy close. [145] At this point in the conversation Foreign Minister Togo took the opportunity to refer to a speech made by Prime Minister Churchill in which he issued a warning to Japan. [146] Since the British Prime Minister had stated in the same speech that he knew nothing of the developments of the Japanese‑American negotiations, Foreign Minister Togo suggested that in the future British statesmen find a basis for their remarks and not issue unfounded threats capable of forming a breach in Japanese‑British diplomacy.

Turning the conversation back to the latest Japanese proposals, Foreign Minister Togo said that if the United States found them in accord with its own basic principles, an agreement could be reached within ten days. If, on the other hand, the United States refused to accept Japan's terms, all negotiations would cease. In view of the fact that there were factions within Japan itself working against the re‑establishment of Japanese‑American and Japanese‑British relations, Foreign Minister Togo felt it necessary to conclude an understanding without delay. Since the Japanese government had made the maximum concessions to date, only the attitude of Great Britain and the United States would stand in the way of peace. From Ambassador Craigie's general attitude Foreign Minister Togo concluded that the British representative

 


[142] IV, 277.

[143] IV,  81.

[144] IV, 82.

[145] Ibid.

[146] At the luncheon of the Lord Mayor of London on November 10, 1941, the Prime Minister Churchill stated that Great Britain would declare war on Japan immediately if war broke out between the United States and Japan, New York Times, November 11, 1941, 1:1, 2. The Japanese press replied to Prime Minister Churchill's speech by saying it was "an outrageous but crafty British plot to involve the United States in a war in the Pacific for the protection of British interests."

 

32

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

understood for the first time how critical the situation actually was. Ambassador Craigie promised to report the details of his conversation with the Japanese Foreign Minister to the British government immediately. When reporting this conversation to Ambassador Nomura on November 11, 1941 Foreign Minister Togo pointed out that the United States government still considered the negotiations in the preliminary stage, and it was necessary that Ambassador Nomura correct this opinion. [147]

 

43. Ambassador Nomura Seeks Clarification of Tripartite Pact Issues

 

On November 11, 1941 Ambassador Nomura sent a message to the Japanese Foreign Office requesting clarification of certain details involving the Tripartite Pact. Ambassador Nomura asked whether Foreign Minister Togo in his conversation with Ambassador Grew has emphasized the point that the Japanese government assumed the United States agreed with Japan's definition of its obligations under the Tripartite Pact as set forth in the Japanese proposal of September 25, 1941. Actually, however, Ambassador Nomura reminded the Foreign Minister that the United States' oral statement of October 2, 1941 indicated that America did not agree with this Japanese interpretation. During Minister Wakasugi's conversations with Under Secretary of States Welles it was merely noted that "the United States also gave indications that adjustments in this matter may be a possibility." Although both the United States and Japanese representatives were exchanging notes in spite of the fact that no definite decision had been made with regard to the Tripartite Pact issues, Ambassador Nomura wished these various points cleared up in order that no misunderstanding might arise from them. [148]

 

44. The Chinese Ambassador Confers with President Roosevelt

 

Ambassador Nomura reported on November 11, 1941 that the Chinese Ambassador to the United States had called on President Roosevelt on the previous day. Since the interview had lasted only two minutes, the purpose of the Chinese Ambassador's visit was probably to hand the American President a written document. Although unable to determine the contents of this document, Ambassador Nomura had passed on the scant information he had obtained to his government hoping that it might be of some value to them. [149]

 

45. Mr. Kase Calls on Ambassador Grew (November 12, 1941)

 

At the request of Foreign Minister Togo, Mr. Kase called on Ambassador Grew on November 12, 1941. [150] Mr. Kase explained to Ambassador Grew that although Mr. Togo could not speak with complete freedom on certain subjects to the American representative, he nevertheless desired to give the United States a complete understanding of how the present situation affected the Japanese government. From the latest reports of Ambassador Nomura's conversations with President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull, Mr. Togo was deeply concerned about America's inadequate appreciation of the urgency of the situation.

Since the Japanese government had made the greatest possible concessions to the United States, Foreign Minister Togo considered official negotiations between Japan and the United States to be in their final stage. When Prime Minister Konoye's government had been in power, it had conducted the conversations with the support of the entire country but since no tangible progress had been made, Japanese public opinion regarded the United States' delay as a means of concealing preparations underway for the complete encirclement of Japan. Therefore, the present Japanese Cabinet had undertaken the task of reaching an agreement with the United States against much opposition and if any appreciable delay were encoun‑

 


[147] IV, 82.

[148] IV, 83.

[149] IV, 84.

[150] "Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)" November 12, 1941, S.D. II, 719‑722.

 

33

 

tered, a very critical state of affairs would result. Not only would Mr. Togo's official position be imperiled, but his very life would be at stake. Nevertheless, Mr. Kase added that Foreign Minister Togo had the courage to continue his attempts for the re‑establishment of friendly relations between Japan and the United States fully aware of the consequences of failure.

Ambassador Grew remarked that Mr. Kase's observations were generally the same as those expressed by former Foreign Minister Toyoda and Prime Minister Konoye during former conversations. Mr. Kase insisted that there was considerable difference between the present situation and the previous one and again he emphasized the vital importance of concluding present negotiations successfully. [151]

At this point in the conversation, Ambassador Grew read Secretary Hull's report of the interview with Ambassador Nomura on November 7, 1941.15 After reading the report, Mr. Kase stated that Ambassador Nomura's details on the conversation were very similar.

Mr. Kase said that Foreign Minister Toyoda was especially interested in Secretary Hull's suggestion that the Chinese government might be willing to express a desire to seek peaceful cooperation with Japan. Since that suggestion was generally linked with the whole adjustment of the Pacific problem, Ambassador Grew felt that it would come under the cognizance of Ambassador Nomura and Secretary Hull.

Next, Mr. Kase inquired whether Ambassador Grew had received an account of the conversation between President Roosevelt and Ambassador Nomura held on November 10, 1941. Replying that there was probably little difference between that conversation and the one between the Japanese Ambassador and Secretary Hull on November 7, 1941, Ambassador Grew said that the American State Department had failed to send him that report as yet. Mr. Kase said that the conversations were entirely different in tone.

Ambassador Grew then handed Mr. Kase a copy of his report dealing with the interview with Foreign Minister Togo on November 10, 1941. After reading it over, Mr. Kase stated that the report was inaccurate in one sense since Mr. Togo had never stated that "he did not wish to press the point" regarding the transference of the informal conversations into "official negotiations". Although he did not contradict Mr. Kase, Ambassador Grew, in his report to the American State Department, pointed out that Counselor Dooman's notes taken during the conversation, revealed that Mr. Togo had actually made such a statement in Japanese. [153]

From this conversation with Mr. Kase, Ambassador Grew (in his personal comments forwarded to the State Department) noted that considerable doubt had been cast on the alleged message received from Foreign Minister Togo through the prominent Japanese informant on November 7, 1941. [154] In this message Foreign Minister Togo had supposedly said that although he could not express himself with unrestrained freedom, he nevertheless, wished to make a suggestion. He said that the Tojo government had decided upon the maximum concessions that it would be willing to make in order to meet the desires of the United States. However, even if these concessions were regarded as inadequate by the United States, the Japanese government believed that the Washington conferences should continue. [155] However, after talking with Mr. Kase, Ambassador Grew was convinced that the message received through the Japanese informant was misleading. Even at the time of its delivery, Ambassador Grew had been somewhat surprised at its contents, yet he had no grounds on which to question its accuracy. Although it appeared obvious even now that the Japanese government would prefer a continuation of the informal conversations to a complete breakdown of negotiations, nevertheless, Ambassador Grew appreciated the dangerous situation which would result if these

 


[151] Ibid.

[152] See "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑November 7, 1941, S.D. II, 706‑709.

[153] S.D. 11, 719‑722.

[154] "Memorandum of Comment by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)"‑November 12, 1941, S.D. II, 722.

[155] "Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)"‑November 7, 1941, S.D. II, 705.

 

34

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

conversations dragged on and produced no definite progress. While realizing that Japan must take the initiative in these conversations, Ambassador Grew did not feel authorized to say whether the Japanese proposals of November 7, 1941 constituted the maximum number of concessions that it would be willing to make. [156]

 

46. Ambassador Nomura Seeks English Translation of Proposal B

 

In view of the fact that Japanese‑American relations had not progressed as a result of the Japanese proposals, it was evident that Ambassador Nomura would have to present the United States government with the alternate proposal B. In order that there might be no misunderstanding arising with the presentation of this proposal, Ambassador Nomura requested that Tokyo send him an English translation of this proposal immediately. [157]

 

47. Japanese Official Analyzes Roosevelt's Domestic and Foreign Strategy

 

On November 12, 1941 a Japanese intelligence official in Washington sent Tokyo a report on the Roosevelt administration's method of dealing with the Japanese‑American situation. [158] In an effort to aid in the defeat of Germany President Roosevelt had inaugurated military, economic, and industrial measures which would eventually lead America into complete war. By assisting Great Britain it had already entered the conflict on the high seas. While the United States army was not yet equipped to fight a war with Germany on land, for the present, at least, the United States navy could engage German warships on the high seas. Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that President Roosevelt had almost dictatorial powers in regard to Congress and the military officials, the American people were not in complete sympathy with his policies. For example, on November 10, 1941 the Times Herald had stated that Roosevelt was as much a dictator as Hitler or Stalin. Furthermore, the America First Committee was secretly working to impeach President Roosevelt. On October 30, 1941 at Madison Square Garden 8,000 members of the America First Committee gathered as a demonstration against the foreign policies of the present United States government. [158a]

In Washington a former American Ambassador demanded that President Roosevelt be forced to resign his position as President by means of a referendum. He even went so far as to state that President Roosevelt might easily die during this disastrous period in the nation's history. This statement drew great applause from the audience. Apparently, the Japanese intelligence official went on to say, the move to impeach President Roosevelt was wide‑spread and was initiated by many varying factions. An editorial in the Times Herald on November 4, 1941 warned that it would be impossible for Congress to impeach President Roosevelt because of the whip he held over the army and navy. Nevertheless, the editorial in this and other papers did mention the possibility of President Roosevelt's being impeached at some time, and the Japanese intelligence official believed this to be extremely significant.

As an indication that the American people were not entirely behind President Roosevelt's aid to Britain, the Japanese official cited the occurrence in Detroit when Ambassador Halifax was pelted with eggs. The American public as a whole had begun to view the prospect of war in its unprecedented aspects and after the sinking of the Reuben James the country received a great shock. Although President Roosevelt took advantage of this sinking to declare an unlimited national emergency, in his speech on October 27, 1941 he did not stress foreign questions but placed his emphasis almost entirely upon America's internal problems. [159]

 


[156] S.D. II, 722.

[157] IV, 85.

[158] IV, 86.

[158a] Ibid.

[159] IV, 87, DoD comment, name withheld.

 

35

 

During the past few months even the attitude of Congress toward Roosevelt had been affected by public opinion. In spite of the fact that the Senate had approved the entrance of armed merchantmen into war zones, the actual victory was only by the small margin of fifty to thirty‑seven. It was obvious then, that the people of the United States feared the German war machine. In general the American people believed that the Japanese were exhausted from their four years of war with China, and that, if war took place between Japan and the United States, Japan would quickly be defeated. If war were declared upon Japan, President Roosevelt could declare an unlimited emergency, disperse the America First Committee, and crush all opposition to his administration. The Japanese official believed that in time, president Roosevelt, using the Japanese as a tool, could even prepare the American people for a war with Germany, Japan's ally.

Viewed from any aspect a Japanese‑American war, according to the Japanese intelligence official, would be disastrous to Japan. Germany at the present time was anxious to conclude peace with England and should American aid to the British be slowed down Germany might possibly be able to accomplish this plan. It was doubtful whether Germany would let Japan stand in its way if the end of the war were in sight. [160]

In warning his government of the dangers of a war with the United States the Japanese intelligence official pointed out still further that the present Japanese‑American relations were heading both countries toward armed conflict. In view of that fact the Japanese official suggested that his government devise some temporary understanding with the United States in order to alleviate the economic pressure upon the Japanese people and to allow conditions in the Pacific to return to some semblance of normalcy. Reminding his government that President Roosevelt had taken an active interest in the European war when Germany invaded the Netherlands, the Japanese official pointed out that President Roosevelt would inevitably enter the war against the Nazis and would declare war on the German government rather than the Japanese. Japan could then hope to obtain a complete and satisfactory agreement with the American government. [161]

 

48. Japanese Naval Activity Seen in the Mandates

 

In spite of the warnings of Japanese officials in the United States to curtail operations in the Pacific that might lead to war with America, the Japanese government continued preparations for future aggression.

On November 12, 1941 American traffic analysts disclosed that during the month of October new call signs had appeared in Mandate traffic indicating a decided increase in Japanese forces there. In fact, the Islands of Truk, Palau, Jaluit and Saipan were being included in dispatches which would not affect them under ordinary circumstances. Apparently several new units were even being added to the Sixth Base Force in the Jaluit area. [162]

 

49. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 12, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [163]

Since he had made an appointment on November 10, 1941 for another conversation with Mr. Hull, Ambassador Nomura, accompanied by Mr. Wakasugi, called at the apartment of the American Secretary of State on November 12, 1941. Before beginning the conversation, Secretary Hull handed Ambassador Nomura a statement which he had prepared in response

 


[160] IV, 88.

[161] IV, 89.

[162] IV, 90.

[163] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑November 12, 1941. S.D. II, 722‑726, Initialed by Joseph W. Ballantine.

 

36

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

to a request from Minister Wakasugi for a further elaboration of Secretary Hull's views on the development of a true friendship between Japan and China. [164]

In Secretary Hull's oral statement reference was made to Ambassador Nomura's request for an amplification of the suggestion made on November 7, 1941 for the mutual exchange of pledges of cooperation between Japan and China. [165] Secretary Hull reminded the Japanese representatives that he had made this suggestion after Ambassador Nomura had pointed out that if Japanese troops were removed from all areas of China, the Japanese people would have no tangible gains from their four years of heavy sacrifice. Since Europe was threatened with anarchy, Secretary Hull believed that Japan held in its power the unique opportunity for enhancing its national prestige by moral force. If the Chinese government were able to cooperate with Japan along peaceful and beneficial lines and Japan found it possible to reciprocate in a policy of mutual conciliation, the Japanese government would be making a contribution toward arresting the destructive forces that now menaced civilization. [166] In this way Japan would assume leadership in a peaceful world.

What Secretary Hull envisioned in his suggestion was the practical application of basic principles directed toward the preservation of social and economic order by means of which all nations of the world would be able to collaborate peacefully, unthreatened by aggrandizement or discrimination of any kind. Such a policy would provide for liberalization of trade while, at the same time, affording access to, and development of, natural resources for the benefit of all peoples. At this critical moment in world history, the adoption of such a plan by the Japanese government would be attributed to its far‑sighted statesmanship. [167]

After reading Ambassador Nomura this oral statement, Secretary Hull then said that in order to avoid any misunderstanding with regard to the concessions already agreed upon by the Japanese government, and in order to ascertain whether the new Japanese Ministry was willing to retain the former proposals, he had drawn up a statement on this subject. In this second oral statement handed to Ambassador Nomura concerned with the former Japanese concessions, the United States government reminded Japan that the documents handed to the President of the United States on August 28, 1941 by Ambassador Nomura asserted that "Japan is solicitous for the maintenance of the peace of the Pacific and the peace of the world . . . . ." Because of this attitude the Japanese government at that time thanked the United States for the invitation to conduct negotiations with the goal of establishing a workable understanding. In order to attain a united effort toward the peaceful settlement of the entire Pacific situation, the Japanese government stated that it was willing to make certain sacrifices. Denying any intention of threatening other countries by the stationing of its troops in Indo-China, the Japanese government stated that it "is prepared to withdraw its troops from French Indo‑China as soon as the China Incident is settled or a just peace is established in East Asia". This same pledge of its peaceful intentions was made applicable to Thailand at the same time. [168]

In this document Japan made specific reference to the Soviet Union by declaring that as long as Russia remained faithful to the Soviet‑Japanese Neutrality Treaty by menacing neither Japan or Manchukuo, the Japanese government would maintain friendly relations

 


[164] Ibid.

[165] "Oral statement handed by the Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura)"‑November 12, 1941, S.D. II, 726‑727. For Japanese version of this oral statement sent to Tokyo by Ambassador Nomura and decoded by American cryptanalysts see IV, 97‑99.

[166] Ibid.

[167] Ibid.

[168] "Oral Statement handed by the Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura)"‑November 12, 1941, S.D. II 727‑729. For Japanese version of this oral statement sent to Tokyo by Ambassador Nomura and decoded by American cryptanalysts see IV, 93‑96.

 

37

 

with that country. "In a word, the Japanese government has no intention of using, without provocation, military force against any neighboring nation." Since Japan was in accordance with the practical application of the principles set forth by the United States government, it had insisted that it desired to continue the informal discussions in order to work out a progressive program by peaceful methods.

Since a new Cabinet had come into office in Japan, the United States government asked assurance that the position of the Japanese government had not changed in regard to the matters stated. When the United States had handed its last document to Japan on October 2, 1941, it had pointed out the difficulty in understanding Japan's apparent need for qualifying certain statements of policy. The United States government had in mind such phrases as:

 

"As long as the Soviet Union remains faithful to the Soviet‑Japanese Neutrality Treaty and does not menace Manchukuo or take any action contrary to the spirit of said treaty‑"

"Without provocation‑"

"Without any justifiable reason‑"

 

In answer, Minister Wakasugi on October 13, 1941, had stated that those qualifications were the result of unfortunate phraseology and the Japanese government was willing to omit them. The United States government asked whether the new Japanese Cabinet confirmed Minister Wakasugi's statement.

In attempting to avoid any misunderstanding, Secretary Hull pointed out that the United States government had not directed any of the foregoing observations at the new proposals submitted by Ambassador Nomura on November 7 and November 10, 1941. The United States government also assured Japan that it had no desire to delay negotiations and that it would expedite consideration of the latest proposals of the Japanese government. [169]

After receiving these documents, Ambassador Nomura emphasized that the Japanese government wished to expedite the settlement of any problems with the United States before the impending session of the Japanese Diet because further delay would increase the difficult internal situation in Japan. He requested that some agreement be reached within a week or ten days. Assuring the Japanese Ambassador that the United States government was working as rapidly as possible to reach a decision on the Japanese proposals handed to President Roosevelt on November 10, 1941, Secretary Hull commented that some discussion with the Chinese government might be had as soon as a good basis in the exploratory conversations were reached. At the same time, however, certain of Japan's points regarding commercial policies had not been clarified sufficiently. Secretary Hull asked if the Japanese government intended to have Great Britain and other countries come to some sort of an agreement on commercial equality.

Next, Secretary Hull referred to the difficulty arising from Japan's adherence to the Tripartite Pact. Replying that Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact were limited, Ambassador Nomura reminded Secretary Hull that Great Britain had remained neutral in the war between Japan and Russia despite the existing Anglo‑Japanese alliance. Even if the United States were to understand the attitude of the present Japanese Cabinet toward the Axis Powers, however, Secretary Hull remarked, there was always the possibility of another government's coming into power in Japan. In view of this possibility and in consideration of the growing distress of conquered European peoples, Secretary Hull declared that it was necessary to prepare for a postwar program, one in which Japan should play a constructive part by uniting with peaceful forces in opposition to Hitler in order to avert further disaster. Ambassador Nomura insisted that as time went on Japan would be less affected by Axis ties just as the Anglo‑Japanese alliance had died after the conclusion of the Russo‑Japanese War. If the proposed agreements were put to a practical application, Ambassador Nomura felt that Japan would not be forced to gain access to materials and markets by aggressive means. Secretary

 


[169] Ibid.

 

38

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Hull agreed that the Tripartite Pact would not be a problem; that Japan and the United States could work out their agreement along other lines. [169a]

In speaking of the Japanese‑Chinese situation, Secretary Hull, in reply to Ambassador Nomura's question about the United States intercession in the matter, stated that when matters got beyond an exploratory stage, the United States would wish to talk over the subject with the Chinese, British and Dutch and then re‑discuss the matter with Japan. Commenting on the two documents handed to the Japanese Ambassador by Secretary Hull which both Ambassador Nomura and Minister Wakasugi had just read, the Japanese Minister asked whether the United States would bring Japan and China together for a mutual exchange of peaceful pledges. Not wishing to commit himself, Secretary Hull said that the main problem was to dispose of basic matters relating to the provisions for a peace settlement; the questions of procedure could be easily settled. Because of some preconception that Secretary Hull's suggestion about a Japanese‑Chinese peace contained more than appeared at first glance, the Japanese representatives kept going over these points during the conversation.

Taking up the Japanese concessions discussed in the second document of the United States government, Minister Wakasugi pointed out that America referred to the Japanese statement of August 28, 1941. The Japanese government wished to use its document of September 25, 1941 as a basis for any discussions. In an attempt to clarify an obvious misunderstanding on the part of the United States government, Minister Wakasugi stated that in the conversation with Under Secretary of State Welles, referred to in the United States' document, he had been alluding to phrases used in the proposals of September 25, 1941. In doing so, he had merely stated that there might have been some unfortunate phraseology in translation which could be improved after comparison with the original Japanese text. Secretary Hull thanked the Japanese Minister for calling his attention to this misunderstanding. [169b]

By way of answering Ambassador Nomura's question regarding the continuation of United States aid to Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek during Japanese‑Chinese peace negotiations, Secretary Hull stated that ways would be found for safeguarding the rights of all countries concerned by some agreement. Secretary Hull did not agree with Ambassador Nomura that the negotiations for peace would drag on for an interminable period. However, Ambassador Nomura commented that if an agreement between Japan and the United States failed on the question of Japan's retention of troops in China, then the Chinese government would hold the key to future relations between Japan and the United States and this might eventually result in war. Whether the United States interceded in the Chinese Affair or not, Secretary Hull insisted, the settlement would naturally be in harmony with the proposed Pacific settlement as a whole. At the same time, however, he took the opportunity to point out to the Japanese representatives that their retention of troops in China was inconsistent with one of the basic principles, namely interference in the internal affairs of other nations. Although he did not offer anything definite on this point, Ambassador Nomura disclaimed any desire on the part of Japan to retain its troops in China permanently.

As the conversation drew to a close, Secretary Hull assured Ambassador Nomura and Minister Wakasugi that the United States government was giving careful consideration to the latest Japanese proposals and it was hoped that some definite statement could be made concerning them on November 14, 1941. [170]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report [171]

After his conversation with President Roosevelt on November 10, 1941, Ambassador Nomura had made an appointment to discuss the Pacific problems with Secretary Hull. Although

 


[169a] S.D. II, 722‑726.

[169b] Ibid.

[170] Ibid.

[171] IV, 91.

 

39

 

November 11, 1941 was the Armistice holiday Secretary Hull promised to study the Japanese proposal with other American representatives and discuss the results of this conversation with Ambassador Nomura on November 12, 1941.

At 3:00 p.m. on November 12, 1941, Ambassador Nomura and Minister Wakasugi met with Secretary Hull and Mr. Ballantine. [172] As a reply to the Japanese counter proposals Secretary Hull handed Ambassador Nomura two oral statements. [173] Secretary Hull requested that Ambassador Nomura ascertain the attitude of the new Japanese Cabinet toward each of these statements. Since the second of these oral statements concerned a proposal for peace between Japan and China, the representatives of both countries discussed the China affair in detail. Although a more definite proposal would not be forthcoming from the American government for two days Secretary Hull stated that if the basic principles applied to the Pacific, such as non‑discrimination in commerce, could be similarly applied to China, a complete settlement of Far Eastern affairs could be effected. Ambassador Nomura pointed out that if the Chinese question continued to play a key role in Japanese‑American negotiations, the desired understanding would be delayed. Secretary Hull merely replied vaguely that if the general Pacific principles were applied to China as well as to the other countries of the Far Eastern Pacific an immediate understanding would be possible. After speaking with representatives of England and the Netherlands, Secretary Hull had come to the conclusion that those two governments might sign an agreement with Japan similar to that worked out between Japan and the United States. However, Secretary Hull stated that he had not yet spoken to the Chinese representatives about this matter. [174] At this point in the conversation Mr. Ballantine pointed out that it had been stated in the American proposal of June 21, 1941, that the United States would not allow Japan to inflict upon other countries conditions conflicting with America's basic principles. Anxious to get more definite details regarding Secretary Hull's proposal for Japanese-Chinese peace Minister Wakasugi asked whether the United States intended to secure a peace guarantee from China and then transmit it to Japan, or whether the three countries would meet together in a conference. Minister Wakasugi also wished to know at what stage in the Japanese‑American negotiations the United States would secure this peace pledge from China. To all these questions Secretary Hull avoided giving a definite reply. However, he intimated his intention to mediate between Japan and China in order . to obtain the desired peace. Furthermore, the American Secretary of State appeared confident that once Japanese-American negotiations were in their final stages the problem regarding Japanese‑Chinese peace could be settled without any difficulty. [175]

In an attempt to make the American representative understand Japan's position in regard to the stationing of troops in China, Ambassador Nomura pointed out that under his government's new proposal the troops would be removed within a specified time. Although Secretary Hull replied that the stationing of Japanese troops in China constituted interference in the affairs of other nations; nevertheless, he seemed satisfied with Ambassador Nomura's explanation on this point.

The conversation then turned to Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact. Secretary Hull stated frankly that his government did not understand why Japan persisted in regarding the Tripartite Pact as a defensive measure when Hitler was carrying out a brutal offensive against the small nations of Europe. Once the European war was over, Secretary Hull said, the United States would have to take charge of the people throughout that hemisphere. If some understanding could be worked out now between Japan and the United States and a similar one between Japan, England and the Netherlands, the stability of the Pacific would

 


[172] IV, 92.

[173] S.D. II, 727‑729; IV, 93‑99.

[174] IV, 92. See IV, 84 which reports an interview between the Chinese Ambassador and President Roosevelt.

[175] IV, 100.

 

40

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

be insured, and Japan would be given an opportunity to cooperate in the establishment of the European peace. Minister Wakasugi denied that the Tripartite Pact constituted a threat to any peace plan. In proving his point he reminded Secretary Hull that the Japanese‑British alliance was in effect throughout the Russo‑Japanese War and was later nullified at the Washington conference. Minister Wakasugi insisted that the situation changed with the circumstances. [176] Furthermore, Minister Wakasugi said, Japan would not be forced to adopt aggressive policies if it could secure petroleum and other necessary raw materials from the United States and the Netherlands East Indies by normal trade measures. Since the Japanese government actually wished to apply the nondiscriminatory policy to all its commercial transactions, Minister Wakasugi believed that the United States would be willing to adopt Japan's latest proposals. In reply Secretary Hull agreed that the situation was extremely critical at this time. Nevertheless, he maintained that the problems which had accumulated over a period of ten years could not be settled over night. Minister Wakasugi reminded Secretary Hull that some agreement should be reached before the Japanese Diet convened in Tokyo on November 25, 1941.

As a result of the discussion Ambassador Nomura concluded that the United States was continuing to study the three major problems existing between its government and Japan as well as the Japanese proposals of September 25, 1941. Since Ambassador Nomura was not satisfied with the American attitude toward the conversations, however, he instructed Minister Wakasugi to confer with Secretary Hull and reemphasize the need for an immediate decision. [177]

 

50. Ambassador Kurusu Reports on American Pessimism

 

While en route to the United States by clipper, Ambassador Kurusu reported meeting Mr. Hozuituk, a member of the Cooper party, who had recently gone on a Far Eastern tour. While conversing with this man Ambassador Kurusu learned that the Cooper party felt Ambassador Kurusu's mission was a lost cause since Japanese‑American negotiations would never culminate in a successful peace settlement. In reporting this attitude to Tokyo on November 13, 1941, Ambassador Kurusu asked whether the American public was influenced in any way by the pessimistic point of view of the Cooper party. Ambassador Kurusu felt that it might be of some value to learn the actual influence that this party had in the United States. [178]

 

51. Japan Revises Text of Proposal B

 

On November 13, 1941 the Japanese government sent Ambassador Nomura instructions for changing certain phrases in Proposal B. In its revised form Section I of the addendum was to read: "As required upon having a joint agreement assuredly established between Japan and China or as soon as a just peace is made in the Pacific area, Japan has no objection to promising to evacuate her troops dispatched to French Indo‑China at present. [179]

 

52. Foreign Minister Togo Questions American Interpretation of Proposals

 

On November 13, 1941, Foreign Minister Togo sent Ambassador Nomura a message questioning America's interpretation of certain phases of the Japanese proposals. [180] For example, Foreign Minister Togo stated that Ambassador Grew had shown him a digest of the Japanese Ambassador's conversation with Secretary Hull on November 7, 1941. In Ambassador Grew's report Secretary Hull asked Ambassador Nomura directly for a "concrete statement of Japan's

 


[176] IV, 101.

[177] IV, 102.

[178] IV, 103.

[179] IV, 104, 29. (Note that the English translation of this section of the Proposal B mentioned in 104 differs from that found in 29. )

[180] IV, 105.

 

41

 

relations with the Axis powers." Since Ambassador Nomura had made no mention of this phrase in his message to Tokyo regarding the conversation with Secretary Hull, Foreign Minister Togo asked for a more complete report on it. From the attitude of the United States toward the present negotiations it was apparent that the American government still thought of the conversations as being in their preliminary stages. On November 12, 1941, Foreign Minister Togo stated that he had mentioned this to Ambassador Grew, warning him that the seriousness of the situation forced both countries to consider these negotiations as final. Foreign Minister Togo asked Ambassador Nomura to press Secretary Hull with this point. The Japanese Foreign Minister warned Ambassador Nomura that Ambassador Grew had shown him the report of the Hull‑Nomura conversations only through his own personal courtesy, therefore he warned Ambassador Nomura not to make any mention of it to American representatives in Washington. [181]

 

53. Finance Official Nishiyama to Study Japanese‑American Negotiations

 

Possibly because of the effect of American economic and commercial results upon Japan, on November 12, 1941, Finance Official Nishiyama was ordered to study all matters relating to the Japanese‑American negotiations. Mr. Okinobu Kikaya, the Japanese Finance Minister, evidently convinced that these negotiations were the focal point of the recent international situation was to confirm his instructions to Mr. Nishiyama in a later message. [182]

 

54. Japan Seeks Undelayed Chinese Peace Negotiations

 

In commenting upon the report of the conversation between Secretary Hull, Ambassador Nomura and Minister Wakasugi, the Japanese Foreign Office reminded its representatives in Washington that Japan was interested in Secretary Hull's Chinese peace proposal only insofar as it could simplify the settlement of that Pacific problem. The Japanese government had no desire to carry on prolonged conversations related to it. In regard to the possible materialization of Secretary Hull's peace plan, Tokyo reminded Minister Wakasugi in particular that it would be opposed to a conference conducted by the consular representatives of Japan, the United States and China. [183]

 

55. Japanese‑American Conversations (November 13, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [184]

At his own request Minister Wakasugi called to see Mr. Ballantine on November 13, 1941. Recalling President Roosevelt's desire to see Mr. Kurusu upon his arrival, Minister Wakasugi informed the American representative that Ambassador Kurusu would arrive in Washington on Saturday afternoon, November 15, 1941.

Minister Wakasugi then turned the conversation to the United States' misunderstanding of a statement he had made to Under Secretary of State Welles on October 13, 1941. The United States had referred to Minister Wakasugi's remark in the oral statement handed Ambassador Nomura on November 12, 1941. Attempting to clear up completely this misunderstanding, Minister Wakasugi said that he had declared to Mr. Welles, that "there may have been some unfortunate phraseology in the English translation of our instructions, as we are not very sure of our English. If there are such phrases the wording might be adjusted." When making this remark Minister Wakasugi said that he had been referring to the Japanese document of September 25, 1941, and not to that delivered on August 28, 1941.

 


[181] Ibid.

[182] IV, 106.

[183] IV, 107.

[184] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Joseph W. Ballantine‑November 13, 1941, S.D. II, 729‑731.

 

42



THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Impressing upon Mr. Ballantine the desperate situation current in Japan, Minister Wakasugi urged that some concrete understanding be reached between the two governments before the Japanese Parliament convened on Saturday, November 15, 1941. It was Minister Wakasugi's understanding that the United States government would give a reply to the Japanese proposals of November 7 and November 10, 1941, on the following day. In correcting Minister Wakasugi, Mr. Ballantine pointed out that Secretary Hull had said he only hoped that some statement might be forthcoming on that day. Re‑emphasizing that the Japanese government wanted to avoid any further interchange of comment on the proposals submitted, Minister Wakasugi said that he hoped Secretary Hull would have a clear‑cut answer to the Japanese proposals of November 7 and November 10, 1941, and that the United States would say definitely whether its proposal of June 21, 1941, was to be the final one handed to the Japanese government. Mr. Ballantine pointed out the need for a further clarification of these latest Japanese proposals, however, since Secretary Hull had already stated that he did not understand Japan's attitude on the commercial policy. Attempting to clear up this point, Minister Wakasugi declared that the Japanese government desired that the principle of non‑discrimination, as applied to China, be applied by the United States and Japan to commercial dealings with the rest of the world. Mr. Ballantine felt that this point was important enough to be brought out clearly and authoritatively.

Minister Wakasugi next brought up the problem of arriving at formal negotiations. Throughout all the United States' documents it had been noted that America believed the two governments were still in the stage of exploratory discussions. Since the Japanese government had given the United States its latest proposals through Ambassador Nomura it believed that it had entered into formal negotiations. However, Mr. Ballantine insisted that until the United States government discussed the problems with China and the other governments concerned, no formal state of negotiations could be reached with the Japanese. Not washing to argue any of these points with Mr. Ballantine, Mr. Wakasugi merely asked that they be referred to Secretary Hull. [185]

 

b. Minister Wakasugi's Report [186]

At a meeting with Mr. Ballantine on November 13, 1941, Minister Wakasugi began the conversation by pointing out that the previous day's discussions leading to no settlement had fallen short of Japanese expectations. In view of the tense situation existing within Japan itself the Japanese public was viewing the Japanese‑American negotiations with impatience. Reminding Mr. Ballantine that the session of the Japanese Diet would convene in Tokyo on the following day, Minister Wakasugi warned that some satisfactory understanding must be reached without any further delay. Any discussions of general attitudes on the possible outlook must be dropped from further conversations in order to eliminate all hindrance to a satisfactory agreement. At the present time, Mr. Wakasugi stated, the Japanese government wished definite answers regarding certain points. He requested that the United States make it known that it intended to accept the Japanese proposal of September 25, 1941, as clarified by the further Japanese proposals of November 7 and November 10, 1941. If these proposals were not accepted the Japanese government would like an American counter proposal clearly indicating the revisions desired. Minister Wakasugi pointed out that many factions in Japan believed that the United States, in refusing to make any changes in its proposal of June 21, 1941, was merely stalling for time. In reply to these remarks Mr. Ballantine pointed out that the United States, aware of the critical condition, had called a meeting of American representatives to discuss the Japanese proposals of November 11, 1941, in spite of the fact that it was the Armistice holiday. Not wishing to quibble over mere details, however, Mr. Ballantine

 


[185] Ibid.

[186] IV, 108.

 

43

 

brought up several points with regard to the Japanese proposals that the United States wished clarified. First of all, Mr. Ballantine stated, Japan, in accepting the plan of commercial nondiscrimination in the Pacific, had requested that the same treatment be applied to the entire world. The United States wished to know if this sweeping proposal was to include those nations now at war. Stating that this and other terms in the Japanese proposals were designed to bring about an agreement between Japan and the United States, Minister Wakasugi pointed out that the agreement was not designed for every country in the world. Therefore, it appeared obvious that Japan only wished that its present government and that of the United States apply the basic principle of non‑discriminatory treatment to its own commercial dealings with other countries. [186]

Minister Wakasugi then discussed the difference of opinion regarding the stage of present conversations. On the one hand, the Japanese Minister pointed out, the United States regarded the discussions as merely exploratory, while Japan considered them to be actual negotiations. In reply Mr. Ballantine referred to a statement made by Secretary Hull in which he said that once the conversations reached the stage of negotiations Great Britain and the Netherlands would be asked to participate. Disregarding Mr. Ballantine's explanation Minister Wakasugi insisted that talks between the duly recognized ambassador of one country and the President and Secretary of State of another had always constituted a diplomatic negotiation. Therefore, Mr. Wakasugi requested that Secretary Hull be informed that Japan was treating the present proceedings as part of final negotiations.

Minister Wakasugi's report to Tokyo on November 13, 1941, contained an explanation of Ambassador Nomura's interview with President Roosevelt. The Japanese Minister stated that the primary purpose of the interview was to submit the latest Japanese proposals; therefore, a discussion of Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact did not take place. Other than a remark by Minister Wakasugi expressing the hope that the United States would not insist upon enlarging the scope of the right of self‑defense, neither representative discussed the problem further. Minister Wakasugi insisted that Secretary Hull had never requested a "concrete statement" concerning Japan's relations with the Axis powers. In fact, Minister Wakasugi had even asked Mr. Ballantine if there were any other points to be discussed and Mr. Ballantine had replied there were none. If Secretary Hull's report showed that he had asked this question regarding the Tripartite Pact, Mr. Ballantine was certain that some mistake had been made. Naturally, however, Mr. Wakasugi pointed out, the United States was attempting to get some assurance from Japan regarding its duties under the terms of the pact. [186b]

 

56. Foreign Minister Togo Requests Summaries of the Conversations

 

In order to receive an immediate report of any conversations taking place between the American and Japanese representatives Foreign Minister Togo requested that Ambassador Nomura wire the Foreign Office brief summaries without any delay. More complete details could then be wired later at the convenience of the Japanese Ambassador. [187]

 

57. Ambassador Nomura Warns of America's Preparedness for War

 

On November 14, 1941, Ambassador Nomura wired the Japanese Foreign Office a complete resume of America's attitude toward a war with Japan. Although Ambassador Nomura was convinced that in the end the negotiations would be concluded successfully, he warned his government that the United States intended to stop any further Japanese moves in the Pacific whether they be northward or southward. [188] Already using every economic weapon to curtail

 


[186a] Ibid.

[186b] Ibid.

[187] IV, 109.

[188] IV, 110.

 

44

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Japanese aggression, Ambassador Nomura felt that the United States was now preparing for actual war. Rather than yield its fundamental political policy regarding the Pacific area the United States, Ambassador Nomura felt, would join up with the other countries interested in the Far East. The United States government had no intention of repeating the failure of the Munich conference. Since the German victories were decreasing as Russian resistance persisted, Ambassador Nomura felt that the possibility of a separate peace between Germany and England was small, and that this would have a bad effect upon Japanese‑American relations. Furthermore, Ambassador Nomura pointed to the increase in American aid to China. If the Chinese problem continued to remain the stumbling block in Japanese‑American negotiations, Ambassador Nomura felt that the United States might well take advantage of the situation to declare war on Japan. [188a]

Another primary factor influencing the attitude of the United States toward Japan was the Tripartite Pact. Recently the American newspapers had pointed to the close alliance between Japan and the Axis, warning that Japan would be willing at any time to stab the United States in the back. If Japan then, continued its aggression in the south Pacific, even though that aggression be necessary for the maintenance of Japan's national life, Ambassador Nomura felt that England, the United States and Russia would attack. The countries of Central and South America, dependent upon the United States for their economic existence, would also join sides against Japan. Recognizing the fact that Japan believed America's forces to be concentrated in the Atlantic, Ambassador Nomura stated that its activities there were confined to convoy duty and that at any moment the United States could transfer the main strength of its fleet to the Pacific. [189]

Previously Ambassador Nomura had felt that once the United States entered an ocean war in the Atlantic it would be ready for a compromise in the Pacific. Lately, however, when Great Britain had transferred its forces to the Indian Ocean the United States had changed its attitude so that at the present time it was ready to participate in a naval war in the Pacific. Recognizing the critical situation existing within Japan, Ambassador Nomura, nevertheless, asked that the Japanese government and people be more patient toward the negotiations with the United States. He felt that it was necessary for Japan to view the entire world situation rather than its own internal conditions. [190]

 

58. China Seeks Increased Aid from the United States

 

Mr. Iguchi learned that the Chinese Ambassador to the United States had submitted a plea for intensive aid to China in the event Japan attacked the Burma Road. According to this report the United States government rejected China's request. However, Mr. T. V. Soong, refusing to let the matter rest, at the present time was attempting to interest Secretary Hull and President Roosevelt in the plan for increased aid in China's war against Japan. [191]

 

59. Japanese Government Considers Negotiations in Final Stage

 

For a number of months the Japanese government had been instructing Ambassador Nomura to conduct his conversations with the representatives of the American government along the lines of final negotiations. Nevertheless, the American State Department had continued to speak of these meetings between leaders of both governments as merely preliminary discussions.

On November 15, 1941, Tokyo instructed Ambassador Nomura to continue his attempts to impress upon the United States the fact that Japan was considering these negotiations as

 


[188a] Ibid.

[189] IV, 111.

[190] IV, 112.

[191] IV, 113.

 

45

 

final. Although Foreign Minister Togo admitted that the former Japanese Cabinet had considered the conversations merely preliminary and was working toward a meeting of the Japanese Prime Minister and President Roosevelt, the present government desired to terminate satisfactorily the talks by an official agreement. Foreign Minister Togo realized that the United States officials might claim that Japan had never mentioned the changed status of the conversations; however, he felt that the United States government must nevertheless recognize the fact that the negotiations were in their final stage and that some conclusion must be reached before the Japanese Diet met on November 15, 1941. [192]

 

60. Ambassador Nomura Speculates on Results of Possible Diplomatic Breach

 

In the event that these negotiations could not be terminated in the manner desired by the Japanese government, Ambassador Nomura stated on November 15, 1941, that Japanese-American relations would break down completely. To be prepared for the inevitable effects of such a breach Ambassador Nomura, in a message to his government, offered certain suggestions for the disposition of the consular offices and the evacuation of Japanese officials. Even if diplomatic relations between Japan and the United States were not entirely severed a situation similar to that now existing between Germany and the United States would arise. Under these circumstances it would be necessary to close the Japanese Consulates and recall the Japanese Ambassador. [193]

Since Embassy duties would be limited only to a few pressing matters, the staff would necessarily be greatly reduced. One of two secretaries, Foreign Service Attaches Fujiyama and Inagawa and one clerk would be sent back to Japan. However, members of the intelligence staff, such as Secretary Terasaki and Clerk Yamamoto, would be transferred to South America together with certain so‑called student attachés. After employees who had been engaged locally were dismissed, other Japanese officials would either be sent to South America or returned to Japan in evacuee ships. [194]

Since the disposition of the various Japanese officials and nationals in the United States was of the utmost importance, Ambassador Nomura offered certain suggestions concerning their possible evacuation. As was the case when United States‑German relations were severed, personnel of the Japanese and American consulates would probably be evacuated by mutual consent. While this evacuation was taking place Ambassador Nomura foresaw numerous requests from businessmen and other Japanese nationals to return home. In consideration of this Ambassador Nomura urged that a sufficient number of ships be sent to take care of the large number of requests for permission to return to Japan. If American diplomatic relations broke off completely another plan for evacuating Japanese officials would have to be evolved. Ambassador Nomura believed that Japan and the United States would be willing to guarantee the safe passage of Embassy and Consulate members. Arrangements would be made regarding the costs of the evacuation vessels, the type of markers to be used and the methods of communication to be employed. For example, the two countries might agree to send the other officials to some halfway point such as Hawaii, the Aleutian Islands or French Tahiti aboard ships of his own nation. At the assigned meeting place an exchange of consulate officials could then be effected. Some arrangements might be attempted regarding an exchange of Japanese nationals residing in the United States for Americans at present in Japan. However, in view of the difference in numbers, Ambassador Nomura did not believe that such a plan would meet with the approval of the United States. There was little doubt that Japanese residents of military age would be retained in the United States. Before the complete evacuation

 


[192] IV, 114.

[193] IV, 115.

[194] IV, 116.

 

46

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

of its officials Japan would have to decide on a neutral nation entrusted with protecting Japanese national property and Japanese national rights in the United States. Negotiations with the country decided upon would probably be completed in Tokyo with the diplomatic representatives of that country at the same time that plans were being made by the Japanese Ambassador or Minister with the capital of the neutral country concerned. Ambassador Nomura apparently did not place too much confidence in neutral nations, however, since he warned Tokyo that it would be extremely precarious to depend upon neutral ships in evacuating Japanese nationals should war between Japan and the United States be declared. The now neutral countries right take sides. [195]

 

61. Tokyo Instructs Ambassador Kurusu in New Duties

 

Since Ambassador Kurusu was arriving in Washington on November 15, 1941, Foreign Minister Togo sent him a message expressing the gratitude of the entire Japanese government for the work which he was about to undertake. Recognizing the fact that Ambassador Kurusu had a difficult position, [196] Foreign Minister Togo told the representative that the success or failure of his mission might determine the fate of the entire Japanese nation. After first arriving at some understanding with Ambassador Nomura, Foreign Minister Togo said, Ambassador Kurusu should cooperate in bringing the present negotiations to an immediate settlement. In view of the fact that a crisis was approaching largely because of the many delays caused by the laxity of the United States government, Foreign Minister Togo urged that Ambassador Kurusu allow no subsidiary problems to further complicate Japanese‑American relations.

Foreign Minister Togo explained to Ambassador Kurusu that Ambassador Nomura had not yet presented proposal B to the United States. If the present condition was not alleviated within a short time, however, Foreign Minister Togo instructed Ambassador Nomura to submit this alternate proposal to American representatives. [197]

 

62. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 15, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [198]

By an appointment made at his own request Ambassador Nomura with Minister Wakasugi called at Secretary Hull's apartment on November 15, 1941. Immediately upon the Japanese Ambassador's arrival, Secretary Hull spoke of the Japanese proposal regarding commercial policy which had been presented on November 7 and November 10, 1941. [199]

Secretary Hull then handed Ambassador Nomura an oral statement regarding America's views on this economic policy. [200] This oral statement referred to the Japanese government's proposal in which it was stated that Japan "recognizes the principle of non‑discrimination in internal commercial relations to be applied to all the Pacific areas, inclusive of China, on the understanding that the principle in question is to be applied uniformly to the rest of the entire world as well." The United States government assumed that Japan did not expect America to be responsible for discriminatory practices in areas outside of its jurisdiction, for such an arrangement could be fulfilled only with the consent of all the other governments of the world. In those areas in which the United States government was economically concerned, however,

 


[195] IV, 115.

[196] Apparently this move by the Japanese government was considered a possible change of the diplomatic staff in Washington, but, when interviewed, Mr. Kurusu denied that he was going to succeed Mr. Nomura as Ambassador to the United States. (New York Times, November 15, 1941, 5:1.)

[197] IV, 117.

[198] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑November 15, 1941. S.D. II, 731‑734.

[199] Ibid.

[200] "Oral statement handed by the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) to the Secretary of State on November 15, 1941", S.D. II, 734‑736. See IV, 121‑126 for text as sent to Tokyo by Ambassador Nomura on November 15, 1941.

 

47

 

the principle of unconditional and non‑discriminatory treatment had been the cornerstone of commercial policy. Since World War I the United States had embodied this non‑discriminatory principle in every commercial treaty which it had concluded. In the twenty‑two agreements made since 1934 the United States government had reduced duties on more than a thousand classifications of American tariff in order to achieve an extensive program of fair commercial agreements. Only in two cases had the United States withheld trade agreement concessions and this was in an effort to induce the countries concerned to abandon discriminatory practices. Furthermore, on every appropriate occasion the United States had sought the progressive elimination of preferences and discriminations by other countries of the world. Not only did the United States conclude non‑discriminatory agreements for its own benefit but had sought similar concessions for other countries. As a part of its general policy of commercial fairness in international trade the United States had insisted upon the extension of concessions to all countries concerned in any trade agreement which the United States made. By the reduction of trade barriers the United States hoped to make its national contribution to a world trade in which all nations would benefit.

If Japan were to cooperate in favoring the policy of non‑discrimination as the United States had, then it would achieve its goal in the commercial field. The United States did not see any need of Japan's incorporating the phrase "on the understanding that the principle in question is to be applied uniformly to the rest of the entire world as well" in its commercial proposal. The United States asked that this proviso be omitted.

In order to manifest a tentative commercial agreement applying the principle of non‑discrimination to both Japanese and American international relations, the United States had drawn up a declaration of economic policy. Before entering into any negotiations based on this policy, however, the United States wished to make it clear that the points involved would have to be discussed with the British and other interested governments. [200a] In this joint declaration by the United States and Japan on economic practices, under the term "general policy", both governments were to agree to cooperate in reducing trade barriers and eliminating from international commercial relations all forms of discrimination. [201] By acquiring commodities necessary for the safety and development of their economies through peaceful trade processes, both countries would create secure conditions of international trade and investment. In order to make an appropriate contribution toward the creation of such an ideal trade setup, the United States and Japan should seek the establishment of non‑discriminatory economic relations in the Pacific area.

With regard to "the United States‑Japanese relationship", both governments should agree to negotiate for a reciprocal trade agreement aimed at restoring commercial, financial and economic relations to a normal basis. While both governments should permit the export of commodities to the other for the purpose of security or self‑defense, it was understood that any restrictions imposed would be in the spirit of friendly relations. By way of applying this "policy in the Pacific area" the governments of the United States and Japan should guarantee equal commercial treatment to the Chinese under conditions no less favorable than the treatment accorded to any third country. In order that economic, financial and monetary affairs be restored to China, the United States and Japan were to suggest that the Chinese government inaugurate a comprehensive program of economic development, using any foreign assistance that might be deemed necessary. Any relations between the United States and Japan and other countries of the Pacific area were to be governed by the same basic principles of commercial fair play and equal opportunity. [201a]

 


[200a] Ibid.

[201] "Draft document handed by the Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura)" November 15, 1941. S.D. II, 736‑737. See IV, 127‑130 for text assent to Tokyo by Ambassador Nomura on November 15, 1941.

[201a] Ibid.

 

48

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

After handing both of these documents to Ambassador Nomura, Secretary Hull emphasized once more the advantages that Japan would gain from participating in the peaceful program envisaged by the United States government. [202] Without first referring it to his government Ambassador Nomura did not feel authorized to make any comment. However, Minister Wakasugi asked if this proposal constituted America's answer to Japan's proposal regarding nondiscrimination in international commercial relations, and Secretary Hull replied in the affirmative.

Minister Wakasugi then asked for America's stand regarding Japan's relations in the Tri partite Pact and the question of stationing Japanese troops in China.

Ambassador Nomura then pointed out that the Japanese government considered that the present conversations were not merely exploratory but were designed to arrive at formal negotiations. Requesting that Minister Wakasugi take accurate notes on what he was about to say, Secretary Hull replied that the United States government could not go beyond exploratory conversations until it had determined the attitude of Great Britain, China and the Netherlands. Furthermore, until some satisfactory conclusions resulted from the informal conversations, the United States government could not speak with those countries. Ambassador Nomura made no comment. Notwithstanding the fact that he and Ambassador Nomura had reached some settlement as a result of the American proposals of June 21, 1941, Secretary Hull continued, the answering Japanese proposals of September 25, 1941, had narrowed down the agreement. When Ambassador Nomura insisted that the question of peace in the entire Pacific are was covered in the preamble of the draft of the Japanese proposals of September 25, 1941, Secretary Hull pointed out that the concessions must be contained in the body of the document rather than in the preamble.

Then Secretary Hull, referring to Foreign Minister Togo's conversation with Ambassador Grew on November 10, 1941, during which the Japanese Foreign Minister indicated that Japan was anxious to conclude a simultaneous agreement with the British, pointed out the inconsistency between those instructions and the ones which Ambassador Nomura was being asked to carry out in Washington. In view of these inconsistencies Secretary Hull felt that the United States could not answer Japan's proposals without first determining whether it intended to adopt with sincerity a peaceful course. After Ambassador Nomura had insisted that Japan desired peace in the Pacific and that it would interpret its obligations under any alliance independently, Secretary Hull asked whether the Japanese government would automatically abandon the Tripartite Pact if it entered into an agreement with the United States. Minister Wakasugi asked if the United States wanted Japan to denounce the Tripartite Pact. Ambassador Nomura understood, however, that the Secretary meant the Tripartite Pact to become a dead letter. Agreeing with Ambassador Nomura's interpretation of his remark, Secretary Hull pointed out how inconsistent it would be for Japan to enter into a peace agreement with the United States while adhering to a fighting alliance with Germany. Not only would it be difficult to explain Japan's actions to the British and Dutch people but the American public would reject such an agreement. Although Ambassador Nomura felt that the American public would accept the agreement simply because Secretary Hull recommended it, the Secretary of State said plainly that it would cause so much turmoil throughout the country that he might well be lynched.

By way of emphasizing his statements, Secretary Hull commented on the large Japanese armies in Manchuria facing Russian armies in Siberia in spite of the existing neutrality pact between Russia and Japan. What the United States desired, Secretary Hull continued, was a clear‑cut, unequivocal agreement which would promote mutual trust by denouncing military expansion. In the event that the United States should be forced to go to war with Germany as a measure of self‑defense, Secretary Hull felt that Japan would not continue its professed

 


[202] S.D. II, 731‑734.

 

49

 

peaceful course, nor would Secretary Hull believe that Japan's connection with the Tripartite Pact would disappear if an agreement were reached between Japan and the United States. Only after Japan had given the United States a specific guarantee that the Tripartite Pact would be considered a dead letter could Secretary Hull begin formal peace negotiations with Japan.

Ambassador Nomura insisted that the policies of the present Japanese government differed in no way from those of the previous Japanese government in spite of the fact that the Prime Minister was a military man. Secretary Hull then stated that the United States did not feel it should receive ultimatums from Japan since the United States had been pursuing A peaceful course throughout the conversations, while the Japanese government had been the one to resort to aggression.

In concluding the conference Secretary Hull said that when the problem of non‑discrimination and that of Japan's place in the Tripartite Pact were settled Japanese and American representatives could sit down like brothers and find some solution to the question of stationing Japanese troops in China. [202a]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report

Although originally scheduled for November 14, 1941, Ambassador Kurusu's interview with Secretary Hull was postponed until 9:00 a.m. on November 15, 1941, at the request of the American State Department. [203]

At the scheduled time Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Wakasugi met with Secretary Hull and Mr. Ballantine for an interview lasting about an hour and a half. [204] Secretary Hull opened the conversation by presenting Ambassador Nomura with two American proposals dealing with the commercial problem. [205] Attempting to impress Ambassador Nomura with America's desire to see non‑discrimination in trade throughout the world Secretary Hull stated that by its trade agreements with twenty‑two nations tariffs had been reduced on approximately 1,200 articles. At the time of the economic conference in London Secretary Hull had urged that the policy of non‑discrimination in commerce be adopted, but Germany and other countries were so strongly opposed to it that the measure was never carried into effect. While desiring to see this policy put into effect throughout the world the United States government wished to call to Japan's attention the fact that it could not guarantee the effectiveness of this policy out of the sphere of its own jurisdiction. Therefore, Secretary Hull stated, the American government wished Japan to modify its condition which stated that Japan would apply the practice of non‑discrimination in commerce to the Pacific area only if it were applied to the rest of the world.

At this point in the conversation Secretary Hull handed Ambassador Nomura the second of the United States' written proposals. Mr. Wakasugi then asked Secretary Hull if this should be considered the American counter‑proposal to the Japanese proposals dealing with the three major problems in the discussion. After Secretary Hull replied that the American proposals could be applied to a much wider range, Ambassador Nomura stated that Japan would give it careful consideration. [205a]

Following the instructions of his government Ambassador Nomura then brought up the problem connected with the interpretation of the present conferences. Ambassador Nomura stated that in view of the fact that official proposals had been handed to Japan by both President Roosevelt and the Secretary of State, the Japanese government considered these talks in the

 


[202a] Ibid.

[203] IV, 118.

[204] IV, 119.

[205] 119‑120.

[205a] Ibid.

 

50

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

realm of actual negotiations. Reminding Ambassador Nomura that Foreign Minister Togo himself had told Ambassador Grew that Japan desired to have Great Britain, the Netherlands, and other countries participate in the final negotiations, Secretary Hull stated that until the time when all those countries engaged in the negotiations they would be considered by the United States as merely preliminary and exploratory. Only after the Japanese and American representatives had found a basis for a suitable agreement, Secretary Hull continued, could Great Britain and the Netherlands be asked to participate in the final and actual treaty with Japan. Speaking from a practical viewpoint as well, Secretary Hull said the open and frank exchange of opinions between American and Japanese representatives would be hindered if the present talks were considered strictly official. [205b]

Leaving that question for the present Secretary Hull then discussed the political stabilization of the Pacific area. In the United States' proposal of June 21, 1941, Secretary Hull stated that it was made known that America intended to enforce the application of any Pacific principles to all the areas of the Far East. However, Japan apparently intended to apply those principles only to the territories of the southwest Pacific. Not only by the nature of its statements concerning the application of these Pacific peace principles, but also by its connections with the Axis countries under the Tripartite Pact had Japan caused the United States to doubt the sincerity of its peace proposals. Therefore, Secretary Hull asked that the present Japanese government state its approval of the peaceful policy contained in the former Japanese statement of August 28, 1941. Ambassador Nomura replied that the latest Japanese proposal had set forth Japan's desire for peace, and therefore no further explanation was necessary in this respect. Furthermore, although the words "southwestern Pacific" appeared in the main text of the Japanese proposal of September 25, 1941, the Japanese government in the preface to this proposal had clearly stated its desire to establish and maintain peace throughout the entire Pacific area. Secretary Hull insisted that the statement must appear in the main body of the text and not merely in the preface.

In repeating his doubts regarding Japanese sincerity Secretary Hull stated that Japan could never uphold a military alliance with Germany and a peaceful understanding with the United States at the same time. In fact, if the United States were to conclude an agreement with Japan while Japan retained its allegiance to the Axis powers the American public would "howl with laughter." Although Secretary Hull attempted to point out the incongruity of a military alliance with Germany and a peaceful alliance with the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands, Ambassador Nomura continued to insist that the Tripartite Alliance would not conflict with that drawn up between Japan and the United States since both agreements would have peace for their main objective.

Pointing to the Japanese‑Russian Neutrality Pact as an example of armed peace, Secretary Hull reminded Ambassador Nomura that Japanese and Russian troops still faced one another across their national boundaries. The American Secretary of State did not desire to sign a similarly ineffective peace agreement with Japan.

After listening to Secretary Hull's statements, Minister Wakasugi asked if the United States expected Japan to withdraw from the Tripartite Alliance. Secretary Hull answered that the United States expected the Tripartite Pact to become a "dead letter" if an understanding were signed between Japan and the United States. Minister Wakasugi then asked if these latest American proposals were a reply to Japan's proposal regarding the rights of self-defense. In answering this question directly Secretary Hull stated that the United States wished definite assurance that the present Japanese government desired to follow a peaceful policy throughout the entire Pacific area and wished a reply to the United States' proposal regarding a joint statement of a Japanese‑American economic policy.

 


[205b] Ibid.

 

51

 

In concluding the interview Ambassador Nomura stated that the Japanese government would be very disappointed with Secretary Hull's attitude. Arrangements were made for another conference on the following day.

Summarizing the day's conversation Ambassador Nomura stated that the United States had clarified its attitude toward the trade question; however, the two countries still differed on the interpretations given to other principles. Not only did the United States doubt Japan's sincerity but it viewed Japan's attitude toward the Chinese situation with suspicion. [205c]

 

63. Tokyo Instructs Ambassador Nomura in Interpretation of Japanese Proposals

 

Since certain phrases in the various Japanese proposals had been viewed with suspicion by American statesmen, Tokyo wished to clarify their meaning to the satisfaction of the United States government. On November 16, 1941, in instructions to Ambassador Nomura the Japanese government emphasized that any so‑called modifications of its concessions were only those which any independent country might be forced to make under similar circumstances, and that they were in no way intended to limit the extent or establishment of peace in the Pacific. [206]

Such expressions as "without provocation" and, in relation to the Russian question, the statement "as long as the Soviet Union remains faithful to the Russian‑Japanese Neutrality Treaty", both appearing in the Japanese proposal of August 28, 1941, were to be interpreted literally. In using the term "without justifiable reason" in the proposal of September 6, 1941, the Japanese government had wished to protect itself in view of the threatening results of the Russo‑German war. When pointing out these facts to the American State Department, the Japanese Foreign Office requested Ambassador Nomura to include an assurance that the present Japanese Cabinet would uphold the concessions made in the former Cabinet's proposals of August 28 and September 25, 1941. [206a] In fact, the present government was even willing to delete the word "southwestern" from Article Six of the September 25, 1941, proposals in an endeavor to prove to the United States that Japan wished to apply the principles of peace to the entire Pacific area. [207]

However, Tokyo insisted that Ambassador Nomura impress upon the United States the fact that Japan would not consider itself bound by any of these concessions unless the present Japanese‑American negotiations ended in agreement. [208]

 

64. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 17, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [209]

In order to present Mr. Kurusu to the Secretary of State, Ambassador Nomura called on Mr. Hull on November 17, 1941. After exchanging introductions, Secretary Hull complimented Mr. Kurusu on his diplomatic manner of handling relations with the American public since coming to this country. Secretary Hull also spoke highly of Ambassador Nomura.

Turning the conversation then to the Japanese‑American situation, Secretary Hull stated that the short‑sighted nationalistic diplomacy which had developed in Europe and the United States after World War I was responsible for the present world difficulties. In order to bring about peace and offset the Nazi force which was now crushing 200,000,000 people in Europe, Secretary Hull wished that Japan and the United States would employ far‑sighted statesmanship by adopting peaceful policies.

 


[205c]  Ibid.

[206] IV, 131.

[206a] Ibid.

[207] IV, 132.

[208] IV, 131.

[209] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑November 7, 1941, S.D. II, 738‑739.

 

52

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Because the new Japanese Prime Minister was a military man, Mr. Kurusu felt that the American people thought General Tojo would view the situation with a warlike attitude. In fact, when General Tojo had planned his Cabinet he invited Mr. Kurusu to take an important position but Mr. Kurusu had declined because he believed that General Tojo would probably discontinue the conversations with the United States. Yet, after discussing the methods of executing Japan's national policy with General Tojo, Ambassador Kurusu had become fully assured of the new Prime Minister's desire to reach a peaceful settlement with the United States. In fact, when Mr. Kurusu had discussed his present mission to the United States with General Tojo, he had noted that the Prime Minister was optimistic in regard to settling the differences between Japan and the United States. Naturally, the withdrawal of Japanese troops from China would present the greatest difficulty. However, General Tojo believed that the difficulties in respect to non‑discrimination and the European war could be easily eliminated. Since Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu were to meet President Roosevelt, the conversation drew to a close.

First of all, however, Ambassador Nomura handed Secretary Hull two oral statements relating to:‑ (1) Japan's peaceful intentions, and (2) the narrowing down of the proposed understanding. [210]

In this first Japanese oral statement reference was made to Secretary Hull's document handed to Ambassador Nomura on November 12, 1941. [211] The Japanese government wished to point out that the phrases quoted by Secretary Hull in his oral statement of November 12, 1941, had been embodied in the Japanese proposals of September 6 and September 25, 1941. The present Japanese government had no objection to committing themselves to carrying out he concessions expressed therein. In doing so, however, it was understood that the present negotiations would be successfully concluded between Japan and the United States. If such a successful conclusion were not reached, the Japanese government would not be bound by any of the commitments which it had made in these and previous proposals. Wherever phrases used by the Japanese government apparently modified its peaceful intentions, Japan pointed out that its purpose was only to express qualifications which were absolutely necessary and were in no way intended to limit the peaceful aims of the Japanese government. [212]

In the phrases connected with Japan's attitude toward Soviet Russia a detailed stipulation was necessary in view of the Japanese‑Soviet Neutrality Pact and its relation to the war between Germany and Russia.[213]

In the second oral statement Ambassador Nomura stated that, since Japan had no objection to applying the principle of political stabilization to the entire Pacific, it was willing to eliminate the word "southwestern" from its proposals of September 25, 1941. [214]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report [215]

Accompanied by Ambassador Kurusu Ambassador Nomura called on Secretary Hull at half past ten on November 17, 1941. Secretary Hull began the conversation by saying that the reason for the present world situation was the lack of able statesmen following World War I. Ambassador Kurusu agreed that the United States and Japan must take over the grave responsibility of re‑establishing peace. Before such a goal could be attained, Ambassador Kurusu

 


[210] Ibid.

[211] "Oral statement handed by the Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) on November 12, 1941", S.D. II, 727‑729.

[212] "Oral statement handed by the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) to the Secretary of State on November 17, 1941", S.D. II, 739‑740. See the instructions sent to Ambassador Nomura by Tokyo on November 16, 1941, IV, 131.

[213] See IV, 132.

[214] Oral statement handed by the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) to the Secretary State"‑November 17, 1941, S.D. II, 740.

[215] IV, 133.

 

53

 

continued, the two countries must settle their own problem by engaging in concrete negotiations. For that purpose Ambassador Kurusu had come to the United States at the insistence of Prime Minister Tojo and Foreign Minister Togo. Hopeful of an immediate settlement of the three major problems now existing between Japan and the United States, Prime Minister Tojo felt that an agreement could be reached regarding commercial equality and Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact. However, the Japanese representatives recognized the fact that the evacuation of troops from French Indo‑China would remain the major obstacle to a peace settlement. [215a]

Before ending the conversation Ambassador Nomura presented Secretary Hull with Tokyo's reply to the United States oral statement of November 12, 1941. Ambassador Nomura then notified Secretary Hull, as Tokyo had instructed him, that the Japanese government was willing to delete the word "southwestern" from Article six of the Japanese proposal of September 25, 1941, thus making any peace agreement applicable to the entire Pacific area. [216]

 

65. Roosevelt‑ Kurusu Conversation (November 17, 1941)

 

a. Secretary Hull's Report [217]

After concluding the conversation between Ambassador Nomura, Mr. Kurusu and Mr. Hull, the three men proceeded to the White House where President Roosevelt welcomed Mr. Kurusu to this country.

After the usual exchange of courtesies and formalities, President Roosevelt brought up the differences of opinion existing between the two countries. He then made clear the desire of the United States to avoid war and he accepted the statement of the Japanese Ambassador that Japan was equally desirous of bringing about a fair and peaceful settlement of the Pacific question. Throughout the conversation Ambassador Nomura insisted that the situation must be adjusted immediately due to the urgency of the situation.

In answering Ambassador Kurusu's attempts to explain the Tripartite Pact, Secretary Hull made it clear that Japan could not conclude a successful agreement with the United States regarding the Pacific area while retaining its allegiance to the Tripartite Pact. Not only would President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull be denounced by the American people if an agreement under those conditions were drawn up, but the countries of the world would redouble their efforts against Japanese aggression. Because Hitler had started upon an official course of invasion the United States had been forced to spend billions of dollars in self‑defense. Therefore, the American public could not understand Japan's attitude, and political difficulties in connection with Japan's relations with Germany were difficult to overcome. [217a]

In emphasizing the United States' defensive measures, President Roosevelt reminded Mr. Kurusu that some time ago he had proclaimed a zone around the Western Hemisphere which extended from 300 to 1,100 miles out into the sea. Secretary Hull then told Ambassador Nomura that the conversations had been formulated along the lines of genuine friendliness and, therefore, there was no reason for either country to attempt to bluff the other. Here President Roosevelt emphasized the United States' position and, at the same time, exposed the sophistry of Japan's in relation to its alliance with Germany.

Pointing out that Germany had not yet requested Japan to fight, Ambassador Kurusu said that Japan was serving a desirable purpose while maintaining peace. Secretary Hull interpreted this remark to mean that Japan was diverting the British and American navies and air forces to the Pacific. Secretary Hull then told Mr. Kurusu that the United States was on the defensive in the present Pacific situation because Japan had been the only aggressor. In fact, it was generally

 


[215a]  Ibid.

[216] IV,  134.

[217] "Memorandum by the Secretary of State"‑November 17, 1941, S.D. II, 740‑743.

[217a] Ibid.

 

54

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

believed in the United States, Secretary Hull said, that the Japanese New Order in Greater East Asia was similar to Hitler's program in Europe since it was designed to dominate politically, economically and socially, by military force, all the areas within its range. Although Mr. Kurusu attempted to defend the stationing of Japanese troops in China, President Roosevelt stated that the question should be worked out in a fair way after considering all the circumstances and relative merits involved.

When the other Pacific questions had been satisfactorily settled, President Roosevelt believed the United States would aid Japan and China so that they might begin adjustments for peace. However, Mr. Kurusu insisted it would be difficult to bring all the Japanese troops out of China at once. Then Mr. Kurusu reminded Secretary Hull and President Roosevelt that the United States had insisted that the Japanese leave Shantung during World War I. However, Secretary Hull answered Mr. Kurusu that the United States, in opposing the seizure of new territory by any country, had at the same time declined to take a dollar of compensation or a foot of territory for itself. The United States had always believed that if countries continued to fight for territory modern methods of warfare would cause the utter destruction of all countries. Since Mr. Kurusu pleaded that he had forgotten much of the technical side of commercial policy, he did not wish to discuss the recent American proposal regarding commerce. [217b]

President Roosevelt continued by referring to the destructive nature of armaments and also emphasized that from the long term point of view the differences between Japan and the United States should not be regarded as serious. Nothing new had been brought out by either Ambassador Nomura or Mr. Kurusu at this conversation. Both President Roosevelt and Mr. Kurusu seemed to agree that the present situation must be solved. However, President Roosevelt frequently parried the remarks of Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu, particularly in relation to the three major points of difference.

With the understanding that Secretary Hull would meet the Japanese representatives the following morning, the meeting drew to a close.[218]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report[219]

After concluding the conversation with Secretary Hull, Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu accompanied the American Secretary of State to an interview with President Roosevelt. Ambassador Kurusu repeated what he had already said to Secretary Hull regarding the sincere interest of the present Japanese Cabinet in concluding negotiations with the United States. Since President Roosevelt was an experienced statesman, Ambassador Kurusu felt that he would appreciate the attitude of the Japanese people after four years of war with China. Speaking from personal observation, Ambassador Kurusu stated that the situation in Hongkong, Manila and other islands in that area was so strained that an uprising might occur at any moment. Therefore, from the Japanese viewpoint, a solution to the Pacific problem must be effected without further delay. Even now with the Japanese‑American conversations dragging on endlessly Japan stood a smaller chance of being able to defend itself both militarily and economically from other powers. Prime Minister Tojo was optimistic regarding the settlement of all the Japanese‑American problems with the exception of the evacuation of Japanese troops from French Indo‑China.[220]

Quoting former Secretary of State Bryan, President Roosevelt replied to this last comment: "There is no last word between friends. [221] Remarking that other so‑called non‑aggression pacts

 


[217b] Ibid.

[218] Ibid.

[219] IV, 135‑138.

[220] IV, 135.

[221] IV, 136.

 

55

 

were now useless, President Roosevelt insisted that only by the establishment of a general understanding between the United States and Japan could the international situation be saved. Ambassador Kurusu agreed with President Roosevelt's statement. In his opinion the adjustment of the Japanese and American attitudes toward the Tripartite Pact and of the claims of both countries regarding the settlement of the China Incident would have to be effected before such an understanding could be realized. Speaking first of the Tripartite Agreement, Ambassador Kurusu insisted that his government was bound to that pact by virtue of its honor as a great power. In view of this consideration Ambassador Kurusu could not believe that the United States would urge Japan to violate the terms of this alliance. This should be particularly true, Ambassador Kurusu said, in view of the fact that the object of the Tripartite Pact was the prevention of future war and the maintenance of peace. While anxious to coordinate the two views on this problem in order to bring about a settlement, Ambassador Kurusu, nevertheless, insisted that Japan would not consider a proposal which did not have a practical application.

Turning the conversation for the moment to the China problem, President Roosevelt said that the United States was not attempting to intervene or mediate in the problems of Japan and China. If such a word existed in diplomatic parlance, he would state that the United States was merely acting as an "introducer." [221a]

Ambassador Kurusu then referred to Japan's obligation under the terms of the Tripartite Pact. [222] The Japanese representative had received the impression that the United States believed Japan was merely acting as Germany's tool. In fact, it appeared to be the general opinion in America that Japan would wait until the United States was deeply involved in the Atlantic war and then make a stab in the Pacific. In order to correct this misapprehension Ambassador Kurusu stated that Japan would decide its obligations under the Tripartite Pact independently of any country. Furthermore, Ambassador Kurusu continued, any great understanding arrived at by the United States and Japan with regard to the Pacific would overshadow the Tripartite Pact.

Secretary Hull interrupted at this point to say that the United States could not wait until Germany had conquered England and attacked the United States with the British fleet from some point in South America before beginning to make some preparations for its self‑defense. Secretary Hull did not understand why Japan could not grasp America's need to protect itself against aggression. In supporting Secretary Hull's statement President Roosevelt said that in his recent speech he had described German subversive activities in Central and South America, basing his remarks on authentic information from German government circles.

In reply Ambassador Kurusu assured President Roosevelt that since Japan included Central and South America in the category of the Pacific it would never be a party to disrupting the peace of those countries. Since Japan had continually made concessions towards the establishment of a just peace in the Pacific principally by promising to withdraw its troops from French Indo‑China on the establishment of that peace, Ambassador Kurusu did not understand why President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull felt that the United States public would object to an agreement with Japan simply on the grounds of the existence of the Tripartite Pact.

Ambassador Kurusu felt that the withdrawal of the Japanese troops from China should be enough proof that Japan intended to uphold the guarantee made to the United States. Whatever the means Ambassador Kurusu was convinced that an immediate settlement of the problems under discussion by Ambassador Nomura and Secretary Hull should be reached. Secretary Hull then replied that both he and Ambassador Nomura had carried on the conversations

 


[221a] Ibid.

[222] IV, 137.

 

56

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

for so long that they had lost the ability to make any new points. Therefore, he welcomed Ambassador Kurusu's opinions.

Stating that he would be in Washington until November 24, 1941, President Roosevelt offered to discuss further any of the matters with Secretary Hull and with both Japanese Ambassadors before that time. [222a]

Ambassador Kurusu and Ambassador Nomura scheduled a conference with Secretary Hull for 10:00 a.m. on November 18, 1941. [223]

 

66. Ambassador Grew Warns United States Against Unexpected Japanese Attack [224]

 

Referring to a previous telegram sent on November 3, 1941, wherein Ambassador Grew had warned that "action by Japan, which might render unavoidable an armed conflict with the United States, might come with dangerous and dramatic suddenness", [225] the American Ambassador in Tokyo emphasized the need to guard against sudden Japanese naval or military actions in the Pacific. Furthermore, Ambassador Grew warned his government not to depend too much upon a prior warning given by the Embassy staff since Japan was able to obtain effective control over both primary and secondary military information. Since only a few Americans remained in Japan and they were concentrated mostly in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kobe, Japan would be able to exploit every possible tactical advantage, mainly surprise and initiative. With American and foreign shipping absent from adjacent waters, Japan could send out its troop transports in any direction undetected. According to available indications, Japanese troop concentrations were reported in Manchuria and Formosa and new operations seemed imminent in either the southwest Pacific, Siberia, or in both areas.

Ambassador Grew warned that every precaution should be taken to guard against a Japanese surprise move. Since the Embassy's field of naval and military observation was negligible, the United States could not depend upon the ability of the American Embassy in Tokyo to forward any warning in sufficient time. [226]

 

67. Japanese Air Forces Move to Mandates

 

As Ambassador Grew had stated, Japanese military and naval activities in the Pacific gave definite indications of a surprise attack in that area. On the alert to learn at which point such a move would originate and in what direction it would travel, American traffic analysts watched Japanese tactical communications closely. [227]

By November 18, 1941, the movements of Japanese air groups and air forces formerly associated with the China Sea area were predominantly towards the Mandates. The Commander of Air Squadron 24 and the Commander of the Yokohama Air Group were in the vicinity of Wotje and maintained close contact with the Commander of the Combined Air Force. Units that included the flagship of the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Third Fleet (formerly the First Air Fleet) were en route to the Mandates. In fact, the frequent changes in location of the Air group commanders between Saipan, Truk, Jaluit and Wotje produced considerable confusion on all Mandate circuits.

After careful observation of these units, American traffic analysts were of the opinion that the First, Second, Third and Fifth Fleets were ready to move into the Mandates with submarine forces and combined air forces of the Combined Fleet. [227a]

 


[222a] Ibid.

[223] IV, 138.

[224] "Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State"‑November 17, 1941, S.D. II, 743‑744.

[225] "Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State"‑November 3, 1941, S.D. II, 704.

[226] Ibid.

[227] IV,  139.

[227a] Ibid.

 

57

 

68. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 18, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [228]

On November 18, 1941, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu called at the State Department to converse with Secretary Hull. Secretary Hull immediately turned the conversation toward a discussion of Japan's relations with the Axis. Emphasizing the point that Japan could not make an agreement with the United States while continuing its alliance with Germany, Secretary Hull pointed out that the American people were convinced that Hitler would eventually invade the Far East. By way of illustration, Secretary Hull reminded‑the Japanese representatives that after concluding an anti‑Comintern Pact with Japan Germany had entered into a non‑aggression pact with Russia and in time had reneged even on that pact. In view of this, any agreement between Japan and the United States which did not make the peaceful purposes of both nations self‑evident would only result in a redoubled effort by all nations to strengthen their armaments.

Secretary Hull reminded Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu that the United States was contributing to the establishment of law and order throughout the Far East by granting the Philippines their independence in 1946 and by withdrawing American Marines from China. In the application of a non‑discriminatory policy throughout the world, Secretary Hull continued, the United States government was even now urging the British Empire to reduce its discriminatory practices. To the United States it seemed obvious that the only controlling influence which a country could have over an area was one gained through fair play and not achieved by the sword.

In the renunciation of forceful and aggressive measures, Secretary Hull commented, the United States had stopped using gunboats and armed farces in South America. Thus, it had achieved satisfactory relationships through the pursuit of peaceful policies. Inasmuch as the United States' basic principles were formulated on the principle of peace, Secretary Hull said, the United States could not condone Japan's attitude toward Axis aggression as seen through the telegrams of congratulation sent to Hitler by Japanese leaders when some atrocity occurred. [228a] In answer to these accusations Ambassador Nomura reminded Secretary Hull that in spite of their diverging courses the United States and Russia were aligned at the present time. Ambassador Nomura also stated that Japan was not in a position to be so magnanimous in extending substantial lend‑lease aid to other countries as the United States had done in South America and abroad. However, because Japan was now in a serious predicament, Ambassador Nomura said that Japan was particularly anxious to conclude some agreement with the United States.

At this point in the conversation Mr. Kurusu interposed by stating that his five years' experience as Director of the Commercial Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Office had made him thoroughly familiar with Japan's commercial policy. It was due largely to the British Empire's preferences, Mr. Kurusu said, that Japan had been forced to join with the Axis. Mr. Kurusu reminded Secretary Hull that Japan was far more dependent upon foreign trade than the United States. In view of the fact that the present commercial situation was abnormal, Mr. Kurusu believed that the two governments should attempt some solution, possibly the use of the exchange control system which had developed in Japanese‑occupied China. While in time Japan might be in a position to adopt a more liberal commercial policy, Mr. Kurusu insisted that some way must be found to ameliorate the present situation. Secretary Hull believed that the United States and Japan should come to some agreement in principle on a commercial policy. Although making no direct reply, Mr. Kurusu stated that after the United States occupied the Philippines it had

 


[228] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Joseph Ballantine‑November 18, 1941, S.D. II, 744‑750.

[229] Ibid.

 

58

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

aligned itself with the European concert of nations, thereby sacrificing its former course of idealism pursued in the Far East.

Returning to the problem of the Tripartite Pact, Mr. Kurusu said that some satisfactory agreement could probably be reached even though Japan could not abrogate its agreement with Germany. However, Secretary Hull felt that a definite program of peace must be begun immediately in order to obtain the confidence of peace‑minded people and, at the same time, effect a constructive program designed to offset the forces of aggression. When Mr. Kurusu asked if Secretary Hull could suggest a concrete formula for Japan's future relations with the Axis powers, Secretary Hull stated that Japan must work out this matter on its own but, he re‑emphasized, the problem must be settled in order to conclude a convincing and workable relationship between Japan and the United States. Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact, Secretary Hull added, would be inconsistent with the obligations it would undertake by an agreement with the United States. [228b]

If Japan were not able to adopt a clear‑cut position with regard to commercial policy, its course in China, and relations to the European War, Secretary Hull felt that the Japanese government was unable to control its politicians. Maintaining that it was important, first, to arrest a further deterioration of relations between the two countries before overcoming existing difficulties, Ambassador Nomura said that big ships cannot be turned around too quickly. They have to be eased around slowly and gradually. Refusing to change on his attitude, Secretary Hull replied that neither of the countries could promote peace so long as they were aligned in any way with an aggressive power such as Germany. Nevertheless, Mr. Kurusu insisted, if some settlement could be reached now, it would promote an atmosphere conducive to discussing fundamental problems; if not, the continuation of America's freezing regulations would cause such impatience in Japan that Japan would feel it was forced to fight while it still could. Ambassador Nomura pointed out that Japan had not entered into an alliance with Germany to be a "cat's paw" but because it felt isolated and encircled by European powers. Secretary Hull did not believe that the American public would accept this explanation of Japan's policies.

Referring briefly to the Chinese situation, Secretary Hull asked if Japan could guarantee Chinese sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to commercial equality. Ambassador Nomura replied that Japan could guarantee such protection to China. Although he had made this last point clear to Ambassador Nomura in previous conversations, Secretary Hull desired to re‑emphasize its importance to Mr. Kurusu. [228c]

Secretary Hull then referred to statements made by Japanese representatives which indicated that the Japanese government considered the present conversations as negotiations rather than merely exploratory discussions. Since the British and Chinese governments had a rightful interest in the problems of the Far East. Secretary Hull told Mr. Kurusu that he would have to discuss negotiations with these two governments but that he could not do so at the present time because no real basis had been reached for formal negotiations.

Secretary Hull refused to state specifically, as Mr. Kurusu requested, just what the concerns of these governments were in the Pacific. Mr. Kurusu felt that, if the United States did have to discuss the problems with the British and Chinese, Japanese and American relations might well be at the mercy of Britain and China and in time the situation might get out of control. Secretary Hull merely commented that the declaration of programs of force by Japan's leaders only added to the present difficulty.

Referring back to the questions connected with the Chinese situation, Secretary Hull asked Ambassador Nomura how many soldiers Japan would retain in China. Ambassador

 


[228b] Ibid.

[228c] Ibid.

 

59

 

Nomura replied that ninety per cent would be withdrawn. Although he did not reply directly to Secretary Hull's question on how long the remaining ten per cent would be stationed in China, Ambassador Nomura stated that Japan was permitted to retain troops in the Peiping and Tientsin areas under the Boxer Protocol. Pointing to the long list of grievances suffered by Americans from the actions of Japanese forces in China, Secretary Hull stated that the stationing of any Japanese troops in China was an obstacle to peace. In view of the fact that the United States had been lenient in overlooking these grievances, Secretary Hull believed that the Japanese government should make an extra effort to abolish them. [228d]

If the Japanese people could rid themselves of the desire for war and invasion, Secretary Hull said, Japan could begin almost immediately to produce materials needed by peaceful countries. Reminding Secretary Hull of the strength of the United States, Ambassador Nomura replied by saying that America would first have to give some indication of aid to Japan. However, Secretary Hull reminded the Japanese Ambassador that the United States was not the one to have resorted to force. In addition, Japanese armed forces in China had been particularly destructive. Moreover, Secretary Hull continued, the American people were convinced that Germany and Japan proposed to divide the world between them.

In answering Mr. Kurusu's accusation that the United States had held up the conclusion of a peaceful program by delaying the conversations, Secretary Hull pointed out that he had readily agreed to converse with the Japanese Ambassador at any time. It was Japan's move into French Indo‑China in July 1941 that had first interrupted these conversations and forced the United States to enforce such economic restrictions as discontinuing the shipment of petroleum products to Japan.

Secretary Hull then stated that Japan itself must decide on the method it would use to withdraw troops from China, to adopt a satisfactory commercial policy, and to determine its obligations under the Tripartite Agreement. Recognizing the suspicion with which the United States viewed Japan's motives, Ambassador Nomura assured Secretary Hull that Japan sincerely desired to settle the China affair despite the fact that Japan felt it necessary to retain a certain number of troops in China for the time being. As soon as a just Pacific settlement could be reached, Mr. Kurusu said that Japan would withdraw its troops even from French Indo‑China. [228e]

Secretary Hull then inquired as to what extent Japan would be able to adopt peaceful policies in the event that the United States relaxed its freezing regulations to some degree. While hoping for a realization of the high ideals on which the conversations had been founded, Ambassador Nomura stated that both the United States and Japan had maintained a relatively unyielding attitude toward the Chinese situation. After Secretary Hull had commented on the grave responsibility which Japan had to create conditions conducive to peace, Ambassador Nomura suggested that Japan withdraw its troops from southern French Indo‑China, thereby re‑establishing the status quo in the Pacific which had existed before July. Since this Japanese move had originally caused the United States' freezing regulations to be put into effort, Ambassador Nomura felt that the freezing measures would be rescinded upon the withdrawal of Japanese troops. Realizing that it would be difficult to have the United States remove the embargo upon Japan unless it had definite proof that Japan had definitely renounced its purposes of conquest, Secretary Hull asked what guarantee could be given that the Japanese troops withdrawn from French Indo‑China would not be used in an aggressive movement upon another area.

When Ambassador Nomura stated that the Japanese were sincerely tired of fighting, Secretary Hull replied that he would inquire concerning the British and Dutch attitude toward this suggestion offered by the Japanese Ambassador.

 


[228d] Ibid.

[228e] Ibid.

 

60

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

As the conference drew to a close, Ambassador Nomura stated that his government was studying the questions of commercial policy involved in the United States' proposal of November 15, 1941. In answer to a question by Ambassador Nomura relating to the application of this commercial policy, Secretary Hull stated that, although the program could not be put into full operation before the end of the Japanese‑Chinese War, complete agreement on principles involved should be reached immediately. Ambassador Nomura then said that he would convey the results of this conversation to his government and communicate any messages to Secretary Hull through Mr. Ballantine. [229]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report [230]

At 10:30 a.m. on November 18, 1941, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu called on Secretary Hull. Throughout the conversation, which lasted for approximately three hours, Secretary Hull placed the main emphasis upon Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact. Stating that he had foreseen the devastating effects of Hitler's activities in Europe, Secretary Hull insisted that the German war machine would eventually extend even to the Far East.

Unless the Japanese cooperated with the United States in stopping Hitler's aggression, not only would Japan fall under the power of Hitler, but diplomatic relations with the United States would be difficult to adjust. Since peace was the basic national policy of the United States, the American government could not understand Japan's attitude toward the Tripartite Pact. Until Japan severed allegiance with Germany, therefore, no effective agreement could be drawn up between Japan and the United States.

Secretary Hull stated that some American extremists insisted that the United States had become Hitler's partner because America had maintained a conciliatory attitude toward Japan. Furthermore, Secretary Hull stated, the United States did not wish to conclude a peace agreement such as the one now existing between Japan and Soviet Russia; notwithstanding the Japanese‑Russian peace agreement enormous forces of the two countries faced each other across their borders.

At this point Ambassador Kurusu insisted that Japan could not abrogate the Tripartite Pact. Secretary Hull replied that, while the United States was not actually demanding that Japan break off with Germany, it still could not understand how Japan could maintain the status quo of its relationship to the Tripartite Pact while seeking a peace agreement with the United States. Nor did Secretary Hull agree with Ambassador Kurusu that the Tripartite Pact was merely a peaceful agreement designed for the purpose of Japanese self‑defense. [230a]

When Secretary Hull asked for definite proof that Japan did not intend to use its obligations under the Tripartite Pact to further its own aggressive desires, Ambassador Nomura replied that such proof could not be given within the limited time that remained before concluding a successful agreement. However, Ambassador Nomura suggested that if Japan show its peaceful intentions by withdrawing troops from southern French Indo‑China the United States would in turn be expected to rescind its freezing measures. This suggestion did not meet with Secretary Hull's approval. Instead Secretary Hull said that Japan must first prove its peaceful intentions and then the United States, after conferring with the British government, would decide upon rescinding the present freezing measures. [230b]

From this conversation with Secretary Hull Ambassador Nomura concluded that the problems connected with China were playing a small part in Japanese‑American negotiations

 


[229] Ibid.

[230] IV, 140‑141.

[230a] Ibid.

[230b] Ibid.

 

61

 

at the present time. Apparently Secretary Hull was mainly interested in readjusting the economic situation of the world after the conclusion of the present war. [231]

In view of the fact that the United States was mainly concerned with the policy of nondiscrimination in commerce, Ambassador Nomura suggested that Japan delete that phrase in the Japanese proposals which stated that Japan would apply the principle of nondiscrimination to China once this same principle was applied to the entire world. Unless an agreement were reached on this commercial policy immediately, Ambassador Nomura felt it would be useless to submit proposal B to the American representatives. [231a]

Speaking about this commercial question to Secretary Hull during the conversation, Ambassador Nomura urged that the United States agree to rescind its freezing measures after the Japanese evacuation of southern French Indo‑China. [232] If such a settlement could be made, Ambassador Nomura continued, there would be no need for any of the countries in the Pacific to increase their military strength by sending warships to Singapore or increasing fortifications throughout the Philippines. Refusing to concede this point, Secretary Hull merely reiterated his former statement that Japan must first prove its peaceful aims. If the leaders of the Japanese government proved their peaceful intentions, then, Secretary Hull stated, the United States government would get in touch with Great Britain and the Netherlands for a conference on relevant questions. [232a]

Referring to the China question, Secretary Hull again questioned the right of Japan to station its troops in that country. [233] If some agreement could be reached on this proposal, Secretary Hull promised to get in touch with representatives of the British, the Netherlands, and the Chinese governments for a discussion of the matter.

Secretary Hull then asked if the Japanese government had any reply to make to the United States proposals of November 15, 1941. Ambassador Kurusu answered that the economic positions of Japan and the United States were entirely different. While the United States had an advantageous commercial position, Japan was not so fortunate; therefore, the problems relating to commerce required more study. [233a] When the economic system in Japan had been disrupted by the American freezing order, Ambassador Kurusu continued, Japanese international affairs had been thrown into a great upheaval. On the same principle, if the Japanese‑controlled exchange in northern China were suddenly abolished, as the United States suggested, the economy of 100,000,000 Chinese people would be imperiled.

While admitting this fact Secretary Hull insisted that the principle of equality of treatment in commerce could nevertheless be applied to postwar economic reconstruction. Throughout his diplomatic career, Secretary Hull continued, he had fought against the preferential system of the British Empire which had resulted from the Ottawa Conference. As a result of his efforts it seemed probable that Great Britain would abolish many of its traditions. Secretary Hull was anxious to see the same discriminatory policies abolished in Japanese and American commercial dealings. [234]

Summarizing the major points of this conversation Ambassador Nomura informed his government that the United States was at present primarily interested in Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact rather than the Japanese occupation of China. This change apparently had come about as a result of America's increased interest in the Atlantic war. Therefore, Ambassador Nomura felt that a compromise could be reached on matters pertaining to the Chinese questions and commercial problems, and he suggested that

 


[231] IV,  142.

[231a] Ibid.

[232] IV, 143.

[232a] Ibid.

[233] IV, 144.

[233a] Ibid.

[234] IV, 145.

 

62

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Japanese representatives attempt to reach a practical settlement regarding the acquisition of goods and the cancellation of the freezing issues before submitting proposal B to the United States government. [235]

Furthermore, in regard to the commercial policy Ambassador Nomura requested the present Japanese cabinet to submit a statement which contained no provisional notes. In this way Ambassador Nomura hoped to offset the suspicion already aroused in the minds of American officials. Already, Ambassador Nomura reminded his government, the United States had stated that it would put no faith in mere promises unless they were carried out immediately. Ambassador Nomura suggested, therefore, that Japan be ready to withdraw its troops immediately upon receiving word that the United States was rescinding its freezing order and making the necessary materials available to Japanese merchants.

Ambassador Nomura concluded his report by stating that he would confer with Secretary Hull again on November 20, 1941. [236]

 

69. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 19, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [237]

On November 19, 1941, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu called at Secretary Hull's apartment to continue the discussion that had taken place on the previous day. Although Ambassador Nomura had reported yesterday's conversation to his government, no instructions regarding any suggestions made during the meeting had as yet been forwarded to Washington. Both Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu, however, were satisfied with the interview that Secretary Hull had given the American press regarding the contents of the previous day's conversation.

Secretary Hull then asked Ambassador Nomura his opinion of the present situation. Ambassador Nomura replied that he believed, as he had said in yesterday's conversation, that if the Japanese should move their troops out of southern French Indo‑China the United States should rescind its freezing measure, since it was this action of the Japanese government that first provoked the economic restriction. Ambassador Nomura agreed with Secretary Hull that if such action were taken by both governments the conversations should continue. Secretary Hull recognized the fact that such a measure might give the Japanese leaders time to organize public opinion in favor of a peaceful policy. In view of the bad effect that America's freezing regulations had on the Japanese economic system, Ambassador Nomura made it clear that Japan desired a quick settlement, although he agreed with Secretary Hull that the conversations should continue in any event, in order to arrive at a mutual agreement on all important points upon which the views of both governments had diverged.

Ambassador Nomura emphasized that Japan's views in regard to both the Tripartite Pact and the desire to maintain peace in the Pacific had been clearly set forth in the Japanese statement of September 25, 1941. After Ambassador Nomura had stated that Japan was committed to carry out its obligations under the Tripartite Pact, Secretary Hull suggested that Japan let the Russian forces in the Far East and the British forces at Singapore return to Europe. [237a]

When Secretary Hull began to discuss the injurious effect that Hitler's aggression had upon the whole world, the Japanese representatives discussed the German‑Russian War. Impressed with the strength of the Stalin government and the stubbornness of Russian

 


[235] IV, 146.

[236] IV, 147.

[237] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Joseph W. Ballantine‑November 19, 1941, S.D. II, 751‑753.

[237a] Ibid.

 

63

 

defense, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu both expressed the view that a Russian defeat would not take place in the near future. Ambassador Nomura saw little prospect either of Germany's launching a successful invasion upon the English coast.

Secretary Hull took this opportunity to point out that Germany, if unable to conquer Stalin or invade England, would probably be left with only the hostility of the millions in Europe as the result of its conquest by force. When Ambassador Nomura referred once more to Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact, Secretary Hull reminded the Japanese Ambassador that his country was equally bound by a neutrality pact with Russia. Ambassador Nomura replied briefly that Japan would be equally faithful to both alliances. However, Ambassador Nomura admitted that the Tripartite Pact had brought nothing but American resentment upon Japan. Mr. Kurusu was also pessimistic of Japan's position in the Far East, [238] if another Brest‑Litovsk [239] occurred and Japan were faced with a combined Russo‑German advance on the Pacific.

Urging the Japanese representatives to look to the future, Secretary Hull stated that Japan could stabilize the world by establishing a progressive program of peace in the Pacific. Ambassador Nomura, feeling that the United States would be very strong after World War II was over, nevertheless said the United States would only impair its strength if American forces were sent to Africa to engage in the war at the present time. When the discussion of Hitler's aggression throughout Europe continued, Secretary Hull spoke of Germany's efforts to gain control of the seas, and he emphasized that the United States would prevent that from happening by any means at its disposal. When Secretary Hull stated that the Japanese should tell Hitler to be reasonable, Mr. Kurusu interrupted with the remark that Chancellor Hitler would undoubtedly be willing to enter into peace negotiations. However, Secretary Hull replied that he had only been speaking figuratively, because the United States would demand the complete abandonment of Hitler's program of conquest.

The conference drew to a close with Secretary Hull emphasizing that the United States would stand firm on its basic principles. [240]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report

There is no Japanese message pertaining to this conversation available.

 

70. Japan Prepares for Breakdown of Diplomatic Relations

 

In spite of Japan's apparent optimism with regard to these informal conversations, Tokyo took every precaution to safeguard its codes and important documents in the event that diplomatic relations with America, Britain and Russia were severed. On November 19, 1941, Tokyo sent to its embassies throughout the world a simple code (consisting of a few weather terms) to be inserted, if need arose, in Japanese news broadcasts as a warning that an international emergency had struck. Embassy officials would then destroy all code papers. [241] This was the famous "Winds" code which was to be used in the event that relations between Japan and the United States, Russia, or Great Britain were severed.

Though the code was used before the unexpected Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor it did not reveal that relations with the United States were deteriorating, since it mentioned only England. A special appendix outlines the available information concerning the "Winds" and "Stop" codes.

 


[238] Ibid.

[239] Treaty of Peace between Germany and Russia, March 3, 1918.

[240] S.D. II, 751‑753.

[241] IV, 148‑149.

 

64

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

(November 20, 1941‑ December 1, 1941)

 

PART A‑HULL‑NOMURA CONVERSATIONS

 

Japanese Efforts to Extort an Agreement on a Narrow and One‑Sided Proposal [242]

 

71. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 20, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [242a]

On November 20, 1941, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu called at the State Department to offer a proposal amplifying Ambassador Nomura's suggestion that the Japanese troops be moved from the southern part of French Indo‑China in order that the United States government might rescind its freezing regulations. [243] Under the terms of the new proposal both governments would guarantee that no advance would be made in southeastern Asia or the South Pacific except in the northern part of French Indo‑China, to which Japanese troops from the southern part of that territory would be moved upon the conclusion of the present arrangement. As soon as peace was restored between Japan and China, or an equitable peace was established in the Pacific area, Japan would withdraw its troops from all of French Indo‑China.

With a view to restoring their commercial relations, Japan and the United States would cooperate in acquiring necessary goods and commodities from the Netherlands East Indies, and reinstate trade conditions which had prevailed. prior to the freezing of assets. Furthermore, the United States would supply Japan with a required quantity of oil. In addition, the United States would refrain from any actions prejudicial to the restoration of peace between Japan and China. [244]

Promising to examine the proposal later, Secretary Hull said that he would like to make a few comments on the Japanese proposal in its present form. [245] At any moment, Secretary Hull insisted, Japan could end what it chose to call encirclement and decide upon an all‑out peaceful course. Furthermore, Secretary Hull felt that the Japanese government should direct its people to follow such a peaceful course. In reply, Mr. Kurusu offered the suggestion that the United States help develop Japanese public opinion by adopting the proposal which the Japanese government had just offered. This proposal, Ambassador Nomura interposed, would show Japan's peaceful purpose by relieving the pressure on Thailand as well as French Indo‑China.

Secretary Hull then asked Ambassador Nomura to consider the American people's reaction should the United States discontinue aid to Great Britain. Then he pointed out that the purposes underlying United States aid to China paralleled those underlying aid to

 


[242] Chapter title taken from the division arrangement of the State Department documents‑Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States‑Japan, 1931‑1941 in two volumes, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1943, Volume II, 366. Hereafter referred to as S.D., II.

[242a] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Joseph W. Ballantine‑November 20, 1941, S.D. II, 753‑755.

[243] Ibid.

[244] "Draft Proposal Handed by the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) to the Secretary of State‑November 20, 1941, S.D. II, 755‑756. Part of this draft proposal was sent to Ambassador Nomura from Tokyo on November 4, 1941. See IV, 29. The other items in this proposal were sent to Ambassador Nomura with instructions concerning its delivery on November 14 and November 15, 1941. Note certain changes made in the text in spite of the fact that Tokyo sent Ambassador Nomura both the Japanese and English texts of the proposals, 150‑153.

[245] S. D. II, 753‑755.

 

65

 

Great Britain. What was needed at the present time, Secretary Hull insisted, was the manifestation by Japan of a sincere desire to pursue a peaceful course since the American people, basing their opinion on the Nazi‑like slogans of "a new order in East Asia" and "a co-prosperity sphere", believed that the partnership of Germany and Japan was aimed at controlling the world.

After four years of fighting with China, Ambassador Nomura explained, the Japanese government was forced to use the slogans quoted by Secretary Hull in order to urge the people toward victory. Yet it had been clearly demonstrated from the proposals already presented to the United States government, the Japanese Ambassador continued, that the Japanese government was eager to reach an immediate settlement with China. Secretary Hull stated that the United States government was anxious to help in this matter. However, when Mr. Kurusu stated that Japan had never pledged itself to a policy of expansion, Secretary Hull made the comment that the Chinese people might have an answer to that point.

Since the United States wished to avoid a repetition in East Asia of the "new order" which Hitler was attempting to establish in Europe by military control, Secretary Hull pointed out that Japan must abrogate its alliance with Germany. Waving aside Mr. Kurusu's arguments that Japan could not eradicate its obligations under the Tripartite Pact, Secretary Hull pointed out that Japan had not been so concerned over its obligations under the Nine Power Treaty signed with Great Britain and the United States. Mr. Kurusu answered vaguely that the Nine Power Treaty was twenty years old and outmoded. Not wishing to argue this point, Secretary Hull turned back to the Chinese question and emphasized the tremendous injury caused by Japan in the Pacific. He pointed out that the methods adopted by the Japanese military leaders in the war with China were similar to those used by Hitler. Although agreeing with Ambassador Nomura that the situation in the Far East was of the utmost urgency, Secretary Hull insisted that it was still the duty of Japanese statesmen to alleviate the situation in Japan.

Mr. Kurusu then asked if American aid to China would be discontinued at the beginning of Japanese‑Chinese peace negotiations. Declining to comment on this point, Secretary Hull instead complimented Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu on the marked change in the attitude of the Japanese people and press toward America during the past two days. Secretary Hull was convinced that if such a change for the better could be effected in such a short time Japanese statesmen could accomplish much more in a longer period. [245a]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report [246]

Although November 20, 1941 was Thanksgiving Day Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu met with Secretary Hull to discuss the program of Japanese‑American relations. At the very beginning of the discussion Ambassador Nomura handed Secretary Hull a copy of Japanese Proposal B, according to instructions from Tokyo. After glancing over the items in the proposal Secretary Hull commented on that section which requested the United States to cease aid to the Chinese once Japanese‑Chinese peace discussions had commenced. As long as the fears emanating from the Tripartite Alliance continued in this country, Secretary Hull stated, the United States could not cease aid to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. While on one hand the United States was aiding Great Britain in order to offset German aggression, it was aiding China to offset the same type of aggression in the Far East. Throughout Japan and Manchukuo American businesses had been subjected to harsh treatment by the Japanese; therefore, at this time the American people doubted Japan's sincere desire for peace. [247]

 


[245a] Ibid.

[246] IV, 154‑155.

[247] Ibid.

 

66

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Reminding Secretary Hull that President Roosevelt himself had offered to mediate in the Japanese‑Chinese peace, Ambassador Kurusu insisted that such peace conferences could never take place while American aid to Chiang Kai‑shek continued. Secretary Hull replied that President Roosevelt had presupposed that the Japanese would make a definite statement of their peaceful policies. In the past, influential Japanese statesmen had officially advocated the militaristic expansion of Chancellor Hitler; therefore, if the tension between Japan and the United States was to be relaxed, the Japanese government must openly state its desires to follow a course set down by the United States government. Secretary Hull believed that both he and the Japanese Ambassador had within their power the destiny of both countries, and even of the human race. In an effort to find a basis for peace negotiations, Secretary Hull promised to study the latest Japanese proposal sympathetically. [248]

Since the editorial comments in Japanese newspapers had improved during the past two or three days, Secretary Hull felt that, if once guided, Japanese public opinion could become favorable toward the present Japanese‑American conversations. Therefore, in his message to Tokyo, Ambassador Nomura requested that Foreign Minister Togo exercise continuous control over the Japanese press. [249]

Ambassador Nomura felt that the American State Department would be ready to express some opinion on Japan's suggestion for a general agreement to alleviate the condition in the southwestern Pacific within a few days. Before the meeting drew to a close, another interview was scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on November 22, 1941. [250]

 

72. Hull‑Kurusu Conversation (November 21, 1941)

 

a. Secretary Hull's Report [251]

Calling at Secretary Hull's apartment on November 21, 1941, Mr. Kurusu handed the American Secretary of State a draft letter which he offered by way of clarifying Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact.[252]  

In this letter Mr. Kurusu stated that he was surprised to learn that the American people  misunderstood Japan's obligations under the Tripartite Pact. Since Mr. Kurusu, as Japanese Ambassador to Germany, had signed this treaty with the Berlin government, he felt qualified to clear up any false impressions. First of all, Mr. Kurusu pointed out that the alliance with Germany did not infringe upon Japan's right to act as an independent state. Although it had assumed certain obligations, Japan was not bound by the interpretation given to those obligations by either of the other contracting parties. Anxious for peace, the Japanese government would project Japan into war only as the ultimate, inescapable necessity for the maintenance of its security and the preservation of national life against active injustice. Mr. Kurusu asked that Secretary Hull feel free to publish the contents after complete understanding had been reached by the two governments. [253]

  After glancing over this letter, Secretary Hull told Mr. Kurusu that he did not feel it would be of any particular help. Since Mr. Kurusu had nothing more to offer on the subject of peaceful settlement between Japan and the United States, the interview was ended. [254]

 


[248] IV, 156.

[249] IV, 157.

[250] IV, 158.

[251] "Memorandum by the Secretary of State"‑November 21, 1941, S.D. II', 756.

[252] Ibid.

[253] "Draft Letter Handed by Mr. Kurusu to the Secretary of State on November 21, 1941", S.D. II, 756‑757.

[254] S.D. II, 756.

 

67

 

b. Ambassador Kurusu's Report. [255]

In order to arrange for the interview to take place on November 22, 1941, Secretary Hull met with Ambassador Kurusu on the previous day. Apparently Secretary Hull was in accord with Ambassador Kurusu's suggestion that the joint peace agreement between the United States and Japan gradually overrule Japanese obligations under the Tripartite Pact. Because Viscount Isii and Eigo Fukai had fought for free commerce together with Secretary Hull at the economic conference in London, the American Secretary of State was sympathetic toward Japan's economic leadership in the Far East.

As long as Japan gained leadership in the Pacific without resorting to aggression, Ambassador Kurusu did not feel that the United States would interfere in the activities of that area. In fact, Secretary Hull openly stated that he would like to see the re‑establishment of that era subsequent to the Russo‑Japanese War when Japan and the United States had influenced the affairs of the Far East and the Western Hemisphere respectively. Before achieving such a goal Japan must assure the United States that its alliance with Germany was not an obstacle to peace. Since the present situation was undoubtedly critical Ambassador Kurusu felt that Proposal B, submitted to Secretary Hull on the previous day, would have a great bearing on peace negotiations. Ambassador Kurusu expected an answer to proposal B from Secretary Hull on Monday, November 24,1941. [255a]

 

73. Japanese Air and Surface Patrols Cover Shipping

 

On November 21, 1941 the [U.S.] Chief of Naval Operations informed fleet commanders that reliable reports indicated that Japanese air and surface craft were patrolling shipping routes from the United States to Australasia, with special emphasis apparently being placed on the Gilbert and Ellice Islands area.

In order to coordinate these operations, the Japanese East Indies fishing fleet had been divided into three units to cover Bathurst Island, Arnhem and Thursday Island in Torres Strait. Equipped with long‑range radio sets with which to contact their base at Palau, units of this fleet were apparently scheduled to operate around Dutch New Guinea. [256]

 

74. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 22, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [257]

By appointment made at the request of Ambassador Nomura, the Japanese Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu called on Secretary Hull on November 22, 1941. Secretary Hull began the conversation by telling Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu that he had spoken with representatives of the other governments concerned in the affairs of the Pacific in order to determine if there could be a relaxation of the freezing orders enacted against Japan. As a result, it had been decided by these other governments that if Japan could give evidence of its peaceful intentions, the questions of the Pacific could be settled satisfactorily. However, the representatives of those other governments had the same misgivings which Secretary Hull himself had experienced during his conversations with Ambassador Nomura.

Secretary Hull then reminded Ambassador Nomura that the Japanese government had been talking of peace during last July even while its troops moved into Indo‑China. Even though the oil being shipped to Japan during the months prior to the Indo‑China invasion was not being used for normal civilian consumption, Secretary Hull, in spite of severe public criticism, had induced his government to continue oil exports to Japan.

 


[255] IV, 159.

[255a] Ibid.

[256] IV, 160.

[257] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Joseph W. Ballantine‑November 22, 1941‑ S.D. II, 757‑762.

 

68

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Now, in November, with the American statesmen and American press backing a peaceful policy, the Japanese statesmen and press continued to adopt a warlike tone. Since Secretary Hull had pointed out several times that Japan would gain commercially from adopting a peaceful policy, he could not understand why Japanese statesmen did not cooperate with Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu in preaching peace.

Secretary Hull said that the United States government had reached no decision regarding the Japanese proposals. Nevertheless, the United States was seriously considering the release of a certain quantity of oil to Japan for civilian requirements. If only Japan could make more definite assertions regarding its peaceful intentions, Secretary Hull felt that he would be able to sway the sympathies of the Senators and other persons in this country toward Japan. After Secretary Hull had finished, Mr. Kurusu stated that the special session of the Japanese Diet had shown the Japanese people to be severely affected by four years of war, and it had also shown clearly the effects of the United States freezing measures upon the Japanese people. In reply to Secretary Hull's question regarding the attitude of the Japanese army, Mr. Kurusu assured the American Secretary of State that the Army had acceded to Ambassador Nomura's suggestion regarding the withdrawal of Japanese troops from southern French Indo‑China. In spite of this encouraging sign, however, Mr. Kurusu pointed out, the situation would approach an explosive point unless immediate and ameliorating action took place. [257a]

Since the world was in such a state of confusion because of the present war, Secretary Hull encouraged the Japanese statesmen to come out and say definitely that Japan wanted peace, as the United States had done so many times. Ambassador Nomura answered that there was not the slightest doubt of Japan's desire for peace, yet he admitted that it would be difficult to declare publicly that Japan was seeking conciliation. By way of example, Ambassador Nomura reminded Secretary Hull of the agitation in Japan which followed the peace settlement with Russia in 1905. In spite of Ambassador Nomura's explanations, Secretary Hull still felt that Japanese statesmen would approach the question of peace with real appreciation of the situation, in order to induce the other powers in the Pacific to reach a trade arrangement with Japan. If Japan continued such aggressive moves as it had already begun in French Indo‑China, Secretary Hull continued, other nations would continue their program of armament and the peaceful endeavors of Ambassador Nomura would be in vain.

If Japan would be satisfied with the gradual relaxation of export restrictions, Secretary Hull revealed, both the United States and other countries would be willing to supply Japan with a moderate amount of necessary goods, increasing that amount in proportion to Japan's demonstration of its peaceful intentions. Not satisfied with the trade concessions which Secretary Hull promised, Mr. Kurusu insisted that immediate and complete relief was necessary. Secretary Hull's only comment was that, if the Japanese government needed all that had been asked for, probably nothing could save it. Furthermore, Secretary Hull felt that Japan expected the United States to do all the work in bringing about peace. [257b]

When Mr. Kurusu asked for a further clarification of Secretary Hull's ideas on the trade situation, Secretary Hull replied that during his conversation with representatives of the other governments he had discovered that an arrangement could be effected between Japan and these countries, if Japan would only commit itself to peace. However, if Japan insisted on modifying and qualifying declarations of its peaceful statements, these other nations would not be interested.

 


[257a] Ibid.

[257b] Ibid.

 

69

 

Secretary Hull then asked if a recent proposal handed to him by Ambassador Nomura was intended as a temporary measure to organize public opinion in Japan in order that the conversations might continue with the purpose of concluding a more comprehensive agreement. When Mr. Kurusu replied in the affirmative, Secretary Hull stated that Japan was making the situation more difficult for the countries that were willing to release a certain amount of exports to Japan, for if Japan retained any troops in northern Indo‑China, regardless of their location, they would constitute a threat to neighboring countries. For example, Secretary Hull said, almost over‑night Japan would be able to move its troops from northern Indo‑China to any point it desired, while the British would be unable to move even one more ship from Singapore.

Answering that Japan would bring its troops out of French Indo‑China completely when the China affair had been settled, Ambassador Nomura said that at the present time Japan needed troops in northern Indo‑China in order to carry on its war with China. However, it would take many days to move these Japanese troops from northern Indo‑China. Secretary Hull, however, insisted that uneasiness would prevail as long as Japanese troops remained in any area of French Indo‑China. Furthermore, Secretary Hull felt that Japan expected the United States to complete all the arrangements toward the settlement of the China question. Refuting this statement, Mr. Kurusu pointed out that the Japanese Foreign Minister, in a conversation with Ambassador Grew, had accused the United States of precisely the same thing. [257c]

In emphasizing the fact that it was the Japanese who first diverged from the course of law and order, Secretary Hull said that the Japanese had moved into French Indo‑China in July. Secretary Hull waved aside Mr. Kurusu's explanation that Japan had been forced into taking such action because of commercial encirclement by saying that as far back as 1934 he had warned Ambassador Saito that Japan was planning an over‑lordship in East Asia, and that such militarism would eventually plunge the world into another war. At that same time Secretary Hull had attempted to discourage Hitler from adopting aggressive tactics.

In answer to Ambassador Nomura's comment that American moral support had enabled Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek to hold out this long, Secretary Hull said that a major portion of our fleet was kept in the Pacific to aid China. However, if Japan could only cooperate by doing a few small peaceful things to tide over the situation, a peaceful movement could begin within thirty or forty days. Ambassador Nomura maintained that the psychological effect of a quick settlement would be of the greatest value to Japan. Although obviously discouraged at Japan's attitude, Secretary Hull still insisted that peace would become infectious if only the movement were begun, but if the China affair were injected into the present proposals, Secretary Hull felt that a dangerous obstacle would be set up. This obstacle, Secretary Hull believed, might even prevent the United States from mediating between Japan and China. [257d]

After a conclusive discussion on the true situation in Indo‑China, Ambassador Nomura referred to Japan's desire for a quick settlement of the Pacific problems. He asked that America state exactly what points of the Japanese proposals it could and could not accept. By way of reply, Secretary Hull urged that the Japanese government spend more time in preaching the doctrines of peace. Then he said that possibly by Monday, November 24, 1941, after a conference with the representatives of the other governments concerning the points that had been brought out in the day's conversation, he would have something definite to say about the Japanese proposals.

Ambassador Nomura assured Secretary Hull that the Japanese government had no desire to press him for an immediate reply and agreed that Monday would be satisfactory for an answer to be forthcoming from the United States government.

 


[257c] Ibid.

[257d] Ibid.

 

70

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Just before the conversation ended Secretary Hull referred to a general and comprehensive program involving the collaboration of other countries which he hoped to talk over with Ambassador Nomura. Ambassador Nomura said that Japan hoped for a bilateral agreement with the United States under which other interested powers could subsequently arrive at a mutual agreement with Japan.[258]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report. [259]

Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu called on Secretary Hull and Mr. Ballantine on November 22, 1941. Secretary Hull began the conversations by stating that he had conferred earlier in the day with the Ambassadors and Ministers of Great Britain, Australia and the Netherlands in order to obtain their opinion on the latest Japanese proposals. As a result of this conversation these representatives concluded that once Japan gave a sincere indication of its desire for peace, trade relations could be re‑established between Japan and these various countries. However, these same representatives noted that Japanese politicians and newspapers seemed to be directly opposed to the peaceful course which the Japanese government claimed to desire.

Giving an example of their reasons for doubting Japan's sincerity, these same diplomats pointed out to Secretary Hull that Japanese petroleum imports had risen just prior to the freezing order effected by the United States, Britain and the Netherlands. In fact, the petroleum intake was so great that it was obviously being stored by the navy and not consumed in civilian businesses. In view of such action the diplomats of these countries wished to lift the embargo on exports to Japan only gradually. Before any definite decision could be made in regard to resuming trade with Japan, however, these representatives wished to refer the Japanese proposals to their home governments.

In order to offset this suspicion regarding Japan's actual motives, Secretary Hull proposed that the Japanese government make a clear‑cut statement of its desire for peace. Mr. Ballantine added that such a statement would be more beneficial than the present propagandistic reports sent out by Tokyo for foreign consumption. Mr. Ballantine continued that the duty of every politician was to strive for peace. Anxious to determine the attitude of the United States toward the Japanese proposals, Ambassador Nomura requested that the British, Australian, and Dutch opinions be laid aside for the time being. Replying to this request, Secretary Hull discussed the Japanese proposals paragraph by paragraph, but actually, according to Ambassador Nomura, his comments were completely evasive. Nevertheless, Ambassador Nomura was convinced that the United States, Great Britain, Australia and the Netherlands were sincerely desirous of avoiding a crisis in the south Pacific.

Secretary Hull himself admitted that these countries wished to control the situation in the Far East so that they might be able to transfer their fighting forces to other areas. In view of this situation Secretary Hull felt that the assurances given by Japan in its proposals were an insufficient guarantee.

Attempting to refute Secretary Hull's remarks, Ambassador Nomura insisted that the Japanese troops concentrated in the northern part of French Indo‑China were directed at Yunan, the lifeline of Chungking and not at the southwest Pacific. However, Secretary Hull insisted that a quick turnabout in the situation must take place before the United States or the other countries concerned in the Pacific could answer the present Japanese proposals. Once this changed had taken place, Secretary Hull stated, trade with Japan could be resumed rapidly. [259a]

 


[258] Ibid.

[259] IV, 161.

[259a] Ibid.

 

71

 

Referring next to the proposed Japanese‑Chinese peace negotiations, Secretary Hull stated that United States' aid to Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek would not cease before a complete understanding had been reached. If the United States were to stop this aid, Secretary Hull continued, then this government could not be considered a fair and neutral party, and therefore, could not mediate in the Japanese‑Chinese peace. Furthermore, Secretary Hull felt that the so‑called American aid to Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek was largely over‑publicized. Secretary Hull concluded his discussion of the China affair by stating that it was not yet time for President Roosevelt to suggest the commencement of peace negotiations with China.

In spite of certain disagreements which had been uncovered during the present conversations, Ambassador Kurusu felt that on Monday the United States would submit some sort of counter proposal suggesting a joint plan for the maintenance of peace in the Pacific by the United States and Japan. After a preliminary agreement had been arrived at by these two countries Ambassador Kurusu was convinced that it would be submitted to Great Britain, Australia and the Netherlands for approval. If this took place it was quite possible that Japan's objections to any change could be voted down by the four allies. Ambassador Kurusu insisted that Japan would not accept any proposals unless they met with its complete approval. [259b]

 

75. Japan Changes Agreement Deadline to November 29, 1941

 

Possibly in the hope that the United States would, as Secretary Hull had stated, submit a counter proposal on November 24, 1941, [260] which would increase the possibility of a successful conclusion of the present negotiations, Japan agreed to change the deadline for a Japanese‑American agreement from November 25 to November 29, 1941, Tokyo time. [261] However, in notifying Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu of this change in date, the Foreign Office stressed the fact that, by that time, an agreement must not only be signed with the United States, but, by the exchange of pertinent diplomatic notes, some similar understanding must be concluded with Great Britain and the Netherlands.

Since November 29, 1941 was the final and absolute date which Tokyo had set for the settlement of its international problems, Foreign Minister Togo urged that both Ambassadors in Washington increase their efforts to bring about peace without relaxing Japan's fundamental demands. If Japan's aims were not accomplished by this date Foreign Minister Togo warned "that things are automatically going to happen". [262]

 

76. Chief of Naval Operations Warns of Japanese Surprise Attack on Philippines

 

The United States Navy was not unaware that "things are automatically going to happen", as Foreign Minister Togo had warned on November 22, 1941. [263] For on November 24, 1941, in a message to the Commander‑in‑Chiefs of the Pacific and Asiatic Fleets, the Chief of Naval Operations warned that a surprise Japanese aggression in any direction could be expected. [264] From the movements of Japan's military and naval forces a surprise attack on the Philippines or Guam was indicated. Senior Army officers in the areas to which this OpNav message was addressed were to be informed of this fact. In the meantime these commanders were to observe the utmost secrecy in regard to their actions in order not to precipitate the expected Japanese attack. [265]

 


[259b] Ibid.

[260] S.D. 11, 757‑762; IV, 161.

[261] IV, 162‑163.

[262] IV, 162.

[263] Ibid.

[264] 164.

[265] Ibid.

 

72

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

On the same day unusual activity was noted in the Mandates on the part of the Japanese. Coast batteries, lookout stations and landing forces were identified on Truk and Saipan. From these and other indications it was assumed that similar Japanese defense preparations were being made at islands in the Jaluit and Palao vicinities, where bases were already located. [266]

 

77. Ambassador Grew Discusses Japanese Proposals with Foreign Minister Togo [267]

 

On November 21, 1941, Ambassador Grew advised Secretary Hull and Under Secretary of State Welles of the details of his conference with Foreign Minister Togo. [268] During the conversation Foreign Minister Togo asked whether Ambassador Grew was familiar with the Japanese proposals presented to the American State Department on November 20, 1941, [269] and with the conversation between Secretary Hull, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu on November 22, 1941. [270] Although Ambassador Grew had received a copy of the Japanese proposals, he had not yet been informed of the details of the conversation which took place on November 22, 1941. Therefore, Foreign Minister Togo gave him some of the more pertinent details. [271]

Foreign Minister Togo disclosed to Ambassador Grew that Secretary Hull, in a conference with representatives of other governments interested in the Pacific, had learned that Japan's offer to withdraw its troops from the southern part of French Indo‑China did not meet with their approval. In explaining to Ambassador Grew that Japan could not withdraw its troops from the northern part of French Indo‑China as well, since they had been sent there to hasten the conclusion of the China affair, Foreign Minister Togo insisted that Japan's offer had been an attempt to ease the tension in the Pacific.

  Remarking that the United States and Great Britain had put their freezing orders into effect in the first place because Japan had moved its troops to southern Indo‑China, Foreign Minister Togo could not understand why the withdrawal of its troops from that section was not satisfactory to those governments. In any event, Foreign Minister Togo continued, Japan's maximum concession was the withdrawal of Japanese troops to the northern part of French Indo‑China.

Foreign Minister Togo stated that the settlement of the China affair had always been one of the principal obstacles to the restoration of friendly relations between Japan and the United States. If, however, Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek were to state his desire to restore peace with Japan, as President Roosevelt had suggested he might do, Foreign Minister Togo said Japan would enter into negotiations with China provided that the United States refrained from any action prejudicial to the restoration of peace. Since Foreign Minister Togo insisted that the United States' activities must not obstruct peace between Japan and China, Ambassador Grew interrupted to inquire as to which American activities Foreign Minister Togo referred. Foreign Minister Togo replied that although he was unfamiliar with military matters he felt that any American action calculated to aid Chinese military forces should cease as soon as peace negotiations were started.

Foreign Minister Togo turned the conversation to a discussion of the Japanese proposals presented to the American State Department on November 20, 1941. Since he had formulated the document, Foreign Minister Togo felt qualified to state that the proposal was. a manifestation of Japan's future cooperative spirit, based on a desire for peace. Ambassador

 


[266] IV, 165.

[267] The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State‑November 24, 1941, S.D. II, 762‑764.

[268] Ibid.

[269] S.D. II, 755‑756.

[270] S.D. II, 757‑762.

[271] S.D. II, 762‑764.

 

73

 

Grew's only reply was that he would forward Foreign Minister Togo's remarks to the United States government.

Just before the conversation ended, Ambassador Grew suggested that, in the event the Japanese government did not expect the United States to suspend aid to China prior to the commencement of peace negotiations, the clause in the Japanese proposals referring to American non‑interference in the efforts of Japan to settle the China affair would be interpreted as a statement designed to save Japanese face. [271a]

 

78. Ambassador Nomura Warns Against Inaccurate News Reporting

 

In spite of the fact that both the Japanese Embassy in Washington and the American State Department were withholding all reports concerning Japanese‑American relations, Ambassador Nomura reported on November 25, 1941 that various Japanese correspondents were writing newspaper articles based purely on conjecture. Although many of these correspondents recognized that their articles were valueless, they were forced to make such reports concerning the conversations because of pressure exerted by heads of newspaper offices. Since the situation was becoming extremely critical, Ambassador Nomura urged that Foreign Minister Togo exercise more control over Japanese correspondents, and particularly over the officials in charge of the newspaper syndicates. If newspaper officials directed their special correspondents to publish only authorized information concerning the Japanese‑American negotiations, this difficulty could be cleared up immediately. [272]

 

79. Foreign Minister Togo Questions Newspaper Interpretation of Proposals

 

Tokyo as well as Washington reported problems arising out of unauthorized newspaper articles. [273] On November 26, 1941 Foreign Minister Togo questioned an American newspaper interpretation of the Japanese proposals in which Japanese evacuation of French Indo‑China was indicated as depending upon the rescinding of the American freezing act. In case Ambassador Nomura himself believed that there was some connection between the two measures, Foreign Minister Togo stated that even if such a mutual agreement on those two points could be reached it would be inadequate to meet the present situation.

The Japanese government desired an agreement based on its Proposal B, excluding the questions of non‑discrimination of trade and the Tripartite Pact, and incorporating the suggestion made by the United States on November 12, 1941 concerning the establishment of peace between Japan and China through the mediation of the United States. Since the time allotted for the successful conclusion of the present negotiations was growing short Foreign Minister Togo asked Ambassador Nomura to get in touch with United States' authorities and influential Americans in an effort to obtain an immediate answer to Japanese proposals. [273a]

In reply to Tokyo's instructions, Ambassador Nomura stated that the question concerning the evacuation of Japanese troops from all of French Indo‑China, appearing in the American newspapers, had been unauthorized and not founded upon any discussion between American and Japanese representatives in Washington. Although he had attempted to use his influence to work upon the sympathies of influential Americans, Ambassador Nomura

 


[271a] Ibid.

[272] IV, 166. The pessimism of Japanese newspapers toward these conversations was reflected in a statement made by the Tokyo Nichi Nichi denouncing the Kurusu mission as a failure. The Domei news service agreed that conditions were such that any optimism on the part of the Japanese was totally unwarranted. (New York Times, November 25, 1941, 1:5).

[273] IV, 167.

[273a] Ibid.

 

74

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

continued, Secretary Hull was already turning the opinion of these American representatives to his own advantage.[274]

 

80. Tokyo Wishes Agreement to Include Petroleum Exports

 

In the event that a settlement should be reached on the basis of the latest Japanese proposal, Foreign Minister Togo wished for an immediate agreement regarding the acquisition of necessary materials. Even prior to the signing of an understanding the Japanese Foreign Minister desired a definite guarantee from the United States regarding the amount of petroleum to be exported to Japan. An average amount of 4,000,000 tons of petroleum per year had been exported from the United States to Japan during 1938, 1939 and 1940 before the freezing legislation went into effect. These exports amounted to approximately 333,000 tons per month. Under the suggested agreement the Japanese government would expect to receive the same amount of petroleum with a gradual increase if the negotiations continued favorably. In addition, the Japanese government wished to import 1,000,000 tons of petroleum a year from the Netherlands East Indies. In order to validate the verbal agreements reached, Foreign Minister Togo suggested that a definite statement be incorporated into the exchange of documents between Ambassador Nomura and Secretary Hull. [275]

 

81. Japanese Ambassadors Offer to Tokyo Final Suggestion for Peace

 

After Tokyo had wired its embassy in Washington concerning the demands to be made once an agreement was reached with the United States, Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu replied that there was very little possibility of the United States' acceptance of Japan's Proposal B in its entirety. [276] In fact, the two Japanese ambassadors felt that negotiations would be completely ruptured if the present situation were not alleviated immediately in some way. By way of a suggestion Ambassador Nomura proposed that President Roosevelt wire the Japanese government personally to request cooperation in the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. In return, Japan would extend a cordial reply.

In declaring their friendliness to the United States, however, Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu warned the Japanese cabinet that it must not overlook the fact that England and the United States were attempting to bring the Netherlands East Indies under their military domination. In order to forestall the domination of French Indo‑China, the Netherlands East Indies and Thailand by the allied nations, Ambassador Nomura suggested their establishment as neutral nations in accordance with a proposal submitted by President Roosevelt in September, 1941. [276a]

Although the breakdown of negotiations might not necessarily mean war between Japan and the United States, Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu felt that once England and the United States had militarily occupied the Netherlands East Indies, Japan would be forced to attack allied troops. In the event that such a war did take place, a problem would arise as to whether Germany would feel bound by the Tripartite Pact to come to the assistance of Japan. Both Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu doubted that such aid would be forthcoming from Berlin.

Referring next to the Sino‑Japanese incident, the two Japanese representatives stated that the end of the world would come before this problem was settled. Since this was the last expression regarding the negotiations which either Ambassador intended to make they

 


[274] IV, 168.

[275] IV, 169.

[276] IV, 170.

[276a] Ibid.

 

75

 

requested that a copy of their opinions be submitted to the Japanese Naval Ministry and that some answer be made immediately by the Japanese government. [277]

 

82. Tokyo Orders Reports on Negotiations to Be Made by Telephone

 

Since the situation was becoming so tense that immediate reports on the negotiations were desired by Tokyo, the Foreign Office ordered the Japanese Embassy in Washington to make future reports by telephone to Chief Kumaicho Yamamoto, Chief of the American Bureau in Tokyo. As a security precaution the Foreign Office sent Ambassador Nomura a copy of a verbal code to be used for telephone communications. [278] However, Ambassador Nomura did not believe that a sufficient amount of time would be saved by this new means of communication to warrant use of the international telephone system. He pointed out that the hours for telephone conversations between Japan and the United States were restricted to the time between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., Tokyo time. Therefore, he held that it would be better to continue wiring urgent news. [279]

 

83. Secretary Hull Confers with Allied Representatives (November 24, 1941)

 

On two different occasions, Ambassador Nomura reported, Secretary Hull had conferred with representatives of Great Britain, Australia, the Netherlands East Indies and China. Since Japanese‑American relations affected Great Britain more than any of the other countries, Secretary Hull had discussed the Pacific problem chiefly with the British Ambassador, and was maintaining communications with the Australian, Dutch, and Chinese representatives largely through him. As the result of conducting some separate conversations with each of these representatives, instead of having them meet for joint discussion, considerable attention had been drawn to these meetings. [280]

 

84. Conference with Japanese Representatives Postponed by Secretary Hull

 

Although a conference between Secretary Hull, Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu had been arranged for November 24, 1941, Secretary Hull postponed this meeting since he had not yet completed discussing the Japanese proposals with representatives of the Allied nations. [281]

On the following day, therefore, the Japanese representatives again inquired whether Secretary Hull was free to meet with Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu. The State Department replied that an answer would be forthcoming on the next day. Since various bureaus of the State Department were still debating the items in the Japanese proposals, and in view of the fact that Secretary Hull was still conferring with the British Ambassador, Ambassador Nomura was convinced that the United States desired to speed up the present negotiations. He felt that a conference between American and Japanese officials would undoubtedly take place on November 26, 1941. [282]

On the morning of November 26, 1941 Mr. Terasaki called on Mr. Ballantine to arrange the time for this interview. However, Mr. Ballantine stated that Secretary Hull was still studying the Japanese proposals; nevertheless, from Mr. Ballantine's remarks Mr. Terasaki concluded that Secretary Hull would be free to confer with Ambassador Nomura later in the day. [283] Consequently, a meeting was scheduled for 4:45 p.m. [284]

 


[277] IV, 171.

[278] IV, 172.

[279] IV, 173.

[280] IV, 174.

[281] IV, 175.

[282] IV, 176.

[283] IV, 177.

[284] IV, 178.

 

76

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

After the time of the conversation had been set Minister Wakasugi called Mr. Yamamoto by international telephone to notify the Japanese Foreign Office that a conference had been arranged with Secretary Hull. In reply to a question by Mr. Yamamoto during this telephone conversation, Minister Wakasugi stated that arrangements had not yet been made to see President Roosevelt. However, since Secretary Hull had been conferring with the Chinese representatives for the past three days, it seemed apparent that the day's interview would decide the course of future negotiations. Mr. Yamamoto then ordered Minister Wakasugi to report the results of the day's meeting by telephone.[285]

 

85. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (November 26, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [286]

When Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu called at the American State Department on November 26, 1941, Secretary Hull handed each of the Japanese representatives an outline of a tentative and unofficial proposed agreement between Japan and the United States. [287]

In this document, under Section I "Draft Mutual Declaration of Policy", the United States and Japan, in declaring that their policies in the Pacific were peaceful, were to guarantee not only that they had no territorial design on any part of the Pacific, but that they had no intention of using military force, or in any way threatening any neighboring nation. In pursuit of this peaceful national policy, both governments were to apply the following principles to their relations with all other governments:

1. The principle of inviolability of territorial integrity and sovereignty of each and all nations.

2. The principle of non‑interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

3. The principle of equality, including equality of commercial opportunity and treatment.

4. The principle of reliance upon international cooperation and conciliation for the prevention and pacific settlement of controversies and for improvement of international conditions by peaceful methods and processes.

In order to provide a strong economic basis for peace, Japan and the United States agreed to eliminate political instability and prevent recurrent economic collapse by adopting the following principles:

1. The principle of non‑discrimination in international commercial relations.

2. The principle of international economic cooperation and abolition of extreme nationalism as expressed in excessive trade restrictions.

3. The principle of non‑discriminatory access by all nations to raw material supplies.

4. The principle of full protection of the interests of consuming countries and populations as respects the operation of international commodities agreements.

5. The principle of establishment of such institutions and arrangements of international finance as may lend aid to essential enterprises and the continuous development of all countries, and as may permit payments through processes of trade consonant with the welfare of all countries. [288]

Under the provisions of Section II "Steps to be Taken by the Government of the United States and by the Government of Japan", the United States and Japan were to conclude a multilateral non‑aggression pact with the British Empire, China, the Netherlands, Russia and Thailand. With the British, Chinese, Netherlands and Thaiese governments Japan and the United States were to conclude a separate agreement pledging the territorial integrity of French Indo‑China,

 


[285] IV, 179.

[286] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Joseph W. Ballantine‑November 26, 1941, S.D. II, 764‑766.

[287] Ibid.

[288] "Document handed by the Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura)‑November 26, 1941", S.D. II, 768‑770. For Japanese version of this document wired to Tokyo by Ambassador Nomura on November 26, 1941, see IV, 180‑185.

 

77

 

and guaranteeing that any necessary measures would be taken to offset the threat of aggression against that territory.

In the matter of trade and commerce these governments would agree not to accept preferential treatment in economic dealings with French Indo‑China. In following the spirit of this pledge, Japan would withdraw all military, naval, air and police forces from French Indo‑China and from China. Furthermore, the United States and Japan, in order to restore the regular government at Chungking, would refuse to recognize any military, political or economic government established in China and would give up all extra‑territorial rights, including those gained under the Boxer Protocol of 1901 and other international settlements and concessions.

Every effort was to be exerted to have Great Britain and other governments interested in the Pacific give up similar extra‑territorial rights in China. For the conclusion of an equitable trade agreement between the United States and Japan negotiations were to be based upon reciprocal measures calling for the reduction of trade barriers by both countries. For example, the United States would place raw silk on the free list, and both governments would remove the freezing restrictions placed on the funds of the other. As another means of aiding economic relations between the two countries, the dollar‑yen rate would be stabilized with funds supplied by Japan and the United States. In order to ensure the maintenance of these political and economic agreements the United States and Japan were to guarantee that they would not enter into any alliances with a third power prejudicial to these principles. Both governments were to attempt to influence other countries to give practical application to the basic political and economic principles as stated in this document. [289]

Secretary Hull then handed Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu an explanatory oral statement in which the Japanese government was reminded that the informal conversations carried on between representatives of both governments for the past several months were aimed at settling the Pacific problem by a complete application of the principles of peace and nondiscriminatory treatment. These principles included the inviolability of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of each and every nation; non‑interference in the internal affairs of other countries; opportunity for commercial equality and the improvement of international conditions by the peaceful settlement of controversies. [290]

Because the Japanese government believed that a favorable atmosphere would be created if a temporary "modus vivendi" could be agreed upon while the conversations continued toward a more complete settlement of Pacific problems, Ambassador Nomura had handed Secretary Hull a set of new proposals on November 20, 1941. Anxious to contribute to the promotion and maintenance of peace and stability in the Pacific area, the United States was aiming toward a broad‑gauge program. After carefully considering the Japanese proposals of November 20, 1941, the United States came to the decision that these proposals conflicted with the fundamental principles upon which this broad‑gauge settlement was to be formulated. Therefore, the United States offered the Japanese government its own suggestions for the simple settlement of the Pacific problems. Although making a new approach to old problems, this plan was still based upon the practical application of the fundamental principles already agreed upon during the informal conversations and it was designed to bridge the gap between the United States proposals of June 21, 1941, and the Japanese counter proposals of September 25, 1941. [291]

When he finished reading both documents, Mr. Kurusu asked whether this constituted the United States' official reply to Japan's proposal for a "modus vivendi". Because of the natural reaction which the American people felt towards some Japanese who were continually advocating

 


[289] Ibid.

[290] "Oral statement handed by the Secretary of State to Japanese Ambassador (Nomura)‑November 26, 1941", S.D. II, 766‑767. For Japanese version of this oral statement sent to Tokyo by Ambassador Nomura on November 26, 1941, see IV, 186‑189.

[291] Ibid.

 

78

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

warlike aggression, Secretary Hull replied, the United States had been forced to treat the Japanese proposals in this manner. Nevertheless, Secretary Hull assured Ambassador Nomura, although it was not specifically stated in the counter proposal which the United States government had just presented to the Japanese representatives, that the United States might give Japan financial aid and might even settle the immigrant question if the Pacific problems were satisfactorily settled.

In replying to Secretary Hull, Mr. Kurusu referred to the proposed agreement in derogatory terms, [292] noting that the principles contained therein were reiterations of the Stimson Doctrine. The doctrine to which Mr. Kurusu referred was enunciated by Secretary of State Stimson in a dispatch sent to Ambassador Forbes in Japan in 1932. [293] At that time the United States had been confident that the neutral commission authorized by the Council of the League of Nations would bring about the solution of the difficulties existing between Japan and China. However, the United States wished to notify both the Japanese government and the Chinese Republic at the same time that it would not recognize the legality of any treatment or agreement between those countries which might impair the treaty rights of the United States or American citizens in Japan, including any treaties relating to the sovereignty, independence, territorial or administrative integrity of China, or to the Open Door Policy in China. Any agreement contrary to the covenants and obligations undertaken by Japan and the United States in the Pact of Paris on August 27, 1928, would not be recognized by the United States government. [294]

Citing Japan's experience with the Hague Tribunal, when it lost a case in connection with perpetual leases, Mr. Kurusu pointed out that Japan's bitter experience with international organizations made it object to the United States' present proposals for multilateral nonaggression pacts. In fact, Mr. Kurusu blamed the Washington Conference Treaties for China's taking advantage of Japan's rights. If the United States continued to request that Japan recognize Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek, then Mr. Kurusu did not see how any understanding on the Chinese question could be reached. Knowing that the proposal which Secretary Hull had just handed Ambassador Nomura was tentative and unofficial, Mr. Kurusu suggested that it not be referred to the Japanese government before American and Japanese representatives discussed its contents further. At a time when the American public had lost the proper perspective of the Japanese‑American situation, Secretary Hull said, the United States had felt it necessary to draw up a document presenting a detailed picture of its position in regard to every essential point connected with the Pacific question.

Referring next to the question of exporting oil to Japan, Secretary Hull emphasized that public opinion was so strong that if he freely permitted shipments of oil to Japan he might be lynched. He then reminded Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu that the mobilization of Japanese forces in French Indo‑China was directly affecting American interests as well as menacing countries to the south and west of French Indo‑China.

Turning back to the pertinent questions of the China problem, Mr. Kurusu stated frankly that Japan would find it difficult to renounce Mr. Wang Ching‑wei. Mr. Kurusu then attempted to show the value of the Nanking regime which had been set up in China, but Secretary Hull remained unconvinced.

When Ambassador Nomura requested that he and Mr. Kurusu be permitted to see President Roosevelt, Secretary Hull replied that President Roosevelt would be happy to see them at any time. Mr. Kurusu referred to America's lack of interest in the "modus vivendi", and said the American response could be interpreted as meaning the end of negotiations. Refusing to state definitely whether the United States had been influenced in

 


[292] S.D. II, 764.

[293] "Secretary of State to Ambassador in Japan (Forbes) ‑January 7, 1931", S.D. I, 76.

[294]  Ibid.

 

79

 

this matter by the opinions of the other powers with which a discussion had taken place, Secretary Hull merely stated that the United States government had explored the possibility of a "modus vivendi" and decided against it.

When the question of publicity was raised, Secretary Hull said that he would give a simple statement to the press tomorrow. Ambassador Nomura said he would not question Secretary Hull's right to give out what he desired.[295]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report [296]

At 4:45 p.m. on November 26, 1941 Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu discussed the Japanese proposals for approximately two hours. At the outset of the discussion Secretary Hull stated that after numerous conferences with representatives of other nations concerned in the Pacific it has been decided that the Japanese proposals submitted to the United States government on November 20, 1941 were unsatisfactory. Therefore, in order to reconcile the divergent points of view expressed in the American proposal of June 21, 1941, and the Japanese proposal of September 25, 1941, the United States was at this time submitting a tentative and unofficial plan.

After reading over that part of the American document which suggested an agreement between England, the Netherlands, China and Thailand, and also the various points regarding the stabilization of trade and politics, Ambassador Nomura replied that the United States' proposals were decidedly unconciliatory and therefore would be entirely unacceptable to Japan. Ambassador Nomura was convinced that England, the Netherlands and China had a hand in drawing up these uncompromising terms. In support of this belief Ambassador Nomura stated that quite recently he had heard rumors that the Japanese were demanding complete control of Thailand's national defense, and he believed that the effects of these rumors could be seen in America's latest proposals. [297]

Ambassador Nomura did not feel that this latest American proposal made any attempt to reconcile the American proposal of June 21, 1941 with that submitted by the Japanese government on September 25, 1941, since the proposal differed from both preceding ones. Secretary Hull replied that the American people, unaware of the contents of the Japanese-American conversations, believed their government to be forsaking China. In view of these beliefs, influential Americans were beginning to utter non‑pacific statements. In view of the present situation, Secretary Hull was unable to combat these unfavorable circumstances. [298]

Ambassador Nomura then pointed out various terms in this latest American document which did not meet with the approval of his government. For example, the four fundamental principles upon which the United States wished to base its relations with Japan were a reworking of the Stimson Doctrine. If Japan were to attempt to put these principles into effect, particularly the one pertaining to non‑discrimination in Japanese commercial dealings with China, the economic situation in that occupied territory would be seriously impaired. However, Secretary Hull maintained that the application of that principle would not have to take place immediately.

Referring next to Section B of the American document, in which the United Stated proposed a non‑aggression pact among Great Britain, China, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Thailand and the United States, Ambassador Nomura insisted that it revived the Nine-Power Treaty. In view of the fact that the Japanese had been at war for longer than four years with China and as yet had received no benefit from this war, the government could not

 


[295] S.D. II, 764‑766.

[296] IV, 190.

[297] IV, 191.

[298] IV, 192.

 

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THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

accept this proposal. [299] According to Ambassador Nomura, Japan could not agree to denounce the Nanking regime.

In regard to troop evacuations from Japanese‑occupied territories, Secretary Hull answered that such a move need not take place until negotiations had been satisfactorily concluded. In speaking of Japan's refusal to renounce the Nanking government of China Secretary Hull stated that, since the Japanese puppet government was known to have little influence over the Chinese anyway, it would make little difference if that government were completely dissolved. Ambassador Nomura merely stated that throughout the history of China there had been many governments. In the matter of the entire Chinese question, Ambassador Nomura felt that the United States was unreasonable in expecting Japan to make every possible concession and on the other hand to "apologize to Chungking". [300]

Although promising to read over the American proposal and give it careful consideration, Ambassador Nomura did not offer any hope for an understanding based upon the proposal since he felt that it would be unwise to submit the proposal to the Japanese government as it stood. Nevertheless, hoping that some agreement could be reached, Ambassador Nomura requested an interview with President Roosevelt. Secretary Hull promised that he would arrange for that meeting. [301]

 

86. Ambassador Kurusu Telephones Mr. Yamamoto the Outcome of the Conference

 

On the evening of the conference Ambassador Kurusu advised Mr. Kumaicho Yamamoto by telephone of the outcome of the discussion with Secretary Hull. Stating that the situation was now serious and that the American representatives refused to yield a point, Ambassador Kurusu said that he could not guarantee any satisfaction from the future meeting with President Roosevelt unless some method could be found for concluding an understanding. After thanking Ambassador Kurusu for the efforts he had already made, Mr. Yamamoto explained that the situation in Tokyo was also extremely critical. [301a] Though Mr. Yamamoto had not been too hopeful of the outcome, in concluding the telephone conversation, Ambassador Kurusu expressed the hope that some workable solution could be found. [302]

 

87. Ambassador Nomura Suggests Terminating the Present Negotiations

 

Because of the unsuccessful trend of the Japanese‑American negotiations Ambassador Nomura informed his government on November 26, 1941 that there was little hope that the United States government would agree to any of the suggestions made by the Japanese within the time limit set by the Foreign Minister. [302a] According to Ambassador Nomura the United States was delaying negotiations on the grounds that it had to discuss Pacific problems with representatives of various other governments.

Ambassador Nomura warned that the Japanese government would have to exercise extreme caution in making any move in the Pacific, for already American propagandists were reporting that the Japanese were continuing negotiations only as a means of preparing for further aggression. If, then, the Japanese government should complete its scheduled operations, the United States would immediately blame Tokyo for the rupture of Japanese-American negotiations. On the other hand, if Japan were to force a rupture in the negotiations, America would also use this move as counter propaganda against the Japanese

 


[299] IV, 193.

[300] IV, 194.

[301] IV, 195.

[301a] See Section 16‑A which indicates that Japan had made plans as early as November 5‑7, 1941 to attack Hawaii. This information was not available until June 4, 1945.

[302] IV, 196.

[302a] IV, 199‑200.

 

81

 

government. Though Ambassador Nomura recognized the fact that clarification of Japan's intentions must remain a strict military secret, he suggested that the current negotiations be clearly and irrevocably concluded through an announcement to the American Embassy in Tokyo or by a declaration for internal and external consumption. At the same time, a similar announcement would be made by Ambassador Nomura to the State Department in Washington. [303]

 

88. United States Occupies Dutch Guiana

 

In the midst of the United States' discussions with the Netherlands regarding Pacific problems, the White House suddenly made the announcement on November 24, 1941, that the United States, under an agreement with the Netherlands, would occupy Dutch Guiana to protect the aluminum deposits found in that territory. While ordinarily the Netherlands would be able to protect these deposits by means of its own armed forces, the present situation in the South Pacific made it impractical for that government to divide the strength of its troops. Brazil was to assist the United States in this protective measure.

The Japanese Ambassador notified Tokyo that while en route to the Netherlands East Indies the Dutch Foreign Minister had stopped off at Washington to speak with American officials, and as a result the United States had increased the amount of military supplies sent to the East Indies and had effected an exchange of technicians and military experts with the Dutch. In view of these events Ambassador Nomura felt that once Japanese-American negotiations were broken off the United States and Great Britain would occupy the Netherlands East Indies with their troops to protect the Netherlands' tin and rubber. [304]

 

89. American Armed Forces Prepare for War

 

On November 26, 1941, traffic analysis disclosed that strong forces of Japanese submarines and air groups were operating in the vicinity of the Marshall Islands. As this force grew to include the 24th Air Squadron, at least one aircraft carrier and one‑third of the submarines in the Japanese fleet, it was surmised that a strong Japanese task force was preparing to operate in southeastern Asia with its component parts operating from the Marshalls and Palao. [305] Another report, however, stated that it was impossible to confirm the supposition that carriers and submarines were in the Mandates, since the best sources indicated that all known First and Second Fleet carriers were still in the Sasebo‑Kure area. However, a number of cruiser and destroyer divisions, as well as Batdiv 3 and base forces were expected to operate in the Mandates. [306]

On November 26, 1941, the Office of Naval Operations notified the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Asiatic Fleet that once war was declared between Japan and the United States "Instructions for the Navy of the United States Governing Maritime and Aerial Warfare, May 19, 1941", would become effective. [307] Besides the instructions contained in this document the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Asiatic Fleet was authorized to order unrestricted submarine and aerial warfare against Axis shipping in a defined strategic area covering the waters from Shanghai to the Netherlands East Indies.

All friendly, enemy and neutral vessels were to be warned to enter this prescribed area only through lanes leading to naval control stations. Such safety zones would be carefully defined and set up after conferring with British and Dutch naval authorities. However, the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Asiatic Fleet was warned not to reveal America's intentions regarding unrestricted submarines and aerial warfare.

 


[303] Ibid.

[304] IV, 201.

[305] IV, 197.

[306] IV, 198.

[307] IV, 202.

 

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THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Particular precautions were to be taken in order to prevent any hostile ships from obtaining information which would be detrimental to American armed forces, if transmitted to Japan. On the other hand, if hostilities began without the formal declaration of war the same procedure would probably be followed although orders from the Chief of Naval Operations would first have to be issued. [307a] To allow the Army Air Forces in strategic areas of the Pacific to make appropriate plans, the Army Chief of Staff requested that the Commander‑in‑Chief, Asiatic Fleet, send this information to General MacArthur. [308]

On November 26, 1941 the United States Army offered certain infantry units for reinforcing existing naval defense battalions. Although anti‑aircraft units were not available, the Army proposed to garrison troops in Hawaii at the Navy's request. The Chief of Naval Operations passed this information to the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Pacific Fleet with the respect that he be informed of the number of troops and the armament desired. [309]

In order to leave planes of the Second Marine Aircraft Wing free for expeditionary flights, the Army on November 26, 1941 proposed to supply Midway and Wake each with twenty five pursuit planes. However, the Navy would be responsible for transporting the planes and ground crews from Oahu to these islands aboard aircraft carriers. Furthermore, the Navy was obligated to supply water and subsistence to the Army Air Force crews as well as to supply them with necessary equipment. It was understood, nevertheless, that the transfer of these planes to the Navy's use was not to interfere with the planned movements of Army bombers in the Philippines. When arrangements had been made with the Commanding General, the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet was to advise the Chief of Naval Operations on the decisions made. [310]

Further orders issued by the Chief of Naval Operations revealed cooperation between the Army and Navy. Army troops were to be dispatched to support Marine Units in the Pacific, and 37-mm. anti‑aircraft guns would also be sent, although probably not until February. Effective defense plans for all outlying bases and increases scheduled for the immediate future were to be sent to the Chief of Naval Operations.[311]

 

90. Roosevelt‑ Nomura Conversation (November 27, 1941)

 

  a. Secretary Hull's Report. [312]

Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu called on President Roosevelt on November 27, 1941. Although President Roosevelt began the conversation by referring to German international psychology, Ambassador Nomura immediately turned the discussion to Japan's disappointment over the United States' attitude toward a "modus vivendi". Although expressing the grateful appreciation of the United States government to the peaceful element in Japan and emphasizing the fact that the United States still desired the realization of this peace, President Roosevelt mentioned Japan's recent occupation of French Indo‑China and the aggressive attitude of Japanese statesmen as serious obstacles to the re‑establishment of Pacific stability. Even during the informal, exploratory conversations, President Roosevelt continued, the United States had noted with considerable disappointment that Japanese leaders opposed the fundamental principles of peace, thereby creating an atmosphere wholly unsuitable to the establishment of law and order.

President Roosevelt pointed out that public opinion in the United States would not allow the government to relax substantially its economic restrictions unless Japan gave a clear

 


[307a] Ibid.

[308] IV, 203.

[309] IV, 204.

[310] IV, 205.

[311] IV, 206.

[312] "Memorandum by the Secretary of State"‑November 27, 1941, S.D. II, 770‑772.

 

83

 

manifestation of its peaceful intent. President Roosevelt stated that Japan's best interests lay along peaceful lines and not those advocated by Hitler. After four years of war, President Roosevelt continued, the Japanese people needed peace and, therefore, he could not understand why Japanese statesmen should obstruct the whole movement under discussion in Washington. [312a]

Mr. Kurusu replied that after being here for ten days and studying the problems firsthand, he had decided that the trouble lay, not with the fundamental principles, but with their application. Mr. Kurusu then referred to President Roosevelt's recent suggestion about introducing Japan and China in order that peace might be worked out between those two countries. Replying to Mr. Kurusu's question as to which of the two sides would make the first move, President Roosevelt stated that both sides would be responsible. Secretary Hull then declared that the 250,000 carpetbaggers who had followed the Japanese Army into North China must be forced to give up the property they had taken from other people.

Commenting on Japan's attempts to colonize countries under its domination, President Roosevelt said Japan would fail as Germany had because of lack of experienced people to govern those captured countries. Furthermore, President Roosevelt felt that Japan could not claim encirclement when Japan itself was encircling the Philippines.

At this point in the conversation Secretary Hull stated that the Japanese government would have to control its warlike elements before the exploratory conversations could achieve success. In Secretary Hull's opinion, everyone recognized that Japan's slogans, "co‑prosperity" and "new order in the Far East", merely camouflaged a policy of military domination of the political, economic and social affairs of the countries in the Pacific. As long as Japan maintained alliances such as the anti‑Comintern Pact and the Tripartite Pact, Secretary Hull concluded, no real progress could be made in the peace negotiations with Japan. [313]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report [314]

In accordance with the arrangements made by Ambassador Nomura, both Japanese Ambassadors called on President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull on November 27, 1941.

President Roosevelt began the conversation by stating that during World War I, when Japan and the United States were allies, both governments had come to realize that Germany did not understand the thoughts of other nations. President Roosevelt realized that there were many in Japan, as there were in the United States, who were anxious to re‑establish the former peaceful relations between the two governments. However, during the past several months, particularly after the Japanese occupation of southern French Indo‑China, the United States had been very much disappointed in the trend of events. Although President Roosevelt admitted that the Japanese people had been living under war conditions for some time, and that the American people had been living in peace, he could not understand why the leading officials of the Japanese government could not turn Japanese public opinion toward a policy of peace. The suggestion offered by the Japanese representatives that a "modus vivendi" be arranged would not be of any value, President Roosevelt continued, unless the basic principles of international relations were agreed upon. By way of example, President Roosevelt reminded the Japanese ambassadors that before his conference with Prime Minister Churchill on the high seas Great Britain and the United States had already determined their respective basic policies and found them to coincide. [314a]

Ambassador Kurusu replied that the differences in opinion existing between Japan and the United States were not traceable to the basic principles of those governments, but rather to

 


[312a] Ibid.

[313] Ibid.

[314] IV,  207.

[312a] Ibid.

 

84

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

the application of those principles. For example, he pointed out, Japan agreed with the United States that the principle of commercial non‑discrimination should be established. [315] However, if it were immediately applied to China, Ambassador Kurusu continued, the radical and sudden change in the economic situation there would be dangerous.

Secretary Hull answered that the United States understood fully the economic situation in the Far East. As for the danger of a sudden economic change in China, Secretary Hull referred to the 250,000 Japanese residents who had followed their troops to occupied China and set up various enterprises there. If the Japanese government wished to consider the effects of a changing economic system on these merchants, then Secretary Hull admitted that the problem would be difficult. However, the American Secretary of State did not believe that these merchants had any valid claims to be considered. Ambassador Kurusu merely answered that Japan was concerned only with the major economic problems.

The discussion then turned to President Roosevelt's suggestion for bringing about a peace agreement between Japan and China. President Roosevelt stated that it would be necessary for both countries to give some indication that they sincerely wished to negotiate for such a peace. Since President Roosevelt had had considerable experience in acting as a mediator between two opposing elements in many domestic crises, Ambassador Nomura was convinced that the American President would be able to handle the Japanese‑Chinese situation satisfactorily. However, the Japanese Ambassador explained that he would need instructions from Tokyo.

Secretary Hull said that another reason for the failure to agree upon a "modus vivendi" was that the United States could not reconcile itself to Japan's aggressive measures. Furthermore, Secretary Hull stated, Japan was allied to Germany under the Tripartite Pact and under the Anti‑Communism Pact. In addition, Japan was continuing to send vast numbers of troops to French Indo‑China in order to check the military powers of other countries in that area. Yet in spite of these aggressive moves Japan asked for American petroleum exports in the name of peace. As he had pointed out in former conversations, Secretary Hull continued, neither the Japanese Prime Minister nor Foreign Minister Togo had taken any concrete action to facilitate peace negotiations. In fact, Secretary Hull stated, they continued to speak of establishing a new order by means of force.[316]

Bringing the interview to a close President Roosevelt stated that he was leaving the following afternoon for a rest; however, he hoped to meet with both Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu when he returned the following Wednesday. Ambassador Nomura commented that President Roosevelt looked very tired. President Roosevelt sincerely hoped that while he was gone some means of settlement might be found by the Japanese and American officials. [316a]

 

91. Ambassador Kurusu Telephones Mr. Yamamoto

 

Using the voice code established by Tokyo, [317] Ambassador Kurusu telephoned Mr. Yamamoto, Chief of the American Division of the Japanese Foreign Office, on the evening of November 27, 1941, in order to report on the interview with President Roosevelt. In reply to Mr. Yamamoto's questions regarding the negotiations Ambassador Kurusu stated that little progress had been made. Although at one time it seemed as though some agreement could be reached, at present it was obvious that a crisis was imminent. In spite of the unfavorable trend of affairs, however, Mr. Yamamoto urged Ambassador Kurusu not to break off negotiations.

 


[315] IV, 207.

[316] Ibid.

[316a] Ibid.

[317] IV, 172.

 

85

 

Ambassador Kurusu agreed to continue the conversations though Mr. Yamamoto indicated that Japan was preparing for an imminent crisis. According to Mr. Kurusu the Japanese Army was very impatient at this time. Mr. Yamamoto said that the Japanese government could not make any further concessions. After emphasizing the fact that Japanese aggression in French Indo‑China was largely responsible for the lack of progress in Japanese‑American negotiations, Mr. Kurusu terminated the telephone conversation. [318]

 

92. Chief of Naval Operations Issues War Warning

 

Although no formal announcement had been made, it seemed apparent that peace negotiations between Japan and the United States were at an end. In anticipation of Japanese aggression in the Pacific, on November 27, 1941, the Chief of Naval Operations sent the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Asiatic Fleet and the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Pacific Fleet a war warning. It announced that negotiations with Japan had ceased, and an aggressive move by Japan was expected within the next few days. From the number and equipment of Japanese troops and naval task forces there were indications of an amphibious expedition against the Philippines, Thailand, the Kra Peninsular or possibly Borneo. Appropriate defensive preparations in conformity with WPL-46 were to be taken immediately. The War Department was sending a similar war warning to its field units, and the British were to be informed. The Continental Districts of Guam and Samoa were particularly warned against sabotage. [319]

Other warnings were received of the movements of Japanese warships and loaded transports to the South Pacific. [320] A shift in the communication zones of the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Second Fleet implied that this fleet was scheduled for southern operations. [321]

 

93. Tokyo Notifies Embassies of Rupture in Japanese‑American Negotiations

 

On November 28, 1941, Tokyo notified Japanese embassies throughout the world that relations with the United States and Great Britain would become extremely critical within the next few days, since the counter proposal presented to Ambassador Nomura on November 27, 1941, by Secretary Hull did not meet the approval of the Japanese government, and further peace negotiations were to be broken off. [322] DoD comment: This message was not translated until December 9, 1941.

On the same day the Japanese Foreign Minister, while complimenting Ambassador Nomura and Kurusu for having exerted every effort towards peace, nevertheless informed the two men that no agreement could be reached in view of the humiliating counter proposal presented to them by the United States. Although the negotiations were at an end, Japan did not wish to give American representatives this impression. In future conversations Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu were to state that they were awaiting instructions from the Japanese government. At the same time, however, the two representatives in expressing their own personal opinions were to make it clear to the State Department that Japan had made many concessions for the sake of peace in the Pacific, while the United States by its unbending attitude made the realization of this peace an impossibility. [323]

 

94. Ambassador Nomura Urges Open Break in Diplomatic Relations

 

Replying to Tokyo's message on November 28, 1941, Ambassador Nomura expressed his disapproval of pretending that negotiations were still possible while in actuality Japan con‑

 


[318] IV, 209

[319] IV, 210.

[320] IV, 211.

[321] IV, 212.

[322] IV, 213.

[323] IV, 214.

 

86

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

sidered them at an end. Instead Ambassador Nomura suggested, as he had done once before, that the negotiations be irrevocably concluded either by an announcement to the American Embassy in Tokyo or by a general declaration to the world at large. If such an open declaration were not made and if Japan began its scheduled operations while negotiations were being conducted, Ambassador Nomura feared that Japan would be held responsible for disrupting the peace of the Pacific. To prove his point Ambassador Nomura referred to articles appearing in American papers which stated that the United States had submitted a peace proposal to Japan and that if Japan refused to accept it, the United States could not be held responsible for any resulting war. [324]

 

95. United States Forces Await Japanese Attack

 

Although the United States was convinced that Japan would make an attack somewhere in the Pacific it desired that the first overt act of aggression be taken by Japanese forces.

On November 29, 1941 the Chief of Naval Operations informed his Pacific commands that the Army had issued instructions to the Commander Western Defense Command to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as were possible without alarming the civilian population or disclosing their intent. Hostilities with Japan were possible at any moment, but American forces were to refrain from taking any offensive action though they were not to jeopardize their own defenses. Instructions had already been sent out to the Ninth Corps Area concerning subversive acts in the United States, and to forces in the Far East submarine area and to the Panama Naval Coastal Frontier regarding the defensive action to be taken once Japan commenced hostilities. [325]

In order to protect American interests in the Philippines, Navy, planes were to begin reconnaissance flights on November 30, 1941, and cover the area from Manila to Camranh Bay. British air forces would search for the Japanese overseas expedition, reported ready to attack the Indo‑Chinese isthmus, in an arc from Tedta Bahru. At the same time British ground troops were moving into position directly opposite the Indo‑Chinese isthmus, at a point somewhere near Singora.

The Chief of Naval Operations warned naval air forces not to fire upon Japanese units unless in self‑defense. Careful reconnaissance was to be carried out, however, and if a Japanese expedition was sighted approaching Thailand, General MacArthur was to be notified. [326]

 


[324] IV, 215.

[325] IV, 216.

[326] IV, 217.

 

87

 

(blank)

 

88

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

(December 1,1941‑ December 7, 1941)

 

PART A‑HULL‑NOMURA CONVERSATIONS

 

Final Phase

 

96. Tokyo Investigates President Roosevelt's Sudden Return to Washington [327]

 

When President Roosevelt returned to Washington unexpectedly from a weekend vacation in Warm Springs, Georgia, Tokyo was informed that the United States was anticipating a Japanese move in the Pacific. Japanese representatives in Mexico City advised their government on December 1, 1941, that the southward advance of the Japanese army and Prime Minister Tojo's speech were largely responsible for awakening the American public to Japan's real aims in the Far East. As a result, recent surveys showed that political and economic circles in Washington and New York anticipated war with Japan. [327a]

In spite of the fact that November 29, 1941, the deadline set by Foreign Minister Togo, had passed Japan did not desire to sever diplomatic relations. In order to allay American suspicions regarding Japan's future actions, Japanese representatives were ordered to advise newspapers that negotiations between Japan and the United States would continue in spite of wide differences of opinion. In the meantime, Ambassador Nomura was to determine whether President Roosevelt had returned to Washington because of Prime Minister Tojo's speech, or because of the critical Far Eastern situation. [328]

 

97. Ambassador Nomura Reports Unfavorable Reaction to Tojo's Speech

 

Answering Tokyo's message on December 1, 1941, Ambassador Nomura reported that American governmental circles believed that Prime Minister Tojo's speech indicated Japan's refusal to accept the United States' proposals of November 6, 1941. Although a United Press dispatch from Tokyo stated that Japan desired to continue negotiations for at least two more weeks, Ambassador Nomura stated that the report had an ominous tone in the light of the comments made by the Japanese Prime Minister. American newspapers were accusing Japan of stalling for time until developments in Europe provided it with an opportune moment for carrying out the already planned invasion of Thailand. [329]

 

98. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (December 1, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [330]

In compliance with Tokyo's instructions, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu called on Secretary Hull on December 1, 1941, to inquire concerning the reason for President Roosevelt's sudden return to Washington. Secretary Hull replied that the principal factor was the recent speech of Prime Minister Tojo. [331]

 


[327] Chapter title taken from the division arrangement of the State Department documents‑Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States‑Japan, 1931‑1941 in two volumes, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1943, Volume II, 378. Hereafter referred to as S.D., II.

[327a] IV, 218.

[328] IV, 219.

[329] IV, 220.

[330] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Joseph W. Ballantine‑December 1, 1941, S.D., II, 772‑777.

[331] Ibid.

 

89

 

A summation of Prime Minister Tojo's speech commemorating the Japanese‑Chinese-Manchuokuoan declaration. [332] was sent to Washington by Ambassador Grew on December 1, but did not arrive until December 5, 1941. Therefore, at the time of his conversation with Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu, Secretary Hull was relying on the report of the Associated Press. In the extract made by Ambassador Grew Prime Minister Tojo was quoted as stating that achieving the collaboration of Japan, China and Manchuokuo was one of the greatest tasks of the present century. However, Prime Minister Tojo said, there were still many countries which desire to obstruct the construction of a co‑prosperity sphere in East Asia in order that they themselves might exploit the peoples of East Asia and thereby satisfy their own greed of possession. Because of the desire of Great Britain and the United States to fish in the troubled waters of East Asia, Prime Minister Tojo said Generalissimo Chiang Kai‑shek continued to expend able‑bodied men in futile resistance against Japan. "For the honor and pride of mankind, we must purge this sort of practice from East Asia with a vengeance", Prime Minister Tojo concluded. [333]

After stating that the Japanese Prime Minister should have been deterred from making such a speech at a time when Japanese and American representatives were endeavoring to re‑establish good relations, Secretary Hull then asked Ambassador Nomura about the general trend in the world situation, especially about the Japanese reaction to the situation in Libya and Russia. [334] Ambassador Nomura replied that he was primarily interested in the situation existing between the United States and Japan.

Turning the conversation to Prime Minister Tojo's speech, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu insisted that the United States had taken his views too seriously. Secretary Hull pointed out that the fact that it was broadcast made it more effective. Mr. Kurusu stated that it was quite possible that Prime Minister Tojo had been misquoted, since the Japanese news service did not always translate statements correctly into English.

Emphasizing the warlike attitude of both Japanese statesmen and the Japanese people throughout the nine months of peace conversations conducted between Ambassador Nomura and himself, Secretary Hull said that the situation had now reached a critical point. Secretary Hull reminded Ambassador Nomura of former Foreign Minister Matsuoka's blustering talks on the value of the Tripartite Alliance and of the Japanese move into French Indo‑China, even while Ambassador Nomura negotiated for a peaceful agreement in Washington. Expressing surprise at the United States' reaction to Prime Minister Tojo's speech, Mr. Kurusu said that within a few days Secretary Hull would be given the correct translation of the Japanese Prime Minister's statements. Within that time the Japanese government would also reply to the United States' document of November 26, 1941. However, Mr. Kurusu stated that the Japanese government had not as yet discovered the reason for the position taken by America in the document of November 26 since the proposals submitted by Japan on November 20, 1941 had given full consideration to the points of view expressed by both sides during the conversation. The proposal of the United States failed to take cognizance of conditions in the Far East. In an effort to show Japan's extreme desire to promote a peaceful settlement, Mr. Kurusu said that Japan would offer to withdraw its troops from southern French Indo‑China still held.

Replying that the Hitler‑like methods used by the Japanese in China and in other sections of the Pacific continued to obstruct peace arrangements, Secretary Hull said that the United States refused to yield to the principles of force advocated by the Japanese militarists. Notwithstanding the bellicose statements emanating from Japan, Secretary Hull said, his govern‑

 


[332] By this declaration Japan recognized its own imperial government in Manchuokuo and the Japanese‑subsidized government at Nanking.

[333] "The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State‑December 1, 1941", S.D. II, 148‑149.

[334] S.D. II, 772‑777.

 

90

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

ment still hoped for stability in the Pacific. Denying that Japan's aim was conquest by force, Ambassador Nomura expressed the opinion that his country's idea of a co‑prosperity sphere in the Far East paralleled Pan‑Americanism in the western hemisphere. [334a]

Motivated purely by a desire for self‑defense similar to that motivating Britain's actions in Syria, Ambassador Nomura explained, Japan had been forced to obtain access to certain necessary materials. Secretary Hull replied that the Japanese troops in French Indo‑China, regardless of their actual location, constituted a menace to the entire South Pacific and forced the United States and its allies to maintain large numbers of troops in East Asia. In this way Japan was actively aiding Hitler. Ambassador Nomura commented that actual warfare could be conducted through the agency of economic restrictions and that Japan was now suffering under that type of warfare.

Asserting that the United States would give Japan a sufficient amount of raw materials if it ended its aggressive policies, Secretary Hull said that he would be subject to severe criticism for his policy of patience if he even attempted to advocate oil shipments to Japan while Japanese military leaders continued to bluster and make blood‑curdling threats. On November 22, 1941, Secretary Hull reminded Ambassador Nomura, the United States promised to consider the release of oil for Japanese civilian purposes.

Furthermore, the United States was anxious to help Japan settle the China affair, but until such negotiations were underway the United States could not cease aid to China any more than it could cease aid to Great Britain. With the concentration of Japanese troops in French Indo‑China becoming more obvious and with Japanese statesmen promising to drive the white men out of East Asia, Secretary Hull said that his government could not remain inactive.

Since Mr. Kurusu believed that the two sides had been near agreement many times during the conversations of the past several months, he could not understand why the latest proposals of the United States government should emphasize the divergence of view. Expressing grave doubt that any peaceful agreement could be accomplished as long as Japanese militarists continued to preach aggression, Secretary Hull observed that there had been various contradictions between Japanese stated policies and Japanese action. Mr. Kurusu continued to insist that the Washington Conference treaties had only served to enable China to flaunt a certain advantage over Japan. Referring to his previous statement that Japanese actions were directly opposed to the purpose of the informal conversations, Secretary Hull said that to clear up the confusion resulting from Japanese contradictions the United States had embodied all its fundamental principles in the document handed to the Japanese government on November 26, 1941. [334b]

Although Mr. Kurusu endeavored to convince Secretary Hull that General Tojo could control the Japanese militarists, Secretary Hull pointed out that the Japanese slogans of "controlling influence", "new order in East Asia" and "co‑prosperity sphere" indicated that Japan was following Hitler's program of conquest. Both Mr. Kurusu and Ambassador Nomura disclaimed any desire on the part of Japan for war, but added that the Japanese people believed the United States was promoting the Sino‑Japanese War in an endeavor to strangle Japan. Furthermore, Ambassador Nomura said, the Japanese people believed they had the alternatives of surrendering to the United States or fighting.

Promising to communicate all of Secretary Hull's statements to his government with a view to offsetting the dangerous situation which Secretary Hull felt was imminent, Ambassador Nomura brought the conversation to a close. [334a]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report

There is no Japanese message available relating to this conversation.

 


[334a] Ibid.

[334b] Ibid.

[334c] Ibid.

 

91

 

99. Tokyo Prepares for Results of Diplomatic Break

 

Although the pretense of maintaining negotiations between Japan and the United States was being continued, Tokyo seemed to be preparing for the eventual announcement that diplomatic relations had ceased and for the inevitable results of such an announcement. On December 1, 1941, a Japanese broadcast announced that an important disclosure would be made the following morning between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. [335]

Tokyo also cabled Ambassador Kurusu and Mr. Yuki eight thousand dollars each for traveling expenses, which would have to be cleared through the State Department. [336]

 

100. Japan Safeguards Its Code and Cipher Systems

 

On December 1, 1941 Japan informed Ambassador Nomura that its four offices in London, Hong Kong. Singapore and Manila had been ordered to destroy their code machines. The code machine from Batavia had already been returned to Japan.

Apparently revising former orders, however, the Japanese Embassy in the United States was to retain its machines and machine codes. [337] On the following day, however, Tokyo ordered Ambassador Nomura to destroy all codes except one copy of the codes being used in conjunction with the machine. When this was completed the word "haruna" was to be wired to Tokyo. Furthermore, all codes brought by telegraphic courier, Kosaka, were to be burned. Japanese officials were to use their own discretion about disposing of other secret documents. [338]

As a further safeguard, all Japanese service radio tails for units afloat were changed at 0000 on December 1, 1941. [339] A complete change in an important Japanese cipher system became effective a few days later on December 4, 1941. [340]

On December 3, 1941 the Chief of Naval Operations notified his Pacific commanders that Japanese diplomatic and consular posts at Hong Kong, Singapore, Batavia, Manila, Washington and London had been ordered to destroy most of their codes at once and to burn secret documents. [340a]

 

101. Japanese‑American Conversation (December 2, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [341]

On December 2, 1941 Mr. Terasaki, First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy, called on Mr. Ballantine and Mr. Schmidt in order to explain the newspaper reports of the Tojo speech which was supposed to have taken place on November 30, 1941. [342] Mr. Terasaki handed Mr. Ballantine and Mr. Schmidt a statement declaring that the speech of Prime Minister Hidaki Tojo, originally drafted by the staff of the East Asia Restoration League, was to have been delivered on November 30, 1941. [343] in commemoration of the treaty concerning the basic relations between Japan and China. [344] This manuscript, at the time of its publication in the newspapers, had been unapproved by either the Japanese Prime Minister or other government officials, and in addition, Prime Minister Tojo did not make this speech on November 30, 1941, as scheduled.

 


[335] IV, 222.

[336] IV,  221.

[337] IV, 223.

[338] IV, 225.

[339] IV, 226.

[340] IV,  227.

[340a] IV, 224.

[341] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Max W. Schmidt‑December 2, 1941, S.D. II, 777, 778.

[342] Ibid.

[343] "Statement Handed by the First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy (Terasaki) to Mr. Joseph W. Ballantine on December 2, 1941", S.D. II, 778.

[344] Treaty signed with President Wang‑Ching‑wei at Nanking, November 30, 1940, S.D. II, 117‑122.

 

92

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Furthermore, this Japanese explanatory statement pointed out that "for the honor and pride of mankind, we must purge this sort of practice from East Asia with a vengeance" was a mistranslation. The correct translation should read "for the honor and price of mankind, this sort of practice must be removed."  [345]

Immediately upon noticing press reaction to Prime Minister Tojo's scheduled speech, Mr. Terasaki said, his government had wired this explanation. In an off‑the‑record remark, Mr. Terasaki informed Mr. Schmidt that Mr. Yamamoto, Chief of the American Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Office, had not even known what speech was referred to when Mr. Kurusu, in a telephone conversation, reported its unfavorable effects upon Japanese‑American relations. Mr. Schmidt then promised to remind Mr. Ballantine to inform the Japanese representatives exactly how the State Department desired the Japanese explanation of Prime Minister Tojo's speech to be made public. [346]

 

b. Japanese Embassy Report

There is no Japanese message available indicating that Mr. Terasaki reported this conversation to Tokyo.

 

102. Welles‑Nomura Conversation (December 2, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [347]

Since Secretary Hull was absent from the State Department on December 2, 1941, Mr. Welles, at the request of President Roosevelt, delivered a statement to Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu. President Roosevelt's statement, which Mr. Welles then read, referred to reports of continued Japanese troop movements to southern Indo‑China and pointed out that by the terms of the treaty between Japan and the Vichy government, the Japanese forces permitted to be stationed in Indo‑China were considerably less than the number already there.

Since such a large concentration of troops could not possibly be necessary for policing that region, the United States interpreted the move as contemplated aggression against the Philippine Islands, the East Indies, Burma, Malaya or Thailand. The possibility of this new aggression, in addition to the acts already undertaken against China, only served to widen the breach in Japanese‑American relations. Since Japan's policy might be in conformity with the constant and steady encroachment upon the territories and rights of free and independent peoples undertaken in Europe by the German government, it was requested that the Japanese government make a clear statement of its intentions.

Though Ambassador Nomura said that he was not authorized to indicate his government's intentions at this time, Mr. Kurusu reminded Mr. Welles of Japan's offer, made on November 20, 1941, to transfer all its forces to northern Indo‑China, which indicated that no threat was intended. Furthermore, both Japanese representatives insisted that the lack of adequate land communication facilities in French Indo‑China would make an attack from southern Indo‑China against neighboring territories almost impossible. Mr. Kurusu then asked the source of President Roosevelt's information, but Mr. Welles declined to give it.

In view of the strengthening of armaments and military dispositions by other countries, Ambassador Nomura said that it was only natural that Japan should take some defensive measures. Insisting that the Japanese people had been severely affected by the economic weapons of war applied by the United States, Ambassador Nomura called for the exercise of wise statesmanship by both sides. Mr. Welles replied that the United States' proposals for settlement would ensure Japan of peace and would guarantee satisfaction of its economic

 


[345] S.D. II, 778.

[346] S.D. II, 777‑778.

[347] "Memorandum of a Conversation"‑Initialed by Joseph W. Ballantine‑December 2, 1941, S.D. II, 778‑781.

 

93

 

needs. Believing himself to be more qualified to speak accurately of the results of the American freezing measures upon Japan than Ambassador Nomura, Mr. Kurusu said that America's economic restrictions had put the Japanese people into an unfavorable frame of mind. However, Mr. Welles replied that the four years of warfare waged by Japan upon China which had eventually squeezed American interests out of Japanese‑occupied territories had put the American people in a similar frame of mind.

Repeating his previous statements on the bad effect which the Washington Conference treaties had had upon China, Mr. Kurusu said that certain points in the American proposals of November 26, 1941 failed to take into account the actual situation in the Far East and, therefore, were difficult for the Japanese government to accept. Ambassador Nomura then promised a reply within a few days from the Japanese government concerning the American proposals. According to Mr. Kurusu, the Japanese government had hoped some settlement could be worked out on the basis of the American draft of June 21, 1941, and the Japanese draft of September 25, 1941 instead of approaching the problem from a new angle, as the United States had done in its latest proposal.

Mr. Welles then promised to refer to Secretary Hull Mr. Kurusu's suggestion that the differences between the two governments be reconciled on the basis of those two documents. [348]

 

b. Ambassador Nomura's Report [349]

Since Secretary Hull was not present in Washington on December 2, 1941, Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu conferred instead with Under Secretary of State Summer Welles. Mr. Welles began the conversation by referring to reports of new Japanese troop movements in French Indo‑China and requested an explanation of this aggression. Ambassador Nomura replied that he had received no notification by his government of any further movements in that area. However, he promised to ask for information from his home government.

Ambassador Nomura pointed out that American economic pressure was having as much effect upon Japan as Japanese troops were having on other territories. While not wishing to argue the pros and cons of this question, Ambassador Nomura nevertheless made it clear that unless this economic pressure were greatly reduced the Japanese people would be forced to take measures in order to guarantee the well‑being of their nation.

Ambassador Nomura reiterated that the Japanese people were suffering from the four year war with China, [349a] and in view of Japan's critical internal situation, the latest American proposals, submitted on November 26, 1941, offered no basis for a satisfactory agreement. Thus, in spite of the fact that the Japanese government would carefully study the American proposals, Ambassador Nomura did not feel optimistic regarding the outcome.

The Japanese proposals submitted on September 25, 1941, according to Ambassador Nomura, represented the greatest concessions Japan could make based on the American proposals submitted on June 21, 1941. Recently the Japanese government had offered to evacuate its troops from French Indo‑China upon the settlement of the Sino‑Japanese incident and the establishment of a just peace in the Far East. Therefore, Ambassador Nomura could not understand the need for submitting new proposals at this time.

Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles replied that the United States government was also faced with a serious internal situation, and in view of that fact had found it necessary to clarify its position in its proposals of November 26, 1941.

From the tone of the interview with Secretary Hull on the previous day and this conversation with Under Secretary of State Welles, Ambassador Nomura was convinced that the United States desired an immediate successful conclusion of the negotiations; therefore, Ambassador

 


[348] Ibid.

[349] IV, 228.

[349a] Ibid.

 

94

 

THE "MAGIC" BACKGROUND OF PEARL HARBOR

 

Nomura urged his government to give the latest American proposal every possible consideration and in its reply to leave room for a speedy peaceful settlement.[350]

 

103. President Roosevelt Orders Reconnaissance of Forces Around Thailand

 

On December 2, 1941 President Roosevelt ordered the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Asiatic Fleet to form a "Defensive Information Patrol" for the purpose of reporting on Japanese movements in the West China Sea and the Gulf of Siam. This defensive patrol, consisting of three small vessels, each commanded by a U.S. naval officer, manned by Philippine crews, and carrying only a small gun and one machine gun, was to patrol between Hainan and Hue, off the Indo‑China Coast between Camranh Bay and Cape St. Jacques, and off Pointe de Camau.

To check on the effectiveness of reconnaissance measures currently employed by American aircraft, surface vessels and submarines, reports were to be made regarding the regular patrols performed at sea by the Army and Navy.[351]

 

104. U.S. Navy Exchanges Information with British and Dutch

 

Because of the importance of defending Allied interests in the Far East, on December 3, 1941 the Chief of Naval Operations ordered the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Asiatic Fleet to exchange military information with the British and Dutch Commander‑in‑Chief except when such an exchange of information was considered inadvisable. It was suggested that military information could be relayed through naval observers in Singapore and Batavia by means of secure cipher systems. At an early date in the future the Commander‑in‑Chief of the Asiatic Fleet was to consider the placement of a Dutch liaison officer at Manila. [352]

 

105. Japanese Military Attaché in Spain Reports on Japanese‑American Negotiations [353]

 

The Japanese Military Attaché in Madrid believed the continuation of the conversations in Washington to be an indication of new hope for the settlement of Pacific problems. According to the Madrid representative Japan was making numerous concessions. For example, Ambassador Kurusu and certain Japanese newspapermen had apologized for the phrase appearing in Premier Tojo's speech concerning the destruction of the Anglo‑American hegemony. Furthermore, Japan had completely ignored President Roosevelt's statement that America would probably be in the war by next year, and that of an American naval officer who believed that the Japanese navy could be wiped out in no time at all.

The Japanese Military Attaché in Madrid did not approve of Japan's conciliatory attitude. Stating that Japan was pursuing a conservative and hesitant course, thereby allowing America to build up its defenses, the Japanese representative pointed to the recent Anglo‑American agreement providing for the establishment of military bases on the Islands of Christmas, Fiji and Samoa, and urged the Japanese Army to take more decisive action in the future. [353a]

 

106. American Officers in Far East Destroy Codes

 

On December 4, 1941 the United States Chief of Naval Operations ordered that with the exception of cryptographic channels necessary for essential communication and certain registered publications needed for current operations and special intelligence, American naval and marine offices at Tokyo, Bangkok, Peiping, Tientsin, Shanghai, Guam and Wake were to destroy their codes and secret documents to prevent their falling into enemy hands.[354]

 


[350] Ibid.

[351] IV, 229.

[352] IV, 230.

[353] IV, 231. (This message was not translated until February 15, 1945.)

[353a]  Ibid.

[354] IV, 232‑236.

 

95

 

107. Hull‑Nomura Conversation (December 5, 1941)

 

a. State Department's Report [355]

In order to deliver to Secretary Hull the Japanese government's reply to President Roosevelt's inquiry regarding additional Japanese troops in French Indo‑China, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu called at the State Department on December 5, 1941. [356]

In this statement the Japanese government explained that Chinese troops had been showing signs of movement along the northern frontier of west Indo‑China, bordering on China, and as a strictly precautionary me