TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page No Period of Tension Prior to the Pacific War 1 Outline of Developments in Political, Diplomatic and Military Affairs During 1941 1 General Situation at the beginning of 1941 12 Japanese-Netherlands East Indies Economic Negotiations 13 Japan's Mediation in Dispute between Thailand and French Indo-China 14 Conclusion of the Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact 16 United States Lend-Lease Act 23 Major Developments in Japan's State Policy (From 25 June to 2 July 1941) 26 French-Japanese Mutual Defense Agreement. Occupation of Southern French Indo-China 35 Negotiations Between Japan and the United States before the United States' Embargo Against Japan 37 Japan's National Policy to Cope with the United States Over-all Embargo 44 Negotiations Between the Third Konoye Cabinet and the United States Government after 6 September 1941 52 Negotiations Between Japan and the United States During the Tojo Cabinet and Transition in Its National Policy 61
of Developments in Political Diplomatic
and Military Affairs During 1941
January 2 Commencement of Dutch-Japanese Parley. 13 Initiation of part of naval war preparations plans (emergency war preparations). 15 Clash between the Thailand and French Indo-China forces. 20 General Election of the Lower House by the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. (Dissolution of political part- ies in Japan.) 23 Establishment of air route between Inner South Seas Man- dated Area and Timor. Bombing of the Burma Route. 25 Commencement of Southern Honan Province Operations in the China area. (January - February) 31 Conclusion of cease fire agreement between Thailand and French Indo-China. February 7 Issuance of directive by U.S. Secretary of War of alert over Pearl Harbor. 11 Arrival of Japanese Ambassador Nomura at Washington, D.C. 14 First meeting between President Roosevelt and Ambassador Nomura. 17 Commencement of evacuation of U.S. forces garrisoned in North China. 21 Bombing of Yunan. March 7 Proclamation of the National Defense and Peace Preserva- tion Law in Japan. 8 Lend-Lease Act passed by U.S. Senate.
March 9 Bombing of Kunming. 11 Extension of U.S. Lend-Lease Act to include China. Settlement of frontier dispute between Thailand and French Indo-China at a conference held in Tokyo. 12 Departure of Foreign Minister Matsuoka on a tour of Ger- many and Italy. 14 Second meeting (secret meeting) between President Roose- velt and Ambassador Nomura. Bombing of Chengtu. 15-20 Mopping-up operations in Manchang and western district of Taifu. 26 Bombing of Kunming. 27 Foreign Minister Matsuoka's visit to Germany. Interview with Hitler. Passage of the Pacific Bases Reinforcement Bill (1.5 billion dollars) through the U.S. House of Representa- tives. 28 Announcement by British authorities regarding expansion of mined area in Singapore Straits. April 1 Foreign Minister Matsuoka's first talk with Italy's Pre- mier Mussolini. Announcement by British authorities regarding the exten- sion of the Burmese Railway to Yunnan. Modification by U.S. Secretary of State Hull is state- ment that German and Italian merchant ships would be de- tained. 6 Berlin Conference of Japanese ambassadors and ministers in Europe with Foreign Minister Matsuoka. Invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece by German forces. 7 Foreign Minister Matsuoka's meeting with Foreign Minister Molotov in Moscow.
April 9 Resignation of Chief of Naval General Staff Fushimi. Admiral Osami Nagano appointed Chief of Naval General Staff. 10 First session of Tripartite Joint Commission in Berlin. Activation of part of naval war preparation plans; com- mandeering of approx 40,000 tons of shipping. 13 Conclusion of Japan-Soviet Neutrality Pact. (Signed by Foreign Minister Matsuoka, Ambassador Tatekawa and For- eign Minister Molotov in Moscow.) (Effective 25 April) 14 Nomura-Hull meeting. 15 Declaration by President of U.S. that U.S. vessels will be escorted by U.S. naval power in water outside the war zone. 16 Ambassador Nomura's informal proposal for adjustment of diplomatic relations between Japan and United States. Commencement of East Chekiang Province Operations. (April - May). 17 Surrender Of Yugoslavia. 20 Occupation of Ningpo and Wenchow by Japanese forces. 21 Occupation of Foochow by Japanese forces. 22 Return of Foreign Minister Matsuoka to Tokyo. Liaison conference between Imperial General Headquarters and the Japanese Government. 23 Surrender of Greece. 25 Announcement by the President of U.S. regarding the a- doption of a coastal patrol system covering the entire coast line of the United States. May 2-28 Nine meetings between Ambassador Nomura and Secretary of of State Hull. 3 Bombing of Chungking.
May 4 Declaration by President Roosevelt regarding U.S. read- iness to participate in the war. 6 Signing of the Japan - French Indo-China Economic Agree- ment. 7 Important conference between Yoshizawa, Plenipotentiary to the parley with the Dutch East Indies and Dutch dele- gate Van Mook. 8 Commencement of mopping up operation in Shansi and Honan Provinces by Japanese forces. (May - June) 24 Naval battle off Greenland between Britain and Germany. 27 President Roosevelt's "Fireside Chat", emphasizing the policy to aid Britain and China and declaration of state of national emergency. June 1 Successive bombings of Chungking (for about two weeks). 2 Meeting between Hitler and Mussolini at Brenner Pass. 3 Nomura-Hull meeting (continued until 15 July). 18 Breakdown of Japanese - Dutch East Indies Parley. 21 Nomura-Hull meeting; Second informal proposal by U. S. (On the 22d conferees failed to agree over the clause dealing with an anti-Comintern garrison force in China.) 22 Declaration of war against the Soviet Union by Germany. Beginning of invasion of Russia by Germany. July 1 Recognition of the New Nationalist Government by Germany, Italy and six other nations. 2 Outline of the Empire's National Policy to meet the Chang- ing Situation ratified at Imperial Conference. 6 Successive bombing of Chungking (on 6, 7, 8, 10, 18, 27, 29 and 30 July). 10 Conclusion of British-soviet Military Alliance. 16 General resignation of Second Konoye Cabinet.
July 18 Formation of Third Konoye Cabinet. 21 French-Japanese Agreement for the joint defense of French Indo-China. 23 Notification by the United States to the effect that grounds for negotiation would be destroyed by the Jap- anese forces' occupation of southern French Indo-China. 24 Ambassador Nomura's third meeting (secret) with Presi- dent Roosevelt. President Roosevelt hinted at an embargo on gasoline shipments to Japan, and also requested "on the spot" settlement of the French Indo-China dispute and the with- drawal of Japanese forces. 25 Organization of the Fifth Fleet. 26 U. S. Presidential Decree calling for the incorporation of all Philippine forces into the U. S. Army. Japanese assets frozen by United States and Britain. Notification of British abrogation of Anglo-Japanese, Indian-Japanese, and Burmese-Japanese Commercial Treat- ies. 27 Announcement by the Dutch East Indies Government regard- ing the freezing of Japanese assets in Dutch East Indies and the limitation of imports and exports. 29 Formal signing of protocol of French-Japanese Joint De- fense Pact by Kato, Japanese Ambassador to France, and Darlan, France's Vice-Chief of State. Announcement by Japan's Imperial General Headquarters to the effect that Army and Navy forces will be dispatched to southern French Indo-China in conformity with the French-Japanese Joint Defense Agreement. 31 Japanese Navy Air Force advanced to southern French Indo- China. Organization of Southern Expeditionary Fleet. August 1 U. S. embargo on aviation gasoline export to Japan. Recognition of Manchukuo by Thailand.
Occupation of Saigon by French Indo-China Expeditionary Army. Establishment of Naval Civil Engineering Department. (Ex- pansion of fortification and air base construction facil- ities.) 4 Ambassador Nomura requested the dispatch of Ambassador Kurusu. 5 Announcement by Malay Government of the arrival of Brit- ish reinforcements in Singapore. 6 Nomura-Hull meeting. (Japanese Government's proposals for settlement of dispute in French Indo-China handed to Hull.) 8 Nomura-Hull meeting. (Japan's proposals rejected by United States.) 11 Bombing of Chungking and Kunming. (On 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 22, 23, 30 and 31 August.) Japanese Fleet entered Saigon Harbor. 14 Announcement of Atlantic Charter. Meeting of British Prime Minister Churchill and U. S. President Roosevelt in the Atlantic Ocean.) 17 Ambassador Nomura's fourth meeting with President Roose- velt. (President Roosevelt stated Japan's armed aggres- sion could not be excused. Talks to be discontinued un- less Japan stopped her expansion program.) 26 Decision by U. S. Army to dispatch a military mission to Chungking. 27 Delivery of Prime Minister Konoye's message to President Roosevelt regarding a conference between the Prime Minis- ter and the President. 28 Ambassador Nomura's fifth meeting with President Roosevelt. (Japan wished to break the deadlock by discussing the major issues at a U.S.-Japanese Leaders' Conference.) September 1 Japanese Navy commandeered 490,000 tone of shipping and Navy air force strengthened. 3 Ambassador Nomura's sixth meeting with President Roosevelt.
Japanese forces withdrawn from Foochow. 4 U.S. destroyer attacked by a German submarine off Ice- land. 6 Outline for the execution of the Empire's State Policy decided at Imperial Conference. 7 Commencement of Changsha Operation. (September - November) 10-13 Combined Fleet regular table manoeuvre and special table manoeuvre (including study of Hawaii Area Operations) at the Naval War College. 11 Establishment of Army Defense Command. 14 Announcement by Navy Secretary Knox that merchant ships sailing between the United States and Iceland would be protected and that combat vessels of the Axis powers in that area would be sunk. 16 Announcement by the U.S. Navy Department that it had contracted for the construction of 2,800 ships (amount- ing to 7.2 billion dollars since January 1941). 19 Nomura-Hull meetings (on 1, 4, 6, 10, 19, 23, and 29 September 1941). 24 In connection with the turning point of political and military strategy, the following was proposed to the Government by Imperial General Headquarters in regard to the diplomatic negotiation then under way: 1. A deadline date of 15 October be set for diplomatic negotiations. 2. The latest possible date for the commencement of Southern Operations be mid-November. 3. Preparations be made to begin operations in early November. 25 Delivery to the U.S. Ambassador in Tokyo of proposal calling for joint U.S.-Japanese effort in preserving peace in the Pacific and for a demonstration of friend- ship between the two countries. (Proposal adopted at the Liaison Council on 20 September 1941.)
October 1 Reinforcement of inner naval combat forces. 2 Nomura-Hull meeting. Memorandum by the U.S. to the effect that: 1. A leaders' conference without preliminary understand ing of the basic issues was dangerous. 2. U.S.-Japanese negotiations had resulted in a stale- mate. Major deterrents were the occupation issue, difference in attitudes between Japan and United States over the war in Europe, and the matter of e- qual opportunity of trade in China. 5 Holding of U.S.-British-Dutch Military Conference in Manila. 8 Embargo on gasoline shipments to Japan by the U.S., Britain and Holland. 10 U.S.-Japanese negotiations: Possibility of meeting of the leaders of both count- ries disappeared as neither Japan nor United States would make any concessions. 11 Tatsuta Maru, Nitta Maru, and Taiyo Maru placed on the U.S. run to relieve passenger and cargo congestion. 12 Cabinet Members' Conference at Tekigai-so (Konoye's res- idence in Ogikubo) failed to reach a decision. 14 Commencement of special training by the Combined Fleet. 16 General resignation of Third Konoye Cabinet. 18 Formation of Tojo Cabinet. 20 Unofficial adoption of a basic naval operations plan (in- cluding attack of Pearl Harbor) to prepare for the possi- ble outbreak of war. 21 Daily Liaison Council between the Imperial General Head- quarters and the Government. (21-30 October) "Outline for the Execution of the Empire's State Policy" reached on 6 September at the Imperial Con-
ference rescinded. A new study on war with U.S., Britain and Holland was commenced. 24 Statement by U.S. Navy Secretary Knox to the effect that a U.S.-Japanese war was inevitable. 31 U.S. destroyer Rubin James sunk in the western waters off Iceland. November 1 Formulation of draft plan "Outline for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy" at Liaison Council meeting between the Imperial General Headquarters and the Government. 3 Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet, called in by the Chief of Naval General Staff and informed of op- erations plan. 4 Adoption of "Outline for the execution of the Empire's National Policy" at a Cabinet Conference. 5 Adoption of the "Outline for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy" at Imperial Conference. (Two revised pacification plans to replace the 25 September plan.) Ambassador Kurusu left Tokyo for the United States. Issuance of Imperial General Headquarters "Navy Order No 1". "Order to complete preparations for operations by early December and instruction on operations plane and policies." 6 Meeting of the Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet and his staff and all Naval and Guard District Commanders to receive instructions on operations plan formulated by the Imperial General Headquarters. The Combined Fleet Headquarters personnel remained until 11 November. 7 Presentation of Plan A to Secretary of State Hull by Am- bassador Nomura. Announcement by President Roosevelt that evacuation of Marine Corps garrisoned in China was under consideration. 8-10 Agreement on operational plan by Commanders in Chief Com- bined Fleet, Second, Fleet, and Commander in Chief of Southern Army Terauchi (at the Army War College in Tokyo).
10 Ambassador Nomura's seventh meeting with President Roos- velt. (Plan A handed to the President.) 11 Statement by U.S. Secretary of Navy Knox advocating forceful measures be taken against Japan both in the At- lantic and the Pacific. 12 Ambassador Nomura conferred with Secretary of State Hull. 13 Statement by Minister Wakasugi directed to U.S. under Secretary of State: Japan can endure no longer. Her people have lost hope of resuming friendly relations with the United States. Operational conferences at Iwakuni between the individ- ual fleets of the Combined Fleet. 14 Operational agreements at Iwakuni between the various Armies and Fleets. 15 Ambassador Nomura's meeting with Secretary of State Hull to discuss fair trade proposal by United States (propos- al regarding U.S.-Japanese Joint declaration). Arrival of Ambassador Kurusu at Washington D.C. Explanation of the operations plan (in the form of war games) by Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff in the presence of the Emperor at the Imperial General Headquarters in the Palace. The 24th Converted Cruiser Division left its home port to disrupt enemy lines of communications in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. 16 Completion of operational agreements between Army and Navy (Iwakuni). 17 The Carrier Striking Task Force left Saeki Bay at 1700 hours for Hitokappu Bay. Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu's meeting with President Roosevelt. Statement by President Roosevelt that he would not refuse to act as mediator between Jap- an and China. 19 Instructions to Ambassador Nomura to submit Plan B.
20 Reinforcement of supply force by 280,000 tons of merchant ships and tankers (converted ships now totaled 1.4 mil- lion tons). Presentation of Plan B to Secretary of State Hull by the two ambassadors. Reply by Hull: United States policy is to aid Britain on the one hand and Chiang's Government on the other. U.S. cannot accept Plan B, because it implies cutting aid to Chiang's government. U.S. proposal, offering her service as a mediator between Japan and China is here- by rescinded for the reason that the proposal had been based upon Japan's stand as a peace policy fol- lower. 21 Issuance of Imperial General Headquarters Navy Order. Advance of necessary forces to operational waters. Permission to use force in self-defense when chal- lenged. 22 Instruction to Ambassador Nomura that negotiations must be completed by 29 November. Conference of delegates from the United States, Britain, Australia, Holland and the Chiang Government held in Washington D.C. 26 Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu met with Secre- tary of State Hull. U.S. presents her own plans. The Carrier Striking Task Force sortied from Hitokappu Bay toward the point of deployment northwest of Hawaii. 27 U.S. proposals of 26 November studied at the Liaison Council between the Imperial General Headquarters and the Government. Conclusion: War was inevitable. Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu's ninth meeting with President Roosevelt (negotiations unsuccessful). 29 Senior statesmen's conference in Imperial Presence. Ex- planations by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
Liaison Council between the Imperial General Headquart- ers and the Government. (Regarding declaration of war against the United States, Britain, and Holland. Basic plan established.) 30 Report of completion of naval war preparations made to the Emperor by Navy Minister and the Chief of Naval Gen- eral Staff. December 1 Decision on "Declaration of war against the United States, Britain, and Holland" at the Imperial Conference. Ambassador Nomura met with Secretary of State Hull. Re- quest by the United States that Japan strive to break the deadlock by first of all improving Japanese public opin- ion. 2 Ambassador Nomura and Ambassador Kurusu met with Under Secretary of State Welles. (United States officially questioned Japan about the latter's reinforcement of forces in southern French Indo-China.)
General Situation at the beginning of 1941
In July 1940, the second Konoye Cabinet adopted the "Principles to Cope with the Changing World Situation" in the hope of accelerating the settlement of the China Incident and, at the same time, solving the southern area problem. In September of the same year, Japan concluded the Tripartite Alliance and took the first decisive step toward the southward advance by occupying northern French Indo-China. (Monograph No 146)
Also in July 1940, in an effort to establish a national defense structure based upon the idea of establishing a new order in Greater East Asia, Japan adopted the "Basic National Policy Outline".
The Imperial Rule Assistance Association, which aimed at creating
a single party government, was organized, and, in early 1941, all political parties were dissolved and a general election, based upon the system of Imperial Rule Assistance, was held.
Japanese-Netherlands East Indies Economic Negotiations
The Japanese-Netherlands East Indies negotiations, which were begun in September 1940 by Special Envoy Kobayashi were the outcome of Japan's urgent demands for the procurement or the assurance of procurement of fuel oil (a basic necessity for the establishment of a new order in Greater East Asia). No actual progress was made, however, as the Dutch Government, being located in London, was wholly dependent on Britain and was not prepared to make concessions to Japan, who had signed the Tripartite Alliance with Germany and had advocated a new order in East Asia. On 2 January 1941, the talks were resumed at Batavia with Envoy Yoshizawa replacing Kobayashi. On 18 June, negotiations ended in complete failure. Thereupon, Japan took the second step in her southward advance - the occupation of southern French Indo-China - which suggested the use of force against the Netherlands East Indies. This led to a general United States embargo against Japan and became one of the causes that ultimately forced oil-hungry Japan to go to war.
Japan's demands during the negotiations were: Participation in the development of the abundant Netherlands East Indies resources and further economic cooperation to include freedom of access by the Japanese to the Netherlands East Indies; permission to engage in enterprises; freedom of access of Japanese ships to unopened ports of the
Netherlands East Indies for the purpose of transporting resources; opening of part of the coastal services and the development of the fishing industry by resident Japanese, as well as the assurance of an adequate supply of oil to Japan.
The Netherlands East Indies refused these demands for the following reasons: First of all, they felt unrest and doubt over the expansionist policy of Japan since the Manchurian Incident. Secondly, Japan's tendency to advance southward by force and the fact that Japan had sided with Germany caused anxiety. Thirdly, Holland felt that her only hope of survival lay in a British victory. The Netherlands East Indies as a colony of Holland, had no choice but to support Great Britain and to prevent the flow of commodities to Germany. In addition, as the Anglo-United States bloc, which had vested interests in the East Indies, intensified their blockade, the attitude of the Netherlands East Indies toward Japan also stiffened.
Consequently, at an Imperial Conference on 2 July, Japan decided to adopt the "Outline of the Empire's National Policy to Cope with the Changing Situation." By executing a daring plan calling for the occupation of southern French Indo-China, Japan hoped to gain dominance over the military situation in the southern areas and to force the Netherlands East Indies to accede to her demands. This led to the Netherlands East Indies embargo of oil shipments to Japan and constituted a definite cause for the commencement of the Pacific War.
Mediation in Dispute between
Thailand and French Indo-China
Following France's downfall in the European War in September 1940, Thailand launched a French Indo-China borderland recovery movement, determined to attain her objective even by resorting to armed force. On 15 January 1941, the armies of both countries clashed and fierce fighting ensued. Thereupon, the Japanese Government, on the ground of maintaining stability in Greater East Asia and striving for "coexistence and coprosperity of East Asian races," decided to undertake the role as mediator of the dispute. On 20 January, Foreign Minister Matsuoka formally delivered to the governments of both French Indo-China and Thailand the Japanese proposal calling for immediate cessation of hostilities and arbitration. On 24 January, the proposal was accepted by the two governments and, at 1000 hours on 28 January, hostilities ceased. Subsequently, on 29 January, truce talks were commenced aboard the Japanese light cruiser Natori, which wee at anchor in Saigon. On 31 January, an agreement wee reached and a truce was effected with the signing of the cease fire agreement by the plenipotentiaries of both countries and the Japanese delegate. Thereafter, the talks were continued in Tokyo, but the basic issue was not settled until 11 March, when, after many difficult sessions, an agreement was finally reached. In the meantime, Japan, at the 30 January Liaison Conference between the Imperial General Headquarters and the Government, decided upon the essentials of a policy toward French Indo-China and Thailand which, in substance, stated: Japan would mediate in disputes between Thailand and Indo-China and the two nations would not conclude with any third power pacts
that were inimical to Japan. At the same time, for the purpose of enforcing the cease fire agreement and conducting a demonstration of force, a considerable naval force, which included a cruiser division, a carrier division and a destroyer squadron, was disposed along the coasts of French Indo-China and Thailand. In conducting mediation, Japan strongly backed the claims of Thailand and demanded large concessions from the French.
This action was productive for Japan in that it obligated Thailand and helped to bring pressure to bear on French Indo-China. However, it adversely affected the Japanese-Dutch East Indies negotiations then under way and caused the Dutch to strengthen their opposition to Japanese demands.
Japan, at the time, did not think that the mediation by force described above (particularly the demonstration of strength by the Japanese Fleet) would provoke Great Britain or the United States, whereas actually it was viewed very seriously by them. It caused the United States to become apprehensive of Japan's resorting to further force and on 7 February, the United States Secretary of War issued an alert to Pearl Harbor. In Britain, Prime Minister Churchill, believing that a crisis existed between Japan and Great Britain, strove to strengthen Anglo-American ties. This is clearly shown in Winston S. Churchill's The Grand Alliance (Boston, 1950) pp. 176-79
Conclusion of the Japanese-Soviet Neutrality Pact
In conformity with the national policy, which was based upon the
"Principles to Cope with the Changing World Situation" of July 1940, the second Konoye Cabinet dispatched Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka to Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union in order to strengthen political unity with Germany and Italy immediately in an attempt to effect a thorough readjustment of diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia. Foreign Minister Matsuoka's first stop was Moscow where he conferred with Chairman Molotov of the Council of People's Commissars. On his return trip, he again went to Moscow and began a series of conferences with Molotov from 7 April. Following a conference with Secretary General Stalin on 12 April, mutual agreement was reached on the adjustment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Soviet Union. On 13 April, Foreign Minister Matsuoka and Ambassador to the Soviet Union Tatekawa, comprising the Japanese delegation and Molotov, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and Commissar for Foreign Affairs, representing the Soviet Union, signed the Neutrality Pact for Japan and the Soviet Union.
This pact consisted of four articles. In Article 1, both signatories promised to maintain peace and friendly relations and to mutually respect the integrity of each other's territory. In Article 2, the pact stipulated that in case either of the signatory powers became the object of hostilities by a third power, the other signatory power would observe neutrality throughout the entire period of the said hostilities. Article 3 provided that the pact would become effective on the day of its ratification and that it would remain effective for
five years. Article 4 established the ratification procedure.
Simultaneous with the signing of the pact, the Japanese and Soviet Governments issued important statements to the effect that the Japanese and Soviet Governments would respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Mongolian Peoples' Republic and the Empire of Manchukuo respectively in order to ensure peaceful and friendly relations between Japan and the USSR.
Reactions of the rest of the world concerning the conclusion of the pact were as follows:
(Chungking) The Chungking Government, which was astounded at the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese Neutrality Pact, was expected to lodge a protest with the Soviet Union. "As a result of the conclusion of the pact," commented Chungking's organ paper Takungpao, "Japan will immediately try to put into effect her southward advance policy and provoke a Pacific War."
(Germany) It was impossible to learn Hitler's true sentiments. However, government circles, from al, appearances, welcomed the conclusion of the pact. The German foreign office organ paper commented as follows: "Germany wholeheartedly welcomes the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese Neutrality Pact. The conclusion of the pact enables Japan to concentrate its power on the establishment of a new order in the Far East to defeat third power efforts to interfere with the coprosperity of the East Asian races. Britain's attempts in the Far East have now been rendered ineffective. The same thing can be said for the United
(Italy) Government circles expressed the following views: "The Russo-Japanese Neutrality Pact will contribute a great deal to the eventual victory of the Axis nations. As a result of this new development in the situation, Britain's hope that the Soviet Union would participate in the World War on the aide of Britain once the United States takes part in the war, has been completely smashed."
(United States) It was reported that in the United States some people viewed the Russo-Japanese Neutrality Pact as a measure taken against the United States, but others maintained they needed time before they could understand the true intentions of Japan, and that well informed quarters did not consider that the conclusion of the pact would result in a new crisis in United States-Japanese relations.
Secretary of State Hull issued a public statement on 14 April which is summarised as follows: "The significance of the Neutrality Pact recently signed between Japan and the Soviet Union lies only in the fact that a situation which had existed between Japan and the Soviet Union for some time peat finally has been put in document form, therefore, it is by no means a surprise to us. Needless to say, the policies of the United States Government will not be affected in the least by the conclusion of the pact."
The combined opinions of the United States experts on Far Eastern affairs at that time were as follows:
The primary aim of the treaty is its psychological effect upon Britain and the United States, and it is inconceivable that the treaty will have an immediate grave bearing upon relations between Japan and the United States. The United States, at the same time,
regardless of how anxious she may be to increase her aid-to-Britain policy, will find it necessary to maintain her present naval strength in the Pacific for the time being, and Britain, no doubt, will come to feel the necessity for increasing her strength in Singapore and other areas in the Far East.
However, the new pact does not provide for the withdrawal of Japanese and Soviet troops from Manchukuo and Outer Mongolia respectively. The fact that the pact has failed to clarify this point is significant. This substantiates our observation that Japan will not immediately put her southward advance policy into action merely on the strength of this pact. Instead, this pact is expected to produce the most notable results in the field of Japanese-Chinese relations. The pact's psychological effect on the Chungking Regime will be very great and, with this as a turning point, the trend to settle the Sino-Japanese Incident will be greatly facilitated.
To the United States Government, which has been trying to draw the Soviet Union from the Axis camp, the conclusion of the pact was indeed a severe blow. Since it came immediately after the United States Government had paid the highest tribute to the Soviet Union for her attitude in regard to the situation in the Balkans, the United States will suffer a loss of prestige if nothing further, is done about it, and the United States will no doubt have to reexamine her policies toward the Soviet Union.
(Britain) What the British Government feared most was that Japan, freed from a threat from the rear, would develop a so-called "third front" in the Pacific. It was further reported that the British Government was placing particular emphasis upon the opinion that the security of northern Japan had been guaranteed by the pact. The Herald, official paper of the British Labor Party observed: "It is hardly conceivable that the Soviet Union will continue her material aid to Chungking with as much zeal as before."
(Japan) Foreign Minister Matsuoka's visit to Europe was the result of an invitation received at the time of the conclusion of the Tripartite Alliance. The trip was proposed by the Foreign Minister at
a cabinet meeting on 4 March, and later was approved at a cabinet meeting on 11 March on the condition that he would not, under any circumstances, make commitments during this tour regarding Japan's participation in the war. His visits to Germany and Italy were merely for courtesy's sake. It was, however, only natural that he should confer with the key men of Germany and Italy in an attempt to learn of Germany's activities against Britain and to obtain information on the strategic situation. The main objective of the trip was to establish friendly relations between Japan and the Soviet Union, for which Tatekawa, Ambassador to the Soviet Union, had been conducting preparatory negotiations in Moscow.
The Foreign Minister left Tokyo on 12 March first stopping at Moscow to confer with Foreign Minister Molotov. He arrived in Berlin on 26 March, met Hitler in Germany on the 27th, and talked with Premier Mussolini in Rome on 1 April. He held a conference of Japanese ambassadors and ministers residing in Europe in Berlin on 6 April to listen to their reports on the prevailing situation.
Matsuoka was given an enthusiastic welcome in both Germany and Italy. Hitler and Foreign Minister Ribbentrop emphatically assured him that Germany had completed her preparations for attacking Britain, that victory was already decisively on the aide of the Axis Powers, and that, in all probability, Britain would surrender within the year. They also told Matsuoka that if Japan should decide to take positive action against Britain soon and capture Singapore, it would be a decisive factor in
overthrowing Britain; that even if Japan attacked Singapore, the United States would hesitate to declare war; that if the threat from the Soviet Union became serious, Germany would not tolerate it in whatever form it might take and that the Fuehrer would lose no time in crushing the Soviet Union. Foreign Minister Matsuoka, however, did not make any promises.
Premier Mussolini told Foreign Minister Matsuoka that the strength of the United States should not be underestimated; that Japan should always keep a vigilant eye on the United States but should not provoke her and that Japan should be fully prepared against unforeseen emergencies. On these points, Matsuoka expressed agreement (See Winston S. Churchill, The Grand Alliance (Boston, 1950) pp. 181-87.)
On his way home, Matsuoka again stopped at Moscow and began negotiations with Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov from 7 April. He concluded the "Russo-Japanese Neutrality Pact" on the 13th of the same month.
As a result of the pact, Japan felt more secure, and began to concentrate on her southward advance policy. Actually, however, neither Japan nor Russia made any noteworthy reductions in the number of troops on the Soviet-Manchurian border. Upon hearing Premier Konoye's explanations of the treaty negotiations, including the conclusion of the treaty, at a cabinet meeting held on 15 April immediately after the conclusion of the Neutrality Pact, War Minister Tojo warned that Japan should carefully guard against the infiltration of ideological plots from the Soviet Union, and Navy Minister Oikawa also advised that those
speeches encouraging Japan's speedy advance toward the south and her positive measures against the United States should be strictly controlled.
United States Lend-Lease Act
The enactment of the Lend-Lease Act by the United States was an indication of her determination to assist Britain and Chiang Kai-shek, and, in a sense, a declaration of a cold war against the Axis Powers. It was an important phase in the prewar history.
The Lend-Lease Bill was initiated in mid-January in the United States House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee. After a long and heated debate, it was passed by the Senate on 8 March. On 11 March the House approved it by an overwhelming majority of 317 to 71 votes. President Roosevelt signed it the same day, thus making it a new law. (Appendix 1)
This Lend-Lease Act was a bold piece of legislation, going far beyond the bounds of neutrality as defined by Wartime International Law as hitherto generally accepted. It was a definite indication of a strong United States stand against the Axis nations.
As soon as the Act took effect, President Roosevelt promptly submitted the next day, 12 March, a Special Message on Appropriations to the Congress calling for a total allocation of 7,000,000,000 dollars to be used during the next two years as an aid fund for Britain, Greece and the Chiang Regime, which comprised the anti-Axis camp. Although the 7,000,000,000 dollars appropriations included 1,300,000,000 dollars
worth of arms from presently existing stocks, which the President was authorized to dispose of freely and at a moment's notice, it was said, at that time, that the 7,000,000,000 dollars special budget on a single item was unprecedented.
The Lend-Lease Act was founded upon the idea that if Britain were defeated in the war, the United States herself would be in jeopardy, and therefore, the United States should do everything, except officially take part in the war, to help Britain and her allies. This brought the United States one step closer to war in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. (The arms aid as practiced in World War I was conducted by means of individual contracts between the British Government and American firms, whereas the Lend-Lease Act was a contract between the United States and British Governments. Besides ordering government-operated factories to produce munitions, the United States Government placed large orders with private factories.)
Needless to say, the firm determination on the part of the United States to aid Britain, as expressed by her enactment of the Lend-Lease Act, gave new life to the British.
Officials of the German Foreign Office commented:
The Lend-Lease Act is nothing more than a legalization of a practice that, for some time, has been a fait accompli. Its true objective is the inheritance by the United States of British assets through the prolongation of the war. This is apparently a deviation from the Monroe Doctrine and a serious breach of international law. Germany is confident that she can completely cut United States aid to Britain by means of her coming great spring offensive.
The Japanese authorities made no comment for fear of the reaction
and Japanese public failed to understand thoroughly the true seriousness of the determination expressed by the United States.
A certain press editorial in neutral Switzerland commented on the problem as follows:
By having the United States fleet escort merchant ships to a certain point in the Atlantic and by having the British fleet escort them thereafter, the burden on the British fleet can be reduced a considerable amount. If this certain point is beyond the range of the German aircraft and submarines, the United States will be able to attain the dual purpose of aiding Britain and averting the danger of direct involvement in the war against Germany. We believe that Germany and Italy can gain nothing by declaring war against the United States. It is also obvious that the United States can benefit most by just continuing her present attitude. Moreover, while it is inconceivable that Japan would dare attempt jeopardizing the security of the United States, it is felt that the United States will not, for the time being, be able to take action in the Southwest Pacific at the cost of cutting a considerable portion of her aid to Britain. Therefore, the question that arises as a result of the United States Lend-Lease Act is whether Germany is confident of defeating Britain before United States aid to Britain shows its effect or whether United States aid to Britain will raise a serious problem which Germany will have to study in conjunction with Japan.
The highlight of United States activities following the enactment of the Lend-Lease Act was her announcement on 18 April to the effect that she had entered into contracts with dockyards throughout the country for 112 freighters of the 10,000 ton class and 72 tankers of the 16,000 ton class, a total of 184 ships, thus indicating that the United States had launched not only her shipbuilding program, but also the construction of a "bridge of ships" across the Atlantic for transporting munitions to Britain as advocated by the President. Moreover, on 25 April, President Roosevelt issued the following statement: "To guard against the aggressors' warships and aircraft which threaten the Western
Hemisphere, the United States Navy will patrol the seven seas if necessary." This clarified the attitude of the United States by maintaining that her combatant vessels would not be restricted by the neutrality provisions of international law which prohibit the ships of neutral nations from entering the war zone.
In his "Fireside Chat" on 27 May, President Roosevelt declared:
The national policy of the United States is, first of all, to launch a strong counteroffensive against Hitler's attempts to subjugate or threaten the Western Hemisphere. Moreover, we must stubbornly resist his attempts to gain command of the sea.
In view of military and naval demands, we must give all possible aid to Britain and other countries who have taken up arms against Hitlerism and like ideologies.
While putting into effect the naval patrol policy of the United States, we must also take every step to effect proper transportation of material.
Simultaneous with this broadcast, the President of the United States declared a state of national emergency, gave top priority to national defense and proclaimed that military affairs, finance, maritime transportation, communications, and counterintelligence would be placed under the national mobilization structure.
Of course, this news was received with joy by Britain and the Chiang Regime. In Japan, Foreign Minister Matsuoka ignored the pronouncement and continued to follow the established policy.
Developments in Japan's State Policy
(From 25 June to 2 July 1941)
As mentioned above, Japan had undertaken a series of expansion policies such as the Tripartite Alliance, the occupation of northern
French Indo-China, the forceful mediation between Thailand and French Indo-China, the visit of Foreign Minister Matsuoka to Europe, the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese Neutrality Pact, and the negotiations with the Netherlands East Indies. However, she faced an unexpected situation with the rupture of the negotiations with the Netherlands East Indies on 18 June and the sudden outbreak of the German-Soviet War on 22 June. Furthermore, the negotiations between Japan and the United States being carried out by Ambassador Nomura since February in Washington failed to show an, promise of successful conclusion. The United States stood firm on her stiff policies against the Axis powers as seen in the enactment of the Land Lease Act and the declaration of a state of national emergency. In the meantime, the China Incident appeared to have reached a deadlock, and Japan had no alternative but to continue her established policies of cutting the aid-to-Chiang route and fostering the Wang Regime. Under these circumstances, the Japanese Government decided, at a cabinet meeting held on 25 June, upon the following policy which might be called the second step of the national southward advance policy. On the same day, it was presented to the Liaison Conference between the Imperial General Headquarters and the Government, which after deliberation submitted it to the Throne for Imperial sanction.
Policy on Expediting the Southern Advance:
1. In view of the current situation, Japan will establish bases in French Indo-China and Thailand, by force, if necessary. With the breakdown of negotiations with the Netherlands East Indies, a military alliance aimed at the stabilization and defense of East Asia will be established with French Indo-China, at which time the following demands will be made:
a. Construction or use of air losses and harbor installations in specified areas of French Indo-China and stationing of necessary Japanese troops in southern French Indo-China.
b. Acquisition of facilities necessary for the garrisoning of Japanese troops.
2. Toward this end, diplomatic negotiations will be commenced.
3. In the event the French Government or French Indo-Chinese authorities refuse to accept our demands, we will resort to arms to gain our objective.
4. To prepare for the eventuality mentioned in 3, necessary preparations for the dispatching of troops will be made.
Following the adoption of this policy, the Liaison Conference between the Imperial General Headquarters and the Government deliberated on the "Outline of the Empire's National Policy to Cope with the Changing World Situation" from 28 June and, on 2 July, the Imperial Conference adopted the following vital national policy.
1. Regardless of whatever changes may occur in the world situation, Japan will adhere to the established policy of creating a Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere and thereby contribute to the establishment of world peace.
2. As before, Japan will strive for the settlement of the China Incident, advance toward the Southern Area in order to lay the foundation for her self-support and self-defense, and, depending upon the situation, settle the northern issues.
3. Japan will overcome all obstacles in order to attain the above mentioned goal.
1. Pressure upon the Chiang regime from the southern regions will be further intensified in order to hasten Chiang's submission. Depending upon the development of the situation, Japan will, if necessary, at appropriate times exercise the belligerent rights
against the Chiang regime and take over hostile foreign settlements in China.
2. Japan will continue diplomatic negotiations regarding the strategic Southern area which is vital to her self-support and self-defense. At the same time, war preparations will be made against Britain and the United States. First of all, preparations for the southward advance will be intensified by putting into effect the various policies regarding French Indo-China and Thailand in pursuance with the "Outline of Policies Dealing with French Indo-China and Thailand" (See p. 14) and "Policies on Expediting the Southern Advance" (See p. 24). To fulfill the objective of this clause, Japan will not hesitate to declare war against Britain and the United States.
3. Although the spirit of the Tripartite Alliance should be the basis for dealing with the German-Soviet war, Japan will act independently for the time being but will secretly conduct military preparations against the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, diplomatic negotiations will, of course, be conducted with utmost care. If the German-Soviet war turns in favor of Japan, she will resort to force to settle the northern problem and secure the stability of the northern frontier.
4. In carrying out the various measures called for in the foregoing clause, care must be exercised so that such measures will not in any way disturb the preparedness for war against Britain and the United States.
5. Although every diplomatic effort in accordance with established policy will be made to prevent the United States' participation in the war, Japan will act in accordance with the Tripartite Pact should war with the United States eventuate. However, the time and method of employing force will be determined later.
6. The internal war structure will be thoroughly strengthened as rapidly as possible, and, above all, every effort will be made to strengthen the home defense structure.
7. Details of the above policies will follow separately.
The text of this national policy was strongly worded, and, at first glance, it could be interpreted as being a decision to go to war with the United States and Britain. Actually, however, the main point of the policy was occupation of southern French Indo-China and acceleration of
defense preparations. It was not a decision to wage war against the Soviet Union, the United States, or Great Britain. However, the occupation of southern French Indo-China did not contribute anything to the plan for obtaining oil from the Netherlands East Indies, but did prompt the United States to enforce an over-all embargo against Japan. In the end, this policy was regarded as one of the causes that drove Japan into the Pacific War.
The individual clauses of this fateful national policy are explained further hereunder:
1. Outline Clause 1, "Pressure upon the Chiang Regime from the southern regions will be further intensified in order to hasten Chiang's submission..." was drafted with the intention of delivering, by virtue of the Japanese - French Indo-China Joint Defense Pact, not only a political blow by completely cutting off aid-to-Chiang supplies but also a strategic blow by completely severing the Kunming route, using the bases in northern French Indo-China and northern Thailand. Furthermore, since the Japanese Government had stated that it no longer recognized that Chiang Regime, it desired to clear the position so that under international law it might declare war on the Chiang Government.
2. Clause 2, "Japan will continue diplomatic negotiations regarding the strategic Southern area which is vital to her self-support and self-defense..." was intended to solve, somehow or other, the problem of oil from the Netherlands East Indies and ensure the acquisition of rice and other essential material from French Indo-China. This was to
be accomplished by strengthening Japan's political and strategic situation in the southern regions, after obtaining bases in southern French Indo-China through the conclusion of the Japanese - French Indo-China Joint Defense Treaty. This clause was also designed to win Thailand, which, at that time, was largely dependent economically upon Britain, to the Japanese camp by utilizing the pressure of the Japanese-French Indo-China Joint Defense Treaty. Thailand was apt to side with the United States - British bloc, just as was southern French Indo-China. "War preparations will be made against Britain and United States", was included because the United States' entry into the war was felt to be near at hand, judging from the series of strong United States policies taken against the Axis powers, and because there were strong indications that the United States might take resolute measures against the occupation of southern French Indo-China by Japan. This sentence merely meant that preparations would be made to cope with such an eventuality. In reality, Japan still hoped that negotiations between Japan and the United States would be successful. The sentence, "To fulfill the objective of this clause, Japan will not hesitate to declare war against Britain and the United States," actually meant that Japan would not hesitate to declare war against Britain, as problems dealing with the United States were treated separately in Clause 5. This sentence could also be interpreted to mean that nothing was to prevent the advance southward.
3. Clause 3, "Although the spirit of the Tripartite Alliance
should be the basis for dealing with the German Soviet war, Japan will act independently for the time being... If the German-Soviet war turns in favor of Japan, she will resort to force to settle the northern problem and secure the stability of the northern frontier," came to mean no more than "Take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself," after the northern area settlement theory advocated by certain quarters in the Army was suppressed. It might be said that this attitude was caused by German propaganda which gave the impression that the Soviet Union was about to collapse due to the successes of the German offensive. At that time, at a cabinet meeting, Army Minister Tojo estimated the future development of the German-Soviet war as follows:
a. The Soviet Army will retreat step by step to final collapse. (Most probable)
b. It will retreat for a considerable distance and engage the German Army in decisive battle systematically. (This is just what Germany wants.)
c. It will retreat step by step and continue its resistance. (This is what Germany does not want.)
Thus, a "wait and see" policy prevailed to a considerable degree.
4. Clause 4, "In carrying out the various measures called for in the foregoing clause, care must be exercised so that such measures will not in any way disturb the preparedness for war against Britain and the United States," was a Navy's reminder. It meant that, since the fear of war against the United States and Britain was becoming stronger and
and stronger as a result of the initiation of Japan's southern policies, the solution of the northern problems must be undertaken only if such did not Jeopardize the basic preparations against the United States and Britain. Actually, it meant that, since Japan had her hands full with military preparations against the United States and Britain, military resources should not be diverted to preparation for war against northern regions.
5. Clause 5, "Although every diplomatic effort in accordance with established policy will be made to prevent the United States' participation in the war... However, the time and method of employing force will be determined later," was practically tantamount to shelving the strongly worded item, "To fulfill the objective of this clause, Japan will not hesitate to declare war against the United States," in Clause 2. Actually, it indicated that Japan would do everything possible to avoid war with the United States, and that she would fight only in self-defense and for self-preservation.
6. In regard to the phrase "...every effort will be made to strengthen the home defense structure,. of Clause 6, home defense had always been advocated in every outline of national policy ever formulated, but had been virtually neglected when the policy was carried out. This time, it was taken seriously in view of the danger of war with the United States.
Immediately after this policy was ratified, the Second Konoye Cabinet resigned en masse, primarily for the purpose of ousting Foreign
Minister Matsuoka. The Prime Minister, the President of the Privy Council, the Army and Navy Ministers, and others had begun to fear that the strong anti-United States policy adhered to by Foreign Minister Matsuoka, even after his return, would stand in the way of the negotiations between Japan and the United States. On 18 July, the Third Konoye Cabinet was organized with Admiral Teijiro Toyoda as Foreign Minister. The Army and Navy ministers remained the same, and Minister of the Navy Oikawa made the following proposals to the new cabinet as a condition of his remaining in office:
1. "The Outline of the Empire's National Policy to meet the Changing Situation" adopted at the Imperial Conference would be followed strictly.
2. The fundamental structure for war against Britain and the United States, which was necessary in executing this national policy, would be immediately completed.
3. The new cabinet would place greater emphasis upon the completion of the said structure and especially upon the fulfillment of naval war preparations.
Furthermore, at the Liaison Council meeting between the Imperial General Headquarters and the Government on 21 July, Imperial General Headquarters demanded that the military program regarding French Indo-China be carried out as originally planned, that military preparations for both southern and northern regions be carried out forcibly and precisely, and that, with regard to the adjustment of American-Japanese
diplomatic relations, the spirit of the instructions given to Ambassador Nomura on 3 May and 14 July 1941 be observed.
French-Japanese Mutual Defense Agreement.
Occupation of Southern French Indo-China
In reference to the relationship between Japan and French Indo-China, Japan's predominant position in French Indo-China had been confirmed by the exchange of documents between Foreign Minister Matsuoka and Henri, French Ambassador to Japan in August 1940. (Monograph No 146) Moreover, in Nay 1941, an economic agreement, as well as the protocol on political understanding, was concluded between the two countries. Thus, on the surface, they were on friendly terms. However, the De Gaulle faction, which was strongly rooted in French Indo-China, maintained close contact with the Anglo-American bloc and intensified their anti-Japanese activities. Especially in southern French Indo-China where no Japanese forces were stationed, this faction together with the Jewish financial group and Chinese merchants, harassed and hindered the work of the French Indo-Chinese Government authorities and a anti-Japanese movement grew increasingly vigorous. Furthermore, the United States, Britain, the Chiang Kai-shek regime, and the Netherlands formed an encirclement front against Japan commonly called the "A B C D" front, which opposed Japan economically and militarily. Its effect was most keenly felt in southern French Indo-China and in Thailand and created a situation that caused deep misgivings in Japan. For example, the amount of rice imported into Japan, one of the vital items for Japan's
existence, was cut down to one-half of the original amount (700,000 tons), which had been agreed upon between the two governments only one month earlier. This was caused by anti-Japanese demonstrations started by tens of thousands of Chinese merchants who had dominated the economic situation at Cholon (rice shipment center west of Saigon) and also by British maneuverings with the French Indo-Chinese Government. Moreover, the possibility of importing resources essential to the self preservation of Japan such as rubber (French Indo-China's yearly production was 60,000 tons, 15,000 tons of which were contracted to Japan) tin, manganese ore, and anthracite appeared to be hopeless, as long as northern French Indo-China alone was under her control. Consequently, in order to avoid future trouble with French Indo-China, the French-Japanese Mutual Defense Agreement was taken into consideration with occupation of southern French Indo-China as the first objective.
Diplomatic negotiations were started and, on 21 July, a compromise was reached. An on-the-spot agreement was concluded on 23 July, and, on 29 July, the agreement was signed at Vichy, France.
The protocol was as shown in Appendix 2. Its main points were respect for France's sovereignty over French Indo-China, military cooperation for the Joint defense of French Indo-China, and refusal to conclude political, economic, or military agreements with any third power to the detriment of Japan.
After the signing of the mutual defense agreement, consultations on the military phase were started, and an agreement covering the use
and establishment of several airfields (Saigon, Thudaumot, Soctrang, Nhatrang) in Southern French Indo-China, the stationing of some forces (Army, Navy and Air), the use of port and harbor (Bay of Camranh), supply (of coal and water), communications et cetera was concluded. On 31 July, a naval air unit first advanced to the vicinity of Saigon, and then the French Indo-China Expeditionary Force under the command of Lieutenant Gen Shojiro Iida advanced to and established its headquarters at Saigon. It advanced as far as the Thailand-French Indo-China border. The Navy also organized the Southern Expeditionary Fleet with a small number of ships allocated for this purpose, and used the Bay of Camranh, Haiphon and other ports as its bases.
Between Japan and the United States before
the United States' Embargo Against Japan
Negotiations between Japan and the United States are described in detail in My Mission in the United States, by Nomura, the then Ambassador to the United States. There are numerous writings on this theme and only a brief description from the standpoint of the Navy is given here.
Actually, the first negotiation between the United States and Japan was initiated at the end of 1940 when Bishop Walsh and Father Traut of the Maryknoll Society of the United States visited Japan, secretly contacted the Foreign Ministry authorities, and conferred with Foreign Minister Matsuoka and certain groups in financial and political circles in order to study the possibility of breaking the diplomatic impasse
between the United States and Japan. Encouraged by their visit, the Japanese Government (together with the Army and the Navy) took up negotiations with the United States, and, on 23 January, Ambassador Nomura was sent to the United States.
At that time, the Ambassador to the United States had already returned to Japan and the Foreign Ministry experienced difficulty in filling the post, As a final measure, however, the Navy, which had earnestly hoped for success in the United States-Japanese negotiations, recommended one of their great elders, Mr. Kichisaburo Nomura for the post. Ambassador Nomura proceeded to his post on 23 January. The instructions he received from the Government at that time were, in effect, as follows:
1. Japan would strive for a settlement of the China Incident.
2. Diplomatic affairs would be conducted on the basis of the Tripartite Alliance.
3. Japan was sincerely enthusiastic about the adjustment of diplomatic relations with the United States.
He was not given any further concrete instructions.
Ambassador Nomura arrived at Washington on 11 February, 1941. Immediately after his arrival there he held conferences with President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hull. At the time the United States placed the over-all embargo on Japan in August, Ambassador Nomura had held four conferences with President Roosevelt and approximately ten with Secretary of State Hull. Although most of these talks were significant, only those matters which were handled officially by the Jap-
anese Government will be briefly described here since all the conferences are described in detail in Nomura's work.
My Mission to the United States.
The first formal proposal for negotiation received by the Japanese Government was the document known as the "Unofficial Draft Proposal for the Adjustment of United States-Japanese Diplomatic Relations" (also called the United States-Japanese Draft Agreement) which was handed on 18 April by the United States to the Japanese Government through Ambassador Nomura. The proposal called for mutual understanding in reference to the following seven items:
1. International and national concepts of both Japan and the United States.
2. The attitudes of the two countries toward the European war.
3. The relationship between the governments of the two countries with reference to the China Incident.
4. Matters concerning the Navy, Air Force and merchant marines in the Pacific. (This item was later withdrawn by the United States.)
5. Cooperation between the two countries regarding trade and finances.
6. Economic activities of the two countries in the Southwest Pacific area.
7. Policies of the governments of the two countries regarding political stability in the Pacific.
The plan contained an added provision suggesting that, after mutual
understanding had been reached, a conference be held between Premier Konoye and President Roosevelt at Honolulu at the earliest possible date in May.
Upon receiving the proposal, the Japanese Government immediately called a Liaison Conference between the Imperial General Headquarters and the Government. Generally speaking, there was a bright flash of hope in the atmosphere that at least some solution might be arrived at. After several conferences, Japan's attitude was finally decided on 21 April. Its outline was as follows:
1. Although the acceptance of the proposed plan might weaken Japan's position in the Tripartite Alliance, we will endure it, and, by advancing along this line, we will strive to reach agreement as early as possible.
2. Japan's attitude:
a. Japan will strive for the speedy settlement of the China Incident.
b. Japan must be supplied with necessary and vital materials.
c. Although Japan might outwardly appear to adopt an indifferent attitude toward the Tripartite Alliance because of her compromise with the United States, she would, at no time, betray the alliance with Germany and Italy.
However, on the day following the decision, Foreign Minister Matsuoka returned from his tour in Europe and expressed dissatisfaction with this line of United States-Japanese negotiations. As a result, instructions to be sent on the basis of the above decision were delayed, and, on 12 May, Japan's revised proposal was presented.
Foreign Minister Matsuoka had from the first, been directing diplomatic policies on the conviction that "war can be avoided only by taking
a resolute attitude toward the United States." He upheld this attitude more resolutely after his visit to Europe.
The gist of this Japanese revision to the United States draft agreement was as follows: First, the revision dealt with the scope of the Tripartite Alliance and the interpretation of the right of self-defense. In regard to the United States' proposal wherein they demanded virtual nullification of the Tripartite Alliance by requesting Japan to promise that she would not threaten the security of the United States in the Pacific Theater in case the latter participated in the European War in self-defense, the Japanese proposal emphasized that Japan was not in a position to accept the United States proposal, but would uphold the Tripartite Alliance and would handle the necessary matters in accordance with her interpretation of the provisions of the Alliance. Secondly, the Japanese revised plan dealt with matters in relation to the China Incident. The United States' proposal had stated that "The President of the United States will, on the basis of terms he approves, advise the Chiang Regime to negotiate with Japan. If the Chiang Regime refuses to accept the advice, the United States will suspend her aid to Chiang." However, Japan sought to revise the United States proposal as follows: "The United States will, upon acknowledgment of the principles underlying the Konoye Declaration, the Japan-China Fundamental Treaty, and the Joint Declaration by the Three Powers of Japan, Manchukuo and China, advise Chungking to make peace based upon the above acknowledgment. If it refuses to accept the advice, the United States will suspend her aid
to the Chiang Regime.
At a glance, these two proposals by Japan and the United States appeared to be similar in context. Basically, however, there was a wide difference between the two. At that time the Japanese naval authorities observed that unless both Japan and the United States recognized the gravity of the matter and made the necessary concessions, they would fail to reach an agreement.
In answer to the revised proposal by Japan, the United States made an interim proposal on 30 May. However, no agreement was reached. Finally the United States presented her second draft proposal on 21 June (the day before the outbreak of the Soviet-German war), which was even more contrary to Japan's counter proposal than the first. Its major points were:
1. Reiteration of United States' attitude.
2. Restrictions on Japan's obligation to aid Germany in case of a United States-German war.
3. Application of equal trade principles in China and the Southwest Pacific.
4. Deletion of the immigration problem. (Deletion of the clause to the effect that Japanese immigrants would be given equally favorable treatment under the equality principle, as was given to immigrants from other countries.)
To the proposal was attached a so called "verbal memo" which contained a delicate hint to the effect that the United States had no con-
fidence in Foreign Minister Matsuoka. This gave Japan the impression that the United States was interfering in the internal affairs of Japan.
As the United States-Japanese negotiations seemed to be approaching a deadlock, Japan, after an Imperial Conference on 2 July, adopted the already mentioned "Outline of the Empire's National Policy to Cope with the Changing Situation," and began carrying out her national policies which resulted in the conclusion of the French-Japanese Mutual Defense Agreement, occupation of southern French Indo-China, and strengthening of her national defense structure. However, in an attempt to improve United States-Japanese negotiations, Japan ousted Foreign Minister Matsuoka by means of a cabinet reshuffle, and formed the third Konoye Cabinet.
Meanwhile, the outbreak of the Soviet-German war placed the United States in a very strong position both politically and strategically. This, bolstered by the aforementioned reshuffle of the Japanese Cabinet, caused the United States to take more resolute steps against Japan. Soon after, Japan concluded the French-Japanese Mutual Defense Agreement. Thereupon, on 23 July, the United States notified Japan that "the United States had lost the basis for negotiation as a result of Japan's occupation of southern French Indo-China." (Actually, however, the Japanese troops had not begun their occupation of southern French Indo-China.)
At the third Nomura-Roosevelt meeting of 24 July, the United States hinted at her gasoline embargo against Japan and an on-the-spot settlement of the withdrawal of troops from French Indo-China. On 26 July the
United States and Britain froze Japanese assets overseas and on 1 August an embargo was placed on aviation gasoline to Japan.
At that time, both the Imperial General Headquarters and the Japanese Government seemed to believe that there was a fifty-fifty or less than that possibility that the United States would effect a rupture of economic relations. The action taken by the United States must have been based upon extraordinary determination in view of the fact that the popular view of the United States and other countries then was that Japan would start war if the United States effected a gasoline embargo against Japan at a time when there was no oil supply from the Netherlands East Indies.
National Policy to Cope with the
United States Over-all Embargo
On 5 August, the Japanese Government instructed their Ambassador to the United States to submit a plan for local settlement of the French Indo-China question, and, on 8 August, to sound out the possibility of holding a direct top-level meeting of President Roosevelt and Premier Konoye. However, the United States flatly rejected both these offers.
The substance of the Japanese plan regarding the settlement on a local basis was:
1. Japan would not occupy any land other than French Indo-China and would withdraw troops from French Indo-China after the China Incident was settled.
2. The Japanese Government would respect the neutrality of the
3. The United States would withdraw their recent reinforcements from various bases in the Southwest Pacific as these were believed to constitute a threat to Japan and the governments of both Great Britain and the Netherlands would be advised to take similar action.
4. The United States would cooperate with Japan in the latter's acquisition of materials from the Southwest Pacific, particularly from the Netherlands East Indies and would take the measures necessary to restore normal relations with Japan.
Spurred on by Japan's occupation of southern French Indo-China, the United States enacted an over-all embargo against Japan on 17 August and, at the same time, President Roosevelt declared that he "could not tolerate Japan's advance by armed force and would not continue meetings unless Japan's expansionist activities were stopped." On 27 August, Premier Konoye addressed a message to President Roosevelt stating the Japanese Government's peaceful intentions and proposed "a general consultation by the top leaders of the two countries to break the deadlock and accelerate negotiations." The United States, however, stated that they were not prepared to accept the offer unless there were first preliminary discussions on the main items as the United States recognized that there was a certain element in Japan which would attempt to obstruct the successful conclusion of negotiations.
On 3 September, the United States presented a statement suggesting discussions based upon:
1. Respect for the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of all nations.
2. Non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
3. Equal opportunity for trade.
4. Maintenance of the status quo in the Pacific.
With the negotiations with the United States virtually deadlocked, Japan became increasingly conscious of her shortage of oil, vital to her national existence, caused by the oil embargo by the United States and the Netherlands. On 3 September, 1941, therefore, the "Outline for the Empire's National Policy," which had been proposed by the Army and Navy Sections of Imperial General Headquarters, was deliberated at the Liaison Conference between Imperial General Headquarters and the Government. After further deliberation by the Cabinet on 5 September, it wee finally ratified by the Imperial Conference on 6 September. The policy was as follows:
Outline for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy
In view of the present critical situation, particularly the aggressive actions taken by such nations as the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands, the situation in the Soviet Union, and the limits of the Empire's national power, the Empire will carry out the policy toward the southern regions involved in the "Outline of the Empire's National Policy to Cope with the Changing World Situation" as follows:
1. The Empire, determined to face a war against the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands for the sake of self-existence and self-defense, will complete preparations for war with early October as the approximate deadline.
2. The Empire, at the same time, will strive to attain her demands by exhausting every possible diplomatic means
available toward the United States and Britain. The minimum demands which the Empire should make in its negotiations with the United States and Britain and the limit of terms which the Empire can accept are shown in the appendix.
3. In case there is little possibility that our demands can be realized by diplomatic negotiations mentioned in the preceding paragraph, by the beginning of October, the Empire will resolve to wage war against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands. The policy toward areas other than the southern regions will be carried out in accordance with the established national policy, and special efforts will be made to prevent the formation of a united front by the United States and the Soviet Union.
The minimum demands which the Empire should make in its negotiations with the United States and Great Britain and the limit of terms which the Empire can accept are:
1. The minimum demands which the Empire should make in its negotiations with the United States and Britain are:
a. The United States and Britain will refrain from interfering in or obstructing the Empire's disposal of the China Incident.
(1) They will not impede the Empire's attempt to settle the incident in accordance with the Sino-Japanese Fundamental Pact and the Japan-Manchuria-China Tripartite Joint Declaration.
(2) They will close the Burma route and refrain from providing military, political and economic aid to the Chiang Regime.
These demands do not in any way run counter to the Empire's claim in the past regarding the disposal of the China Incident in the N Plan, (Nomura's plan to Roosevelt) particularly in regard to the stationing of the Empire's troops in accordance with the new arrangement between Japan and China. We can give assurance that, following the settlement of the incident, we are prepared
to withdraw those troops dispatched to China for the purpose of executing the China Incident and allow to remain only those troops permitted by the N Plan. We can also give assurance that, insofar as economic activities of the United States and Britain in China are conducted on an equitable basis, they will not be restricted.
b. The United States and Britain will refrain from such action as will jeopardize the Empire's national defense in the Far East.
(1) They will not establish military concessions in Thailand, the Netherlands East Indies, China or Soviet territory in the Far East.
(2) Their military facilities in the Far East will not be strengthened further than the status quo.
In case the annulment of special relations between Japan and French Indo-China bases upon the agreement between Japan and France is requested, the Empire will not accede to the demand.
c. The United States and Britain will cooperate with the Empire in her acquisition of necessary commodities.
(1) They will restore trade with the Empire and supply her with commodities urgently needed for her self-existence from their territories in the Southwest Pacific.
(2) They will cooperate as regards economic cooperation between the Empire, Thailand and French Indo-China.
2. The limits of the terms which the Empire can accept.
If the Empire's demands, mentioned in (1), are accepted:
a. The Empire will not launch armed aggression into any of the adjacent areas except China with French Indo-China as its base.
If Japan is queried on her attitude toward the Soviet Union, she will answer that as long as the Soviet Union observes the provisions of the Russo-Japanese Neutrality Pact and takes no action contrary to the spirit of the said pact which might threaten Japan and Manchukuo, she will not resort to military action on her own initiative.
b. After the establishment of peace in the Far East on a fair and just basis, the Empire is prepared to withdraw her troops from French Indo-China.
c. The Empire is prepared to respect the neutrality of the Philippines.
The attitude of Japan and the United States toward the European war should be governed by their respective concepts of protection and self-defense. In the event the United States should enter the European war, Japan should be allowed to decide her own attitude independently with regard to the interpretation of the Tripartite Treaty, and her pursuant action.
The above will not alter the Empire's obligation based on the Tripartite Treaty.
At the Imperial Conference on 6 September, the Government was represented by Premier Ayamaro Konoye, Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda, War Minister Hideki Tojo, Navy Minister Koshiro Oikawa, Finance Minister Masatsune Ogura, President of the Planning Board Teiichi Suzuku, Chairman of the Privy Council Kiichiro Hiranuma; while Imperial General Headquarters was represented by Chief of the Army General Staff Gen. Sugiyama and Chief of the Navy General Staff Osami Nagano. The Vice Chief of the
Army General Staff, Vice Chief of the Naval General Staff, Chief Cabinet Secretary, and Chiefs of the Military Affairs Bureau of the War and Navy Ministries were also present as observers. Although this Imperial Conference was called to obtain a formal supreme decision, the actual decision had already been made at the Liaison Conference held on 3 September. At the Imperial Conference, the Premier stated: "The international situation pivoting around our Empire is becoming more and more tense. The United States, Britain and the Netherlands are taking every possible measure to oppose our Empire. Furthermore, with the prolongation of the German-Soviet war, there are indications that the United States and the Soviet Union will form a united front against Japan. If things are allowed to continue in this manner, the Empire will gradually lose the initiative. Therefore, we must complete preparations for any emergency at this juncture and, at the same time, must take all diplomatic means to prevent the outbreak of a disastrous war. Only in case such diplomatic measures fail within a certain period of time should we resort to the last means of self-defense." This address was followed by that of Chief of the Naval General Staff Nagano. The gist of Nagano's address, as recorded in Appendix 3, was that if the prevailing difficult situation could not be solved through diplomatic negotiations and that if the minimum demands for self-sustenance and self-defense were rejected, then steps should be taken, without loss of time, to adopt a policy to find a way out of the difficulty. He further expressed his opinion about the prospects of a possible war. Next, Chief of the Army
General Staff Sugiyama gave an address which is described in Appendix 4. Then Chief of the Planning Board Suzuki explained the elasticity of Japan's national strength. (Appendix 5) The decision at the Imperial Conference was made without any particular dissenting voice. Thus the continuation of the policy to conduct diplomatic negotiations on the one hand and war preparations on the other was determined. This decision, however, did not mean that the Government was determined to wage a war. It would be closer to the truth to state that greater expectations were placed on diplomatic negotiations.
The time finally arrived in mid-October when it became urgent to clarify the nation's real intention regarding the national policy which had been established at the Imperial Conference. It developed, however, that the real intention of the Premier and the Foreign Minister was not in accord with that of the War Minister. Moreover the Navy Minister's attitude was indecisive. Accordingly, Imperial General Headquarters pressed the Government to clarify its attitude on the issue of peace or war, but the Government was unable to give a definite answer. As a result, the Third Konoye Cabinet resigned en bloc on 16 October and the Tojo Cabinet was formed on the 18th.
Between the Third Konoye Cabinet and
the United States Government after 6 September 1941
Based on the decision made at the 6 September Imperial Conference, the Government directed that every effort be made to negotiate with the United States and presented two proposals: the United States-Japan Joint Proclamation and a direct meeting between the leaders of the two nations.
The Japanese proposal of 6 September:
Assurances on the part of Japan:
1. Japan will not proceed beyond southern French Indo-China.
2. Japan will interpret and execute the provisions of the
Tripartite Treaty independently.
3. Japan will withdraw her troops from China as soon as public
peace is restored there.
4. Japan will not restrict the economic activities of the United
States in China.
5. Japan will cooperate with the United States in the latter's
acquisition of resources in the Southwestern Pacific.
6. Japan will normalize her commercial relations with the United
Assurances on the part of the United States:
1. The United States will not obstruct Japan's efforts regarding
2. The United States will cooperate with Japan in the latter's
acquisition of resources in the Southwestern Pacific.
3. The United States will suspend her military preparations over
the Southwestern Pacific and the Far East.
4. The United States will lift the freeze on Japanese overseas
assets. She will permit Japanese ships to pass through the
This proposal was handed by Ambassador Nomura to Secretary of State Hull but there was little hope that the United States Government would accept it. The situation at that time in the United States was that the majority were in favor of taking a firm attitude toward Japan. according to the Gallup polls, the percentage of public opinion favoring "checking of Japan's expansion even at the risk of war" rose from 57 per cent in July to 70 per cent in September. With reference to this situation, Ambassador Nomura at that time made the following observation: "The American people in general are not too much concerned about the problems of the Far East and they believe war with Japan is inevitable. Many comments are being publicized with reference to the comparison of naval strength of both nations. They are confident that Japan's economic strength is incapable of supporting prolonged warfare, and therefore seldom feel danger from Japan. Also, from a diplomatic point of view, most of them advocate that the United States should not compromise with Japan at this juncture at the sacrifice of China."
Since there had been no response from the United States to Japan's proposal of 6 September, the Government again met and decided on the following proposal at the Liaison Conference on 20 September, which For-
eign Minister Toyoda forwarded to United States Ambassador Grew on 26 September.
Proposal Calling for Joint Efforts by Japan and
the United States to Maintain Peace in the Pacific
1. Clarification of concepts regarding international relationships (lasting peace, creation of a new age based upon the Japanese and American peoples' mutual trust and cooperation) and the intrinsic characteristics of a state (maintenance of respective tradition, public order, and the basic and moral principles of living.)
2. Attitudes toward the European war. Both parties will strive to promote world peace. In the event of the United States participation in the European war, Japan's action will be decided independently.
3. Peaceful settlement of hostilities between Japan and China The United States will mediate between the two countries in making peace. The economic activities in China by a third party nation will not be restricted as long as they are fair and just.
4. Trade relations between Japan and the United States. Japan desires normal trade relations. The United States will lift the freeze on Japanese assets overseas as rapidly as possible.
5. Economic problems in the Southwest Pacific. Both Japan and the United States will abide by the principles of nondiscrimination in international trade relations.
6. Political stabilization in the Pacific. Japan will withdraw troops from French Indo-China, and the United States will restrain its military preparations. The territory and sovereignty of Thailand, the Netherlands East Indies, and the Philippines will be respected.
Basic Conditions Necessary for Peace
Between Japan and China
1. Establishment of friendly relations as neighbors.
2. Respect for the sovereignty and territory of each other.
3. Joint defense between Japan and China.
4. Withdrawal of Japanese troops (except those needed for
5. Economic cooperation.
6. Amalgamation of the Chiang and Wang Regime.
8. No reparations.
9. Recognition of Manchukuo.
The Japanese Government had been expecting much from this proposal as well as from a meeting between the leaders of both nations. On 2 October it received an answer from the United States in the form of a memorandum which indicated that the proposed meeting between the leaders, without previous agreement on the main issues, was a precarious solution. Negotiations had reached a deadlock. The memorandum stated that the main points at issue such as the stationing of troops, the Japanese and United States attitudes toward the European war and non-discriminatory trade in China must be based on the recognition of the four basic principles previously proposed by the United States.
Thus the United States clearly indicated that they wanted to reach an agreement with Japan only along the lines proposed by the United States. The United States believed that Japan intended to seek peace on the one hand but to launch aggression with the other. Japan did not thoroughly realize the significance of the fact that the United States had taken a tougher attitude because of the stalemate in the German-Soviet war.
In his report of 3 September, Ambassador Nomura stated that "great attention must be paid to the fact that the United States is pursuing its established policy without alleviating the economic pressure on Japan in the least. Consequently, if the United States refrains from armed conflict while continuing economic warfare against Japan, it will be able to accomplish the objective of war against Japan without bloodshed. I am sure that its diplomatic policy toward Japan will undergo no change at all unless there is a great political change in the world situation or unless Japan changes its national policy. Although two out of three pending questions have been virtually solved, the most important issue is the stationing of troops in China."
On 5 October British Ambassador to Japan Craigie sent the following cable to British Foreign Minister Eden, explaining that indirect assistance of the British was necessary to conclude the negotiations between the United States and Japan. Gist of the cable sent by the British Ambassador was:
As a result of the resignation of Foreign Minister Matsuoka, the prospect for Japan's moderate policy has increased.
The Japanese wish to conclude the negotiations between the United States and Japan quickly, and yet, at present, the negotiations do not go further than a general understanding. On the other hand, the United States is carrying out delaying tactics and is resorting to trickery in every phase of the adjustment of diplomatic relations. It is foolish to miss the present chance by adopting a cautious attitude without understanding Japan's true intention or her pressing internal situation.
The negotiations between the United States and Japan, on which the Konoye Cabinet concentrated its utmost efforts and energy, showed no
development at all because of the stiffening attitude on the part of the United States and because the highest national organ of Japan lacked political power strong enough to make a drastic change in its assertions from a broad point of view. Meanwhile, fuel and other vital supplies necessary for the existence of Japan were being drained day by day. At the Liaison Conference of 24 September, Imperial General Headquarters made serious representations to the Government by submitting a document called "Forecast of outcome of diplomatic negotiations in regard to war or peace" (Monograph No 150) and demanded that the decision on peace or War be made by 15 October. The view of Imperial General Headquarters was that there was no hope of concluding negotiations with the United States and that Japan must take precautions to avoid being taken advantage of by the United States' delaying tactics.
Thus, having been pressed to make the final decision, Prime Minister Konoye held a five-minister conference at his residence on the outskirts of Tokyo from 1400 to 1800 hours on 12 October. Prime Minister Konoye, Foreign Minister Toyoda, War Minister Tojo, Navy Minister Oikawa and President of the Planning Board Suzuki met and discussed the matter. The minutes of this conference recorded by Chief Cabinet Secretary Tomita run as follows:
I believe there is no chance of concluding negotiations between the United States and Japan. The greatest difficulty lies in the issue of stationing Japanese troops overseas. Of course it will be solved if we agree to the United States demands.
I believe that at present we are standing at a very important crossroads where we must decide to open hostilities or continue the negotiations to a finish. If we wish to continue the negotiations to the end, we must abandon war preparations and concentrate on diplomatic negotiations exclusively. This, however, must be limited to a case where there is a likelihood of reaching an agreement. A change of policy at a halfway point must not be permitted. In other words, we must decide to abandon the idea of war for so many years. The determination of the course to be taken should be left to the Prime Minister.
What is the opinion of the Foreign Minister on the prospect of negotiations?
I cannot commit myself confidently. There must always be two parties to a negotiations.
War and Navy Ministers:
We object to being driven into war after prolonged negotiations.
There will be a risk in either course. In short, it is important to find which course involves greater risk and which course is surer. As for me, I have great confidence in the success of the negotiations, therefore, I would like to take this course.
The Foreign Minister says he has no confidence. I cannot agree to such a dubious attitude. I cannot persuade Imperial General Headquarters without a strong basis for confidence.
My opinion is based on a comparison of the two courses. I prefer diplomatic negotiations.
The Prime Minister's view is subjective. I cannot persuade Imperial General Headquarters with such a view.
I am of the same opinion as the War Minister.
I do not want the Prime Minister to decide the matter hastily. I would like to ask the Foreign Minister if he is fully confident or not.
(Hereupon, the War Minister proposed to deliberate the agreement plan shown in the Appendix, which was approved later by all those present.)
If I were asked which course I would take, I would answer that I would take the diplomatic means, because I have great confidence in its success. If you insist in waging war, I cannot take the responsibility for it.
It was decided at the Imperial Conference that we would open hostilities when the diplomatic negotiations became hopeless. The Prime Minister was present and agreed to this. I do not understand what he means when he says he cannot take the responsibility.
I mean I cannot take the responsibility if you insist on taking a course of which we are not sure while we have the other course of which we are more sure. The decision made at the Imperial Conference applies only when the case becomes utterly hopeless. At present there exists no such case. Moreover, we have great confidence of success of the diplomatic course.
(Here the conference ended.)
In diplomatic negotiations with the United States, it would be deemed an achievement if we could obtain the following results:
1. Agreement that the stationing of troops overseas and various policies centering around this issue will not be altered in any way.
2. The fruits obtained in the China Incident will not be affected in any way.
Agreement should be obtained within the time set by Imperial General Headquarters.
Further diplomatic negotiations will be carried out based upon the above issues. Since diplomatic negotiations will be pursued, various preparations for military operations will be discontinued. The Foreign Minister will study the possibility of success concerning the said matter. Asked by the President of the Planning Board if the Army circle would be agreeable to the above principle, the war minister gave his word.
War Minister Tojo's testimony on the meeting at the Premier's home is given in Appendix 6. It will be noted that his testimony differs in detail from the record.
The Foreign Minister and the War Minister finally clashed in the Cabinet Council on 14 October when War Minister Tojo suggested en bloc resignation for the following reasons:
1. Japanese-American negotiations had not been developed to a point where it was possible to determine whether Japan's demands would be met.
2. The Navy's decision as to whether or not to wage war was still uncertain.
He felt that so long as a policy formulated in accordance with a decision made at the Imperial Conference of 6 September could not be executed, the Government which took part in its formulation should assume the responsibility and resign. The decision of the 6 September Imperial
Conference should be reexamined and new efforts should be exerted in regard to the Japanese-American negotiations under a new government.
The Konoye Cabinet evaded its responsibility by resigning en bloc with the national policy left undecided. It left behind as accomplished facts the occupation of southern French Indo-China, total embargo by the United States, Britain and the Netherlands, and the initiation of preparations for war. Furthermore, in its negotiations with the United States the difficult issue of an immediate overall troop withdrawal from China had yet to be decided.
Between Japan and the United States During
the Tojo Cabinet and Transition in Its National Policy
On 17 October, with the resignation of the third Konoye Cabinet the Emperor ordered Tojo to form a new cabinet. Simultaneous with the issuance of the Imperial order to form a new cabinet, the Emperor instructed ex-War Minister Tojo and ex-Navy Minister Oikawa that the Army and the Navy should cooperate, and, at the same time, he ordered the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal Kido to convey to them instructions to the effect that "in formulating the basis of a national policy, it is absolutely essential to re-study the situation at home as well as abroad without adhering to the decision of the 6 September Imperial Conference." Thereupon, "The Outline of a Plan for the Execution of the Empire's National Policy," decided at the 6 September Imperial Conference was revoked and the new Prime Minister embarked upon the formation of a new cabinet whose main aim was to break the stalemate in Japanese-American
The Tojo Cabinet was formed on 18 October.
Immediately after its formation the Tojo Cabinet held a Liaison Conference from 23 to 30 October in order to reexamine measures for both war and peace. It also lost no time in issuing to Ambassador Nomura in Washington the following instructions:
The ardent desire of the new Cabinet for the adjustment of diplomatic relations remains unchanged. We impatiently await a report on the United States' attitude. We cannot waste time. We urgently request a reply to our proposal of 25 October.
The purport of these instructions were communicated on 24 October by Minister Wakasugi to Under Secretary of State Welles.
The following items of national policy were thoroughly reexamined at the Liaison Conference:
1. Prospect of the war situation in Europe (Foreign Ministry and Imperial General Headquarters).
2. Operations in the early stages of a war against, the United States, Britain and the Netherlands. The estimate of Anglo-American military measures utilizing unoccupied areas in China. (Imperial General Headquarters)
3. Assuming that hostilities are opened in the Southern areas this fall, what effect would this have on the North? (War, Navy and Foreign Ministries and Imperial General Headquarters)
4. Number of ships to be commandeered and the estimate of their losses during the three-year period after the outbreak of war against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands (Imperial General Head-
5. In connection with the above, the transport capacity of ships for civil use and the estimated amount in demand and supply of key commodities (Planning Board).
6. The scale of the Empire's budget to carry out the war against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands, and the estimate of financial power. (Finance Ministry)
7. In connection with the hostilities against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands, what kind and amount of cooperation will Germany and Italy pledge to Japan? (Foreign, War and Navy Ministries)
8. Shall we be able to limit the war to the Netherlands alone or to Britain and the Netherlands? (Foreign Ministry and Imperial General Headquarters)
9. If it is presumed that the war will begin about March of next year:
a. Advantages and disadvantages in foreign relations. (Navy, Foreign, and War Ministries, and Imperial General Headquarters)
b. Prospect of demand and supply of key commodities. (Planning Board, War and Navy Ministries.)
c. Advantages and disadvantages in military operations. (Imperial General Headquarters)
d. Taking the above into consideration, on what date should the time for starting war be set? (War, Navy and Foreign Ministries, and Imperial General Headquarters.)
e. In connection with the above, the possibility of maintaining the status quo through the increased production of synthetic oil and other measures, abandoning the intention of waging war against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands, and the estimate of advantages and disadvantages therein. (Planning Board, War and Navy Ministries.)
10. a. Is there any prospect that our minimum demands decided at the 6 September Imperial Conference can be attained in a short period of time by continuing negotiations with the United States? (Foreign, War and Navy Ministries and Imperial General Headquarters.)
b. To what extent shall we have to mitigate our minimum demands if we are to attain a compromise? Is it tolerable for the Empire? (Foreign, War and Navy Ministries and Imperial General Headquarters.)
c. If we completely approved the 2 October United States memorandum, what change would occur in the Empire's international position, particularly in her relationship to China, as compared with the pre-Incident days? (Foreign, War and Navy Ministries and Imperial General Headquarters)
11. What influence will a war against the United States, Britain and the Netherlands exert upon the Chungking Government? (Foreign, War and Navy Ministries.)
As a result of a study of the above questions and, taking into con-
sideration the United States' demand of 2 October, the Government first decided upon the outline of a plan regarding negotiations with the United States, and the direction of Japan's national policy in the future, and finally reached the stage where the selection of one of three plans had to be made. The three plans were as follows:
The first plan was to continue Japanese-American negotiations based on the outline of negotiations to be decided upon by further study and to endure patiently and to exercise prudence even should the negotiations break down.
The second plan was to discontinue negotiations at once and to open hostilities immediately.
The third plan was to continue negotiations in accordance with the outline of policies already formulated, but, on the other hand, to wage war in case of a breakdown in negotiations and to make preparations for military operations. A way was also to be sought to break the stalemate by diplomatic means by the beginning of December. In case negotiations were concluded, preparations for military operations were to be suspended. In case negotiations broke down, it was decided to go to war instantly. In regard to the declaration of war, the decision was to be made at a later date.
Although the actual progress of discussions on these three plans at the Liaison Conference cannot be described here accurately for lack of official documents, the testimony of Tojo on this subject, made before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, is given in
Appendix 7, on the assumption that his testimony has some authenticity.
The Government, determined to follow the lines of the third plan, prepared two plans, A and B, for negotiations with the United States. Instructions in regard to diplomatic negotiations were sent to Ambassador Nomura on 4 November and the two plans were further confirmed at the Imperial Conference on 5 November.
The two plans were based on the following:
The principle of equal opportunity for trade would be applied to the Pacific area and Indo-China, on the condition that it was applicable to the entire world.
The problem of interpretation and application of the Tripartite Pact: The scope of the interpretation of the right of self-defense would not be magnified indiscriminately and the interpretation and the fulfillment of the Tripartite Pact would be made independently.
The withdrawal of troops: Troops stationed in North China, parts of Mongolia, Sinkiang and Hainan Island would be withdrawn at the expiration of a stated period and the remainder of the troops stationed in China would be withdrawn after the establishment of peace between Japan and China.
The stationing and withdrawal of troops in French Indo-China: Troops would evacuate this area after the China Incident was settled or after peace, on a fair basis, was established in the Far East.
Neither Japan nor the United States would dispatch troops to Southeast Asia, except French Indo-China, and the Southern Pacific.
Japan and the United States would cooperate with each other in acquiring the resources which the two countries required in the Netherlands East Indies.
Japan and the United States would restore their commercial relations to the pre-freeze status.
The United States would endeavor to bring about peace between Japan and China.
Plan A was based on the Japanese proposal of 25 September and embodied a number of concessions to the United States conjectured from the progress of the past negotiations. It also made concessions on the three main points. Plan B proposed that in case Plan A was not accepted, Japan would return to the status quo before the invasion of south French Indo-China while the United States would unfreeze Japanese assets and recognize Japan's minimum requirements for the acquisition of urgently needed materials vital to her existence. The plane aimed at starting again the over-all United States-Japanese negotiations on a normal basis and relieving the mounting tension.
After carefully briefing Ambassador Kurusu, the Government decided to send him to the United States to assist Ambassador Nomura. Ambassador Kurusu left Tokyo for Washington on 5 November.
The situation at that time in the United States, according to Am-
bassador Nomura's report, is given hereunder:
I talked with Admiral Pratt in New York on 25 October. The Admiral was concerned about the possible results which might be produced if and when Japan, not satisfied with the China Incident, should further advance southward or northward. He is of the opinion that the final hope is hinged on the Emperor and the President of the United States... Referring to Mr. Harriman, Special Ambassador to the Soviet Union, the Admiral said that he was a competent man of great caliber, but in spite of his efforts for mediation, he considered that Stalin was in no position to conclude a separate peace. It is also impossible for Hitler to make peace with the Soviet Union. The war situation, according to the Admiral, will be prolonged with the result that one side will be more impoverished than the other. He was quite optimistic concerning the over-all situation, asserting that Britain would win in the Atlantic War. As for Japan, he said that Japan would have to maintain her sea power in order to have a large voice in the peace conference...
In his report to Tokyo on the situation, dated 29 October, Nomura stated that Secretary of State Hull had delivered the following statement to Congress:
The United States Government regards the Tripartite Pact as a threat to the United States designed to prevent her from giving aid to Britain, and to force her to retreat to her own shores, thus rendering it impossible for her to defend herself until finally she loses her command of the sea in the Atlantic Ocean. Although the United States wants peace, peace is more likely to be secured by demonstrating strength. Should we make concessions or show weakness, the Axis countries would push forward with increasing rapidity. The atmosphere in Tokyo indicates that the attitude of the Japanese Government stiffens or softens in concert with the progress of the Soviet-German War. The whole situation is extremely delicate and unstable.
Further, in his report of 4 November, Nomura wired:
The people of the United States do not appear to feel specifically the imminence of war. The people in general seem to be very optimistic and are more concerned with their living problems, such as the gradual increase in prices, heavier taxation and inflation, while the United States Government seems to follow the British line of action, that is, to let other countries fight and to commit itself in the war at the last moment to win an easy victory. Therefore, it is maintaining an attitude that it would not
avoid a prolonged war. The United States aid to the Soviet Union means only that she wants to utilize the latter, and does not imply that the United States is in favor of the Communist Soviet Union. The policy of economic severance with Japan is receiving nationwide support. People here do not consider the situation so critical as to be too much concerned about it inasmuch as the United States military strength in the Pacific area is considered sufficient for national defense and the British-American-Dutch troops are gradually being increased in the Southwest Pacific Theater. Therefore, it does not place too much importance upon Japan's "get tough" attitude and is upholding established policy. I believe, however, that the United States military authorities do not favor such optimistic views but are fully aware of the difficulties they would face in a possible Pacific War.
Under these circumstances, Ambassador Nomura on 7 November met Secretary of State Hull and first submitted Plan A. Prior to this, the Government had instructed Ambassador Nomura to set a deadline so that the United States-Japanese negotiations would be concluded by about 25 November. The details of the Nomura-Hull Conference of 7 November are reported as follows:
On 7 November, at 0900 hours, I called on Secretary Hull, when I told him, "In accordance with the instructions from my Government, I want to explain Japan's intentions and position to the President and you, the Secretary of State, so that the United States-Japanese relations will be settled speedily." The Secretary said, "The present world situation is that two camps are fighting with no immediate prospect of solution and consequently there is the fear that the world will be gradually plunged into disorder and confusion. If both Japan and the United States alike follow peaceful policies in the Pacific at this moment, that will greatly serve to save the world from that state of confusion." I further said "Based upon instructions from my Government, I think two of the three pending proposals may be agreeable: The proposed stationing and withdrawal of troops are the maximum concession Japan can make at present in view of her current internal political situation. I hope that the United States government will, from a broader viewpoint of United States-Japanese friendship, thoroughly consider the actual situation so that the current negotiations will be brought to a successful conclusion immediately. The Japanese Government has instructed me to settle the situation as soon as possible by fully explaining Japan's decision to the President and
the Secretary of State. Japan is anxious for an immediate conclusion of the negotiations, since her internal situation has become strained due to impatience as the negotiations have lasted six months. In view of the tense situation, it is proposed to hold a conference in Tokyo, at which we intend to display a maximum spirit of friendship and conciliation."
Then I offered our counterproposal requesting the United States' approval from a broad point of view. Having read carefully, the Secretary of State consented to the article advocating the principles of indiscriminate treatment, saying: "This article is profitable for Japan, too." Regarding the troop stationing and withdrawal, he merely asked "What is the proportion of troops to be stationed and to be withdrawn?" I explained, "The majority of the troops will be withdrawn but some will remain." Furthermore, I explained in detail that according to the instructions we reserved the right of self-defense. The secretary of State then told me that he would give an answer to each problem after further study.
Ambassador Nomura had his seventh interview with President Roosevelt on 10 November. The night before, however, the Ambassador had received information that the President and Secretary of State had received a confirmed report of Japan's policy to commence action and they, therefore, regarded the Ambassador's interview as a mere formality. Further, they did not have a great deal of confidence in the arrival in the United States of Ambassador Kurusu. At the 10 November interview Ambassador Nomura submitted Japan's "A" Plan and requested an immediate answer. The President answered as follows:
1. The United States will endeavor to do its best in the spirit of fair play to contribute to establishing a basis for peace, stability and order in the Pacific area.
2. The preliminary conference is the foundation of negotiations.
3. The United States wishes Japan to settle the situation by peaceful measures.
4. What the United States hopes is to prevent the expansion
of war and to establish peace.
The President's answer to the Ambassador was noncommittal and it was felt that virtually Japan's proposal was shelved. Ambassador Nomura had another interview with Secretary of State Hull on 12 November. On the following day, 13 November, he wired his opinion to the Japanese Government and requested its prudent action:
1. The Pacific policy of the United States Government is to check Japan's advance to the north and south. While making efforts to attain its objective by economic pressure, the United States is steadily making preparations for war.
2. The United States would rather initiate war than make a compromise sacrificing her basic political principles. It has no intention of repeating the Munich Conference which was branded a failure. It would be more so now when the United States, recognizing that Germany is on the downgrade, is quite confident that the Soviet Union is still holding her own and that the fear of a separate peace has lessened.
3. The United States friendly relations with China are becoming stronger day by day, and the former is now giving support to China as far as circumstances permit. Therefore, it is admitted that the United States is in such a position that she cannot accept conditions for the stabilization of the Pacific at the expense of China's sovereignty.
4. The intensity of unification of the Axis Powers entirely depends upon the attitude of the Japanese Government. However, Government sources admit that the Axis Powers are in a position to start hostilities against the United States taking advantage of surprise, if the situation turns favorably toward the Axis.
5. If Japan advances toward the south, a war against Britain, the United States and the Netherlands will be inevitable. It is admitted that there is every possibility of the Soviet Union's participation in a possible war.
6. Since the war will inevitably extend over a long period of time, it is easy to forecast that the party that can hold out longest will be victorious. A local victory or defeat will have no great bearing upon the final victory.
7. Under present circumstances, the United States can concentrate her main force in the Pacific area at any time. Public opinion here reveals some opposition to her going to war against Germany, but there is little opposition to a war in the Pacific. There is a possibility of the United States' initiating war in the Pacific theater.
8. Although I am not well acquainted with the present conditions of our country, the messages so frequently sent me from the home Government make it appear that the situation is pressing and that the people are anxious for a solution. However, I advise that, if conditions permit, Japan should remain patient, enduring the delay in the negotiations for a month or two, until the whole aspect of a possible world war is clarified.
On 15 November, the United States, without replying to Japan's proposals, submitted a draft of another proposal in regard to discrimination in commerce. It was felt that the United States hoped that the Tripartite Pact would be shelved and that they were adopting delaying tactics so as to force Japan to submit to their demands without war, or else to gain time to build up their preparations before opening hostilities.
Premier Tojo delivered a speech at the 77th Diet Session on 17 November clarifying Japan's attitude toward the Japanese-American negotiations. In his speech he declared:
In order to maintain Japan's independence and prestige, the Japanese Government must enforce the following:
1. A third power will not obstruct the successful conclusion of the China Incident.
2. Various countries surrounding Japan will not engage in actions which constitute a direct military threat to her. Furthermore, they will relinquish such hostile actions as economic blockade and restore normal economic relations with the Empire.
3. Japan will endeavor to prevent the European war from spreading to the Far East.
If the above three objectives are realized by diplomatic ne-
gotiations, it will be a great blessing not only to Japan, but also to world peace. However, since success or failure of negotiations cannot be predicted due to various obstacles lying ahead, Japan will make full preparations against these obstacles and exert her utmost efforts for the enforcement of her established policies with full determination to protect the existence of Japan.
After Premier Tojo, Foreign Minister Togo took the rostrum and clarified Japan's basic policies toward foreign countries, situations in northern and southern areas, pressures and encirclement made upon Japan by the United States and Britain, and the diplomatic negotiations between the United States and Japan then under way. He further stated:
The deadline date for signing the agreement is 29 November and cannot be changed. We will make every effort to break the deadlock but must adhere to our established policy. After 29 November the situation will develop automatically. It is earnestly desired that peace negotiations be conducted between Japan and-China with President Roosevelt as mediator. Simultaneously with Japan and China's cease fire, the United States should suspend aid to Chiang Kai-shek. In short, the peace proposal of Chiang Kai-shek must be realized through the good offices of President Roosevelt by 29 November.
On 19 November, the Japanese Government instructed Ambassador Nomura to submit Plan B, at the same time informing the ambassador that this was Japan's final proposal and that negotiations would cease if it were not acceptable to the United States. The plan was submitted on the 20th, and, in order to obtain an answer as soon as possible, a meeting was arranged between the Japanese ambassadors and Secretary Cordell Hull on 22 November.
The meeting between Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu and the Secretary of States resulted in a virtual deadlock. The following is an extract from Ambassador Nomura's report of the meeting:
At 2000 hours on 22 November, I, in company with Ambassador Kurusu, visited Secretary of State Hull at his private residence
and talked with him for three hours. The Secretary of State said, "If Japan comes forward with a peaceful policy, the United States will gradually restore trade with Japan, and, moreover, will encourage both the Netherlands East Indies and French Indo-China to cooperate with Japan. I consulted today with the representatives of these countries on these points. They will consult with their home governments by Monday and then I will confer with them again. There is a limit to my power. This is all I can do." Although he recognized the urgency of our demand from Tokyo, he said, "There is no reason why you cannot wait for a few days," and continued, "I have no immediate intention of mediating between Japan and China." In regard to United States aid to Chiang Kai-shek, he explained the difficulty in discontinuing this aid and stated further that the amount was so small that it was not worth discussing. He stressed that the extent of aid to Chiang would be controlled by Japan's policy in regard to peace in Asia.
In regard to the withdrawal of Japanese troops from south to north French Indo-China, he said that he believed that this would contribute little if anything to the alleviation of the situation in the Southwest Pacific area. Even if the movement of the Japanese troops were realized, the fact of their being in French Indo-China would tie down troops of other countries in order to restrain the Japanese forces. Therefore, the situation would not be improve. I explained that from a military point of view, this withdrawal was a great concession on the part of Japan and should make a great contribution to peace in that area. His replies seemed to indicate that he was not too well versed in military matters, but he alone was entrusted with the conferences.
When I attempted to obtain his acceptance or refusal of the articles of Plan B, one by one, it appeared that the Secretary of State regarded the plan as a Japanese demand on the United States and replied that there was no reason, why the United States should submit to demands from Japan. He stated that it was disappointing to find that he was being pressed for a definite answer when he was endeavoring to find some ground for compromise.
On 24 November, the Government sent the following instructions to Ambassador Nomura:
1. Proposal for the transfer of troops from southern French Indo-China to northern French Indo-China is to be made only for the purpose of breaking the impasse. Further concession is absolutely impossible.
2. Discontinuance of the United States aid to Chiang, supply
of materials to Japan from the Netherlands East Indies and removal of the United States embargo on gasoline are absolutely indispensable to the agreement.
3. There are signs that the United States will take collective action by making common cause with Britain and the Netherlands.
The Japanese Army asserted that the over-all withdrawal of troops from French Indo-China was absolutely impossible.
On 26 November, Ambassador Nomura wired the following opinion to the Government:
I am of the opinion that, at this juncture, the only means left for breaking the deadlock is for the President to dispatch his personal telegram requesting Japan's cooperation for the purpose of maintaining peace in the Pacific and for His Majesty the Emperor to reply. This would clear the air. A short time later, we shall propose the establishment of a neutral zone, including French Indo-China, the Netherlands East Indies and Thailand, taking into consideration the possibility of protective occupation of the Netherlands East Indies by the British and the United States.
I estimate that the rupture of the negotiations will not necessarily bring about the opening of hostilities between Japan and the United States. However, occupation of the Netherlands East Indies by Britain and the United States can be expected. Eventually hostilities against Britain and the United States as a result of our attack on the Netherlands will be inevitable. It is doubtful that in that case Germany will consent to maneuver in accordance with the provisions of the treaty and, moreover, the China Incident will be prolonged.
In reply to this, on 28 November, Foreign Minister Togo cabled him, "I have consulted in various quarters in regard to your plan, but they were all of the opinion that it was not appropriate in the present case."
On 26 November, Secretary of State Hull handed a United States' proposal to Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu and explained it as follows:
Although we have thoroughly deliberated for five days on your
Plan B presented on 20 November, I am sorry to say that we cannot approve it. I consulted with the powers concerned about this matter. The United States' proposal, which I handed to you just now was formulated by combining the United States' proposal of 21 June and the Japanese proposal of 25 September. I have been obliged to present today's proposal, taking into consideration the warlike speeches of Japanese leaders. I do not mean that the non-discrimination principles should be applied to China immediately. These are theories.
The United States' proposal drove Japan to the final decision to open hostilities. (See Appendix 9) Ambassador Nomura reported his interview with Secretary of State Hull as follows:
The Secretary of State expressed no objection when Ambassador Kurusu told him that Japan was opposed to the revival of the Nine-Power Organization. While talking with me, the Secretary of State said, "I do not insist on the immediate withdrawal of troops." In reply to my assertion that the Japanese Government could not leave the Nanking Government to its fate, he said, "The Nanking Government has no power to rule over all China." Ambassador Kurusu said that it was a question whether or not this proposal should be transmitted to the home government as it was, since it contained items pressing Japan to make as many concessions as possible with reference to the Tripartite Pact and practically forcing Japan to make an apology to Chungking for the China Incident, neither of which conditions the Japanese Government could accept. In conclusion, I asked if there was any other proposal besides this which the United States could consider. The President had told me that there is no last word between friends, therefore, I asked for an interview with the President. Thereupon the Secretary of State answered that it was just a proposal and that he would arrange for an interview.
The ambassadors were disappointed by the United States' proposal. The Japanese Government, which received this proposal on 27 November, estimated that it was the last proposal, and therefore, discontinued negotiations with the United States. Subsequently, the opening of hostilities was formally decided at an Imperial Conference on 1 December. (Monograph No 150)
Meanwhile, in Washington, both Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu had
an interview (ninth interview) with President Roosevelt on 27 November and requested him to use his political ability to find any means whatsoever for solving the impasse, but this proved fruitless. Secretary of State Hull, who was present, explained the reason for the failure of the provisional agreement by saying, "Public opinion in the United States cannot overlook the fact that Japan has sent reinforcements to French Indo-China to hold down the military strength of other countries and, at the same time, is demanding gasoline from the United States with the Tripartite Pact and Anti-Comintern Agreement in the background. Furthermore he pointed out that while the United States was seeking a peaceful solution of the situation, the top-ranking Government leaders in Tokyo insisted on the establishment of a "New Order" by force.
After that, on 1 December, both ambassadors had another interview with Secretary of State Hull. The Secretary of State stressed that in the present situation the tone of the argument of both the press and high ranking government officials in Japan had been provocative. (Note: The Diet speech of Prime Minister Tojo and those of Finance Minister Kaya and President of the Planning Board Suzuki had created a great sensation in the United States and some newspapers stated the the Prime Minister's speech meant the outbreak of war.) He further pointed out that Japanese troops had been actively moving in French Indo-China and Thailand, thus rendering it impossible to break the deadlock. He concluded that there had been no choice but to make the proposal of 26 November in view of public opinion in the United States and the situation in Jap-
an. Thereupon, Ambassador Nomura once again submitted his opinion to Foreign Minister Togo suggesting the holding of a Honolulu conference with such reliable representatives of both countries as Wallace or Hopkins and Prince Konoye or Viscount Ishii, if it wee difficult for the top leaders to meet in person. On 3 December the Foreign Minister informed Ambassador Nomura that there was no need for Japan to initiate a proposal of this kind under the present conditions.
On 2 December, the United States dispatched a memorandum questioning Japan's occupation of French Indo-China. On 3 December, Ambassador Nomura cabled the following opinion to Minister of the Navy Shimada and Chief of the Naval General Staff Nagano, "Although the United States is taking a stiff attitude, it is still eager for peace and is hoping that the negotiations can be continued by receiving a favorable reply from Japan. Therefore, I am anxious to have your reply to both the United States' proposal of 26 November and its questions of 2 December. Your reply will enable us to tide over the current crisis somehow." On the following day, 4 December, he submitted his opinion to the Foreign Minister, "The United States places great significance on the fact the Japan has dispatched reinforcements to French Indo-China. Some people are of the opinion that it is the key to peace or war between Japan and the United States. A more peaceful reply is desirable." In spite of his recommendations, the Japanese Government sent the following instruction to him: "We are not deviating from the scope of the protocol of the French-Japanese Joint Defense. The dispatch of reinforcements is aimed
at preparing against the activities of the Chinese Army along the border of French Indo-China and China Proper. We cannot give a reply other than that of 3 December."
On 5 December, Ambassador Nomura visited Secretary of State Hull and gave an account of the dispatch of reinforcements to French Indo-China, to which Secretary of State Hull replied, "I have been severely criticized by various circles for permitting gasoline to be shipped to Japan during the period from the commencement of negotiations this spring and the Japanese troops' occupation of southern French Indo-China in late July. In the present situation, it is difficult to resume the supply of gasoline to Japan."
The Japanese Government felt that there was no hope of success in further negotiations. On 4 December Foreign Minister Togo proposed the full text of the notification to the United States to the Liaison Conference and obtained approval from all those present. Furthermore, after its approval by the Cabinet meeting of 5 December, the Foreign Minister on 6 December sent a message to Ambassador Nomura informing him that the memorandum to the United States had been formulated after thorough deliberations at the Cabinet meeting, that the date of its delivery to the United States would be given later, and that all arrangements, such as preparation of documents, should be completed in time for delivery to the United States at any time after its receipt by Ambassador Nomura. Subsequently, the full text of the memorandum was communicated. (Details of the ultimatum to the United States are given in Monograph No 150)