Statement by Ambassador Nomura Regarding the
Handing of the Ultimatum to the United States

About 1030 hours on Sunday, 7 December, (Washington time), I read for the first time telegraphic instructions to the effect that the document should be handed to the United States Government at 1300 hours. Immediately (I had not yet read the entire text of the reply at that time) I asked for an interview with the Secretary of State at 1300 hours, and was informed that he had a luncheon appointment. Consequently, I asked for an interview with the Under-secretary of States, but I was informed that the Secretary of State would meet me.

Although I received the instruction that the document should be handed to the United States Government at 1300 hours, deciphering and typing could not be completed in time. Therefore, I arrived at the State Department at 1400 hours. After waiting for a short while, at 1420 I entered the room of the Secretary of State. I said to him, "I was instructed to hand this reply to you at 1300 hours." The Secretary of State asked me, "Why should it be handed to me at 1300 hours?" I answered, "I do not know why." After reading through our reply, he said to me very angrily, "I have never uttered one word of untruth during the last nine months. I have never seen a document so crowded with falsehoods and distortions."


(Note: The attack on Pearl Harbor was planned to be launched at 1330 hours on 7 December (Washington Time), and although its execution was deferred several minutes it was generally carried out as scheduled. In short, owing to the delays in the routine work in Washington the ultimatum was handed to the United States Government about 50 minutes after the opening of the attack. This gave rise to the grave charge of a sneak attack.)

(Writer's note: As it was Sunday, the officers in charge of incoming telegrams at the Japanese Embassy at Washington were late in reporting duty. Early in the morning a naval attaché found that urgent telegrams had been accumulating and brought this matter to their attention.)