From: Congressional Investigation into the Pearl Harbor Attack, Pt. 18 
(Exhibits of the Joint Committee), pp. 2945-2946.

                MEETING OF PRIVY COUNCIL DEC. 8, 1941

Written by Matsumoto-Head of Treaty Bureau

In the 11th item of Article of the Internal Orders decided upon at the 
time the Reorganization of the Privy Council in December 1938, was 
included a section on "The Declaration of War." It was unclear whether 
this gave the Privy Council the right to advise the decision to engage 
in war, or just the authority for advising the formal declaration of 
war. However, when war was declared against the United States and Great 
Britain, the decision to engage in war had already been made at the 
previous conference of Dec. 1, 1941, so the Privy Council was only to 
consider an address to the throne stating "We declare war against the 
United States and Great Britain." A draft of an Imperial Rescript 
declaring war was attached to the Address to the Throne for advisement. 
(The address to the Throne and the draft of the Imperial Rescript were 
drawn up by the Cabinet.) 

                     Meeting of Committee of Advisement
                              Dec. 8-7:40 A. M.
                  (12:40 P. M., 7 Dec., Pearl Harbor time.)
                           In the Imperial Palace

Tozo Room
Those Present
    All members of the Advisory Council [Komonkan]
    All Cabinet ministers (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Togo, was 
absent, because he was holding interviews with the United States and 
British Ambassadors). 
    Head of the Legal Bureau-Moriyama
    Foreign Affairs Officials: 
        Yamamoto, Head of the American Bureau
        Sakamoto, Head of the Europe-Asia Bureau
        Matsumoto, Head of the Treaty Bureau
    Army Officials:
        Muto, Head of Military Affairs Bureau
    Navy Officials:
        Muto, Head of Military Affairs Bureau

First, the Navy Minister reported on the military action against 
American and British Troops which had been in progress since this 
morning in the Malayan, Hong Kong and Hawaiian areas. 

1st President of the Council-I propose that a Committee of Advisement 
headed by the Vice-President of the Council, and constituted of all the 
members of the Advisory Council, meet immediately and consider this 

Premier Tojo-explained the reasons for declaring war.

Advisor Ishii-At what time will war be declared? It is necessary to make 
sure that America and Britain don't saddle us with the responsibility. 

Premier-We hope for an immediate declaration.


Advisor Kubota-A state of war already exists, but what is the viewpoint 
of the Imperial Headquarters. 

Premier-At the conference of Dec. 1 they determined to commence 
hostilities against England, America, and the Netherlands. 

Advisor Shimizu-What is the attitude of Thailand? 

Premier-It is not yet clear, but negotiations are in progress for a 
policy Mutual Defense. 

Advisor Shimizu-Aren't we going to declare war on Holland? 

Premier-We are not declaring war against Holland because of military 

Advisor Minami-What is Germany's attitude? 

Premier-German entrance into the war in our support is almost certain 
and negotiations to that effect are now in progress. 

Advisor Nara-What is the attitude of the Soviet Union? 

Premier-The attitude of the Soviet Union is one of circumspection. 
Advisors Sugawara and Fukai submitted questions on the expenditure of 
war funds, matters of material, etc., which were answered by the 
Minister of Finance and the Premier.

Advisor Sutakami-Is it the question of whether or not we should declare 
war that you want us to consider? I mean, has an Imperial Rescript 
already been issued on the beginning of the war? 


(Foreign Minister Togo enters and takes his place.) 

Advisors Futakami and (?Ikeda?) pointed out that the use of the word 
"America," [BEIKOKU] in the suggested draft of the Imperial Rescript 
which had been appended for advisement, might be misunderstood to apply 
to all Americas, and recommended a revision, but the Premier and the 
Head of Treaty Bureau explained that no such misunderstanding was 

Last of all, Foreign Affairs Minister Togo reported on the diplomatic 
situation which had preceded the commencement of war. 


The documents under discussion were approved by a unanimous vote. 

Full session, 10 A. M. Dec 8. Imperial Palace, Higashidame Room

His Imperial Majesty was present. 

The rest of the attendance was the same as at the meeting of the 
Committee of Advisement. 

Committee President Suzuki presented his advisement report which was 
unanimously approved.

Page maintained by Larry W. Jewell, Created: 11/28/96 Updated: 11/28/96