Draft Proposal Handed by the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) To the Secretary of State on May 12, 1941




The Governments of the United States and of Japan accept joint responsibility for the initiation and conclusion of a general agree‑






ment disposing the resumption of our traditional friendly relations.

Without reference to specific causes of recent estrangement, it is the sincere desire of both Governments that the incidents which led to the deterioration of amicable sentiment among our peoples should be prevented from recurrence, and corrected in their unforeseen and unfortunate consequences.

It is our present hope that, by a joint effort, our nations may estab­lish a just peace in the Pacific; and by the rapid consummation of an entente cordiale [amicable understanding], arrest, if not dispel, the tragic confusion that now threatens to engulf civilization.

For such decisive action, protracted negotiations would seem ill­-suited and weakening. Both Governments, therefore, desire that adequate instrumentalities should be developed for the realization of a general agreement which would bind, meanwhile, both Govern­ments in honor and in act.

It is our belief that such an understanding should comprise only the pivotal issues of urgency and not the accessory concerns which could be deliberated at a conference and appropriately confirmed by our respective Governments.

Both Governments presume to anticipate that they could achieve harmonious relations if certain situations and attitudes were clarified or improved; to wit:


1. The concepts of the United States and of Japan respecting international relations and the character of nations.

2. The attitude of both Governments toward the European War.

3. The relations of both nations toward the China Affair.

4. Commerce between both nations.

5. Economic activity of both nations in the Southwestern Pacific area.

6. The policies of both nations affecting political stabilization in the Pacific area.


Accordingly, we have come to the following mutual under­standing:—


I. The concepts of the United States and of Japan respecting inter­national relations and the character of nations.

The Governments of the United States and of Japan jointly ac­knowledge each other as equally sovereign states and contiguous Pacific powers.

Both Governments assert the unanimity of their national policies as directed toward the foundation of a lasting peace and the inaugura­tion of a new era of respectful confidence and cooperation among our peoples.






Both Governments declare that it is their traditional, and present, concept and conviction that nations and races compose, as members of a family, one household; each equally enjoying rights and admitting responsibilities with a mutuality of interests regulated by peaceful processes and directed to the pursuit of their moral and physical welfare, which they are bound to defend for themselves as they are bound not to destroy for others; they further admit their responsi­bilities to oppose the oppression or exploitation of backward nations.

Both governments are firmly determined that their respective tra­ditional concepts on the character of nations and the underlying moral principles of social order and national life will continue to be preserved and never transformed by foreign ideas or ideologies contrary to these moral principles and concepts.


II. The attitude of both Governments toward the European War.

The Governments of the United States and Japan make it their common aim to bring about the world peace; they shall therefore jointly endeavour not only to prevent further extension of the Euro­pean War but also speedily to restore peace in Europe.

The Government of Japan maintains that its alliance with the Axis Powers was, and is, defensive and designed to prevent the nations which are not at present directly affected by the European War from engaging in it.

The Government of Japan maintains that its obligations of mili­tary assistance under the Tripartite Pact between Japan, Germany and Italy will be applied in accordance with the stipulation of Article 3 of the said Pact.

The Government of the United States maintains that its attitude toward the European War is, and will continue to be, directed by no such aggressive measures as to assist any one nation against another. The United States maintains that it is pledged to the hate of war, and accordingly, its attitude toward the European War is, and will continue to‑ be, determined solely and exclusively by considerations of the protective defense of its own national welfare and security.


III. The relations of both nations toward the China Affair.

The Government of the United States, acknowledging the three principles as enunciated in the Konoe Statement and the principles set forth on the basis of the said three principles in the treaty with the Nanking Government as well as in the Joint Declaration of Japan, Manchoukuo and China and relying upon the policy of the Japanese Government to establish a relationship of neighborly friendship with






China, shall forthwith request the Chiang Kai‑shek regime to nego­tiate peace with Japan.


IV. Commerce between both nations.

When official approbation to the present Understanding has been given by both Governments, the United States and Japan shall assure each other to mutually supply such commodities as are, respectively, available or required by either of them. Both Governments further consent to take necessary steps to the resumption. of normal trade relations as formerly established under the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United States and Japan.


V. Economic activity of both nations in the Southwestern Pacific area.

Having in view that the Japanese expansion in the direction of the Southwestern Pacific area is declared to be of peaceful nature, American cooperation shall be given in the production and procure­ment of natural resources (such as oil, rubber, tin, nickel) which Japan needs.


VI. The policies of both nations affecting political stabilization in the Pacific area.

a. The Governments of the United States and Japan jointly guar­antee the independence of the Philippine Islands on the condition that the Philippine Islands shall maintain a status of permanent neu­trality. The Japanese subjects shall not be subject to any discrim­inatory treatment.

b. Japanese immigration to the United States shall receive amicable consideration—on a basis of equality with other nationals and free­dom from discrimination.



The present Understanding shall be kept as a confidential memo­randum between the Governments of the United States and of Japan.

The scope, character and timing of the announcement of this Understanding will be agreed upon by both Governments.





II. Par. 2.

Attitude of Both Governments toward the European War.

Actually the meaning of this paragraph is virtually unchanged


[63]  This refers to an earlier draft which was never officially presented to the Government of the United States.






but we desire to make it clearer by specifying a reference to the Pact. As long as Japan is a member of the Tripartite Pact, such stipulation as is mentioned in the Understanding seems unnecessary.

If we must have any stipulation at all, in addition, it would be important to have one which would clarify the relationship of this Understanding to the aforementioned Pact.


China Affair.

The terms for China‑Japan peace as proposed in the original Understanding differ in no substantial way from those herein af­firmed as the "principles of Konoe." Practically, the one can be used to explain the other.

We should obtain an understanding, in a separate and secret doc­ument, that the United States would discontinue her assistance to the Chiang Kai‑shek regime if Chiang Kai‑shek does not accept the advice of the United States that he enter into negotiations for peace.

If, for any reason, the United States finds it impossible to sign such a document, a definite pledge by some highest authorities will suffice.

The three principles of Prince Konoe as referred to in this para­graph are:


1. Neighborly friendship;

2. Joint defense against communism;

3. Economic cooperation—by which Japan does not intend to exercise economic monopoly in China nor to demand of China a limitation in the interests of Third Powers.


The following are implied in the aforesaid principles


1. Mutual respect of sovereignty and territories;

2. Mutual respect for the inherent characteristics of each nation cooperating as good neighbors and forming a Far Eastern nucleus contributing to world peace;

3. Withdrawal of Japanese troops from Chinese territory in ac­cordance with an agreement to be concluded between Japan and China

4. No annexation, no indemnities;

5. Independence of Manchoukuo.

III. (sic)

Immigration to China.

The stipulation regarding large‑scale immigration to China has been deleted because it might give an impression, maybe a mistaken impression, to the Japanese people who have been offended by the past immigration legislation of the United States, that America is now taking a dictating attitude even toward the question of Japanese immigration in China.






Actually, the true meaning and purpose of this stipulation is fully understood and accepted by the Japanese Government.


Naval, Aerial and Mercantile Marine Relations.

(a) and (c) of this section have been deleted not because of dis­agreement but because it would be more practical, and possible, to determine the disposition of naval forces and mercantile marine after an understanding has been reached and relations between our two countries improved; and after our present China commitments are eliminated. Then we will know the actual situation and can act accordingly.


Courtesy visit of naval squadrons.

This proposal, (b) of IV. might better be made a subject of a separate memorandum. Particular care must be taken as to the timing, manner and scope of carrying out such a gesture.


Gold Credit.

The proposal in the second paragraph of V. has been omitted for the same reasons as suggested the omission of paragraphs (a) and (c).


Activity in Southwestern Pacific Area.

The words, in the first paragraph, "without resorting to arms" have been deleted as inappropriate and unnecessarily critical. Actu­ally, the peaceful policy of the Japanese Government has been made clear on many occasions in various statements made both by the Premier and the Foreign Minister.


Political Stabilization in the Pacific Area.

As the paragraph (a) implying military and treaty obligation would require, for its enactment, such a complicated legislative procedure ­in both countries, we consider it inappropriate to include this in the present Understanding.

Paragraph (b) regarding the independence of the Philippine Is­lands has been altered for the same reason.

In paragraph (e) the words "and to the Southwestern Pacific Area" have been omitted because such questions should be settled, as neces­sity arises, through direct negotiation with the authorities in the Southwestern areas by the Governments of the United States and of Japan respectively.







The stipulation for holding a Conference has been deleted. We consider that it would be better to arrange, by an exchange of letters, that a conference between the President and the Premier or between suitable representatives of theirs will be considered when both the United States and Japan deem it useful to hold such a conference after taking into due consideration the effect resulting from the present Understanding.



In regard to the statement to be issued on the successful conclusion of the present Understanding a draft will be prepared in Tokio and cabled to Washington for the consideration of the United States Government.