THE FATEFUL DECADE
THE FATEFUL decade, 1931-1941, began and ended with acts of violence by Japan. It was marked by the ruthless development of a determined policy of world domination on the part of Japan, Germany, and Italy.
In 1931 Japan seized Manchuria. Two years later Germany withdrew from the Disarmament Conference and began rearming. In 1934 Japan gave notice of termination of the Washington Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armament.
In 1935 Italy invaded Ethiopia. In 1936 Hitler tore up the Treaty of Locarno and fortified the demilitarized Rhineland Zone. In 1937 Japan again attacked China. In 1938 Hitler occupied Austria and dismembered Czechoslovakia. During the first half of 1939 Hitler completed the destruction of Czechoslovakia and seized Memel, while Italy invaded Albania.
In September 1939 Hitler struck at Poland, and during the two years that followed almost all of the countries of Europe were plunged or dragged into war. In 1940 Japan with threats of force entered French Indochina. Finally, on December 7, 1941, Japan launched an armed attack on the United States, followed immediately by declarations of war against the United States on the part of Japan, of Germany, of Italy, and of their satellites.
In the face of these multiplying instances of treaty-breaking, of violence, and of open warfare, the United States followed a policy the successive stages of which are summed up here.
During the years preceding the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939, the Government of the United States directed much of its energies toward an improvement of international relations and thus toward prevention of a breakdown of world peace. In his inaugural address of March 4, 1933 President Roosevelt dedicated the United States to the Policy of the Good Neighbor-"the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others-the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors". The Government of the United States advocated and applied the Good Neighbor Policy in the Western Hemisphere and everywhere in the world.
After the strain and confusion of the depression years, that policy bore its first fruit at the Seventh International Conference of American States, held in December 1933 at Montevideo, which ushered in a new era of inter-American friendship and solidarity, and through
PEACE AND WAR
the adoption by this country, in June 1934, of the reciprocal-trade-agreements program. During the ensuing years the Government of the United States strove, by word and by deed, to make its contribution toward staying the rapidly proceeding deterioration of international political relations and toward building an economic foundation of enduring world peace.
After September 1939, when the forces of aggression and conquest burst all bounds, this Government sought in every practicable way to prevent the spread of conflict, while at the same time intensifying its efforts to carry out George Washington's admonition to place the country "on a respectable defensive posture". With the collapse of France in June 1940, with the appearance of Nazi legions on the shores of Western Europe, with Hitler's "blitz" attack on Britain and his openly proclaimed bid for control of the Atlantic, which paralleled Japan's drive for mastery of the western Pacific area, the United States took measures of self-defense by giving aid to nations resisting aggression and by greatly accelerating this nation's military, naval, and air rearmament program.
The documents, and the comments which here follow, set forth various acts and measures taken by the Government of the United States in the presence of mounting dangers to our national security. They should be read in the light of certain basic factors which necessarily affect the conduct of this country's foreign relations.
The conduct of the foreign relations of the United States is a function of the President, acting usually through the Secretary of State. The powers of the Executive in this field are very broad and sweeping. Yet the President and the Secretary of-State have by no means entire freedom in matters of foreign policy. Their powers may be defined or circumscribed by legislation-or by lack thereof. They must closely approximate the prevailing views of the country. In the conduct of foreign relations they must interpret and implement not a particular point of view in the country but the point of view of the nation as a whole.
Another factual limitation is that our foreign policy, like the foreign policy of any other country, must at all times take into consideration the policies, circumstances, and reactions of other governments and peoples. Action deemed desirable by the United States may be wholly impracticable if it does not harmonize with policies of other governments whose cooperation is necessary, or if such action would excite substantial enmity or effective opposition on the part of other nations or would isolate this country at a time when close cooperation with other governments is essential.
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
In the history of our country situations have arisen in which the Executive, with wide access to many sources of information from abroad, has known of or foreseen developments in foreign relations of which the public had not yet become aware. In such cases the President and the Secretary of State have exercised such executive powers as they possess and have endeavored to explain to the public the forces at work and the probable course of events and to outline the policies which need be pursued in the best interest of the United States. In such cases, if and as legislation has been needed, the executive branch of the Government has as soon as practicable asked of the Congress legislation to make possible the pursuit of the proposed policies.
During a large part of the period with which this volume deals, much of public opinion in this country did not accept the thesis that a European war could vitally affect the security of the United States or that an attack on the United States by any of the Axis powers was possible. In this respect it differed from the President and the Secretary of State, who early became convinced that the aggressive policies of the Axis powers were directed toward an ultimate attack on the United States and that, therefore, our foreign relations should be so conducted as to give all possible support to the nations endeavoring to check the march of Axis aggression.
Our foreign policy during the decade under consideration necessarily had to move within the framework of a gradual evolution of public opinion in the United States away from the idea of isolation expressed in "neutrality" legislation and toward realization that the Axis design was a plan of world conquest in which the United States was intended to be a certain, though perhaps ultimate, victim, and that our primary policy therefore must be defense against actual and mounting danger. This was an important factor influencing the conduct of our foreign relations. Of determining importance also was another factor, namely, that in many nations outside the United States a similar complacency of view had originally prevailed and likewise was undergoing a gradual modification.
The pages which follow show the slow march of the United States from an attitude of illusory aloofness toward world-wide forces endangering America to a position in the forefront of the United Nations that are making common cause against an attempt at world conquest unparalleled alike in boldness of conception and in brutality of operation.
JAPANESE CONQUEST OF MANCHURIA 1931-1932
Attack of September 18, 1931
ON SEPTEMBER 18, 1931 Japan launched an attack on Manchuria. Within a few days Japanese armed forces had occupied several strategic points in South Manchuria.
The United States Minister to China reported to Secretary of State Stimson, in a telegram dated September 22, his opinion that this was "an aggressive act by Japan", apparently long-planned, and carefully and systematically put into effect. Minister Johnson found no evidence that it was the result of accident or the act of minor and irresponsible officials. He was convinced that the Japanese military operation in Manchuria "must fall within any definition of war" and that this act of aggression had been deliberately accomplished in "utter and cynical disregard" of Japan's obligations under the Kellogg-Briand Pact of August 27, 1928 for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy. (1)
On September 22 Secretary Stimson informed Japanese Ambassador Debuchi at Washington that the responsibility for determining the course of events with regard to liquidating the situation in Manchuria rested largely upon Japan, "for the simple reason that Japanese armed forces have seized and are exercising de-facto control in South Manchuria". (2)
Meanwhile, the League of Nations was deliberating on the Manchuria situation. Secretary Stimson instructed the United States Consul at Geneva to inform the Secretary General of the League of Nations, in a communication dated October 5, 1931, that it was most desirable that the League in no way relax its vigilance and in no way fail to assert all its pressure and authority toward regulating the action of China and Japan. Secretary Stimson stated further that this Government, acting independently, would "endeavor to reinforce what the League does" and would make clear its keen interest in the matter and its awareness of the obligations of the disputants in the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Nine-Power Treaty, "should a time arise when it would seem advisable to bring forward these obligations". (3)
The United States Government, in identic notes of October 20, 1931 to China and Japan, called attention to their obligations under
 The numbers within parentheses refer to the numbers of the supporting documents, 1 to 271, beginning with p. 155.
the Kellogg-Briand Pact. This Government expressed the hope that nations would refrain from measures which might lead to that they would agree upon a peaceful method for resolving their dispute "in accordance with their promises and in keeping with expectations of public opinion throughout the world".
The Japanese Government professed a desire to continue friendly relations with China and denied that it had territorial designs in Manchuria. However, Japanese military operations continued. By the end of 1931 Japan had destroyed the last remaining administrative authority of the Government of the Chinese Republic in South Manchuria, as it existed prior to September 18 of that year. The United States Government notified the Chinese and Japanese Governments on January 7, 1932 that it could not admit the legality of any situation de facto nor did it intend to recognize any treaty or agreement entered into between these Governments which might impair the treaty rights of the United States or its citizens in China; that it did not intend to recognize "any situation, treaty, or agreement" which might be brought about by means contrary to the obligations of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. In pursuance of this policy the puppet government established by Japanese arms in Manchuria a few weeks later has not been recognized by the United States. (5)
After the hostilities between Japan and China had spread to the Shanghai area early in l932 the Japanese Government asked that the United States extend its good offices for stopping hostilities. Thereupon, the United States made a proposal on February 2 containing the following points: cessation of all acts of violence on both sides; no further preparation for hostilities; withdrawal of both Chinese and Japanese combatants in the Shanghai area; protection of the International Settlement at Shanghai by the establishment of neutral ones; and upon acceptance of the foregoing, prompt negotiations to settle all outstanding controversies between Japan and China with the aid of neutral observers or participants. The same proposal was made to Japan and China by the British, French and Italian Governments. The Chinese Government promptly accepted the proposal; the Japanese Government, while accepting some of the points, rejected flatly the second and fifth points, and consequently the proposal came to no avail. (6)
In February 1932 Secretary of State Stimson proposed to the British Government that the United States and British Governments
PEACE AND WAR
issue a joint statement invoking the Nine-Power Treaty and the Kellogg-Briand Pact in the Far Eastern controversy, making clear that the two Governments considered these treaties as fully binding and declaring that they would not recognize as valid any situation created in violation of these treaties. (8)
In a letter of February 23, 1932 to Senator Borah, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Secretary Stimson said that the situation which had developed in China could not be reconciled with the obligations set forth in the Nine-Power Treaty and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. He referred to the statement of the United States Government of January 7 and said that if a similar policy were followed by the other governments of the world, an effective bar would be placed on the legality of any title or right sought to be obtained by pressure or treaty violation and that eventually such action would lead to restoration to China of the rights and titles of which China had been deprived. (9)
The British Government did not adopt the specific suggestion made by Secretary Stimson. Later it introduced in the Assembly of the League of Nations a resolution which was unanimously adopted; this resolution of March 11, 1932 stated in part: "it is incumbent upon the members of the League of Nations not to recognize any situation, treaty or agreement which may be brought about by means contrary to the Covenant of the League of Nations or to the Pact of Paris."
Ambassador Grew's Report on Japanese Military Spirit
The United States Ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew, reported to Secretary Stimson on August 13, 1932 the growing dangers in the existing situation. Ambassador Grew said that in Japan the deliberate building up of public animosity against foreign nations in general and the United States in particular was doubtless for the purpose of strengthening the hand of the military in its Manchuria venture in the face of foreign opposition. He stated that the Japanese military machine had been "built for war", felt prepared for war, and would "welcome war"; that it had never yet been beaten and possessed unlimited self-confidence. (10)
After consolidating their position in Manchuria the Japanese military forces proceeded, early in January 1933, to extend the boundaries of the new puppet state by the occupation of the province of Jehol in North China. The Japanese Ambassador, in a conversation of January 5 with Secretary Stimson, stated that Japan-had no territorial ambition south of the Great Wall. The Secretary reminded
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931 - 1941
the Ambassador that a year previously the latter had said that Japan had no territorial ambitions in Manchuria. The Ambassador replied that no Japanese Cabinet which advocated a compromise on the Manchuria question could survive in Japan and that the Manchuria incident must be regarded as closed. Secretary Stimson said that this Government had come to the conclusion that another war such as the World War might destroy our civilization; therefore, we were "determined to support the peace machinery which would render such a recurrence impossible". (11)
Condemnation of Japanese Aggression
Meanwhile, the League of Nations had been considering the report of the Lytton Commission which had been appointed by the League to make an investigation of the situation in Manchuria. The Commission reported that the military operations of the Japanese in Manchuria could not be regarded as measures of legitimate self-defense; that the regime which the Japanese had set up there disregarded the wishes of the people of Manchuria and was not compatible with the fundamental principles of existing international obligations. The League Assembly adopted this report on February 24, 1933, and the Japanese delegation thereupon walked out of the Assembly. In a letter of February 25 to the Secretary General of the League of Nations, Secretary Stimson stated that the United States was in substantial accord with the findings and conclusions of the League. (12)
On March 27, 1933 Japan gave notice of its intention to withdraw from the League.
In the spring of 1933, in connection with proposed legislation to authorize the President under certain conditions to apply embargoes on the export of arms from the United States, consideration was given to the possibility of an arms embargo against Japan. In a statement made on behalf of Secretary of State Hull to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, May 17, 1933, it was emphasized that the United States Government concurred "in general in the findings of the Lytton Commission which place the major responsibility upon Japan for the international conflict now proceeding in China". In this statement concerning the proposed legislation, Secretary Hull said that it was not the intention of this Government to use the authority as a means of restoring peace between China and Japan. He aid that an arms embargo would not be an effective means of restoring peace in this instance; that Japan was an important producer of arms
PEACE AND WAR
with industries sufficiently developed to supply its own needs; that China was dependent upon her importation of these commodities; that an arms embargo applied to both China and Japan would, therefore, militate against China and in favor of Japan; that an embargo directed against Japan alone would probably result in the seizure by the Japanese of arms intended for China, thus ultimately decreasing China's supply of arms and increasing Japan's supply. The Secretary stated that this Government would not be disposed to take any action which would favor the military operations of the Japanese. Further, he said that we would not under any circumstances agree to participate in an international embargo of this kind unless we had secured substantial guaranties from the Governments of all the great powers which would insure against the effects of any retaliatory measures which the Japanese might undertake. (16)
The proposed arms-embargo legislation was not enacted. (See pp. 23-24.)
DISARMAMENT DISCUSSIONS 1932-1934
Statement of February 1932
THE FIRST General Conference for the Limitation and Reduction of Armaments assembled at Geneva in February 1932.
At the Washington Conference of 1922 the principle of limitation had been established by treaty for capital ships of the United States, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan; at the London Naval Conference of 1930 this principle was extended to other types of warships of the United States, Great Britain, and Japan. Prior to the opening of the General Disarmament Conference in 1932, these were the principal steps taken by the nations of the world to lighten the burden of large armies and navies.
At the beginning of this conference Ambassador Hugh Gibson, speaking for the United States delegation, said that civilization was, threatened by the burden and dangers of the gigantic machinery of warfare then being maintained. He recalled that practically all the nations of the world had pledged themselves not to wage aggressive war. Therefore, he said, the conference should devote itself to the abolition of weapons devoted primarily to aggressive war. Among the points advocated by Ambassador Gibson were the following: Special restrictions for tanks and heavy mobile guns, which were considered to be arms peculiarly for offensive operations; computation of the number of armed forces on the basis of the effectives necessary for the maintenance of internal order plus some suitable contingent for defense; abolition of lethal gases and bacteriological warfare; effective measures to protect civilian populations against aerial bombing; abolition of submarines; prolonging the existing naval agreements concluded at Washington and London; proportional reduction from the figures laid down in the Washington and London agreements. (7)
Proposal of May 16, 1933
For more than a year the Conference at Geneva struggled with the tremendous problems involved-without making substantial progress. President Roosevelt made an effort in May 1933 to inject new life into the Conference. In a message of May 16 to the heads of 54 governments he stated that if all nations would agree to eliminate entirely from possession and use the weapons which make possible a successful attack, defenses automatically would become
PEACE AND WAR
impregnable and the frontiers and independence of every nation would become secure. Therefore, he said, the ultimate objective of the Conference must be "complete elimination of all offensive weapons". His specific proposals were: Through a series of steps the weapons of offensive warfare should be eliminated; the first definite step should be taken at once; while these steps were being taken no nation should increase existing armaments over and above the limitations of treaty obligations; subject to existing treaty rights no nation should send any armed force of whatsoever nature across its own borders. (15)
Ten days before this message was sent, President Roosevelt had made clear to Dr. Schacht of Germany, President of the Reichsbank, who was in Washington as a special representative of the German Government, that the United States would insist that Germany remain in status quo in armament and that we would support every possible effort to have the offensive armament of every other nation brought down to the German level. The President intimated as strongly as possible that we regarded Germany as the "only possible obstacle" to a disarmament treaty; that he hoped Dr. Schacht would give this point of view to Hitler. (14)
Statement of May 22, 1933
One of the complications arising from the Disarmament Conference was that France felt that it could not agree to reduce armaments unless the United States and Great Britain would join with France and other nations in a system of collective security to enforce compliance on the part of Germany of provisions for arms limitation and reduction. It was argued that if League states took measures against an aggressor nation, there was no assurance that the United States would not interfere with these measures. In an effort to meet this objection and difficulty, Norman H. Davis, Chairman of the United States delegation at Geneva, stated to the Conference in an address of May 22, 1933 that the United States was ready not only to do its part toward the substantive reduction of armaments but that if this were effected by general international agreement, the United States was prepared to contribute in other ways to the organization of peace. In particular we were willing to consult other states in case of a threat to peace, with the view to averting conflict. Furthermore, in the event that the states, in conference, determined that a state had been guilty of a breach of the peace in violation of its international obligations and took measures against the violator,
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
then the United States, if it concurred in the judgment rendered as to the responsible and guilty party, would refrain from any action tending to defeat this collective effort for a restoration of peace. (17)
A few days later the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations rejected a proposal, urged by the Secretary of State, which would have permitted this Government to join with other governments in an arms embargo against an aggressor nation. (See p. 24.)
During a conversation on October 9, 1933 Secretary of State Hull discussed with the German Ambassador at Washington, Hans Luther the question of disarmament. The Secretary said that the purpose of the United States was the promotion of general disarmament; that the theory of this Government was that we should "wage a steady contest for the disarmament of the heavily armed nations rather than become parties to a plan for others to proceed to rearm". (19)
A plan was considered by the Disarmament Conference for certain immediate steps of disarmament and for progressive limitation and reduction of armaments. France proposed that instead of agreeing to steps being taken immediately and progressively there should be a period of trial in which to test German good faith. Germany refused to accept this proposal. On October 14, 1933 Germany withdrew from the Disarmament Conference and on the same day gave notice of withdrawal from the League of Nations.
Consul General Messersmith at Berlin reported to the Department of State a month later that Germany would "fight shy of all conferences" on disarmament but would make constant professions of a will for peace and a desire to cooperate. He said that in the meantime Germany would go on rearming, as this was what Germany wanted to do and would do; that while all sorts of protestations might be made with regard to the reduction of armaments by other countries, what Germany was interested in was not so much the other countries' cutting down their armaments as having on its part a free hand, or rather time, to go ahead and rearm. (21)
The Conference continued at Geneva, without substantial progress Twenty-seven months after its opening, Chairman Norman H. Davis of the United States delegation made an address to the Conference surveying the disarmament situation. In this address of May 29 1934 Mr. Davis summarized as follows the attitude and policy of the United States: "We are prepared to cooperate in every practicable way in efforts to secure a general disarmament agreement and thus to help promote the general peace and progress of the world. We are furthermore willing, in connection with a general disarma-
PEACE AND WAR
ment convention, to negotiate a universal pact of non-aggression and to join with other nations in conferring on international problems growing out of any treaties to which we are a party. The United States will not, however, participate in European political negotiations and settlements and will not make any commitment whatever to use its armed forces for the settlement of any dispute anywhere. In effect, the policy of the United States is to keep out of war, but to help in every possible way to discourage war." (34)
Japanese Denunciation of Naval Treaty of 1922
At the end of 1934 the Japanese Government gave notice of intention to terminate the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. In a statement made on December 29, 1934 Secretary Hull said that this notice was a source of genuine regret, as he believed that the existing treaties had safeguarded the rights and promoted the collective interests of all the signatories. (39)
WARNINGS OF DANGER 1933-1935
Secretary Hull's Conversation With the German Ambassador
ON NOVEMBER 2, 1933, in a conversation between Secretary of State Hull and German Ambassador Luther on the related questions of disarmament and world peace, the Secretary said that "the outlook in Europe at this distance for disarmament or for peace" did not appear very encouraging; that "a general war during the next two to ten years seemed more probable than peace"; that this country "had exerted itself in every way possible in support of the latter [peace] and against the possible recurrence of the former [war]", but that frankly he felt discouraged.
The German Ambassador quoted Hitler's statement to the effect that Germany would not seek the restoration of Alsace-Lorraine, and that in his opinion this should quiet French apprehension. He added that the Saar question was an entirely separate one. (20)
Consul General Messersmith's Report From Berlin
The United States Consul General at Berlin, George S. Messersmith, who had been at that post since 1930, reported frequently to the Department of State during this period on the menace inherent in the Nazi regime. Mr. Messersmith expressed the view, in a letter of June 26, 1933 to Under Secretary of State Phillips, that the United States must be exceedingly careful in its dealings with Germany as long as the existing Government was in power, as that Government had no spokesmen who could really be depended upon and those who held the highest positions were "capable of actions which really outlaw them from ordinary intercourse". He reported that some of the men who were running the German Government were "psychopathic cases"; that others were in a state of exaltation and in a frame of mind that knew no reason; and that those men in the party and in responsible positions who were really worthwhile were powerless because they had to follow the orders of superiors who were suffering from the "abnormal psychology" prevailing in Germany. "There is a real revolution here and a dangerous situation", he said.
Consul General Messersmith reported further that a martial spirit was being developed in Germany; that everywhere people were seen
PEACE AND WAR
drilling, including children from the age of five or six to persons well into middle age; that a psychology was being developed that the whole world was against Germany, which was defenseless before the world; that people were being trained against gas and airplane attacks; and that the idea of war from neighboring countries was constantly harped upon. He emphasized that Germany was headed in directions which could only carry ruin to it and create a situation "dangerous to world peace". He said we must recognize that while Germany at that time wanted peace, it was by no means a peaceful country or one looking forward to a long period of peace; that the German Government and its adherents desired peace ardently for the time being because they needed peace to carry through the changes in Germany which they wanted to bring about. What they wanted to do was to make Germany "the most capable instrument of war that there has ever existed". (18)
Consul General Messersmith reported from Berlin five months later, in a letter of November 23, 1933 to Under Secretary Phillips, that the military spirit in Germany was constantly growing and that innumerable measures were being taken to develop the German people into a hardy, sturdy race which would "be able to meet all comers". He said that the leaders of Germany had no desire for peace unless it was a peace in complete compliance with German ambitions; that Hitler and his associates really wanted peace for the moment, but only to have a chance to prepare for the use of force if it were found essential; and that they were preparing their way so carefully that the German people would be with them when they wanted to use force and when they felt that they had the "necessary means to carry through their objects". (21)
President Roosevelt's Address of December 28, 1933
In an address delivered at Washington on December 28, 1933 President Roosevelt stated that the blame for the danger to peace was not in the world population but in the political leaders of that population. He said that probably 90 percent of the people in the world were content with the territorial limits of their respective nations and were willing further to reduce their armed forces if every other nation would agree to do the same thing. He said that back of the threat to world peace were the fear and possibility that the other 10 percent might go along with a leadership seeking territorial expansion at the expense of neighbors and unwilling to reduce armament or stop rearmament even if everybody else agreed to non-aggression
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
and to arms reduction. He believed that if the 10 percent could be persuaded "to do their own thinking and not be led", we would have permanent peace throughout the world. (24)
Acting Commercial Attaché Miller's Report on the Nazis
Consul General Messersmith transmitted to the Department of State on April 21, 1934 a report by Acting Commercial Attaché Douglas Miller on the situation in Germany. The Consul General noted that the conclusions of the Attaché had been arrived at independently and that they accorded entirely with his own appraisal of the situation.
Mr. Miller stated that the fundamental purpose of the Nazis "is to secure a greater share of the world's future for the Germans, the expansion of German territory and growth of the German race until it constitutes the largest and most powerful nation in the world, and ultimately, according to some Nazi leaders, until it dominates the entire globe". He expressed the view that the German people were suffering from a traditional inferiority complex, smarting from their defeat in the war and the indignities of the post-war period, disillusioned in their hopes of a speedy return to prosperity along traditional lines, and inflamed by irresponsible demagogic slogans and flattered by the statement that their German racial inheritance gave them inherent superior rights over other peoples. As a result the German people, who were "politically inept and unusually docile", had to a large measure adopted the Nazi point of view for the time being.
The most important objective of the Nazis, according to Mr. Miller's analysis, was to retain absolute control of the German people This control, he said, had been gained by making irresponsible and extravagant promises; by the studied use of the press, the radio, public meetings, parades, flags, uniforms; and finally by the use of force. He said that the Nazis were at heart belligerent and aggressive; that although they desired a period of peace for several years in which to rearm and discipline their people, the more completely their experiments succeeded "the more certain is a large-scale war in Europe some day".
Mr. Miller warned that we must not place too much reliance on Nazi public statements designed for consumption abroad, which breathed the spirit of good-will and peace and asserted the intention of the Government to promote the welfare of the German people and good relations with their neighbors. The real emotional drive behind
PEACE AND WAR
the Nazi program, he said, was not so much love of their own country as dislike of other countries. The Nazis would never be content in merely promoting the welfare of the German people; they desired to be feared and envied by foreigners and "to wipe out the memory of 1918 by inflicting humiliations in particular upon the French, the Poles, the Czechs and anybody else they can get their hands on". Hitler and the other Nazi leaders had capitalized on the wounded inferiority complex of the German people and had magnified their own bitter feelings "into a cult of dislike against the foreign world which is past the bounds of ordinary good sense and reason". Mr. Miller emphasized that the Nazis were building a tremendous military machine, physically very poorly armed, but morally aggressive and belligerent. The control of this machine was in the hands of "narrow, ignorant and unscrupulous adventurers who have been slightly touched with madness from brooding over Germany's real or imagined wrongs". Mr. Miller stated that the Nazis were determined to secure more power and more territory in Europe; that they would certainly use force if these were not given to them by peaceful means. (27)
Reported German-Japanese Entente
Throughout this period indications were received by this Government from various sources that Germany and Japan were drawing together in closer relations. The two countries were in similar situations in that each had left the League of Nations and each was already engaged in preparing militarily and otherwise a program of national expansion. In May 1934 the United States Military Attaché in Berlin, Lieutenant Colonel Wuest, reported that evidence was accumulating which tended "to show the existence of unusually close and friendly relations between Germany and Japan even to the extent of a possible secret alliance". This report stated further that these friendly relations between the two countries were dependent entirely upon self-interest; that the Germans usually expressed themselves to the effect that "we are encouraging close and friendly relations with Japan because it is to our advantage to do so but we must never forget that we are white people and they are not". (32)
Shortly thereafter, United States Consul Geist at Berlin reported to the Department of State that the German Government was bent on recovering Germany's military prestige and then seeing what could be obtained from the rest of the world. He said that German rearmament was concentrated upon power in the air and motorization of attacking forces; that the young Nazis were enthusiastic with regard
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
to military prospects; that they spoke of gas war, bacteriological war, and the use of death-dealing rays; that they boasted that airplanes would not pass the German frontiers; and that they had fantastic ideas about Germany's invincibility in "the next war".
Mr. Geist emphasized that the youth of Germany were being inculcated with an unprecedented, conscious, and deliberate love of militarism; that one of the amazing things of modern history was that the government of a great power should definitely teach children to cherish ideas of valor, heroism, and self-sacrifice, "unrelieved by any of the virtues which modern civilization has come to place above brute force". The Consul said that war might not be imminent but it was difficult to foresee how the bellicose spirit here can be restrained and directed into permanent channels of peace towards the end of this present decade". (36)
Addresses by Secretary Hull
In an address at Washington, May 5, 1934, Secretary of State Hull warned of the dangers in the international situation. He said that dictatorships had sprung up suddenly in place of democracies; that nations everywhere were narrowing their vision, their policies, and their programs; that each was undertaking more and more to visualize only itself and to live by itself; that numerous nations were "feverishly arming", taxing their citizens beyond the limit of ability to pay, and in many ways were developing a military spirit which might lead to war. He warned that it "would be both a blunder and a crime for civilized peoples to fail much longer to take notice of present dangerous tendencies".
Secretary Hull stated that international cooperation to promote understanding, friendship, and reciprocal benefits and conditions of peace was indispensable to the progress of civilization; that these international relationships had been practically abandoned; and that the entire political, economic, social, and moral affairs of most parts of the world were in a chaotic condition. The Secretary said that every Christian nation had an obligation to itself and to humanity to promote understanding, friendship, and peace. The civilization of the time was amply capable of meeting the unprecedented challenge which existing conditions offered and which must be met successfully unless the world was to be threatened with "another period of long night-such as the Dark Ages". He appealed to every individual to awaken and come to a realization of the prob-
PEACE AND WAR
lems and difficulties facing all and of the necessity for real sacrifice of time and service. (30)
In another address of June 11, 1934 at Williamsburg, Virginia, Secretary Hull again warned of international dangers. He said that abroad there was reason "for the gravest apprehension"; that armaments were being increased; that the theory seemed to be abandoned that nations like individuals should live as neighbors and friends. He stated that the Government of the United States was striving to the utmost to make its fullest contribution to the maintenance of peace and civilization. (35)
Relations With Japan-1934
The Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Koki Hirota, in a message delivered to Secretary Hull on February 21, 1934, stated that no question existed between the United States and Japan which was fundamentally incapable of amicable solution and emphasized that Japan had no intention whatsoever of making trouble with any other power. (25)
Secretary Hull replied on March 3, 1934 that it was the fixed intention of the United States to rely in the prosecution of its national policies upon pacific processes; that if there should arise any controversy between the United States and Japan, this Government would be prepared to examine the position of Japan in a spirit of amity and of desire for peaceful and just settlement. He expressed the hope that it might be possible for all countries interested in the Far East to approach every question arising between or among them in such spirit and manner that these questions might be regulated or resolved with injury to none and with definite and lasting advantage to all. (26)
Despite this encouraging exchange of views, there occurred almost immediately thereafter significant indications of an attitude inconsistent therewith on the part of the Japanese Government with regard to the rights and interests in China of other countries. These indications included a statement by Mr. Amau, spokesman of the Japanese Foreign Office. On April 29, 1934, in accordance with instructions from Washington, Ambassador Grew presented to the Japanese Foreign Minister a note stating that the relations of the United States with China, with Japan, and with other countries were governed by the generally accepted principles of international law and the provisions of treaties to which the United States was a party; that treaties could
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
lawfully be modified or terminated only by processes prescribed recognized or agreed upon by the parties to them; that no nation could, without the assent of the other nations concerned, rightfully endeavor to make conclusive its will in situations where there were involved the rights, the obligations, and the legitimate interests of other sovereign states; that the United States sought to be duly considerate of the rights, obligations, and legitimate interests of other countries, and it expected on the part of other governments due consideration rights, obligations, and legitimate interests of the United States.
In a conversation four days earlier the Japanese Foreign Minister had assured Ambassador Grew that Japan had no intention whatever of seeking special privileges in China, of encroaching on the territorial and administrative integrity of China, or of creating difficulties for the bona-fide trade of other countries with China; and that Japan would take no action in China purposely provocative to other countries. In reply, Ambassador Grew had said to the Foreign Minister that the Government and people of the United States would be less impressed by statements of policy than by more concrete evidence. (28)
On May 16, 1934 Secretary Hull had a general conversation with Japanese Ambassador Saito, one of many conversations in which the Secretary endeavored to convince the Japanese that their best interests lay in following policies of peace. Citing the commercial and military possibilities brought about by the remarkable advance in aviation, he said that twenty years ago no human being could have visualized the amazing changes that were taking place in every part of the world; that amidst these amazing changes the more highly civilized nations had correspondingly greater responsibilities and duties, from the standpoint both of their own progress and well-being and of that of the world. He expressed the belief that no highly civilized nation could let the people of other countries undergo a steady state of decline and even collapse without that civilized nation itself being drawn down in the vortex. He said that this meant that Japan and the United States, for their own self-preservation and for their world responsibility, should exhibit the utmost breadth of view and the most profound statesmanship. (31)
Three days later the Secretary talked again with the Japanese Ambassador. During the conversation the Ambassador repeated the formula which his Government had been putting forward publicly for some weeks to the effect that Japan had a superior and special function in connection with the preservation of peace in eastern Asia. The Secretary felt it desirable to bring to the Japanese Ambassador's
PEACE AND WAR
attention the clear implications contained in the Japanese formula of the intention on the part of Japan to exercise an overlordship over neighboring nations and territories. Accordingly, he inquired why the Ambassador's Government "singled out" the formula of Japan's claim to superior and special interests in "eastern Asia" and of her superior rights and duties in connection with the preservation of peace there; whether this formula had ulterior or ultimate implications partaking of the nature of an "overlordship of the Orient". The Ambassador protested that this was not the meaning intended.
The Secretary said to the Ambassador that there was universal talk about armaments on a steadily increasing scale, and that Japan and Germany were the two countries considered chiefly responsible for this talk. He said that if the world understood the absence of any Japanese intentions of overlordship or other unwarranted interference by the Ambassador's Government, Japan "would not be the occasion for armament discussion in so many parts of the world". (33)
A comprehensive appraisal of the situation in Japan was sent to the Secretary of State by Ambassador Grew in a despatch of December 27, 1934. The Ambassador reported that things were being constantly said and written in Japan to the effect that Japan's destiny was to subjugate and rule the world. He said that the aim of certain elements in the Army and Navy, the patriotic societies, and the intense nationalists throughout the country was "to obtain trade control and eventually predominant political influence in China, the Philippines, the Straits Settlements, Siam and the Dutch East Indies, the Maritime Provinces and Vladivostok, one step at a time, as in Korea and Manchuria, pausing intermittently to consolidate and then continuing as soon as the intervening obstacles can be overcome by diplomacy or force". With such dreams of empire cherished in Japan, and with a Japanese Army and Navy capable of "taking the bit in their own teeth and running away with it", we would be "reprehensibly somnolent", Ambassador Grew warned, if we were to trust to the security of treaty restraints or international comity to safeguard our own interests.
Continuing, the Ambassador said that there was a "swashbuckling temper" in the country, largely developed by military propaganda, which could lead Japan during the next few years to any extreme unless the saner minds in the Government were able to cope with it and to restrain the country from national suicide. He referred to the extreme sensitiveness of the Japanese people which, he said, arose out of a marked inferiority complex manifested "in the garb
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
of an equally marked superiority complex, with all its attendant bluster, chauvinism, xenophobia and organized national propaganda". He characterized as "thoroughly mistaken" the idea that a great body of liberal thought lying just beneath the surface since 1931 would be sufficiently strong to emerge and, with a little foreign encouragement, assume control. The liberal thought was there, he stated, but it was inarticulate and largely impotent and probably would remain so for some time to come.
The Ambassador said that unless we were prepared to subscribe to the "Pax Japonica" in the Far East, we should rapidly build up our Navy to treaty strength, and when the Washington Naval Treaty expired we should continue "regardless of cost" to maintain the existing naval ratios with Japan; that Japan's naval policy had been formulated on a premise that the United States would never build up to treaty strength. He reported that almost half of the Japanese national budget for 1935-36 was for the Army and Navy.
Finally, the Ambassador declared, it would be "criminally shortsighted" to discard from calculations the possibility of eventual war with Japan; the best possible way to avoid it would be adequate preparation, as "preparedness is a cold fact which even the chauvinists, the military, the patriots and the ultra-nationalists in Japan, for all their bluster concerning 'provocative measures' in the United States, can grasp and understand". (38)
Defeat of Proposed Adherence to World Court
On January 16, 1935 President Roosevelt sent a message to the Senate, asking that the latter advise and consent to membership of the United States in the World Court. In his message the President said that such action would in no way diminish or jeopardize the sovereignty of the United States. He declared further that at this juncture, when every act was of moment to the future of world peace, the United States had an opportunity "once more to throw its weight into the scale in favor of peace". On January 29, 1935 the resolution of adherence was voted on by the Senate but failed of passage. (40)
Warnings February-June 1935
Secretary Hull, in an address on February 16, 1935 at New York, said that the enormous speeding up of trade and communications made futile any endeavor to induce the United States again to withdraw into "splendid isolation". Our policies must of necessity be
PEACE AND WAR
those of a great power; we could not, even if we would, "fail profoundly to affect international relations". The Secretary said that there had been a time when the ocean meant, or could mean, a certain degree of isolation; but that modern communication had ended this forever.
In this address Secretary Hull listed four pillars of a sound peace, structure: first, the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy; second, a promise of non-aggression; third, consultation in the event of a threat to peace; and fourth, non-interference on our part with measures of constraint brought against a deliberate violator of peace. In mentioning these peace pillars the Secretary emphasized that they might "readily crumble were they to be built on the shifting foundations of unrestricted and competitive armaments". Therefore, he said, the United States insisted that a real limitation and reduction of armament must be an essential concomitant of a peace program. (43)
Mr. Messersmith, who had been appointed Minister to Austria in 1934, continued to send to the Department of State reports on the situation in Germany. In February 1935 he reported that the Nazis had their eyes on Memel, Alsace-Lorraine, and the eastern frontier; that they nourished just as strongly the hope to get the Ukraine for the surplus German population; that Austria was a definite objective; and that absorption or hegemony over the whole of southeastern Europe was a definite policy. A few weeks later he reported a conversation with William E. Dodd, United States Ambassador to Germany, in which they had agreed that no faith whatsoever could be placed in the Nazi regime and its promises, that what the Nazis were after was "unlimited territorial expansion", and that there was probably in existence a German-Japanese understanding, if not an alliance. (41, 44)
During a conversation with German Ambassador Luther on March 28, 1935, Secretary Hull questioned the Ambassador regarding the reported objectives of Germany with respect to Austria, Czechoslovakia, Memel, and the Polish Corridor. The Ambassador denied each reported objective and insisted that his Government favored peace. The Secretary said that the German Government then had the greatest opportunity in two generations to make a remarkable showing of leadership with a program that would gradually bring Western Europe to normal political, social, and peace relations. He said that nations could either take this course or could continue more or less aloof from each other with misunderstanding of each other's motives, purposes, and objectives; the result
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
of the latter would be that each country would go forward and "arm to the teeth" so that at some stage a local incident might ignite the spark that would start a conflagration disastrous in ultimate effect to western civilization. (45)
In an address on June 12, 1935 Secretary Hull warned that there were ominous tendencies in the world. He referred to the reckless, competitive building up of armaments which if unchecked would result in national bankruptcies and consequent inevitable inflation together with the utter destruction of such national stability as had thus far been achieved. He said that the world could not extricate itself from this relentless circle if it did not stop its extravagant military expenditures; that the continuation of the armament race would "again plunge the world into disaster." (46)
In an address of a few days later the Secretary said that any clash abroad would dislocate the progress of recovery in the United States and that this country could not, in the long run, avoid the disastrous effects of such a clash. He could not, therefore, assure the people of the United States that they were immune from the effects of a possible conflict by being far removed from its locus or that they could "look without concern on the darkening clouds around the magic circle of the United States". (47)
Proposed Arms Embargo
In a letter of April 5, 1933 to the appropriate committees of Congress, Secretary of State Hull asked that Congress enact legislation authorizing the application of arms embargoes under certain conditions. A similar proposal had been strongly urged upon Congress early in 1933 by President Hoover and Secretary of State Stimson.
The terms of the legislation advocated by Secretary Hull were that whenever the President found that the shipment of arms or munitions of war might promote or encourage the employment of force in a dispute or conflict between nations and, after securing the cooperation of such governments as the President deemed necessary and after making proclamation thereof, it should be unlawful to export any arms or munitions of war from the United States to any country designated by the President. This proposal would have authorized cooperation by the United States in an arms embargo against an aggressor nation.
In supporting the proposed legislation Secretary Hull said that it would be exercised by any President "to the sole end of maintaining the peace of the world and with a due and prudent regard for our national policies and national interests". He said that the special
PEACE AND WAR
circumstances of each particular case which might arise would dictate what action, if any, would be taken, but the authority to act on terms of equality with other governments should be left to the discretion of the Executive. The Secretary said further that this Government should no longer be left in the position of being unable to join with other governments in preventing the supply of arms for use in an international conflict when it was exercising its diplomacy and the whole weight of our national influence and prestige to prevent or put an end to that conflict. Finally, he said that the enactment of the proposed legislation "would strengthen the position of this Government in its international relations and would enable us to cooperate more efficiently in efforts to maintain the peace of the world". (13)
In a statement made on behalf of Secretary Hull to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, May 17, 1933, it was declared that in certain cases this Government might concur in the opinion of the rest of the world in fixing the responsibility for a conflict upon an aggressor nation; that in such cases an international embargo on the shipment of arms to one party to the conflict might be deemed an equitable and effective method of restoring peace; that this method, nevertheless, "would certainly not be adopted by this Government without such effective guarantees of international cooperation as would safeguard us against the danger of this country's being involved in the conflict as a result of such action". (16)
Late in May the arms-embargo resolution, which had already been passed by the House of Representatives, was reported by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to the Senate with an amendment that any embargo established under it be applied impartially to all belligerents. Secretary Hull stated on May 29 that such an amendment was not in accord with the views of the President and of himself. The amended resolution was subsequently passed by the Senate but was not enacted.
In 1935 there developed considerable public support in the United States for an embargo on the export of arms to belligerents as a means of keeping the United States out of war. This support was based on the fallacious concept that the entrance of the United States into the World Wear in 1917 had been brought about by the sale of arms to belligerents. Under the influence of this concept and with the shadow of a new European war on the horizon the Congress
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
passed a joint resolution in August 1935 providing that upon the outbreak or during the progress of war between or among two or more foreign states "the President shall proclaim such fact, and it shall thereafter be unlawful to export arms, ammunition, or implements of war" from the United States to any belligerent country. This legislation also contained provisions for the licensing of arms exports, the prohibition of the carriage by United States vessels of arms to belligerent states, and the restriction of travel by United States citizens on vessels of belligerent states. This joint resolution, known as the Neutrality Act, was signed by President Roosevelt on August 31, 1935. In signing it the President said he had done so "because it was intended as an expression of the fixed desire of the Government and the people of the United States to avoid any action which might involve us in war". However, he said that the "inflexible" arms-embargo provisions "might drag us into war instead of keeping us out"; that no Congress and no Executive could foresee all possible future situations. (49, 50)
A few months later Secretary Hull, in referring to the Neutrality Act, warned that to assume that by placing an embargo on arms we were making ourselves secure from dangers of conflict with belligerent countries was "to close our eyes to manifold dangers in other directions". He said further that every war presented different circumstances and conditions which might have to be dealt with differently; that, therefore, there were apparent difficulties inherent in any effort to lay down by legislative enactment "inelastic rules or regulations to be applied to every situation that may arise"; that the Executive should not be unduly or unreasonably handicapped; that discretion could wisely be given the President. (57)
The Seventh International Conference of American States assembled in December 1933 at Montevideo, Uruguay. There the Good Neighbor Policy set forth by President Roosevelt on March 4, 1933 was given concrete expression. In an address before the Conference on December 15, 1933 Secretary Hull expressed confidence that each of the American nations wholeheartedly supported the Good Neighbor Policy-that each earnestly favored "the absolute independence, the unimpaired sovereignty, the perfect equality, and the political integrity of each nation, large or small, as they similarly oppose aggression in every sense of the word".
The Secretary stated that peace and economic rehabilitation must
PEACE AND WAR
be "our objective" and avoidance of war "our supreme purpose"; that he believed profoundly that the American nations during the coming years would "write a chapter of achievement in the advancement of peace that will stand out in world history". He said that "while older nations totter under the burden of outworn ideas, cling to the decayed and cruel institution of war, and use precious resources to feed cannon rather than hungry mouths, we stand ready to carry on in the spirit of that application of the Golden Rule by which we mean the true good-will of the true good neighbor".
The Secretary asked that this be made the beginning of a new era, "a great renaissance in American cooperative effort to promote our entire material, moral, and spiritual affairs and to erect an edifice of peace that will forever endure"; that suspicion, misunderstanding, and prejudice be banished from every mind and genuine friendship for and trust in each other be substituted; that actions rather than mere words be the acid test of the conduct and motives of each nation; and that each country demonstrate by its every act and practice the sincerity of its purpose and the unselfishness of its relationship as a neighbor.
Finally, the Secretary said it was in this spirit that the Government and people of the United States expressed their "recognition of the common interests and common aspirations of the American nations" and joined with them "in a renewed spirit of broad cooperation for the promotion of liberty under law, of peace, of justice, and of righteousness". (22)
At Montevideo the 21 American republics agreed upon principles for peaceful international relations, in a convention on the rights and duties of states. This convention, of December 26, 1933, contained provisions that: No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another; the primary interest of states is the conservation of peace; differences of any nature which arise between states should be settled by recognized pacific methods; and territorial acquisitions or special advantages obtained by force or other measures of coercion should not be recognized. Ratification of this convention was approved by the United States Senate on June 15, 1934; the convention was proclaimed by the President on January 18, 1935. (23)
Acting in the spirit and on the basis of the principles of the Good Neighbor Policy, the Montevideo Conference attempted to bring to an end the conflict between Bolivia and Paraguay which had broken out in 1932 as a result of a long-standing boundary dispute. Through the efforts of the Conference and a League of Nations commission a
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
temporary armistice was brought about in December 1933. However, hostilities were soon resumed. The American nations continued persistent efforts to end the war, and in June 1935 Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and the United States succeeded in bringing about a termination of hostilities. As a result of an arbitral award delivered by representatives of these six countries, final settlement of the dispute was reached in 1938.
In 1933 the enlisted strength of the United States Army was 115,000 men. As a result of reductions in governmental expenditures the War Department appropriation act of March 4, 1933 provided only $270,000,000 for the military activities of the Army-a sharp reduction from the amount made available for similar purposes during the previous year. General Douglas MacArthur, Chief of Staff, stated in his annual report of 1933 that successive reductions in appropriations had seriously injured the equipment and training of the Army. He said that the strength of the Army in personnel and equipment and its readiness for employment were "below the danger line".
In 1934 General MacArthur recommended a program of expansion for the Army; the accomplishment of this program, he said, would still leave us far behind all other major powers but would at least offer the United States "a justified assurance in freedom from attack or, at the worst, from extreme consequences in the event of attack".
The War Department appropriation act of April 1936 authorized an increase of the Army to 165,000 enlisted men. In his report of 1935 General MacArthur said that measures had been undertaken to procure additional airplanes, motorized vehicles, tanks, and artillery, in most of which the Army's supplies had become obsolete or inadequate.
By 1933 the United States Navy, in up-to-date ships, had fallen far below the tonnage allowed by treaty. In that year President Roosevelt allocated funds from the National Industrial Recovery Act for the purpose of constructing and equipping 32 naval vessels. The Secretary of the Navy reported in 1933 that no such building program had been undertaken by this country since 1916; that of the signatories to the naval treaties we alone had not undertaken an orderly building program designed to bring the Navy up to treaty strength. He recommended an orderly annual naval building and
PEACE AND WAR
replacement program which would "shortly give this country a treaty navy". He stated that the United States continued to strive for a reduction of armament by agreement but that the time had come when we could no longer afford to lead in disarmament by example. Other powers had not followed such a policy, he said, with the result that the United States found its relative naval strength seriously impaired. He said that our weakened position jeopardized the cause of peace, "because balanced armament fortifies diplomacy and is an important element in preserving peace and justice, whereas undue weakness invites aggressive, war-breeding violation of one's rights".
During 1934 the Vinson Naval Bill was enacted, authorizing the construction of ships up to the limits of the Washington and London Naval Treaties.
ITALIAN CONQUEST OF ETHIOPIA 1935-1936
Italian Preparations for War
ON SEPTEMBER 28, 1934 the United States Ambassador at Rome, Breckinridge Long, reported to the Secretary of State that rumors were current that Italy contemplated war against Ethiopia and was making extensive preparations to this end. Ambassador Long said he was convinced that preparations of an unusual sort were under way; he considered it quite possible that these preparations related to Ethiopia. A few months later, February 14, 1935, he reported to the Secretary of State that there were indications of general preparation for an extensive campaign in Ethiopia. The Ambassador reported that factories for the manufacture of trucks, tanks, and artillery at and around Milan were working day and night; that supplies and military forces were moving clandestinely; that concerted effort was being made to prevent any information getting out as to the size or general nature of shipments; that troop movements were at night; that embarkation was proceeding from several cities; that he had received reports that 30,000 troops had left Naples, and that the movement under way contemplated the use in Ethiopia of 200,000 or 300,000 troops; and that all of these movements were being camouflaged by the use of the regular merchant marine without using war vessels. (37, 42)
Italian preparations continued in the spring and summer and the danger of war became acute. Secretary Hull called in Italian Ambassador Rosso on July 10, 1935 to discuss the situation. He informed the Ambassador that the United States was deeply interested in the preservation of peace in all parts of the world. He emphasized the increasing concern of this Government in the situation arising cut of Italy's dispute with Ethiopia and expressed the earnest hope that a peaceful means might be found to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution of the problem. (52)
On August 18, 1935 President Roosevelt sent a personal message to Premier Mussolini of Italy, stating that the Government and people of the United States felt that failure to arrive at a peaceful settlement of this dispute and a subsequent outbreak of hostilities would be a world calamity the consequences of which would adversely affect the interests of all nations. (48)
Ambassador Long cabled the Secretary of State on September 10, 1935 that there remained no vestige of doubt that Italy was irrevo-
PEACE AND WAR
cably determined to proceed in Africa. The Ambassador reported that the entire population, both military and civilian, was in complete accord with Mussolini's policies; that the press in every issue gave expression of the national determination to proceed to war and not to tolerate interference from any source. There was every indication of a carefully prepared, well-calculated, "hard, cold, and cruel" prosecution of preconceived plans by the use of an army and navy which were almost fanatic in their idolatry of and devotion to one man and which were worked up to an emotional pitch unique in modern times. Ambassador Long expressed the view that the situation was fraught with dangers for the future as well as for the present. (51)
A few days later he pointed out in a despatch to the Secretary of State that the long period of friendly cooperation between Italy and Great Britain had come to an end; he feared that it would be generations before the situation could be cured. The Ambassador said that any estimate of future possibilities must be based on one of two alternatives: first, that sufficient force would be applied to stop Italy's adventure and to impose upon it a definite defeat by arms or, second, that Italy would be successful in attaining its objectives in Ethiopia. In the latter case, he said, there would be nothing but trouble in the future; for if the venture were successful, Italy would be emboldened to proceed to others. Ambassador Long declared that Italy must either be defeated "now" and prevented from realizing its ambitions in East Africa, "or the trouble will continue on through for a generation as an additional irritation to European politics and an additional menace to world peace". (53)
On September 12, 1935 Secretary Hull made a public statement of the attitude of this Government. He said that the United States desired peace; that we believed international controversies could and should be settled by peaceful means; that a threat of hostilities anywhere would be a threat to the political, economic, and social interests of all nations; and that armed conflict in any part of the world would have adverse effects in every part of the world. He stated that all nations had the right to ask that any and all issues between nations be resolved by pacific means; that every nation had the right to ask that no other nation subject it to the hazards and uncertainties that must inevitably accrue to all from resort to arms by any two. In conclusion, the Secretary said that this Government asked the parties in dispute to "weigh most solicitously" the pledge given in the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which was made by the signatories for the
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
purpose of safeguarding peace and sparing the world the incalculable losses and human suffering that inevitably follow in the wake of war. (52)
Outbreak of War
During this period of threatening hostilities the League of Nations was endeavoring to prevent the outbreak of war. The Italian Government, however, refused to be deterred from carrying out its plan for conquest. On October 3, 1935 Italian armed forces invaded Ethiopia.
With the outbreak of war between Italy and Ethiopia President Roosevelt, in accordance with provisions of the Neutrality Act, issued proclamations putting into effect an embargo on the export of arms, ammunition, and implements of war to the two belligerent nations and restrictions on travel by United States citizens on vessels of the belligerents. Upon issuing these proclamations on October 5, 1935, the President stated that "any of our people who voluntarily engage in transactions of any character with either of the belligerents do so at their own risk". (54)
The League of Nations, after deciding that Italy had violated its obligations under the Covenant, recommended to its members a number of commercial and financial sanctions against Italy. While sanctions were under consideration, it was reported that the League might ask non-League countries to participate. Thereupon the Secretary of State instructed the United States representatives at Geneva, on October 9, 1935, that he considered it advisable for the League to understand that definite measures had already been taken by the United States in accordance with our own limitations and policies; that these measures included the restriction of commercial and financial transactions with the belligerents; and that we desired to follow our course independently, in the light of developing circumstances. A week later the Secretary again sent instructions explaining the attitude of the United States toward cooperation with other governments or with the League of Nations in relation to the Italian-Ethiopian conflict. He declared that the United States was acting on its own initiative with respect to the war and that its actions had preceded those of other governments. He said that the major policy of the United States was to keep from becoming involved in war that, however, this Government was "keeping thoroughly alive its definite conviction" that it had an obligation to contribute to the cause of peace in every practical way consistent with this policy. (55, 56)
PEACE AND WAR
Secretary Hull, in a radio address on November 6, 1935, stated the position of the United States on the general subject of peace. He conceived it to be our duty and in the interests of our country and of humanity not only to remain aloof from disputes and conflicts with which we had no direct concern, but also to use our influence in any appropriate way to bring about the peaceful settlement of international differences. He said that our own interests and our duty as a great power forbade that we sit idly by and watch the development of hostilities with a feeling of self-sufficiency and complacency when by the use of our influence, short of becoming involved in the dispute, we might "prevent or lessen the scourge of war". (57)
During this period there was an increase in the export from the United States to Italy of war materials which did not come within the category of "arms, ammunition, and implements of war". There was no statutory authority for stopping these exports. In a statement of November 15, 1935 Secretary Hull said that the people of the United States were entitled to know that considerably increasing amounts of oil, copper, trucks, tractors, scrap iron, and scrap steel, which were essential war materials, were being exported for war purposes. He said that this class of trade was directly contrary to the policy of the Government of the United States. (60)
Secretary Hull's Conversation With the Italian Ambassador
Under instructions from his Government, Italian Ambassador Rosso called on the Secretary of State on November 22, 1935. The Ambassador referred to the various statements of the United States Government on the war between Italy and Ethiopia, especially the Secretary's statement of November 15, and said that although these statements applied formally and theoretically to both contending parties, it was well known that their practical result would be actually to impair the freedom of trade only with respect to Italy. The Ambassador said further that the statement of November 15 was contrary to the letter and spirit of the treaty of 1871 between the United States and Italy which accorded freedom of commerce and navigation to each contracting party; that the limitation on freedom of commerce envisaged by the statement of November 15 would constitute an "unfriendly act".
The Secretary replied emphatically that these trading incidents complained of by the Italian Government were trivial compared with the real problems and deep concern which the war caused the United States; that the Ambassador must realize the resulting awful reper-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
cussions that made their immediate appearance in remote parts of the world, and which would give the United States and other nations unimaginable troubles for a generation. The Secretary said that this Government was immensely concerned with the possible spread of war to other countries at almost any time with serious consequences. He said that it was deplorable to see Italy moving forward with a war which it must realize threatened to create terrific problems and conditions so far-reaching that the imagination could not grasp their possibilities. He inquired why these considerations were not in the mind of the Italian Government before it went to war. He reiterated his surprise that Italy was upbraiding this Government because we showed our deep concern and were striving in every possible way to keep entirely out of the war.
The Secretary took up the Italian complaint that the United States had violated the treaty of 1871 and said that, with both Italy and the United States signatory to the Kellogg-Briand Pact, it was not possible to understand how Italy could go to war and announce to the United States that regardless of this pact we must supply Italy with materials of war or be guilty of an unfriendly act. The Secretary said that the people of the United States were convinced that Italy was under most solemn obligation to keep the peace, and it was incomprehensible to them to find Italy contending that to be neutral the United States must furnish war supplies.
In this long conversation the Secretary endeavored to impress upon the Ambassador that the United States and other peace-loving nations were greatly pained to see their traditional friends, the Italian people, involved in this war in spite of numerous peace treaties and despite the awful menace to the peace of the world. (61)
Italy continued the conquest of Ethiopia. By the spring of 1936 Italian military forces had overrun most of Ethiopia and on May 5 Addis Ababa, the capital, fell to the invader. Shortly thereafter, on June 20, the United States terminated the application of the Neutrality Act to the conflicting parties.
The United States never recognized Italian sovereignty over Ethiopia.
DEVELOPING DANGERS 1936-1937
Warnings by President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull
THROUGHOUT 1935 the world peace structure had continued to deteriorate. In Europe, Germany swept away the disarmament provisions of the Versailles Treaty when in March Hitler announced the existence of a German air force and the reestablishment of conscription. In the Far East, Japan was increasing its military and naval strength and undertaking limited military actions for extending domination over China. At the end of the year Italian armies were advancing steadily into Ethiopia.
It was against this background that President Roosevelt delivered his Armistice Day address on November 11, 1935. He made clear that in foreign policy the primary purpose of the United States was to avoid being drawn into war; that we sought also in every practicable way to promote peace and to discourage war. He said that jealousies between nations continued, armaments were increasing, national ambitions were disturbing world peace and, most serious of all, confidence in the sacredness of international contracts was declining; we could not and must not hide our concern for grave world dangers, we could not "build walls around ourselves and hide our heads in the sand", we must go forward with all our strength to strive for international peace. He declared that aggression on the part of the United States was an impossibility; that defense against aggression by others was our accepted policy; and that the measure of defense would be solely the amount necessary to safeguard the United States against the armaments of others. In conclusion, he said that the more greatly others decreased their armaments, the more quickly and surely would we decrease ours. (58)
In an address to Congress on January 3, 1936 President Roosevelt warned that developments in international affairs had resulted in a situation which might lead to the "tragedy of general war". He said that nations seeking expansion had reverted to belief in the law of the sword, to the fantastic conception that they alone were chosen to fulfill a mission and that all the other human beings in the world must learn from and be subject to them.
The President in this address summarized the foreign policy of the United States: We sought earnestly to limit world armaments and to attain the peaceful solution of disputes among nations; we sought by every legitimate means to exert our moral influence against discrimination, intolerance, and autocracy, and in favor of freedom
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
of expression, equality before the law, religious tolerance, and popular rule; in the field of commerce we undertook to encourage a more reasonable interchange of the world's goods; in the field of international finance we had, so far as we were concerned, put an end to dollar diplomacy; we followed a twofold neutrality policy toward nations engaging in wars not of immediate concern to the Americas; that is, we declined to encourage the prosecution of war by permitting belligerents to obtain arms from the United States and sought to discourage the export to belligerent nations of abnormal quantities of other war materials. Finally, the President said that if peace continued to be threatened by those who sought selfish power, the United States and the rest of the Americas could play but one role: through a well-ordered neutrality to do nothing to encourage war; through adequate defense to avoid embroilment and attack; and through example and all legitimate encouragement and assistance to persuade other nations "to return to the days of peace and goodwill". (64)
In line with the policy enunciated by the President of restricting the export to belligerents of abnormal quantities of war materials which had been urged by the Government since the beginning of the war between Italy and Ethiopia, a "neutrality" bill containing such a provision was introduced in Congress in January 1936. Secretary of State Hull, in supporting this proposal before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, emphasized that a neutral should not "deliberately help to feed the fires and flames of war" by delivering essential materials to belligerents, thus helping "not only to carry on war but to prolong it indefinitely". This proposal was not adopted by the Congress.
By a joint resolution approved February 29, 1936 the Neutrality Act of 1935 was amended to prohibit persons in the United States from making loans or extending credits to belligerents. Upon signing this joint resolution President Roosevelt referred to the fact that the "high moral duty" which he had urged on our people of restricting their exports of essential war materials to either belligerent to approximately the normal peacetime basis had not been the subject of legislation. Nevertheless, he said, it was clear that greatly to exceed that basis "would serve to magnify the very evil of war which we seek to prevent". Therefore, the President renewed the appeal to the people of the United States "that they so conduct their trade with belligerent nations that it cannot be said that they are seizing new opportunities for profit or that by changing their peacetime trade they give aid to the continuation of war". (68, 69)
PEACE AND WAR
The United States Minister to Switzerland, Hugh Wilson, had reported to Secretary Hull in November 1935 that the states of Europe, while fully realizing and apprehensive of the dangers inherent in Italy's course in Ethiopia, had no real fear of Italy; that, however, they were "profoundly afraid of Germany". In a letter of January 1936 Mr. Wilson reported to the Secretary that while three months earlier the thoughts of European statesmen were concentrated on Africa, now the minds of these men were fixed on the intensity of the rearmament of Germany. He said that there was indisputable evidence of the magnitude and intensity of German military preparations; that while there might be a question as to the exact stage of the development of this preparation, there was no doubt that it was on a scale to cause alarm. The idea was becoming prevalent, he said, "that German rearmament on this scale and in this tempo can be designed only for the purposes of aggression". (59, 66)
During a conversation of January 22, 1936 with the British Ambassador, Sir Ronald Lindsay, Secretary Hull said that "the most incomprehensible circumstance in the whole modern world is the ability of dictators, overnight almost, to stand 35 million Italians and 65 million Germans on their heads and so dominate their mental processes that they arise the next morning and insist on being sent to the first-line trenches without delay". (65)
Less than two months later, Hitler struck a blow at the peace of Europe. In flagrant violation of the Locarno Pact he proceeded in March 1936 to occupy and fortify the demilitarized Rhineland. This action was taken despite the fact that two years previously Hitler had said that after the solution of the Saar question the German Government was ready to accept not only the letter but also the spirit of the Locarno Pact.
Civil Conflict in Spain
Another threat to peace occurred in July 1936 with the outbreak of a civil conflict in Spain. The attitude of this Government toward the conflict was based squarely on the consistent policy of the United States of promoting peace and at the same time avoiding involvement in war situations. All acts and utterances of this Government in relation to the conflict were directed toward the attainment of these controlling objectives. In line with these objectives, this Government in August 1936 declared a policy of strict non-interference in the struggle and announced that the export of
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
arms from the United States to Spain would be contrary to this policy. In line also with these objectives, the Congress of the United States four months later passed, by a unanimous vote of the Senate and by a vote of 406 to 1 in the House of Representatives, a joint resolution prohibiting export of arms to the contending factions in Spain. (73, 75, 81)
Shortly after the beginning of the conflict in Spain it became evident that several of the principal powers of Europe were projecting themselves into the struggle through the furnishing of arms and war materials and other aid to the contending sides, thus creating real danger of a spread of the conflict into a European war. In an effort to remedy this menacing situation, a committee was set up in London, by agreement of the European governments, to carry out a concerted policy of non-intervention and to put an end to export of arms to Spain.
As the Spanish civil conflict continued, and as the European non-intervention agreement was flagrantly violated, the policy of non-interference pursued by the United States aroused criticism from partisans in this country of one or the other of the contending factions in Spain. There was a feeling in some quarters that our policy should be changed. This Government, however, was convinced that in the light of growing complications and in view of its thoroughly unsatisfactory experience during 1935 in endeavoring to preserve peace in the Italo-Ethiopian situation-a change in its policy with regard to Spain would in no way serve the cause of peace but on the contrary would create for this country a serious risk of military involvement. Consequently the policy announced by the Executive and unanimously adopted by the Congress was pursued by the United States throughout the period of the Spanish civil conflict. (107)
Addresses by President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull
On August 14, 1936 President Roosevelt delivered an address at Chautauqua, New York, in which he declared that the United States had sought steadfastly to assist international movements to prevent war. The President said that we shunned political commitments which might entangle the United States in foreign wars; that we avoided connection with the political activities of the League of Nations but had cooperated wholeheartedly in the social and humanitarian work at Geneva. He said that we were not isolationists "except so far as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war";
PEACE AND WAR
that we must remember that so long as war existed there would be some danger that even the nation most ardently desiring peace might be drawn into war; and that no matter how well we were supported by neutrality legislation, we must remember that no laws could be provided to cover every contingency. (74)
In an address delivered at Washington on September 7, 1936 Secretary of State Hull gave pointed warning of the threat to peace which was mounting throughout the world. He said that in all history the weight of the responsibility of governments and peoples to preserve the peace had never been so great. He warned that if war came it would be fought not alone by uniformed armies and navies, but by the entire populations of the countries involved; that airplanes, poison gas, and other modern fighting equipment would make the world a "veritable inferno". He believed that a general war would set loose forces that would be beyond control; that these forces might bring about a virtual destruction of modern political thought and possibly a shattering of our civilization.
The one hope of the world, he said, was that governments and peoples might fully realize the solemn responsibility resting upon all of them and that realistic envisaging of the inevitable consequences would "prevent their flying at each other's throats". (76).
In an address of the following week, Secretary Hull dealt with the criticism that the United States declined to depart from its traditional policy and join with other governments in collective arrangements carrying the obligation of employing force, if necessary, in case disputes with other countries brought them into war. He declared that we could not accept that responsibility, which carried with it direct participation in the political relations of the whole world, because current experience indicated how uncertain was the possibility that we could vitally influence the policies or activities of other countries from which war might come. He said that the statesmen of the world should continue their effort to effect security by arrangements which would prove more durable than those which had been broken. (77)
Japanese Expansion and Attitude
Late in 1935 Japan attempted to promote a so-called "autonomy movement" in North China, with a view to detaching the northern provinces from the rest of China and bringing them under Japanese domination. Secretary of State Hull took notice of this situation in a public statement of December 5, 1935. He called attention to the
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
interests of the United States involved in that area and to the treaty rights and obligations of the several powers there. He declared that political disturbances and pressures gave rise to uncertainty and tended to produce economic and social dislocations which made difficult the enjoyment of treaty rights and the fulfilment of treaty obligations.
In this statement the Secretary emphasized the importance "in this period of world-wide political unrest and economic instability that governments and peoples keep faith in principles and pledges" He declared that the United States respected the treaties to which it was a party and bespoke respect by all nations for treaties solemnly entered into. (62)
During a conversation of December 23, 1935 with a member of the staff of the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Mr. Saburo Kurusu, a high Japanese Foreign Office official, stated that Japan was destined to be the leader of the oriental civilization and would in course of time be the "boss" of a group comprising "China, India, the Netherlands East Indies, etc." Mr. Kurusu said that while Japan led the oriental civilization, the United States would lead the occidental civilization; that the two countries must not fight, as that would be suicidal. He said that Great Britain was "degenerating" and that the Russians were dreamers and never would "amount to anything". Mr. Kurusu went on to say that he opposed Japan's "hypocritical attitude" toward treaties for collective security; that he was critical of his own country for signing agreements which could not be carried out if Japan wanted to progress in the world. (63)
London Naval Conference
At the London Naval Conference of 1935-36 Japan endeavored to have substituted for the 5-5-3 ratio of the naval treaties of 1922 and 1930 a "common upper limit" for all powers. This proposal would have established a uniform maximum level for fleets of all nations without taking into consideration their respective needs and responsibilities. None of the other states represented could accept this proposal even as a basis for negotiation. The United States opposed the Japanese proposal, according to a statement by Chairman Norman H. Davis of the United States delegation, on the ground that "equal security" had been achieved under the Washington and London Naval Treaties and that, owing to the difference in relative needs and vulnerability, "naval parity would give to Japan naval superiority". Japan withdrew from the Conference and as a result
PEACE AND WAR
no quantitative naval limitation treaty was concluded. Despite the departure of the Japanese representatives from the Conference, the United States, Great Britain, and France concluded a treaty of qualitative naval limitation on March 25, 1936. The treaty provided, however, that if the national security of a contracting party should be menaced by naval construction by powers outside the scope of the treaty, it could depart from the qualitative limits. (71)
At the time of the signature of the treaty, Chairman Davis of the United States delegation and British Foreign Secretary Eden exchanged letters declaring that there would be no competitive naval building between the two countries and that the principle of parity would be maintained as between their Fleets. Subsequently Japan was approached by the British Government and asked to give assurances that it would adhere in practice to the qualitative limits laid down in the 1936 treaty. Japan declined to give such assurances. Japan's attitude marked the death knell, for the period under consideration, of naval limitation among the great powers.
The United States and Great Britain later invoked the "escalator" clause of the treaty and undertook increased naval building programs.
German-Japanese Anti-Comintern Pact
The Secretary of State discussed the Far Eastern situation on June 12, 1936 with the Japanese Ambassador to Great Britain, Shigeru Yoshida. The Ambassador said that the people of the United States should recognize the rapidly growing population of Japan and the absolute necessity for more territory for their existence. He said that there was misunderstanding and misapprehension on the part of the people of the United States concerning Japanese movements in and about China; that Japanese armaments were not intended for war against any particular country, especially not the United States, but that Japanese naval officials were always undertaking to create additional vacancies and additional room for promotion. This was not convincing to Secretary Hull. He replied that the impression among people in the United States was that Japan sought economic domination, first of eastern Asia, and then of other areas such as it might see fit to dominate; that this would mean political as well as military domination in the end.
The Secretary said that there was no reason why countries like the United States, Great Britain, and Japan could not in an amicable spirit and with perfect justice and fairness agree to abide by the world-wide principle of equality in commercial and industrial affairs,
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
and each country solemnly agree not to resort to force in connection with the operation of this rule of equality. He felt that governments should be able to sit down together and in a spirit of fair-dealing confer and collaborate without ceasing until they found a way for amicable and reasonable adjustment; that this would eliminate 90 percent of the occasions for friction between nations. (72)
On November 25, 1936 Japan openly associated itself with Germany by the signature of the Anti-Comintern Pact, whereby the two countries agreed to exchange information on the activities of the Communist International and to consult and collaborate on the necessary preventive measures. While there had been signs for some time of a gradual rapprochement of these two states, this was the first open indication of their common designs in foreign policy. It foreshadowed the parallel courses of aggression which Germany and Japan were to follow during the coming years.
In connection with this agreement, Ambassador Grew reported from Tokyo on December 4, 1936 that the Japanese Foreign Office had denied categorically the existence of an understanding in regard to military matters or Japanese participation in a Fascist bloc. He stated, however, that foreign diplomatic representatives in Tokyo in general were of the opinion that the Japanese and German General Staffs had concluded a secret military understanding. (78)
Inter-American Peace Conference
Representatives of the American republics assembled in conference at Buenos Aires in December 1936. This conference had been suggested by President Roosevelt early in the year for the purpose of determining how the maintenance of peace among the American republics might best be safeguarded. The President felt that steps in this direction would advance the cause of world peace in as much as the agreements which might be reached would supplement and reinforce the efforts of the League of Nations and of other peace agencies seeking to prevent war. (67)
In an address at Buenos Aires on December 5, 1936 Secretary Hull said that the primary purpose of the conference was to "banish war from the Western Hemisphere". He believed that every country must play its part in determining whether the world would slip back toward war and savagery or whether it would maintain and advance the level of civilization and peace. He said that the American republics could not remain unconcerned by the grave and threatening conditions in many parts of the world; that it was now
PEACE AND WAR
absolutely clear that each nation in any part of the world was concerned with peace in every part of the world.
The Secretary enumerated in this address eight principles for a comprehensive peace program: 1. Peoples must be educated for peace; each nation must make itself safe for peace. 2. Frequent conferences between representatives of nations and intercourse between their peoples are essential. 3. The consummation of five well-known peace agreements will provide adequate machinery. 4. In the event of war there should be a common policy of neutrality. 5. The nations should adopt commercial policies to bring each that-prosperity upon which enduring peace is founded. 6. Practical international cooperation is essential to restore indispensable international relationships. 7. International law should be reestablished, revitalized, and strengthened; armies and navies are no permanent substitute for its great principles. 8. Faithful observance of undertakings between nations is the foundation of international law, and rests upon moral law, the highest of all law. (79)
The American republics at this conference agreed upon a convention for the maintenance, preservation, and re-establishment of peace, which contained a procedure for consultation among the signatories. The conference also approved a declaration stating that every act susceptible of disturbing the peace of America affects each and every one of the republics and justifies the initiation of the procedure of consultation provided for in the above-mentioned convention; that territorial conquest is proscribed, and consequently no acquisition made through violence shall be recognized; that intervention by one state in the internal or external affairs of another is condemned; that forcible collection of pecuniary debts is illegal; that any difference or dispute between the American nations shall be settled by the methods of conciliation, or unrestricted arbitration, or through operation of international justice. (80)
In a conversation with Italian Ambassador Suvich a few months later, on July 6, 1937, the Secretary of State reviewed at length the increasingly critical world situation and cited the Buenos Aires peace program as an example for the rest of the world. He said that the program contained a practicable set of principles and policies as the single alternative to the disastrous course of affairs in Europe. He said that the only foundations which Europe presented for restoring international order were the "narrowest, cut-throat, trouble-breeding methods of trading and a wild, runaway race in armaments"; that this was in striking contrast with the program of the 21 American republics, which provided a solid and
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
permanent foundation for a stable structure of business, of peace, and of government. The Secretary said that the single question was whether the civilized nations would wait until it was too late before proclaiming and pursuing this practical and constructive course. The American nations had offered this program and were "pleading to all other civilized nations to embrace it and give it support without a day's delay". Never before, he said, had there been such an opportunity for some important country in Europe to furnish leadership with just this sort of program. When the Italian Ambassador said that the time was not propitious for such a program, the Secretary replied that if each nation waited until the time was exactly right from its standpoint, the time would never become propitious.
Referring to the dangerous situation in Europe, the Secretary remarked that another war or a deep-seated economic panic would be utterly destructive of everything worthwhile in the western world-and yet absolutely nothing was being done in the way of permanent planning for peace and general stability. There were, he continued, probably four million wage-earners in Germany engaged in armament production; relative numbers in other countries were likewise engaged; within another 18 months, when the resources of most countries necessary for further increased armaments were exhausted, it would not be humanly possible to find other gainful and productive employment for all the millions of these wage-earners. And yet, "with the roar of the economic and the military Niagara below, now within distinct hearing, and with the certain knowledge that the happening of either catastrophe would be fatal, nations are drifting and drifting and drifting with no broad or permanent or peaceful planning".
The United States, Secretary Hull said, while taking every precaution to keep aloof from political and military involvements abroad, strongly felt that each civilized country had the unshirkable responsibility of making a real contribution to promote peace. The Secretary declared that the United States and the other American nations were behind the broad program to which he had referred and were looking "longingly" to leading countries in Europe to offer a similar contribution to peace and economic well-being. (84)
President Roosevelt stated the policy of the Government toward national defense in a letter of April 20, 1936 to the Daughters of the American Revolution. He said that it was the aim of the Govern-
PEACE AND WAR
ment "to make our national defense efficient and to keep it adequate"; that what was necessary for adequate defense was not always the same and was bound to change with changing conditions; that if this were a disarming world our needs obviously would be proportionally decreasing; that he regretted that the world of the time was not a disarming world; and that our defense forces were "on a stronger peace-time basis than before", and it was our purpose to keep them that way.
The President said that we would press continually for limitation of armament by international agreement and that if this should fail, we would not increase our own armament unless other powers by increasing theirs made increase by us necessary to our national safety. (70)
In an address delivered at New York on September 15, 1936 Secretary Hull stated that the defense forces of the United States had been substantially increased; that this appeared essential in the face of the universal increase of armaments elsewhere and the disturbed conditions of the world; that "we would not serve the cause of peace" if we had inadequate means of self-defense; and that we must be sure that in our desire for peace we would not appear weak and unable to resist the imposition of force or to protect our just rights. (77)
President Roosevelt, on January 8, 1937, announced that he had directed the Navy Department to proceed with the construction of two replacement battleships. This was the first battleship construction to be undertaken by the United States since the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. (82)
Throughout this period the United States Army was proceeding with an expansion program which increased its enlisted strength from 118,000 in 1935 to 158,000 in 1937. Notwithstanding this increase, the Secretary of War said in his annual report of 1937 that the Army was not keeping pace with the enormous expansions in the military establishments of other leading powers and recommended that it be further strengthened.
JAPANESE ATTACK ON CHINA 1937
Marco Polo Bridge Incident
ON JULY 7, 1937 a clash occurred between Chinese and Japanese troops near Peiping in North China. When this clash was followed by indications of intensified military activity on the part of Japan, Secretary of State Hull urged upon the Japanese Government a policy of self-restraint. In a conversation of July 12 with Japanese Ambassador Saito, Secretary Hull elaborated upon the futility of war and its awful consequences, emphasizing the great injury to the victor as well as to the vanquished in case of war. He said that a first-class power like Japan not only could afford to exercise general self-restraint but that in the long run it was far better that this should characterize the attitude and policy of the Japanese Government; that he had been looking forward to an early period when Japan and the United States would have opportunity for world leadership with a constructive program like that proclaimed by the American republics at Buenos Aires in December 1936 for the purpose of restoring and preserving stable conditions of business and of peace. (85)
Secretary Hull's Statement of Principles
On July 16, 1937, a few days after the beginning of Japan's undeclared war on China, Secretary Hull issued a statement of fundamental principles of international policy. The Secretary stated that any situation in which armed hostilities were in progress or were threatened was a situation wherein rights and interests of all nations either were or might be seriously affected. Therefore, he felt it a duty to make a statement of this Government's position in regard to international problems and situations with respect to which this country felt deep concern. He said that the following principles were advocated by the United States: maintenance of peace; national and international self-restraint; abstinence from use of force in pursuit of policy; abstinence from interference in the internal affairs of other nations; adjustment of problems in international relations by processes of peaceful negotiation and agreement; faithful observance of international agreements; modification of provisions of treaties, when need therefor arises, by orderly processes carried out in a spirit of mutual helpfulness and accommodation; respect by all nations for the rights of others and performance by all nations of
PEACE AND WAR
established obligations; revitalization and strengthening of international law; promotion of economic security and stability the world over; lowering or removing of excessive barriers of international trade; effective equality of commercial opportunity and application of the principle of equality of treatment; and limitation and reduction of armament. The Secretary stated that the United States avoided entering into alliances or entangling commitments but believed in cooperative effort by peaceful and practical means in support of the above-stated principles. (86)
This statement of fundamental principles of international policy was sent to the other governments of the world for comment. The reply from Germany was that the Reich Government had taken note with due interest of Secretary Hull's statement; that the Reich Government's "basic principle is, as is generally known, directed toward the regulation of international relations by pacific agreement and hence coincides with the ideas developed by the Secretary of State". The reply from Italy was that the Fascist Government "appreciates at their high value the principles enunciated by Secretary of State Hull"; that it favored everything which conduced to the pacification and to the political and economic reconstruction of the world; and that, therefore, it regarded with sympathy every initiative which tended to achieve that end by means of the limitation of armaments, by means of economic understanding among nations, non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, and any other means which might then or in the future appear responsive to this objective. The Japanese Government replied that it expressed concurrence with the principles contained in the statement by Secretary Hull; that it believed that the objectives of those principles would only be attained, in their application to the Far Eastern situation, by a full recognition and practical consideration of the actual particular circumstances of that region.
Offer of Good Offices
Secretary Hull called in Chinese Ambassador Wang and Japanese Ambassador Saito on July 21, 1937 and in separate conversations with them emphasized that the United States Government was ready and would gladly do anything short of mediation-which would require the agreement of both parties in advance-to contribute in a fair and impartial way toward composing the matters of controversy between China and Japan. The Secretary said that when two nations comprising 500,000,000 people were engaged in a controversy
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
in which general hostilities appeared imminent the United States could not help feeling great concern. He said that it was in the light of this situation and of the "intense desire" of the United States for peace everywhere that he conferred with them; that he thus approached each Government in a spirit of friendliness and impartiality in an earnest effort to contribute something to the cause of peace. He expressed the opinion that a war would result in irreparable harm to all countries involved and would prove "utterly disastrous" to human welfare and progress. (87)
On August 10, 1937 the United States Ambassador to Japan, under instructions from the Secretary of State, offered informally to the Japanese Government the good offices of the United States toward the settlement of the controversy between Japan and China. This offer contemplated the providing of neutral ground where Japanese and Chinese representatives might meet to negotiate and the giving of assistance in adjusting difficulties that might develop during negotiations. Japan did not respond to this offer; consequently the United States Government felt that there would be no useful purpose in making a similar approach to the Chinese Government. (88)
Meanwhile, the China "incident" had developed into large-scale military operations as Japan poured men and engines of war into China. On August 23, 1937 the Department of State issued a statement declaring that the issues and problems which were of concern to the United States in the existing situation in the Pacific area went "far beyond merely the immediate question of protection of the nationals and interests of the United States"; that the conditions prevailing in that area were intimately connected with and had a direct and fundamental relationship to the general principles of policy made public on July 16. In this statement it was declared further that the existence of serious hostilities anywhere was a matter of concern to all nations; that without attempting to pass judgment on the merits of the controversy, the United States appealed to the parties to refrain from war; that the United States considered applicable throughout the world, in the Pacific area as elsewhere, the principles set forth in the statement of July 16; and that that statement embraced the principles embodied in the Washington Conference treaties and the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
The Department stated that from the beginning of the controversy in the Far East the United States had urged upon both Japan and China the importance of refraining from hostilities and of maintaining peace; that the United States had been participating constantly in
PEACE AND WAR
consultation with interested governments, directed toward peaceful adjustment; that this Government did not believe in political alliances or entanglements, nor in extreme isolation; that this Government did believe in international cooperation for the purpose of seeking through pacific means the achievement of the objectives set forth in the statement of July 16. (89)
On September 2, 1937 the Secretary of State sent a telegram to Ambassador Grew in Japan summarizing the attitude of the United States toward the conflict between China and Japan. The Secretary stated that the course of the United States as pursued during recent years in regard to the Far East had been animated partly by the thought of encouraging Japanese and Chinese efforts at developing toward each other and toward the world attitudes of real cooperativeness. The situation produced by the hostilities going on between China and Japan permitted, he said, little hope of any such attitude being reciprocally developed by those two countries in the near future. He doubted that those in control of Japanese policies valued appreciably the friendship of other nations or efforts made by the United States and other nations to cultivate good-will, confidence, and stability. Public opinion in the United States, he said, had been outraged by the methods and strategy employed by the combatants, particularly by the Japanese military, and had become gradually more critical of Japan; in addressing authorities of either side he did not intend to call names or make threats; however, he wished the Japanese Government to understand fully that the United States looked with thorough disapproval upon the current manifestation of Japanese foreign policy and upon the methods employed by the Japanese military in pursuit of that policy. He asked the Ambassador to suggest to Japanese officials that Japan, by the course it was pursuing, was destroying the good-will of the world and was laying up for itself among the people of the world a liability of "distrust, suspicion, popular antipathy, and potential ostracism", the liquidation of which would take many, many years of benevolent endeavor by Japan. (90)
A year later, in a conversation with the Canadian Minister, Secretary Hull said that since August 1937 he had proceeded on the theory that "Japan definitely contemplates securing domination over as many hundreds of millions of people as possible in eastern Asia and gradually extending her control through the Pacific islands to the Dutch East Indies and elsewhere, thereby dominating in practical effect that one-half of the world". (111)
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
On September 14, 1937 the President issued a statement to the effect that the question of applying the Neutrality Act remained in statu quo; that merchant vessels owned by the Government of the United States would not be permitted to transport to China or Japan any arms, ammunition, or implements of war; and that any other merchant vessel flying the American flag which attempted to transport such articles to China or Japan would do so at its own risk. (91)
On September 28, 1937 the Secretary of State sent instructions to Minister Harrison in Switzerland for the Minister's background information in connection with the activities of the League of Nations in the dispute between China and Japan. The Secretary said that the United States had been approached on several occasions by other governments with suggestions for joint action; that while, the United States believed in and wished to practice cooperation it was not prepared to take part in joint action, though it would consider the possibility of taking parallel action. In general, the Secretary felt that spontaneous and separate action on parallel lines was more likely to serve effectively the attainment of the objectives sought. The Secretary said that the Japanese military operations had increased in intensity; that China had affirmed a willingness to resort to conciliation; that the Japanese had announced, however, their intention to destroy the Chinese will and capacity to resist and to overthrow the existing Chinese Government. He said that the Sino-Japanese situation definitely concerned the world as a whole; that no longer did the questions involved relate merely to specific provisions of particular treaties being violated; that they were questions of international law, of humanity, of war and of peace. The Secretary said that the United States in action taken thus far had gone further than any other nation or group of nations in making efforts calculated to strengthen general principles of world peace and world security. Therefore, he felt that other nations might well direct their efforts toward going as far as or farther than the United States had gone. (92)
President Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Address
In a significant address delivered at Chicago on October 5, 1937, President Roosevelt dwelt at length on the tense condition of international affairs. He declared that the political situation in the world was one to cause grave concern and anxiety; that the existing reign of terror and international lawlessness had reached the stage where the very foundations of civilization were seriously threatened.
PEACE AND WAR
He warned that no one should imagine that America would escape from this or that the Western Hemisphere would not be attacked. He called for a concerted effort by the peace-loving nations in opposition to the actions that were creating international anarchy and instability.
The President declared that isolation or neutrality afforded no escape and that international anarchy jeopardized the security of every nation, large or small. He cited the spreading of the "epidemic of world lawlessness", and drew the parallel that in case of an epidemic of physical disease the community joins in a "quarantine" of the patients in order to protect the health of the community against the spread of the disease. War, he said, is a "contagion" and can engulf states remote from the original scene of hostilities. We were determined, he continued, to keep out of war, we were adopting measures to minimize the risk, yet we could not insure ourselves against war's disastrous effects and the dangers of involvement. The President called upon the peace-loving nations to express their will for peace to the end that nations tempted to violate their agreements and the rights of others would desist. He concluded with: "America hates war. America hopes for peace. Therefore, America actively engages in the search for peace." (93)
On October 6, 1937 the Assembly of the League of Nations adopted 5 a report stating that the Japanese action in China was a violation of Japan's treaty obligations. On the same day the Department of State issued a statement that the action of Japan in China was inconsistent with the principles which should govern the relations between nations and was contrary to the Nine-Power Treaty of February 6, 1922 regarding the principles and policies to be followed in matters concerning China, and contrary to the Kellogg-Briand Pact. (94)
In November 1937 the United States participated with 18 other nations in a Conference held at Brussels to consider "peaceable means" for hastening the end of the conflict between China and Japan. This Conference was held in accordance with a provision of the Nine-Power Treaty of 1922.
The instructions given by President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull to United States delegate Norman H. Davis stated that the first objective of the foreign policy of the United States was national security, and that consequently we sought to keep peace and promote the maintenance of peace; that we believed in cooperative effort for the
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
preservation of peace by pacific and practicable means; that this country as a signatory to the Kellogg-Briand Pact had renounced war as an instrument of national policy; and that "public opinion in the United States has expressed its emphatic determination that the United States keep out of war". Mr. Davis was instructed to keep in mind the interest of the United States in peace in the Pacific and in the Far East as evidenced by the Washington Conference treaties, the statements relating to foreign policy made by the President in his Chicago address of October 5, and this Government's statement of October 6 on the controversy between China and Japan. In the view of this Government the primary function of the Conference was "to provide a forum for constructive discussion, to formulate and suggest possible bases of settlement, and to endeavor to bring the parties together through peaceful negotiation".
It was emphasized to the United States delegate that if we were to avoid an ultimate serious clash with Japan, some practical means must be found to check Japanese conquest and to make effective the collective will of the powers which desired the settlement of international controversies by peaceful means; that the Conference might be an agency for bringing to bear upon Japan every moral pressure directed toward bringing about a change in Japanese attitude and policy. Finally, the delegate was to "observe closely the trend of public opinion in the United States and take full account thereof". (95)
Japan refused to participate in the Conference, maintaining that its dispute with China was outside the purview of the Nine-Power Treaty. On November 15 the Conference adopted a declaration affirming that the representatives of 15 states considered the conflict between China and Japan to be of concern to all countries parties to the Nine-Power Treaty and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. In the presence of this difference between the views of the Conference and the Japanese Government, the Conference considered that there was no opportunity at the time for carrying out its terms of reference so far as they related to bringing about peace by agreement. (96)
In a declaration, dated November 24, 1937, the Conference stated that it strongly reaffirmed the principles of the Nine-Power Treaty; that it believed that a satisfactory settlement between China and Japan could not be achieved by direct negotiation between the parties to the conflict alone and that an acceptable agreement could be achieved only by consultation with other powers principally concerned; that it strongly urged that hostilities be suspended and resort
PEACE AND WAR
be had to peaceful processes; that the Conference deemed it advisable temporarily to suspend its sittings; that the conflict remained, however, a matter of concern to all the powers assembled at Brussels; and that the Conference would be called together again when it was considered that deliberations could be advantageously resumed. (97)
The United States delegate reported at the conclusion of the Conference that it had demonstrated the "unwillingness of Japan to resort to methods of conciliation" and that the Japanese continued to insist that the issues between Japan and China were exclusive to those two countries whereas the Conference powers, with the exception of Italy, affirmed that the situation was of concern to all members of the family of nations. (100)
On December 12, 1937 the Government and people of the United States were deeply shocked by the news of the bombing and destruction by Japanese aircraft of the United States gunboat Panay and three United States merchant vessels on the Yangtze River in China. The bombing and machine-gunning of the crews and passengers resulted in loss of life to citizens of the United States. This Government immediately sent a note to the Japanese Government stating that the United States vessels involved were on the Yangtze River "by uncontested and incontestable right", that they were flying the American flag, and that they were engaged in legitimate and appropriate business. The Government of the United States requested and expected of the Japanese Government "a formally recorded expression of regret, an undertaking to make complete and comprehensive indemnifications; and an assurance that definite and specific steps have been taken which will insure that hereafter American nationals, interests and property in China will not be subjected to attack by Japanese armed forces or unlawful interference by any Japanese authorities or forces". (98)
This note was sent to Japan on the evening of December 13. On December 14 the United States Ambassador to Japan received a note from the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs stating that the Japanese Government regretted "most profoundly" the damage to these vessels and the casualties among the personnel; that it desired to present "sincere apologies"; that it would make indemnifications for all the losses; that it would deal "appropriately" with those responsible for the incident; and that it had already issued "strict
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
orders to the authorities on the spot with a view to preventing the recurrence of a similar incident". Finally, the Japanese Government expressed the "fervent hope" that the friendly relations between Japan and the United States would not be affected by this "unfortunate affair". The Japanese Government later made full indemnification in accordance with the request of the United States. (99)
The overwhelming endorsement given by the people of the United States to the manner in which the Panay incident was settled attested to their earnest desire to keep the United States out of war.
EUROPEAN CRISIS 1938
United States Rearmament
AS 1937 drew to a close the situation in the world became increasingly threatening. The hostilities between China and Japan raged with growing intensity; in Europe, Spain was torn by a civil struggle which threatened to turn into a general continental war. In November 1937 Italy joined Germany and Japan in the Anti-Comintern Pact. Meanwhile, Germany, arming at a feverish pace, was causing grave apprehension as to its intentions toward the European political structure.
During this period there developed considerable public support in the United States for the adoption of a constitutional amendment requiring a popular vote as prerequisite to a declaration of war by the Congress. Both President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hull at various times expressed their strong opposition to this proposal. On January 6, 1938 the President wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives that such an amendment "would cripple any President in his conduct of our foreign relations" and "would encourage other nations to believe that they could violate American rights with impunity" Secretary Hull on January 8 warned that the proposal would impair the ability of the Government to safeguard the peace of the people of the United States. On January 10 the proposal was voted on by the House of Representatives but was rejected by the close vote of 209 to 188. (101, 102)
President Roosevelt recommended to Congress, in a special message of January 28, 1938, the strengthening of our national defense. The President reported with deep regret that armaments were increasing "at an unprecedented and alarming rate". He called attention to the ominous fact that at least one fourth of the world's population was involved in "merciless devastating conflict" in spite of the fact that most people in most countries wished to live at peace. As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, the President deemed it his constitutional duty to report to the Congress that the national defense of the United States was, in the light of the increasing armaments of other nations, inadequate for purposes of national security and therefore required increase. The President said that "adequate defense" meant that for the protection not only of our coasts but also of our communities far removed from the coasts, we must keep any potential enemy many hundreds of miles away from our continental
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
limits. We could not assume, he stated, that our defense would be limited to one ocean and one coast and that the others would certainly be safe. "Specifically and solely because of the piling up of additional land and sea armaments in other countries" the President recommended to Congress that authorizations be granted for substantial increases in military and naval armament. Included were recommendations for increasing by 20 percent the existing naval building program and for appropriations to lay down two additional battleships and two additional cruisers during 1938. (104)
The President's proposals for military and naval rearmament were debated in Congress during the spring of 1938. Doubt was expressed in some quarters that the proposed naval increases were really necessary for the defense of the United States, and several Senators and Representatives voiced the suspicion that the contemplated naval increases were based on an agreement for naval cooperation with some other power, such as Great Britain. Secretary of State Hull took cognizance of these ideas in a letter to a member of Congress on February 10, 1938. He stated categorically his opinion that the proposed naval program was needed for the defense of the United States. Referring to the desire of the people and Government of the United States to keep out of war, he said that those who, with a full sense of responsibility, were advocating this program, were doing so in the belief that its adoption would contribute to achieving this desire. Secretary Hull pointed out that the Navy, even with the proposed increases, would not be able to embark upon offensive or aggressive operations overseas.
The Secretary also declared that the proposed program did not contemplate naval cooperation with any other power in the world that the policy of the United States was to avoid both extreme internationalism and extreme isolation; that, while avoiding alliances and entangling commitments, it was advisable to confer and exchange information with other governments having common objectives and, when practicable, to proceed on parallel lines. Finally, the Secretary said that if every peaceful nation insisted on remaining aloof from every other peaceful nation and on pursuing a policy of armament limitation without reference to relative armaments, the inevitable consequences would be to encourage and even to assist nations inclined to play lawless roles. (105)
The President's proposals for military and naval rearmament were substantially adopted by the Congress.
By July 1, 1938 Secretary of War Woodring was able to report encouraging improvements in the military establishment. He de-
PEACE AND WAR
clared, however, that there were still deficiencies in organization, equipment, and personnel that required correction. The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Malin Craig, pointed out at the same time that the Regular Army ranked only eighteenth among the standing armies of the world.
German Occupation of Austria
During this period Secretary Hull was proceeding on the theory that Germany was "bent on becoming the dominating colossus of continental Europe", as he later said during a conversation with the Canadian Minister. (111)
The Secretary conferred with German Ambassador Dieckhoff on January 14, 1938. He told the Ambassador that the supreme issue of the time was whether the principles underlying the structure of international law and order should be preserved or whether the doctrine of force, militarism, and aggression and destruction of all international law and order should prevail. He said that all nations could with perfect consistency join in support of the former alternative no matter what their form of government. The Secretary said that this program contemplated that the road to permanent peace was based upon these principles which in turn rested upon the solid foundation of economic readjustment. (103)
On March 11, 1938 Hitler sent his armed forces into Austria and on March 13 proclaimed the union of Germany and Austria. This action was taken in violation of Hitler's declaration of three years earlier that Germany had neither the intention nor the wish to annex Austria.
Secretary Hull's Address of March 17
The Secretary of State in an address at Washington, March 17, 1938, declared that the momentous question was whether the doctrine of force would once more become enthroned or whether the United States and other peaceful nations would work unceasingly to preserve law, order, morality, and justice as the bases of civilized international relations.
The Secretary said that the United States might, if it chose, turn its back on the whole problem and decline the responsibility of contributing to its solution. But he warned of what such a choice would involve. It would mean a voluntary abandonment of some of the most important things that had made us great; an abject retreat
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
before the forces which we had consistently opposed throughout our whole national history. Our security would be menaced as other nations came to believe that through fear or unwillingness we did not propose to protect our legitimate interests abroad, but intended to abandon them at the first sign of danger. The sphere of all of our international relations would shrink until we stood practically alone among the nations, "a self-constituted hermit state". We would find it necessary to reorganize our entire social and economic structure, which would mean lower living standards, regimentation, and wide-spread economic distress.
All this, the Secretary said, would be done in order to avoid war. But, he asked, would this policy give any such assurance? He believed that reason and experience definitely pointed to the contrary. We might seek to withdraw from participation in world affairs, "but we cannot thereby withdraw from the world itself". Isolation, he declared, "is not a means to security; it is a fruitful source of insecurity".
Secretary Hull emphasized that for the sake of our own best interests we must maintain our influence in world affairs and our participation in efforts toward world progress and peace. Only by making our reasonable contribution to a firm establishment of a world order based on law "can we keep the problem of our own security in true perspective, and thus discharge our responsibility to ourselves". (106)
Increased Tension in Europe
The months following the seizure of Austria saw a new wave of tension sweep over Europe. It soon became evident that Hitler, his appetite whetted for further conquests, was casting covetous eyes toward the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, the ruthless and barbarous persecution of minorities which the Nazis had imposed in Germany was drastically put into effect in Austria.
On July 7, 1938 Secretary Hull talked with the German Ambassador about the European situation. He told the Ambassador that this Government had been earnestly hoping that the German Government would reach a stage where it would decide to support the program of peace and orderly progress which the United States had been striving to keep alive and to advance. The Secretary said that there was only one alternative course-the course of force, militarism, and territorial aggression with all the accompanying hurtful and destructive practices; that this course was leading the world inevitably
PEACE AND WAR
backward instead of forward and would sooner or later bring on a general war. (110)
Throughout the summer of 1938 the tension between Germany and Czechoslovakia mounted. Germany launched a "War of nerves" against the latter, and it became evident that Hitler was bent on securing his territorial designs on the Sudetenland, even at the risk of a general war. By the middle of September the crisis was nearing a climax, and all over Europe armies were put on a war footing The British Government tried to halt the threatened catastrophe when Prime Minister Chamberlain went to Germany for several conferences with Hitler, but this effort appeared fruitless as the latter remained inexorable in his demands upon Czechoslovakia.
In the midst of this tension, President Roosevelt early on September 26 sent a personal message to the heads of the Governments of Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, and Great Britain. The President stated that the fabric of peace on the continent of Europe and possibly throughout the rest of the world was in immediate danger; that the consequences of its rupture were incalculable. He said that the supreme desire of the American people was to live in peace, but in the event of a general war they faced the fact that no nation could escape some measure of its consequences. Referring to the Kellogg-Briand Pact and other instruments for the pacific settlement of disputes, he said that whatever might be the differences in the controversies at issue he was persuaded that there was no problem so difficult or so pressing for solution that it could not be justly solved by resort to reason rather than by resort to force. The President said that so long as negotiations continued there would remain the hope that reason and the spirit of equity might prevail and that the world might thereby escape the madness of a new resort to war. On behalf of the people of the United States and for the sake of humanity everywhere, he appealed for the continuance of negotiations looking to a peaceful, fair, and constructive settlement of the questions at issue. (112)
Later on September 26 President Roosevelt received replies from the Governments of Czechoslovakia, France, and Great Britain assuring him of their desire to avoid recourse to force and of their willingness to search for a peaceful solution. On the same day the President received a reply from Chancellor Hitler which made it clear that if the Sudetenland were not handed over to Germany, Hitler would endeavor to take it by force.
On September 27 Secretary Hull sent urgent instructions to our diplomatic representatives throughout the world to express the opin-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
ion of this Government that no step should be overlooked that might possibly contribute to the maintenance of peace and that if the governments to which they were accredited would send messages to Germany and Czechoslovakia emphasizing the supreme importance of a peaceful settlement of the dispute, the cumulative effect of such an expression of opinion might possibly contribute to the preservation of peace. (113)
In a message of September 27 to Premier Mussolini the President asked whether the latter would extend his help in the continuation of the efforts to arrive at an agreement by negotiation rather than by resort to force. (114)
President Roosevelt on September 27 sent a second appeal to Hitler for the continuance of negotiations until a fair and constructive solution was reached. The President reminded Hitler that negotiations were still open; that they could be continued if he would give the word. Should the need for supplementing them become evident, the President believed that nothing stood in the way of widening their scope into a conference of all the nations directly interested in the controversy. The President said that such a meeting might be held at once in a neutral country in Europe and would offer an opportunity for this and correlated questions to be solved in a spirit of justice and fair dealing. The President concluded his appeal with the statement that "the conscience and the impelling desire of the people of my country demand that the voice of their Government be raised again and yet again to avert and to avoid war". (115)
On September 28, 1938 the German Ambassador called on the Secretary of State. The Secretary referred to the impression create that Hitler was seeking "general dominion by force". The Ambassador hastily denied that Hitler had world ambitions. The Secretary again referred to the question of acquiring dominion generally over territory, and the Ambassador denied again that Germany had such territorial ambitions. (116)
At literally the "eleventh hour", when almost all hope of preventing a general European war had vanished, the heads of government of Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy agreed to meet at Munich, in a last-minute effort to avoid war. They reached an agreement on September 29, 1938 that the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia be handed over to Germany.
On the next day Secretary Hull, by way of warning against any assumption that the Munich agreement insured peace or was based on
PEACE AND WAR
sound principles, and of emphasizing the necessity for the nations of the world to redouble their efforts on behalf of maintaining peace base on such principles, made a statement as follows:
"As to immediate peace results, it is unnecessary to say that the afford a universal sense of relief. I am not undertaking to pass upon the merits of the differences to which the Four-Power Pact signed Munich on yesterday related. It is hoped that in any event the forces which stand for the principles governing peaceful and orderly international relations and their proper application should not relax, but redouble, their efforts to maintain these principles of order under law resting on a sound economic foundation." (117)
A month after the Munich crisis, which had brought Europe close to a general war than it had been since the guns were stilled in November 1918, Secretary of State Hull made another urgent appeal for a return to the ways of peace. In an address on November 1, 1938 the Secretary warned that the world was at a crossroads but that it power of choice was not lost. One of the roads ahead, he said, was that of increased reliance on armed force as an instrument of nation policy, which meant the sacrifice of individual well-being, a regimentation of national life, and a lowering of material, cultural, an spiritual standards. If the nations continued along this road, declared, they would be marching toward the final catastrophe of new world war, "the horror and destructiveness of which pass human imagination". The other road, he said, was that of reliance on peaceful processes and the rule of law and order in personal and international relations, with the result that vast productive forces would be released for the advancement of mankind and the human mind enabled to turn once more to the arts of peace.
In this address Secretary Hull expressed his conviction that with out economic security and well-being there could be no social or political stability in national life, and that without economic, social and political stability within nations there could be no peaceful an orderly relations among nations. He declared that the withdrawal by a nation from orderly trade relations with the rest of the world inevitably leads to regimentation of all phases of national life, to the suppression of human rights, and frequently to preparation for war and a provocative attitude toward other nations. (119)
Return of United States Ambassador From Germany
During the autumn of 1938 German persecution of the Jews, which had been severe for some time, became increasingly violent and pro-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
foundly shocked the people of the United States. On November President Roosevelt stated that he could "scarcely believe that such things could occur in a twentieth-century civilization". As an expression of the condemnation by the people and Government of the United States, the President ordered Ambassador Hugh Wilson to return from Germany at once. (120)
With wars and rumors of wars in Europe and Asia, the American republics, at peace with the world, continued their efforts to advance the principles of international law and order and to protect themselves from dangers outside the Western Hemisphere. They had taken definite steps in this direction at Montevideo in 1933 and Buenos Aires in 1936. They assembled again in December 1938 Lima.
At the Lima conference the 21 American republics agreed upon a "Declaration of the Solidarity of America", which stated in effect: They reaffirmed their continental solidarity and their purpose to collaborate in the maintenance of its underlying principles; faithful to these principles and to their absolute sovereignty, they reaffirmed their decision to maintain and defend them against all foreign intervention or activity that might threaten; they proclaimed their common concern and their determination to make effective their solidarity in case the peace, security, or territorial integrity of any American republic should be threatened; and in order to facilitate consultation, the Foreign Ministers of the American republics agreed to meet whenever it was deemed desirable. (121)
The 21 republics also issued a "Declaration of American Principles" calling for pacific settlement of international differences, proscription of force as an instrument of national or international policy, proscription of intervention; respect for treaties and international law, peaceful collaboration and intellectual interchange among nations, economic reconstruction, and international cooperation. (122)
EUROPEAN WAR 1939
United States Rearmament
IN HIS ANNUAL message to Congress on January 4, 1939, President Roosevelt declared that while a threatened war had been averted, it had become increasingly clear that peace was not assured; that throughout the world there were undeclared wars, military and economic, and threats of new aggression, military and economic. The President said that storms from abroad directly challenged three institutions indispensable to Americans: religion, democracy, and international good faith. He warned of what might happen to the United States if new philosophies of force were to encompass the other continents and invade our own; and that we could not afford "to be surrounded by the enemies of our faith and our humanity".
The President declared that the world had grown so small and weapons of attack so swift that no nation could be safe so long as any single powerful nation refused to settle its grievances at the council table. He said that acts of aggression must not be allowed to pass without effective protest; that there were "many methods short of war, but stronger and more effective than mere words" of bringing home to aggressor governments the sentiments of our people. He spoke critically of neutrality legislation that might actually give aid to the aggressor and deny it to the victim. (124)
Eight days later the President, in a special message to Congress, called for immediate steps to strengthen the defense of the United States. He asked Congress to appropriate, "with as great speed as possible", more than half a billion dollars for Army and Navy. equipment, particularly for military and naval aircraft. These planes, he said, would considerably strengthen the air defense of continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Canal Zone. The President likewise recommended the training of additional air pilots and urged that steps be taken to prepare industry for quantity production of war materials. These recommendations, which the President characterized as "a minimum program for the necessities of defense", were substantially enacted into law. (125)
For several years agencies of this Government had been studying the problem of the acquisition of stock-piles of strategic and critical materials not produced in the United States or produced here in
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
quantities below national requirements. These stock-piles were to be for use in case of national emergency.
Secretary of State Hull discussed the problem in a letter of October 21, 1938 to the President. He said that events of the past few weeks had shown clearly the wisdom of adequate handling of the problem of strategic raw materials "with all possible despatch"; that these events indicated how disturbed sources of supply would be in any general war; and that there were insufficient supplies in the United States of a number of raw materials which would be of great strategic importance in the event of a general war, whether or not the United States were involved. The Secretary said further that the Department of State concurred in the view of the War and Navy Departments that it was "highly desirable to adopt a national policy with respect to this problem and to secure early and effective action by Congress"; that it was felt that there should be no further delay in initiating steps which would make available adequate supplies of the materials which were of the most critical importance. (118)
The President approved the recommendation, and there was later enacted, on June 7, 1939, legislation stating that it was the policy of Congress to provide for the acquisition of stocks of "certain strategic and critical materials being deficient or insufficiently developed to supply the industrial, military, and naval needs of the country for common defense . . . in times of national emergency". This legislation authorized the appropriation of $100,000,000, which was gradually appropriated for the purpose.
One hundred thousand tons of rubber were brought into this country as a result of an agreement between the United States and Great Britain, dated June 23, 1939, providing for the delivery by the United States of cotton in return for rubber.
Invasion of Czechoslovakia and Albania
In Europe the uneasy calm that had followed the Munich settlement was soon to be broken. A few days before the signing of the Munich Pact Hitler had promised that once the Sudetenland problem was solved Germany had no more territorial claims in Europe; at the time of the Munich settlement he had said that he was ready to guarantee the new frontiers of Czechoslovakia.
In flagrant disregard of these pledges, German troops invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia on March 14, 1939, thus completing the absorption of that country. Acting Secretary of State Welles, on
PEACE AND WAR
March 17, condemned this "temporary extinguishment of the liberties of a free and independent people" and declared that world peace and the very structure of modern civilization were being threatened by acts of "wanton lawlessness and of arbitrary force". (126)
Within a month after Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia the forces of aggression struck again. In emulation of the ruthless tactics of his German partner, Mussolini, on Good Friday, April 7, 1939, sent his Fascist legions into Albania and after a few days of military and political maneuvering established Italian control over that country. This "forcible and violent invasion" was condemned by Secretary Hull as a threat to world peace. (127)
These two blows at the world peace structure awoke Europe to a full sense of the danger which threatened it. They were followed by feverish diplomatic and military activity. Great Britain and France pledged assistance to Poland, Greece, and Rumania in the event that the independence of those nations should be threatened by aggression. Diplomatic interchanges began among Great Britain, France, and Russia, with a view to establishing a common front against further aggression.
President Roosevelt's Appeal to Hitler and Mussolini
At this point President Roosevelt addressed personal messages to Hitler and Mussolini in an appeal for the maintenance of peace. The President reminded the European dictators, in messages of April 14, 1939, that hundreds of millions of people throughout the world were living in constant fear of a new war or series of wars; that in such an event all the world-victors, vanquished, and neutrals-would suffer. He said that he could not believe that the world was, of necessity, such a "prisoner of destiny"; he believed, on the contrary, that the leaders themselves had the power to liberate their peoples from the impending disaster.
Accordingly the President asked the dictators if they were willing to give assurances that their armed forces would not attack or invade any of the independent nations of Europe and the Near East. If such assurances were forthcoming, the President said, two important problems would promptly be discussed in peaceful surroundings, and in the discussions the United States would take part. These problems were relief from the crushing burden of armaments and the opening up of international trade on terms of equality for all nations.
The President said that "heads of great governments in this hour
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
are literally responsible for the fate of humanity in the coming years"; that "history will hold them accountable for the lives and the happiness of all". (128)
Neither Hitler nor Mussolini replied directly to President Roosevelt. However, in an address, Hitler said that Germany's neighbors knew that Germany had no aggressive intentions against them; that all states bordering on Germany had received much more binding assurances than those requested by the President.
In an address of April 25, 1939 Secretary of State Hull made a strong plea against resort to war for settling international differences. He declared that there could be no controversy between nations impossible of settlement by the peaceful processes of friendly adjustment. The Secretary said that the world contained ample resources to enable all nations to enjoy economic prosperity and spiritual advancement; that no single nation held a monopoly of material resources, nor was any nation excluded from participation in the means of advancement of mankind unless it excluded itself by adopting a policy of isolation or of armed aggrandizement. Furthermore, no nation could prosper without access to the resources of the entire world, but such access was possible only on the basis of peaceful international cooperation.
Secretary Hull said that he could not believe that any nation had entered irrevocably upon the road to war; that the road to peaceful adjustment still lay open, and he hoped that "at the present fateful juncture of history, all nations will decide to enter upon this road". Yet so long as some nations continued to arm for conquest, all other nations were confronted with the "tragic alternatives of surrender or armed defense". He said that the United States hoped for a fair negotiated peace before rather than after the "senseless arbitrament of war"; that the United States was prepared to make its contribution to world peace. However, if our hopes were doomed to disappointment we were equally prepared to defend successfully our national interests and our cherished institutions. He said that, terrible as are the realities and consequences of war, "sooner or later conditions arise in which peaceful and peace-loving nations prefer armed defense to subjection and slavery". (129)
It has been mentioned that President Roosevelt in his address to Congress on January 4, 1939 criticized neutrality legislation which
PEACE AND WAR
might actually give aid to the aggressor and deny it to the victim. This neutrality legislation, enacted in 1935 and amended in 1936 and 1937, contained as its principal feature a rigid embargo on the export of arms to belligerents. (83)
By 1939 it was clear that the arms-embargo provision was exerting an injurious effect on the world peace structure. Germany, which had been furiously arming since the Nazis came to power in 1933, had become the strongest military power in Europe. Great Britain. France, and other states which feared they were to be the next objects of Nazi aggression were rearming swiftly, but their late start handicapped them in attempting to overtake a heavily armed Germany. Accordingly, they turned to the arms industry in the United States as a source of supply, especially for aircraft in which German numerical superiority was particularly marked. With the arms-embargo provision of the Neutrality Act on the statute books this source of supply would be cut off as soon as war should break out. The advantages accruing to Germany from this arms-embargo legislation were thus clear.
In a letter of May 27, 1939 to the appropriate committees of Congress, Secretary Hull urged removal of the arms embargo, and at the same time suggested other provisions to prevent the loss of American lives and American property by belligerent action. The Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives reported out a bill substantially in line with the program outlined in this letter. However, in the House of Representatives an arms-embargo provision was inserted in the bill, which passed the House on June 30. On the following day Secretary Hull urged again the adoption of the proposal of May 27, which he considered not only best calculated to keep the United States out of war in the event that war came, but also, "what is all important at this time, best calculated to make a far greater contribution than could the present law or its equivalent toward the discouragement of the outbreak of war". (130, 131)
The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, on July 11, 1939, decided by a close vote to defer action on neutrality legislation until the next session of Congress. Three days later, President Roosevelt strongly recommended to Congress that in the light of world conditions it was highly advisable that Congress should enact the neutrality legislation without delay. With the President's message to Congress there was transmitted a statement by Secretary Hull urging enactment of the program proposed on May 27. The Secretary said further that peace was so precious and war so devastating that the people of the United States and their Government must not fail
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
to make a just and legitimate contribution to the preservation of peace. In the grave conditions then existing in the world, Secretary Hull believed that the first great step toward keeping the United States out of war was to use our influence so as to make a major war less likely.
The Secretary made clear that those who supported the elimination of the arms embargo were convinced that the embargo played into the hands of the nations which had taken the lead in building p their fighting power. The arms embargo worked directly against the interests of the peace-loving nations, the Secretary said, especially those which did not possess their own munitions plants. It meant, he said, that if any country was disposed toward conquest and devoted its energies and resources to establish itself as a superior fighting power, that country might be more tempted to try the fortunes of war if it knew that less well-prepared opponents would be shut off from supplies. (133)
On July 18 a statement was issued by President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull that failure to take action "would weaken the leadership of the United States in exercising its potent influence in the cause of preserving peace among other nations in the event of a new crisis in Europe between now and next January". No further action, however, was taken on neutrality legislation by Congress at that session. (134)
Meanwhile the crisis in Europe was growing more and more acute. In April 1939 Hitler had followed up his absorption of Czechoslovakia with demands on Poland for the return of Danzig and for concessions in the Polish Corridor. Despite a clear warning from Great Britain and France that aggression against Poland meant war, Hitler exercised strong diplomatic pressure on Poland and undertook military concentrations near the Polish frontier. It was clear that he was bent on securing his demands by force if necessary, even though a world war might result.
On August 21, 1939 the situation was rendered even more critical by the announcement in Berlin that Germany and Russia had agreed to sign a non-aggression treaty. President Roosevelt at this juncture again launched an appeal to the European states to keep the peace. He sent a personal message to the King of Italy on August 23, referring to his suggestion of April 14 for an understanding that no armed forces should attack or invade the territory of any other
PEACE AND WAR
independent nation, and that this being assured, discussions be undertaken to effect progressive relief from the burden of armaments and to open avenues of international trade. President Roosevelt said that if it were possible for the Italian Government to formulate proposals for a pacific solution of the existing crisis along these lines, the earnest sympathy of the United States would be assured. The President concluded his appeal with the statement that the Government of Italy and the Government of the United States could advance the ideals of Christianity; that the "unheard voices of countless millions of human beings ask that they shall not be vainly sacrificed again". (136)
On the following day the President appealed directly to Hitler and to the President of Poland. He asked that the Governments of Germany and Poland agree to settle their controversy either by direct negotiation, by arbitration, or by conciliation through a third party. He also asked that each refrain from any positive act of hostility against the other. In his message to Hitler the President declared that the American people were as one in their opposition to military conquest and domination and in rejecting the thesis that any ruler or any people had the right to achieve their objectives by plunging countless millions into war when such objectives, so far as they were just and reasonable, could be satisfied through processes of peaceful negotiation. (137, 138)
Poland replied immediately and favorably to the President's message, and on August 25 President Roosevelt sent a second message to Hitler conveying to him the Polish reply. The President pointed out that Poland was willing to solve its controversy with Germany by direct negotiation or by conciliation. He declared to Hitler that "countless human lives can be yet saved and hope may still be restored that the nations of the modern world may even now construct a foundation for a peaceful and a happier relationship if you and the Government of the German Reich will agree to the pacific means of settlement accepted by the Government of Poland". (139)
The only official German reply to the President's messages was a note from the German Embassy delivered at the Department of State on the afternoon of September 1, after the German invasion of Poland had already begun. The note stated that Chancellor Hitler had left nothing untried for a friendly settlement but that owing to the attitude of the Polish Government all these endeavors were without result. (141)
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
In the face of Hitler's determination to proceed with his plan of conquest all efforts at peace failed. On the early morning of September 1, 1939 Hitler sent his military forces into Poland. Two days later France and Great Britain, in compliance with their obligations to Poland, declared war on Germany. The Nazi aggressors had at last brought Europe into a new and terrible armed conflict.
On the evening of September 3, 1939 President Roosevelt delivered a radio address in which he outlined the position of the United States with respect to the European war. He pointed out that the unfortunate events of recent years had been based on force or threat of force, and said that America should seek for humanity a final peace which would eliminate so far as possible the use of force between nations. He warned that although it was easy for us to say that conflicts taking place thousands of miles from the Western Hemisphere did not seriously affect the Americas, we were forced to realize that every word that came through the air, every ship that sailed the sea, every battle fought, did affect the future of America. The President said that the safety of the United States was bound up with the safety of the Western Hemisphere and the adjacent seas; that we must keep war from our firesides by keeping war from coming to the Americas. The President said that this nation would remain a neutral nation, but he could not ask that every American remain neutral in thought as well. He said that even a neutral had a right to take account of facts; that even a neutral could not be asked "to close his mind or his conscience". In conclusion, the President said that so long as it remained within his power to prevent it, there would be "no blackout of peace in the United States". (142)
The President took steps at once to prepare the Nation to meet the shock of war. On September 5 he proclaimed the neutrality of the United States and, in accordance with the provisions of the Neutrality Act, placed an embargo on the shipment of arms to the belligerents. A few days later he proclaimed a limited national emergency and issued orders for increasing the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps.
The President summoned Congress to convene in extra session on September 21. In an address to the Congress he recommended that the arms embargo be repealed and that our citizens and our ships be kept out of dangerous areas in order to prevent controversies that might involve the United States in war. Public opinion
PEACE AND WAR
in the United States rallied in support of this program. After a few weeks of debate there was enacted into law on November 4 substantially the program of May 27, with the addition of provisions prohibiting the arming of United States merchant vessels engaged in foreign trade and prohibiting such vessels from carrying cargoes to belligerent ports. With the repeal of the arms embargo, large shipments of aircraft and other implements of war, much of which had been ordered by Great Britain and France before the outbreak of war, could be shipped to Europe for use in defense against Nazi aggression. (143, 145)
In accordance with agreements reached at the Buenos Aires and Lima Conferences which provided for consultation in the event of a menace to the peace of the Americas, the Foreign Ministers of the American republics met at Panama following the outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939. This meeting was held in order that the American states might consult together regarding measures to preserve their neutrality, to protect so far as possible their economic and commercial interests from dislocation arising from the war, and to keep war away from the American Continent.
Under Secretary of State Welles, who represented the United States at the meeting, declared in an address on September 25, 1939 that the war in Europe constituted "a potential menace to the well-being, to the security, and to the peace of the New World". He said that however much the American republics might desire to insulate themselves from the war's effects, such insulation could be only relative; that there was an overwhelming will on the part of peoples everywhere for peace based on renunciation of force, on justice, and on equality; and that the expression of that will might well be facilitated by the action of the American republics. (144)
The Panama meeting demonstrated in a moment of grave emergency the strong understanding and solidarity among the American republics. Steps taken at the meeting included the establishment of an Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee to study and recommend measures to cushion the shock of war on the inter-American economy; a declaration setting forth uniform standards of neutral conduct; and the Declaration of Panama, in which the waters adjacent to the American Continent were declared "of inherent right" to be free from the commission of hostile acts by non-American belligerent nations.
EUROPEAN WAR 1940
President Roosevelt's Address to Congress January 3
IN HIS ADDRESS to Congress on January 3, 1940, President Roosevelt recalled his repeated warnings that the daily lives of citizens of the United States would, of necessity, feel the shock of events on other continents. He said that the overwhelming majority of our people continued in their hope and expectation that this country would not become involved in military participation in the war. There was a vast difference, however, between keeping out of war and "pretending that this war is none of our business". The President said that the future world would be "a shabby and dangerous place to live in" if it were ruled by force in the hands of a few. He declared that we must look ahead and see the possibilities for our children if the rest of the world should come to be dominated by concentrated force alone; if a large part of the world were forbidden to worship God and were "deprived of the truth which makes men free"; if world trade were controlled by any nation or group of nations which set up that control through military force.
President Roosevelt declared further that while other peoples had the right to cheese their own form of government the people of the United States believed that such choice "should be predicated on certain freedoms which we think are essential everywhere"; that we knew that we ourselves would never be wholly safe at home unless other governments recognized these freedoms. (146)
Visit of Under Secretary Welles to Europe
After the German armies had crushed military resistance in Poland September 1939, the European war entered into a period of comparative inactivity as the opposing forces maintained positions behind their respective fixed fortifications. This inactivity continued during he winter of 1939-40.
The United States Government took advantage of this period to endeavor to ascertain whether there was any possibility whatever at that time for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in Europe. On February 9, 1940 the White House announced that Under Secretary of State Welles would proceed to Europe for the purpose of reporting to the President and the Secretary of State on conditions there; that he would visit Italy, France, Germany, and Great Britain
PEACE AND WAR
but would not be authorized to make any proposals or commitments in the name of the Government. Mr. Welles arrived in Europe at the end of February and during the following three weeks conferred with the heads of governments as well as with other prominent statesmen in the four countries.
On March 29, following the return of Mr. Welles to the United States, President Roosevelt said that "even though there may be scant immediate prospect for the establishment of any just, stable and lasting peace in Europe", the information obtained by Mr. Welles would be of great value to this Government in the general conduct of its foreign relations as well as in a future peace settlement. (147)
German Invasion of Denmark and Norway
The military inactivity of the winter of 1939-40 came to an abrupt end when on April 9, 1940 German troops invaded Denmark, without opposition, and Norway, where their invasion was contested. On April 13 President Roosevelt denounced this latest instance of German aggression. He emphasized this Government's disapprobation of such "unlawful exercise of force". If civilization was to survive, he said, the rights of smaller nations to independence, to their territorial integrity, and to their unimpeded opportunity for self-government must be respected by their more powerful neighbors. (148)
The British and French Governments immediately sent military forces to Norway to assist the Norwegians against the German invasion. Despite this, the better-prepared German armies pushed the allies back, and in a few weeks Germany was in military control of Norway.
Efforts To Keep Italy out of the War
At the beginning of the war in Europe, Italy, although a military ally of Germany, had announced that it would not take part in the war. During the following spring, however, there were indications that Italy might soon become a participant. President Roosevelt therefore decided to appeal to Mussolini to prevent the war from spreading further. On April 29, 1940 he sent a message to Mussolini stating that a further extension of the area of hostilities would necessarily have far-reaching and unforeseeable consequences not only in Europe, but also in the Near East and the Far East, in Africa, and in the three Americas. The President said that no one could predict
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
with assurance, should such a further extension take place, what the ultimate result might be, or foretell what nations might eventually find it imperative to enter the war in their own defense. The President said further that because of the geographic position of the United States we had a panoramic view of the existing hostilities in Europe; that he saw no reason to anticipate that any one nation, or any one combination of nations, could successfully undertake to dominate either the continent of Europe or much less a greater part of the world. The President concluded his appeal with an expression of the hope that the powerful influence of Italy and of the United States might yet be exercised, when the appropriate opportunity was presented, "in behalf of the negotiation of a just and stable peace which will permit of the reconstruction of a gravely stricken world".
The United States Ambassador to Italy, William Phillips, read the President's message to Mussolini during a conversation on May 1. Mussolini replied orally to the following effect: Peace in Europe could not be considered without a recognition of the conditions which had come about as a consequence of the war; Germany could not be beaten; Poland had been defeated by Germany and the latter would permit the creation of a new independent Polish state; Germany was also willing that a new Czechoslovak state be reestablished; he hoped that the necessity of a "new geography" would be foreseen by the President; a new map of Europe must come into being. Mussolini went on to say that the political problem which then made a peaceful Europe impossible must be liquidated; that this must be done before the economic problems could be disposed of. He also referred generally to Italy's aspirations in a reconstituted Europe and said that Italy's position as a "prisoner within the Mediterranean" was intolerable. (152)
A direct reply from Mussolini to the President was delivered to the latter by the Italian Ambassador on the following day. The reply was to the effect that the non-belligerency of Italy had effectively assured peace for 200,000,000 people; that Germany and Italy were opposed to a further extension of the conflict; that no peace was possible unless the fundamental problems of Italian liberty were solved; that as for repercussions which extension of the war would have on the three Americas, Italy had never concerned herself with the relations of the other American republics among themselves or with the United States and expected "reciprocity" so far as European
PEACE AND WAR
affairs were concerned; and that when conditions permitted, an always based upon recognition of accomplished facts, Italy was read to contribute toward a better world order. (153)
President Roosevelt sent another message to Mussolini, shortly after Belgium and the Netherlands were invaded by Germany, mentioning reports that Mussolini contemplated early entrance into the war. In this message of May 14, 1940 the President appealed to Mussolini to "stay wholly apart from any war". He said that the forces of slaughter, forces which denied God, forces which sought to dominate mankind by fear rather than by reason seemed to be extending their conquest against 100,000,000 human beings who had no desire but peace. He reminded Mussolini that the latter had it in his hands to stay the spread of the war to another group of 200,000,000 people. The President said that if this war should extend throughout the world it would pass beyond the control of the heads of states and would encompass the "destruction of millions of lives and the best of what we call the liberty and culture of civilization". (155)
Mussolini replied on May 18 that "Italy is and intends to remain allied with Germany", and that "Italy cannot remain absent at a moment in which the fate of Europe is at stake". (158)
On May 26 President Roosevelt in a third message to Mussolini referred to the Italian desire to obtain readjustments with regard to Italy's position and said that if Mussolini were willing to inform the President of the specific desires of Italy in this regard, he would communicate them to Great Britain and France. This would be done with the understanding that if an agreement were arrived at it would involve an assurance to the President by the French and British Governments that the agreement would be faithfully executed at the end of the war and that those Governments would welcome Italian participation at any eventual peace conference with a status equal to the of the belligerents; Mussolini would in a similar fashion assure the President that the claims of Italy would be satisfied by the execution of this agreement and that the agreement so reached would avoid the possibility of Italy's entering the war. (159)
Ambassador Phillips was not permitted to deliver this message Mussolini in person. The Ambassador discussed it with the Italian Foreign Minister who, with the approval of Mussolini, said that Italy could not accept the President's proposal; that Mussolini was resolved to fulfill his obligations under the alliance with Germany; that Mussolini desired to keep his freedom of action and was no disposed to engage in any negotiations which "would not be in accordance with the spirit of Fascism"; and that "any attempt to prevent
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
Italy from fulfilling her engagements is not well regarded". The Foreign Minister informed Ambassador Phillips that Italy would enter the-war "soon". (160)
On May 30 President Roosevelt sent still another appeal to Mussolini. He warned the Italian dictator that if the war in Europe should be extended through the entrance of Italy, direct interests of the United States would be immediately and prejudicially affected. He reminded Mussolini of the historic and traditional interests of the United States in the Mediterranean. He said that this Government had never asserted any political interests in Europe, but had asserted its clearly defined economic interests; that through the extension of the war to the Mediterranean region the legitimate interests of the people of the United States would be gravely curtailed; and that such a possibility "cannot be viewed with equanimity". The President declared that the further extension of the war as the result of Italian participation would at once result in an increase in the rearmament program of the United States and in a redoubling of the efforts of the Government of the United States to facilitate in every practical way the securing within the United States by the allied powers of all the supplies which they might require. In conclusion, he spoke of his desire to promote profitable commercial relations between the United States and Italy, as well as a friendly understanding of their respective policies and interests. (161)
Mussolini replied to the President on June 1 through his Foreign Minister. Mussolini confirmed the Foreign Minister's statement that the decision to enter the war had already been taken. He said it was "of no concern to him" that the entry of Italy into the war would mean the redoubling of American efforts to help the allies. Finally, he said he preferred not to receive any "further pressure" from the President; this would only "stiffen his attitude". (164)
German Invasion of the Low Countries
Meanwhile on May 10, 1940, despite repeated statements by Hitler that he would not violate the neutrality of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, those three countries were treacherously attacked. On the same day President Roosevelt said, in an address at Washington to the Pan American Scientific Congress, that "we are shocked and angered" by this tragic news. He declared that we had come to the reluctant conclusion that a continuance of these processes of armed force presented a definite challenge to the type of civilization to which all in the three Americas had been accus-
PEACE AND WAR
tomed. He said it was a mistaken idea that the American republics were wholly safe-physically, economically, and socially-from the impact of the attacks on civilization in other parts of the world. (154)
The British and French immediately sent troops to the assistance of Belgium and the Netherlands. Nevertheless, with overwhelming superiority in aviation and tanks, the Germans quickly overpowered the Belgian and Netherlands armies. The British and French troops who had gone to their assistance had no alternatives but retreat or surrender, and in the last week of May began the heroic withdrawal from Dunkirk which left Hitler in complete mastery of the Low Countries.
The German armies then turned to drive against Paris. With superiority in weapons the Nazis relentlessly pushed their attacks until on June 10 they were almost at the gates of Paris. On that day Italy declared war against France and Great Britain.
United States Aid to Opponents of Force
President Roosevelt in an address of June 10, 1940 at Charlottesville, Virginia, declared that we as a nation-and likewise all the other American nations-were convinced that "military and naval victory for the gods of force and hate would endanger the institutions of democracy in the western world" and that all of our sympathies were with those nations that were giving their lifeblood in combat against these forces. He stated that two obvious and simultaneous courses would be followed: "We will extend to the opponents of force the material resources of this nation and, at the same time, we will harness and speed up the use of those resources in order that we ourselves in the Americas may have equipment and training equal to the task of any emergency and every defense."
The President stated in this address that Italy had now chosen to fulfill its promises to Germany; that in so doing it had manifested disregard for the rights and security of other nations and had evidenced its unwillingness to find peaceful means for satisfaction of what it believed to be its legitimate aspirations; that "the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor". (165)
In line with the policy of extending aid to the opponents of force, the Government of the United States took immediate steps to send to the British and French large quantities of aircraft, rifles, field artillery, machine-guns, and ammunition.
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
French Appeal to the United States
On June 10, 1940 the French Premier, Paul Reynaud, made a direct appeal to the President for increased aid, at the same time expressing gratitude for the decision of the United States to send assistance in aviation and arms. The Premier said that the French would fight in front of Paris; would fight behind Paris; would close themselves in one of their provinces to fight and if driven out of it would establish themselves in North Africa to continue the fight, and if necessary, in French possessions in America. He urgently requested the President to declare publicly that the United States would give the allies aid and material support by all means "short of an expeditionary force". (166)
President Roosevelt replied on June 13 that the Government of the United States was doing everything in its power to make available to the allied governments the material they urgently required and that our efforts to do still more were being redoubled; we were doing this because of our faith in and our support of the ideals for which the allies were fighting. The President said he was particularly impressed by the Premier's declaration that France would continue to fight on behalf of democracy, although it meant slow withdrawal, even to North Africa and across the Atlantic. He said it was important to remember that the French and British Fleets continued to have mastery of the Atlantic and other oceans and that vital materials from the outside world were necessary to maintain all armies. (167)
The French Premier sent another message to the President on June 14, 1940, the day on which German troops entered Paris. The Premier said that "at the most tragic hour" of its history France must choose whether to continue resistance or ask for an armistice. He warned that the defeat of Great Britain appeared possible if not probable. The Premier said that the only chance of saving France, and through her to save Great Britain, was to throw into the balance "this very day the weight of American power". Finally, the Premier said that if the President could not give to France in the hours to come the certainty that the United States would enter the war within a very short time, "the fate of the world will change". "Then," he said, "you will see France go under like a drowning man and disappear after having cast a last look towards the land of liberty from which she awaited salvation." (168)
President Roosevelt replied on the following day. He repeated emphatically that the Government of the United States had made it
PEACE AND WAR
possible for the allied armies to obtain, during the weeks that had just passed, airplanes, artillery, and munitions of many kinds, and that so long as the allied governments continued to resist, this Government would redouble its efforts in that direction. He believed it was possible to say that every passing week would see additional war supplies on the way to the allied nations. The President said that in accordance with our policy not to recognize the results of conquests of territory acquired through military aggression, the United States would not consider as valid any attempts to infringe by force the independence and territorial integrity of France.
President Roosevelt assured the Premier that so long as the French people continued a defense of their liberty, so long would they rest assured that war supplies would be sent to them from the United States in ever-increasing quantities and kinds. He said, however, that these statements did not carry any implication of military commitments, that only Congress could make such commitments. (169)
Fall of France
On June 17 the French Cabinet, headed by the new Premier, Marshal Petain, asked for the terms of an armistice with Germany.
On that day President Roosevelt sent a message to the French Government regarding the disposition of the French Fleet. He said that should the French Government, before concluding an armistice with the Germans, fail to see that the Fleet was kept out of the hands of France's opponents, the French Government would be pursuing a policy which would fatally impair the preservation of the French Empire and the eventual restoration of French independence. Furthermore, the President said, should the French Government fail to take steps to prevent the French Fleet from being surrendered to Germany, "the French Government will permanently lose the friendship and good-will of the Government of the United States". (170)
On the following day, June 18, the United States Government received from the French Government a categorical assurance that the French Fleet would "never be surrendered to the enemy". (171)
Immediately following the French request for the terms of an armistice with Germany, the Governments of Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain, and the Netherlands were informed by this Govern-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
ment that in accordance with the traditional policy of the United States relating to the Western Hemisphere the United States would not recognize any transfer, and would not acquiesce in any attempt to transfer, any geographic region of the Western Hemisphere from one non-American power to another non-American power. (172)
In connection with this subject, Secretary Hull stated on July 5, 1940 that the "Monroe Doctrine is solely a policy of self-defense, which is intended to preserve the independence and integrity of the Americas". The Secretary said that its purpose was to prevent aggression in this hemisphere by any non-American power, and likewise to make impossible any further extension to this hemisphere of any non-American system of government imposed from without; that it contained within it "not the slightest vestige of any implication, much less assumption, of hegemony on the part of the United States". The Secretary said further that the Monroe Doctrine did not resemble policies which appeared to be arising in other parts of the world, which policies were alleged to be similar to the Monroe Doctrine, but which in reality seemed to be only "the pretext for the carrying out of conquest by the sword, of military occupation, and of complete economic and political domination by certain powers of other free and independent peoples". (175)
DEFENSE MEASURES OF THE UNITED STATES 1940
President Roosevelt's Request for 50,000 Planes
IN JANUARY 1940, when the European war was still in a period of lull, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a national defense appropriation of $1,800,000,000. By the middle of the following May, the rapid development of military events in Europe impelled him to request further appropriations for national defense. In an address to Congress on May 16, 1940, he said that the brutal force of modern offensive war had been loosed in all its horror; that new and swift and deadly powers of destruction had been developed which were wielded by men who were ruthless and daring; that no old defense was so strong that it required no further strengthening and no attack was so unlikely or impossible that it might be ignored. The President said that we had had before us over and over again the lesson that nations not ready and unable to get ready found themselves overrun by the enemy; that so-called impregnable fortifications no longer existed; that an effective defense required the equipment to attack an aggressor on his route "before he can establish strong bases within the territory of American vital interests".
The President said to Congress that he should like to see the United States "geared up to the ability to turn out at least 50,000 planes a year"; furthermore, he believed "that this Nation should plan at this time a program that would provide us with 50,000 military and naval planes". He made a request for $1,000,000,000 to procure the essential equipment for a larger and thoroughly rounded-out Army, to replace or modernize Army or Navy equipment, to increase production facilities for everything needed for the Army or Navy, and to speed up to a 24-hour basis all Army and Navy contracts. In making this request the President reminded Congress that our ideal and our objective still was peace. Nevertheless, we stood ready "not only to spend millions for defense but to give our service and even our lives for the maintenance of our American liberties". (156)
In a message to Congress on May 31 President Roosevelt made an additional request for appropriations of over a billion dollars for national defense and asked for authority to call the National Guard and the necessary Reserve personnel into active military service. He declared that "the almost incredible events of the past two weeks in the European conflict, particularly as a result of the use of aviation
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
and mechanized equipment", necessitated further increases in our military program. No one could foretell the future, he said, but American defense must be made more certain so long as the possibility existed that not one or two continents but all continents might be involved in a world-wide war. He again emphasized the necessity for expansion of facilities for the production of munitions. (163)
These requests for appropriations were promptly met by the Congress, as also was the President's request of July 10 for $5,000,000,000 more for the rearmament program. The President's request for authority to call the National Guard and Reserve personnel into active military service was granted in a resolution approved August 27, 1940. However, the legislation provided that the personnel ordered into active Federal service under this authority should "not be employed beyond the limits of the Western Hemisphere except in the territories and possessions of the United States, including the Philippine Islands".
Secretary Hull's Address of June 20
Secretary of State Hull delivered an address on June 20, 1940, describing in unmistakable terms the existing danger to peaceful nations. He said that there were at work in the world forces which sprang from "godless and soulless lust for power which seeks to hold men in physical slavery and spiritual degradation and to displace a system of peaceful and orderly relations among nations by the anarchy of wanton violence and brute force". Never before, he said, had these forces flung so powerful a challenge to freedom and civilized progress; never before had there been a more desperate need for freedom-loving men and nations to gather into an unconquerable defensive force every element of their spiritual and material resources, every ounce of their moral and physical strength. The Secretary said that no more vital test had ever confronted the American people; that difficult and dangerous days were ahead; and that our national independence and cherished institutions were not immune from the challenge of the lust for power that already stalked so much of the earth's surface. We could successfully meet this challenge, he declared, if we retained unimpaired an unshakable faith in the everlasting worth of freedom and honor, of truth and justice, of intellectual and spiritual integrity, and an immutable determination to give our all, if necessary, for the preservation of our way of life. (173)
PEACE AND WAR
The rapid developments in the European war during May and June 1940 resulted in increased danger to the peace, security, and welfare of the American Continent. In order to prepare to meet this danger the Foreign Ministers of the American republics assembled at Habana in July. There they consulted regarding measures with respect to three sets of problems: the possibility of the transfer of sovereignty of certain islands and regions in the Americas from one non-American state to another non-American state; the threat of subversive activities in the American nations directed from outside the continent; and the grave economic difficulties and dislocations resulting from the war.
At Habana there was formulated an arrangement for the provisional administration by an inter-American organization of any non-American possession in the Americas in case of a danger of change in its sovereignty. It was agreed that each of the 21 republics would take measures to prevent subversive activities directed from abroad against the internal life of the American republics and would exchange information regarding such activities. The Inter-American Financial and Economic Advisory Committee, which had been provided for at Panama in 1939, was instructed to cooperate with each of the republics in the study of possible measures for increasing domestic consumption of its own exportable surpluses, to provide increased markets among the American nations for these surpluses, and to create instruments for the temporary storing, financing, and handling of any such commodities and for their orderly marketing.
At this meeting the representatives of the 21 American republics declared "that any attempt on the part of a non-American State against the integrity or inviolability of the territory, the sovereignty or the political independence of an American State shall be considered as an act of aggression against the States which sign this declaration". (177)
Shortly after the Conference, on August 6, 1940, Secretary Hull, who represented the United States, said it was strongly believed at Habana that "the military and other sinister activities on the part of some nations in other large areas of the world present real possibilities of danger to the American republics". He said it was universally recognized that a threat to any important part of the Americas meant a threat to each and all of the American nations; that it was therefore agreed that full and adequate preparations for continental defense could not be taken too soon. (178)
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
"We Cannot Pursue Complacently the Course of Our Customary Normal Life"
In his statement of August 6 Secretary Hull warned that vast forces of lawlessness, conquest, and destruction were moving across the earth "like a savage and dangerous animal at large" and that by their very nature those forces would not stop unless and until they recognized that there existed unbreakable resistance. He expressed the firm conviction that what was taking place in many areas of the earth was a relentless attempt to transform the civilized world into a world in which lawlessness, violence, and force would reign supreme as they did a thousand years ago.
The Secretary said that "the one and only sure way" for our nation to avoid being drawn into serious trouble or actual war and to command respect for its rights and interests abroad, was for our people to become thoroughly conscious of the possibilities of danger and "to make up their minds that we must continue to arm, and to arm to such an extent that the forces of conquest and ruin will not dare make an attack on us or on any part of this hemisphere". To this end, the Secretary stated, each citizen must be ready and willing for read sacrifice of time and of substance, and for hard personal service; in the face of terrific problems and conditions "we cannot pursue complacently the course of our customary normal life". (178)
Exchange of Destroyers for Bases
An important step for the defense of the Western Hemisphere was taken early in September 1940 when an agreement between the United States and Great Britain was concluded whereby Great Britain received fifty over-age United States destroyers, and the United States acquired the right to lease naval and air bases in Newfoundland, in British Guiana, and in the islands of Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and Antigua. President Roosevelt reported to Congress that this agreement was not in any way inconsistent with our status of peace; that it was not a threat against any nation; that it was "an epochal and far-reaching act of preparation for continental defense in the face of grave danger". The President said that the value to the Western Hemisphere "of these outposts of security is beyond calculation". He considered them essential to the protection of the Panama Canal, Central America, the northern portion of South America, the Antilles, Canada, Mexico, and our Eastern and Gulf seaboards. This Government later announced
PEACE AND WAR
During this month the United States took another important step for national defense. On September 16, 1940 was enacted the Selective Service and Training Act. For the first time in its history the United States adopted compulsory military training of manpower when the Nation was not at war. The act included a provision that persons inducted into the land forces should not be employed beyond the Western Hemisphere except in United States territories and possessions.
Treaty of Alliance Between Germany, Italy, and Japan
In 1934 and 1935 reports had reached this Government that Japan and Germany were contemplating or had consummated some sort of an agreement for joint action. In 1936 those powers had joined together publicly in the Anti-Comintern Pact. A year later Italy had become a party to this agreement. During the next three years it had become clear to the world that these three countries were pursuing a common pattern of aggression in both Europe and the Far East. On September 11, 1940, in a conversation with French Ambassador Henry-Haye, Secretary Hull declared that for several years the United States had pursued the fixed policy of basing all utterances and action on the assumption that "Hitler was out to become the ruthless and utterly destructive conqueror of Europe, and that the Japanese military clique was bent on the same course in the Pacific area from Hawaii to Siam". (181)
On September 27, 1940 Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a far-reaching treaty of alliance. In that treaty it was provided that Japan recognized and respected the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe; that Germany and Italy recognized and respected the leadership of Japan in the establishment of a new order in Greater East Asia; and that the three countries would assist one another with all political, economic, and military means when one of the powers was attacked by a power not then involved in the European war or in the Chinese-Japanese conflict. The last of these provisions obviously was aimed directly at the United States.
On the day the alliance was announced Secretary Hull said that its consummation did not substantially alter a situation which had existed for several years, that the agreement had been in process of conclusion
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
for some time, and that the announcement merely made clear to all a relationship which had long existed in effect. (184)
In a conversation on September 30 with the British Ambassador, Secretary Hull declared that the three-power alliance had come about primarily because of "Hitler's effort to divert attention from his failure to invade Great Britain and to preserve his prestige by a sensational announcement of something that already existed". The Secretary said it was certain that Japan would assume that, whether or not the United States and Great Britain had definite agreements in regard to naval and air bases in the Pacific including Singapore, the special relations between these two countries were such that they could overnight easily establish cooperative relations for the mutual use of all these bases. The relations among Germany, Italy, and Japan, each having a common objective of conquering certain areas of the world and each pursuing identical policies of force, devastation, and seizure, had been during recent years on the "basis of complete understanding and of mutual cooperation" for all practical purposes.
The Secretary emphasized to the Ambassador that the special desire of this Government was to see Great Britain succeed in the war and that its acts and utterances with respect to the Pacific area would be more or less affected by the question what course would most effectively and legitimately aid Great Britain in winning the war. (185)
Secretary Hull's Address of October 26
In an address of October 26, 1940 Secretary of State Hull warned that all peaceful nations were gravely menaced because of the plans and acts of a small group of national rulers who had succeeded in transforming their peoples into forceful instruments for wide-spread domination by conquest. The Secretary said that we were in the presence not of local or regional wars, but of an "organized and determined movement for steadily expanding conquest". The rulers of the aggressor nations, he said, had repudiated and violated in every essential respect the long-accepted principles of peaceful and orderly international relations; they adhered to no geographic lines, and they fixed no time-limit on their program of invasion and destruction; they cynically disregarded every right of neutral nations; they had as a fixed objective the securing of control of the high seas; they threatened peaceful nations with the direst consequences if these nations did not remain acquiescent while the conquerors were seizing the other continents and most of the seven seas. "Let no one comfort himself with the delusion that these are mere excesses or exigencies of war," the
PEACE AND WAR
Secretary continued, "to be voluntarily abandoned when fighting ceases."
The appalling tragedy of the world's situation, the Secretary said, lay in the fact that peacefully disposed nations had failed to recognize in time the true nature of the aims and ambitions which actuated the rulers of the heavily arming nations. Recoiling from the mere contemplation of the possibility of another wide-spread war, he said, the people of the peaceful nations had permitted themselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by the assurances made by these rulers that their aims were limited. The first need for all nations still masters of their own destiny was to create for themselves, as speedily and as completely as possible, "impregnable means of defense". This was the "staggering lesson of mankind's recent experience". As an important means of strengthening our own defense and of preventing attack on any part of the Western Hemisphere, the United States was affording all feasible facilities for the obtaining of supplies by nations which, while defending themselves against barbaric attack, were checking the spread of violence and thus reducing the danger to us. Under our "inalienable right of self-defense", he said, we intended to continue this to the greatest possible extent.
The Secretary admonished that nothing could be more dangerous for our nation "than for us to assume that the avalanche of conquest could under no circumstances reach any vital portion of this hemisphere". He stated that oceans gave the nations of this hemisphere no guaranty against the possibility of economic, political, or military attack from abroad; that oceans are barriers but they are also highways; that barriers of distance are merely barriers of time. Should the would-be conquerors gain control of other continents, the Secretary said, they would next concentrate on perfecting their control of the seas, of the air over the seas, and of the world's economy. They might then be able with ships and with planes to strike at the communication lines, the commerce, and the life of this hemisphere, and "ultimately we might find ourselves compelled to fight on our own soil, under our own skies, in defense of our independence and our very lives". (188)
President Roosevelt's "Arsenal of Democracy" Address
In an address of December 29, 1940 President Roosevelt stated that the Nazi masters of Germany had made it clear that they intended not only to dominate all life and thought in their own country but also to enslave the whole of Europe and then to use the resources of
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
Europe to dominate the rest of the world. The United States, he said, had no right or reason to encourage talk of peace until the day should come when there was a clear intention on the part of the aggressor nations to abandon all thought of dominating or conquering the world. Although some of our people liked to believe that wars in Europe and Asia were of no concern to us, the President said, it was a matter of most vital concern to us that European and Asiatic war-makers should not gain control of the oceans which lead to the Western Hemisphere. If Great Britain went down, the Axis powers would control the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, and the high seas, and would then be in a position to bring enormous military and naval resources against this hemisphere. It was no exaggeration to say that all of us in the Americas "would be living at the point of a gun-a gun loaded with explosive bullets, economic as well as military".
There was danger ahead, the President warned, danger against which we must prepare. We were planning our own defense with the utmost urgency, and in it we must "integrate the war needs of Britain and the other free nations resisting aggression". He had, he said, set up a more effective organization to direct our efforts to increase our production of munitions. American industrial genius, unmatched throughout the world in the solution of production problems, had been called upon to bring its resources and talents into action. Manufacturers of peacetime articles were now making instruments of war. But, he said, all our present efforts were not enough. We must have more ships, more guns, more planes; we must be the great "arsenal of democracy". (193)
RELATIONS WITH JAPAN 1938-1940
Principles of United States Policy
IN OUR RELATIONS with Japan the United States Government sought constantly and consistently to protect this country's nationals and rights, and to uphold the principles of peaceful and orderly international conduct which Japan was violating by its attack on China. At the same time, in keeping with overwhelming public sentiment, this Government endeavored to prevent the development of a situation which would be likely to involve the United States in hostilities. It consistently protested against and declined to give assent to actions on the part of and situations brought about by Japanese authorities or agents in China in violation of treaties and international law and through the unwarranted use of force. While resolved not to compromise the principles of United States policy-much less abandon those principles-it sought to avoid closing the door to such chance as there might be, however small, for peaceful negotiation of differences and general pacific settlement.
Throughout this period the United States Government had under active consideration various ways and means which might be used to induce Japan to renounce its policies and programs of conquest and domination through the use of force or threat of force. Among other methods, this Government frequently had under consideration the question of applying economic pressure-advocated in many quarters as a means of checking Japanese aggression. It was the opinion of the responsible officials of the Government, including the highest military and naval authorities, that adoption and application of a policy of imposing embargoes upon strategic exports to Japan would be attended with serious risk of retaliatory action of a character likely to lead to this country's becoming involved in war. Practically all realistic authorities have been agreed that imposition of substantial economic sanctions or embargoes against any strong country, unless that imposition be backed by show of superior force, involves serious risk of war.
The President and the heads of the Army and the Navy and the Department of State were in constant consultation throughout this period in regard to all aspects of the military and diplomatic situation confronting the United States. They knew that Germany and Italy were arming in Europe, as Japan had armed in the Far East, preparatory to resorting to force to achieve objectives of expan-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
sion. They realized that, with the outbreak in 1939 of war in Europe, the fall in June 1940 of France, and the conclusion in. September 1940 of the Tripartite Pact, danger of war in the western Pacific was progressively increasing. They realized also that Axis; preparations were virtually complete and that this country and similarly minded countries were far behind parity with offsetting preparations. They were in agreement that prevailing public opinion in this country and, with the imminence of and finally the outbreak of war in Europe, the comparative military unpreparedness of this country were such as to render it inadvisable to risk, by resort to drastic economic measures against Japan, involvement in war. Even before the common objectives of Germany, Italy, and Japan were formalized in the Tripartite Pact, this Government had to consider that if the United States became involved in war there might easily arise the problem of defense in both oceans-and to meet that problem this country was not adequately prepared.
The foregoing were the principal considerations which determined this Government's course with regard to proposed use economic pressures.
Throughout this period there was wide-spread bombing of Chinese civilians by the Japanese. This practice aroused great indignation in the United States. It also adversely affected American nationals in China. The Secretary of State on June 11, 1938 condemned the practice and its "material encouragement". On July 1, 1938 the Department of State notified aircraft manufacturers and exporters that the United States Government was strongly opposed to the sale of airplanes and aeronautical equipment to countries whose armed forces were using airplanes for attack on civilian populations. In 1939 this "moral embargo" was extended to materials essential to airplane manufacture and to plans, plants, and technical information for the production of high-quality aviation gasoline. These measures resulted in the suspension of the export to Japan of aircraft, aeronautical equipment, and other materials within the scope of the moral embargoes. As Japanese purchases in the United States of "arms, ammunition, and implements of war", other than aircraft and aeronautical equipment, were relatively unimportant, these operated ultimately to stop the export of arms to Japan. (108, 109)
PEACE AND WAR
This Government also, beginning in 1938, adopted and put into effect a policy of informally discouraging the extension of credit by United States nationals to Japan.
United States Protest December 31, 1938
As the conflict between Japan and China developed, interferences with the rights and interests of the United States and its nationals, by Japanese or Japanese-sponsored agents in China became more and more frequent. The Government of the United States on many occasions protested to the Japanese Government against these interferences. In a note presented December 31, 1938 the United States declared that these interferences were not only "unjust and unwarranted" but also "counter to the provisions of several binding international agreements, voluntarily entered into" to which the United States and Japan were parties. The note stated that the people and Government of the United States could not assent to the establishment of a regime "which would arbitrarily deprive them of the long-established rights of equal opportunity and fair treatment". In reply to Japan's claim that it was establishing a "new order based on genuine international justice throughout East Asia" it was stated that the United States did not admit there was warrant for any one power to prescribe the terms and conditions of a "new order" in areas not under its sovereignty. Finally the note declared that the United States could not assent to the abrogation of any of its rights and obligations by the arbitrary action of any other country, but-was always ready to discuss proposals based on justice and reason for the resolving of problems by the processes of free negotiation and new commitment on the part of all parties directly concerned. (123)
Notice of Termination of Commercial Treaty With Japan
As evidence accumulated of the endangering of American lives, the destruction of American property, and the violation of American rights and interests by Japanese authorities or Japanese-sponsored agents in China, and after diplomatic representations had failed to effect a substantial alleviation of the situation, further consideration was given to the possibility of commercial retaliation against Japan. It was felt that the 1911 commercial treaty between the United States and Japan was not affording adequate protection to American commerce either in Japan or in Japanese-occupied portions of China, while at the same time the operation of the most-favored-nation clause
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
of the treaty was a bar to the adoption of retaliatory measures against Japanese commerce. Consequently, in July 1939 this Government gave notice of termination of that treaty at the end of the six-month period prescribed by the treaty. That termination removed the legal obstacle to an embargo by the United States upon the shipment of materials to Japan. (135)
Secretary Hull's Conversations With the Japanese Ambassador
Secretary of State Hull in a conversation with the Japanese Ambassador on July 10, 1939 said that while the present interests and rights of the United States in the Far East were highly important, the serious question was whether all of China and the Pacific islands skirting it were to be "Manchurianized" by Japan, with international law destroyed and treaty observance abolished and all other nations excluded from that half of the world.
In connection with the Ambassador's suggestion for possible cooperation of the United States and Japan to compose the threatening dangers in Europe, the Secretary said that the single test of this Government in dealing with other governments was the question of peace, that we considered the preservation of peace so supremely important to the future of all nations that we drew the line between, on the one hand, honest, law-abiding, peaceful countries and peoples, without reference to their form of government, and on the other, those who were flaunting law and order and threatening military conquest without limit as to time or extent. He said that we would work in a friendly spirit with every peaceful nation to promote and preserve peace and that, while we had no alliances with any nation, we would keep thoroughly armed and prepared to take care of our interests and rights; that we had made every kind of plea to European countries for the peaceful settlement and adjustment of their relations and we had indicated our readiness to cooperate in every feasible plan to restore international trade and finance. Notwithstanding these earnest pleas, he said, nations could not but take notice that Japan herself was engaged in military operations for purposes of conquest; this situation might well now have an ending if Japan were to exercise its fullest influence along with the United States and other countries in efforts to stop threatening military conquest in other parts of the world.
The Japanese Ambassador made no particular comment on the Secretary's remarks except to state that there had been reports in the United States, that Japan might enter into a military pact with Ger-
PEACE AND WAR
many and Italy, whereas the truth was that Japan had no idea of doing so; that Japan, because of its proximity to and difficulties with Russia had been interested in the anti-Comintern policy of certain European states and in working with them against Bolshevism. (132)
A few weeks later, at a time when the outbreak of war in Europe was imminent, Secretary Hull again talked with the Japanese Ambassador. In this conversation, on August 26, 1939, five days after the announcement that Germany and Russia had agreed to sign a non-aggression treaty, the Ambassador said that his Government had decided to abandon any further negotiations with Germany and Italy relative to closer relations under the Anti-Comintern Pact. He said that the change in affairs in Europe made this course manifest.
The Secretary said that the United States had made representations over and over again in protest against Japanese actions which had conflicted with principles and policies of the United States. The Japanese Government had given assurances time after time that it would respect the principles involved, but over and over Japanese authorities had immediately committed other acts in disregard of them. The United States, the Secretary said, wished to have amicable relations with every other country in the world; our policy was a policy of "live and let live"; we sought nowhere any special position. The world was being given new object lessons in the futility of policies wherein nations planned to take advantage of other nations by the use of armed force in disregard of legal and moral principles and generally accepted axioms of friendly inter national intercourse. In conclusion, the Secretary said that the future of United States-Japanese relations was largely in the hands of Japan; that our permanent policy was one of friendliness and fair-dealing toward all nations. (140)
Status of Netherlands Indies
The outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939 naturally affected and complicated the situation in the Pacific. In April 1940 the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement expressing concern on the part of his Government for the maintenance of the status quo of the Netherlands Indies. On April 17 Secretary Hull stated that the Netherlands Indies were an important factor in the commerce of the whole world; that they produced considerable portions of the world's supplies of important commodities, such as rubber, quinine, and copra; that many countries, including the
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
United States, depended substantially upon them for these commodities. Intervention in the domestic affairs of the Netherlands Indies or any alteration of their status quo by other than peaceful processes would, the Secretary said, "be prejudicial to the cause of stability, peace, and security not only in the region of the Netherlands Indies but in the entire Pacific area". (149)
Three days later, in a conversation with the Japanese Ambassador, the Secretary stated that there was no more resemblance between our Monroe Doctrine and the so-called Monroe Doctrine of Japan than there was between black and white. Our Monroe Doctrine, he said, contemplated only steps for our physical safety, while Japan's doctrine was seemingly applicable to all other purposes and objectives including economic, political, and social objectives. (150)
In a conversation with the Japanese Ambassador on May 16, 1940, at the time when the German armies were smashing through Belgium and the Netherlands, the Secretary remarked that it appeared more and more evident that no country was safe from aggressive intervention by force in one way or another and that the only thing a nation could do was to "arm to the teeth" and be ready for any serious interference with its rights and interests by military force or threat of force. However, he continued, this Government was striving for peace year in and year out and our constant desire was to promote and preserve peace both with other countries and among other countries.
The Secretary then brought to the attention of the Ambassador a report from Tokyo which indicated that Japanese newspapers were emphasizing some supposed special interests of Japan in the Netherlands Indies. The Secretary said it seemed very surprising that Japan, after endeavoring to spread itself over the huge Republic of China, might not be content unless it extended itself to take in the great archipelago comprising the East Indies, presumably with a view to shutting out all equality of trade opportunities among nations. The Ambassador replied that his Government was satisfied with the Netherlands Indies situation and had no plans or purposes to proceed there. (157)
Instruction to Ambassador Grew
On May 30, 1940, in a telegram to Ambassador Grew in Japan, Secretary of State Hull reviewed the world situation in the light of recent developments in the European war. He said that the United States was going forward strenuously with plans and pro-
PEACE AND WAR
duction which soon would greatly increase our military strength. Whatever the results of the European war, he said, the United States would probably in a relatively short time be more powerful militarily and better-organized in the economic field than it had been for many years. He was convinced that a general international deterioration could be checked only by determined and enlightened resistance by nations which desired that principles of law, order, justice, and national sovereignty should survive and principles of economic freedom prevail. He referred to reports that the Japanese were considering whether they would throw in their lot with Germany, which was committed to the use of force for purposes of conquest, or would give their support to the principles advocated by the United States and many other nations. He emphasized the necessity of making clear that the United States had not modified nor would it modify its opposition to policies of attempting to achieve international objectives by use of force, whether on the part of Japan or of any other nation. (162)
On June 28, 1940 the Secretary of State discussed the Far Eastern situation with the British Ambassador and the Australian Minister. In discussing possible steps to oppose Japanese aggression in the Far East, the Secretary declared that the United States had been exerting economic pressure on Japan for a year; that the United States Fleet was stationed in the Pacific; and that everything possible was being done "short of a serious risk of actual military hostilities" to keep the Japanese situation stabilized. This course, he added, was the best evidence of the intentions of the United States in the future. In regard to a possible settlement between Japan and China, he set forth two points; first, that for such a settlement the principles underlying Japanese policy would have to be negatived or at least seriously modified; second, that properties or interests of China must not be offered to Japan, or in other words that peace must not be made with Japan at the expense of China or of the principles of international policy to which the United States was committed. (174)
Temporary Closing of the Burma Road
In the middle of July 1940 reports became current that the British Government, at the instance of the Japanese Government, would prohibit temporarily the movement of certain commodities through Burma into China. On July 16, Secretary of State Hull, in reply to inquiries by press correspondents in regard to these reports, made comment that the United States Government had a "legitimate inter-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
est in the keeping open of arteries of commerce in every part of the world" and considered that action such as this, if taken, "would constitute unwarranted interpositions of obstacles to world trade". On July 18 the foreshadowed restrictions were, under the provisions of a British-Japanese agreement, imposed by British authorities for a period of three months. Upon expiration of the term of the agreement under reference, those restrictions were lifted by the British authorities at midnight, October 17, 1940. (176)
Report From Ambassador Grew
The United States Ambassador in Japan cabled to the Secretary of State on September 12, 1940 that whatever the intentions of the existing Japanese Government, there could be no doubt that the military and other elements in Japan saw in the world situation a "golden opportunity" to carry their dreams of expansion into effect; that the German victories, "like strong wine", had gone to their heads; that they had believed implicitly until recently in Great Britain's defeat; that they had argued that the war would probably be ended in a quick German victory and that Japan's position in Greater East Asia should be consolidated while Germany was still agreeable; and that, although carefully watching the actions of the United States, they had discounted effective opposition on our part.
However, the Ambassador went on, a gradual change could now be sensed, as it was beginning to be seen by the Japanese that Germany might not defeat Great Britain after all. The Japanese saw Great Britain and the United States steadily drawing closer together in mutual defense measures. Furthermore, it was beginning to be questioned in Japan whether even a victorious Germany would not furnish a new hazard to their program of expansion. There was also an uncertain factor in their calculations regarding the future attitude of Russia. The Ambassador said that until the world situation, particularly the position of the United States, became clearer, Japan's "nibbling policy" appeared likely to continue.
Referring to the question of "sanctions", the Ambassador warned that the probability must be contemplated that drastic embargoes on such important products as oil would be interpreted in Japan as sanctions, and that some form of retaliation might and probably would follow. The risks, he said, would depend on the "do or die" temper of the Japanese Army and Navy should they impute to the United States the responsibility for the failure of their plans for expansion. The retaliation, he said, would probably be some sudden
PEACE AND WAR
stroke by that Navy or Army without the prior authority or knowledge of the Government. Japan was, he said, one of the predatory powers; having submerged all ethical and moral sense, it had become unashamedly and frankly opportunist, seeking at every turn to profit through the weakness of others. He believed that United States interests in the Pacific were definitely threatened by Japan's policy of southward expansion. Japan, he said, had been deterred from taking greater liberties with our interests only because it respected our potential power; also, it had trampled upon our rights in exact ratio to the strength of its conviction that the people of the United States would not permit that power to be used. If, the Ambassador said, we could by firmness preserve the status quo in the Pacific until Great Britain should be successful in the European war, it would be impossible for the opportunist philosophy in Japan to keep the upper hand; then it might be possible to undertake a readjustment of the whole Pacific problem on an equitable basis. Until there was in Japan a complete regeneration of thought, he said, nothing but a show of force coupled with the determination that force would be used if necessary could effectively contribute to such an outcome and to the future security of the United States. (182)
Japanese Penetration Into Indochina
Even before the French-German armistice was signed in June 1940 the Japanese militarists began to exert pressure on French Indo-china. Throughout the summer of 1940 this pressure continued. On September 22, following a Japanese ultimatum involving a threat of force, a military agreement concluded between the French and Japanese authorities provided for Japan's use of three airdromes and for the transit, in case of operations against China, of Japanese troops. Notwithstanding this agreement, Japanese forces attacked Indochina and occupied several strategic points there. On September 23 Secretary of State Hull, referring to these events in Indochina, declared that it seemed obvious that the status quo there was being upset "under duress"; he repeated that the United States disapproved and deprecated such procedures. (183)
On September 27, 1940 announcement was made of the conclusion of the treaty of alliance between Germany, Italy, and Japan containing a threat against the United States. (See p. 84.)
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
Restrictions on Exports to Japan
The "moral embargoes" of 1938 and 1939, referred to previously, brought about the cessation of the export to Japan of airplanes, aeronautic equipment, and certain other materials. As the rearmament program in the United States gained momentum and required more and more available strategic materials, this Government gradually adopted measures, legislative and administrative, which resulted in a steady decline of export to Japan of such materials. The Export Control Act of July 2, 1940 authorized the President, in the interest of national defense, to prohibit or curtail the export of basic war materials. Under that act, licenses were refused for the export to Japan of aviation gasoline and most types of machine tools, beginning in August 1940. After it was announced in September that the export of iron and steel scrap would be prohibited, Japanese Ambassador Horinouchi protested to Secretary Hull on October 8, 1940 that this might be considered an "unfriendly act". The Secretary told the Ambassador that it was really "amazing" for the Japanese Government, which had been violating in the most aggravating manner American rights and interests throughout most of China, to question the fullest right of this Government to impose such an embargo. To go further and call it an "unfriendly act", the Secretary said, was still more amazing in the light of Japan's conduct in disregarding all law, treaty obligations, and other rights and privileges and the safety of Americans, while proceeding to an ever-increasing extent to seize territory by force. The Ambassador replied that he very much regretted the differences between Japan and the United States and that strife between them would be extremely tragic for both. Secretary Hull agreed that such an occurrence would be exceedingly unfortunate but added that this Government had been extremely patient. The Secretary went on to say that we stood for law and order and treaty observance and justice, along with genuine friendliness between the two countries; that it was clear now, however, that those dominating the external policy of Japan were, "as we here have believed for some years, bent on the conquest by force of all worthwhile territory in the Pacific Ocean area without limit as to extent in the south and in southern continental areas of that part of the world". Furthermore, we and all other nations were expected by Japan to sit perfectly quiet and be cheerful and agreeable, but static, while most of Asia was "Manchurianized", which would render practically impossible all reasonable or satisfactory relations so far as other nations were concerned, and would result ultimately in correspondingly lower levels of existence for the people of most of Asia.
PEACE AND WAR
The Secretary reiterated that it was unheard-of for a country engaged in aggression and seizure of another country, contrary to all law and treaty provisions, to turn to a third nation and seriously insist that the latter would be guilty of an unfriendly act if it did not cheerfully provide some of the necessary implements of war to aid the aggressor nation in carrying out its policy of invasion. The Secretary made clear to the Ambassador this Government's view that Germany and Japan were undertaking to subjugate both of their respective areas of the world and to place them on an international order and a social basis resembling that of eight centuries ago. (186)
Despite the Japanese protest, a total embargo on the export of iron and steel scrap to destinations other than countries of the Western Hemisphere and Great Britain went into effect on October 16, 1940.
The effect of United States policy in regard to exports to Japan was that by the winter of 1940-41 shipment had ceased of many strategic commodities including arms, ammunition, and implements of war, aviation gasoline and many other petroleum products, machine tools, scrap iron, pig iron, iron and steel manufactures, copper, lead, zinc, aluminum, and a variety of other commodities important to war effort.
EUROPEAN WAR 1941
The Four Freedoms
IN HIS ADDRESS to Congress on January 6, 1941 President Roosevelt declared that "at no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today". The democratic way of life was being directly assailed "by arms; or by secret spreading of poisonous propaganda" in every part of the world. The President said that the assault had blotted out the whole pattern of democratic life in an appalling number of independent nations and that the assailants were still on the march threatening other nations, great and small. Armed defense of democratic existence was being waged on four continents; if that defense failed, all the population and all the resources of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australasia would be dominated by the conquerors.
The President defined our national policy as follows: We were committed to an all-inclusive national defense; we were committed to full support of resolute peoples everywhere who were resisting aggression and were thereby keeping war away from our hemisphere; and we were committed to the proposition that principles of morality and considerations for our own security would "never permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and sponsored by appeasers".
President Roosevelt said that we looked forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms: Freedom of speech and expression; freedom of every person to worship God in his own way; freedom from want-which meant economic understandings that would secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants; freedom from fear-which meant a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point that no nation would be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor. These four essential human freedoms constituted a definite basis for the kind of world attainable in our own time and generation, the kind of world which is "the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb". (194)
The President's budget message of this month, January 1941, called for the expenditure of approximately $11,000,000,000 for the national-defense program. This raised to $28,000,000,000 the estimated outlay for the defense program inaugurated in May 1940.
PEACE AND WAR
Early in January 1941 there was introduced in Congress a bill to enable the Government to furnish aid to nations whose defense was deemed by the President to be vital to the defense of the United States. Both Houses of Congress held extensive public hearings on the bill. Secretary Hull made a statement before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on January 15 in support of the bill. In this statement the Secretary declared that it had become increasingly apparent that mankind was face to face with an organized, ruthless, and implacable movement of steadily-expanding conquest; that we were in the presence of forces which were not restrained by considerations of law or principles of morality; that these forces had no fixed limits for their program of conquest; that they had spread over large areas on land and were desperately struggling to seize control of the oceans as an essential means of achieving and maintaining the conquest of other continents. The Secretary stated that control of the high seas by law-abiding nations "is the key to the security of the Western Hemisphere"; that should such control be gained by the Axis powers, the danger to the United States "would be multiplied many-fold". The most serious question for the United States, the Secretary said, was whether the control of the high seas would pass into the hands of powers bent on a program of unlimited conquest.
The Secretary felt that on no other question of public policy were the people of the United States so nearly unanimous and so emphatic as they were on that of the imperative need, in our own most vital interest, to give Great Britain and other victims of attack the maximum of material aid in the shortest possible space of time. This was so because it was clear that such assistance to those resisting attack was a vital part of our national self-defense. The bill before the Committee, he said, known as the Lend-Lease bill, provided for machinery which would enable the United States to make the most effective use of our resources for our own needs and for those whom, in our own self-defense, we were determined to aid. The Secretary expressed the belief that this bill would make it possible for us to allocate our resources in ways best calculated to provide for the security of the United States and of this continent. (195)
The Lend-Lease bill became law with the signature of the President on March 11, 1941. Immediately thereafter the President requested an appropriation of $7,000,000,000 to accomplish the objectives of the act, and that appropriation was speedily made. (200)
In an address on March 15 President Roosevelt stated that the
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
decision embodied in the Lend-Lease Act ended the urging that we get along with the dictators and ended the compromise with tyranny and the forces of oppression. When our production output was in full swing, he said, the democracies of the world would be able to prove that dictators could not win. The time element he considered of "supreme importance". Every plane, every other instrument of war, old and new, which we could spare would be sent overseas; the great task of the day, the deep duty which rested upon us, was to "move products from the assembly lines of our factories to the battle lines of democracies—Now!"
The President said that the Nazi forces were not asking mere modifications in colonial maps or in minor European boundaries; that they openly sought the destruction of all elective systems of government on every continent—including our own; that they sought to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers who had seized power by force.
The nation, he said, was calling for the sacrifice of some privileges but not for the sacrifice of fundamental rights. Referring to the four freedoms set forth in his January address, the President said that they might not be immediately attainable throughout the world but "humanity does move towards those ideals through democratic processes". If we failed and democracy were superseded by slavery, "then those four freedoms or even the mention of them will become forbidden things".
There was no longer any doubt, he said, that our people recognized the seriousness of the international situation. That was why they had demanded and obtained "a policy of unqualified, immediate, all-out aid for Britain, Greece, China, and for all the governments in exile whose homelands are temporarily occupied by the aggressors". Aid would be increased, he emphasized, "and yet again increased", until total victory had been won. (201)
In instructions shortly thereafter to United States diplomatic missions in several neutral European countries, the Secretary of State said that every effort should be made to see that this authoritative statement by the President of our position was circulated as widely as possible. He said a salutary effect on public and official opinion in countries which had not been drawn directly into the war, would result from a forceful, continuous presentation of the position of the United States and of the scope of our national effort and determination to resist aggression. Such a presentation also would be of great assistance in counteracting totalitarian propaganda. The missions
PEACE AND WAR
were to stress that we were absolutely convinced that the forces of aggression would be defeated. It had been made abundantly clear by our people and Government, the Secretary said, that we intended to play our part in resistance against the forces of aggression. Therefore, it was incumbent upon every representative of the United States and upon every United States citizen abroad to reflect "the absolute determination" of the United States to "see this thing through". (205)
Invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia
In October 1940 Italy had launched an unprovoked and ruthless attack on Greece. While the neutrality of the United States was proclaimed in the ensuing war between Greece and Italy, Minister MacVeagh at Athens was instructed on November 16 to inform the Greek Government that this action should be construed in no way as being an indication of any lessening of the sympathy of the United States for Greece in its conflict with Italy. In December 1940 President Roosevelt in a message to the King of Greece expressed the deep impression which had been made upon all free peoples by the courage and steadfastness of the Greek nation and assured him that, in line with our policy of furnishing aid to nations defending themselves against aggression, steps were being taken to extend such aid to Greece. (191)
Despite numerical superiority of the Italian forces the brave resistance of the Greeks was successful during the following months. By the beginning of 1941 the Italian forces were retreating into Albania. Meanwhile, the German Government was preparing to join the Italian attack on Greece and at the same time attempting to coerce Yugoslavia into adhering to the Tripartite Pact.
On February 9, 1941 Secretary Hull sent a message to our Minister to Yugoslavia making clear the position of the United States with respect to the developing world situation. The Secretary referred to the President's statement that "we are planning our own defense with the utmost urgency and in its vast scale we must integrate the war needs of Britain". This position, he said, continued to be the keystone of the national-defense policy of the United States; we were convinced that Great Britain would win. War-material production in the United States had been undertaken on a vast scale to meet the requirements of the British and would continue ever increasingly until the final victory. (197)
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
A week later, on February 14, President Roosevelt sent a message to the Yugoslav Government, expressing his conviction that any victory on behalf of the predatory powers, even if only in the diplomatic field, would pave the way for fresh demands accompanied by threats of force against the very independence of the nation thus menaced. He called attention to the Lend-Lease bill before Congress which would authorize the President to supply war materials to nations victims of aggression or threatened with aggression. (198)
The constant pressure exercised by Hitler on Yugoslavia resulted in the adherence by the Yugoslav Government on March 25, 1941 to the Axis Tripartite Pact. However, this act was promptly repudiated by the government formed in Yugoslavia as a result of an anti-Axis coup d'etat on the following day. Hitler's legions thereupon prepared to march on Yugoslavia. It was at this point that the Secretary of State, on April 5, 1941, sent instructions to the United States Ministers in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Rumania, which countries had already adhered to the Axis Tripartite Pact. In these instructions the Secretary asked the Ministers to use their good offices to the end that the governments to which they were accredited might understand how support given acts of aggression against Yugoslavia was bound to be regarded in the United States. The Secretary emphasized that our every effort was being exerted under existing law to assist the nations which were defending their integrity and independence against aggression. (203)
On the following day, April 6, the German armies launched an attack on Yugoslavia and Greece. On that day Secretary Hull said that in line with its policy of assisting those nations defending themselves against aggression, this Government was proceeding as speedily as possible to send military and other supplies to Yugoslavia. (204)
Despite stout resistance, the German armies, supported by their Italian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian satellites, overran a large part of Yugoslavia and Greece.
The Department of State announced on April 10, 1941 the signing on the day before of an agreement regarding Greenland. This agreement recognized that as a result of the European war there was danger that Greenland might be converted into a point of aggression against nations of the American Continent, and accepted the responsibility on behalf of the United States of assisting Greenland in the
PEACE AND WAR
maintenance of its existing status. The agreement, after explicitly recognizing Danish sovereignty over Greenland, granted to the United States the right to locate and construct airplane landing fields and facilities for the defense of Greenland and of the American Continent. In announcing this agreement the Department stated that the United States had no thought "save that of assuring the safety of Greenland and the rest of the American Continent, and Greenland's continuance under Danish sovereignty"; that it was recognized that so long as Denmark remained under German occupation the Government in Denmark could not exercise the Danish sovereign powers over Greenland under the Monroe Doctrine. The agreement was signed by the Secretary of State and by the Danish Minister in Washington, acting as representative of the King of Denmark in his capacity as Sovereign of Greenland, and with the concurrence of the Governors of Greenland.
The Department announced that this step was taken in furtherance of the traditional friendliness between Denmark and the United States; that the policy of the United States was that of defending for Denmark her sovereignty over Greenland so that she might have a full exercise of it as soon as the German invasion of Denmark was ended. Accordingly the agreement provided that as soon as the war was over and the danger had passed, the two Governments should promptly consult as to whether the arrangements made by this agreement should continue or should then cease. (206)
Secretary Hull's Address of April 24
In an address on April 24, 1941 Secretary Hull stated that unfortunately many people failed to grasp the nature of the world-wide crisis and its meaning to our own country. Too many people assumed, he said, that the present struggle was merely an ordinary regional war and that when it came to an end the victorious nations would collect indemnities but otherwise leave the defeated nations more or less as they were before the conflict began. This assumption, he said, would prove "entirely erroneous" if the aggressors should win the war; the would-be conquerors proposed to take unto themselves the territory, the sovereignty, and the possessions of every conquered nation; they proposed to make the people of each nation into serfs—"to extinguish their liberties, their rights, their law, and their religion".
The Secretary declared that the aggressors not only did not wish peace but literally did not believe in it; that behind the deceptive protection of the word "peace" they accumulated vast striking forces;
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
they infiltrated shock troops disguised as peaceful travelers and businessmen; they set up organizations for spying, sabotage, and propaganda; they endeavored to sow hatred and discord; they used every tool of economic attack, bribery, and corruption to weaken the countries with which they were at "peace" until a military movement could easily complete the task of subjugation. Peace of that type was nothing more than a "trap" into which many nations had fallen in earlier phases of this movement for world conquest when its true nature had not been understood.
The Secretary warned that it made a "fateful difference" to us who won this war—the difference whether we would stand with our backs to the wall with the other four continents against us and the high seas lost, alone defending the last free territories on earth, or whether we would keep our place in an orderly world. Those who felt that a British defeat would not matter to us overlooked the fact that the resulting delivery of the high seas to the invader would create colossal danger to our own national defense and security. The breadth of the sea might give us a little time but it did not give us safety. Safety could only come from our ability, in conjunction with other peace-loving nations, "to prevent any aggressor from attaining control of the high seas".
Some people contended, he said, that our country need not resist until the armed forces of the invader should have crossed the border of this hemisphere. To him this merely meant that there would be no resistance by the hemisphere, including the United States, until the invading countries had acquired complete control of the other four continents and of the high seas, and thus had obtained every possible strategic advantage. This he considered an "utterly short-sighted and extremely dangerous view"; events had shown beyond question that the safety of this hemisphere and of this country called for "resistance wherever resistance will be most effective".
With reference to the question whether aid to freedom-loving nations and a vigorous policy of defending our interests would irritate some aggressor into attacking us, the Secretary said that no nation would attack us merely because it was our policy to defend ourselves; aggressors were not going to let us alone merely because we attempted to placate them. In the philosophy of the conquerors an attack was justified whenever and wherever it looked easy and convenient and served their purposes; there was no possible safeguarding of our security except by "solid strength". He declared that the best and only way of allaying the fears and doubts of those in anxiety was for
PEACE AND WAR
us "to rise in our might and proceed as one man in the Herculean task of equipping this nation to the fullest for its self-defense". (207)
Unlimited National Emergency
On May 27, 1941 President Roosevelt proclaimed the existence of an "unlimited national emergency", and in a radio address on the same day he outlined the policy of the United States in the light of developments in the world situation. In this address the President declared that our whole program of aid for the democracies had been "based on a hard-headed concern for our own security and for the kind of safe and civilized world in which we wish to live"; that every dollar of material we sent helped to keep the dictators away from our own hemisphere; that every day they were held off gave us time to build more guns and tanks and planes and ships.
The President warned of the conditions which would exist should Hitler be victorious in the war: Germany would set up puppet governments of its own choosing, wholly subject to its own will; the dictatorships would force the enslaved peoples of their Old World conquests into a system they were then organizing—to build a naval and air force intended to obtain mastery of the Atlantic and the Pacific; an economic stranglehold would be fastened upon the nations of the Western Hemisphere; the American laborer would have to compete with slave labor in the rest of the world, and trade unions would become "historical relics"; the American farmer would face obvious disaster and complete regimentation; the whole fabric of business, manufacturing, mining, and agriculture would be mangled and crippled; a permanent conscription of our manpower would be necessary, and our resources would be permanently poured into armaments. We did not accept and we would not permit this Nazi "shape of things to come".
The Axis powers could never achieve their objective of world domination, the President said, "unless they first obtain control of the seas". If they failed to gain control of the seas they were "certainly defeated". The President then described the dangerous situation in the "battle of the Atlantic". He revealed that the rate of Nazi sinkings of merchant ships was more than three times as high as the capacity of British shipyards to replace those ships; the rate was more than twice the combined British and American output of merchant ships at that time. This peril could be met, he said, by speeding up and increasing our great shipbuilding program and by helping to cut down the losses on the high seas. He announced that
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
we had extended our patrol in North and South Atlantic waters; that we were adding steadily more and more ships to that patrol. The purpose of these ships and planes was to "warn of the presence of attacking raiders, on the sea, under the sea, and above the sea".
The President summed up our national policy as follows: We would actively resist wherever necessary and with all our resources every attempt by Hitler to extend his domination to the Western Hemisphere; we would actively resist his every attempt to gain control of the seas; we would insist upon the vital importance of keeping Hitlerism away from any point in the world which could be used and would be used as a base of attack against the Americas; we would give every possible assistance to Great Britain and all countries which, like Great Britain, were resisting Hitlerism or its equivalent with force of arms; our patrols were helping to insure delivery of the needed supplies to Great Britain, and all additional measures necessary to deliver the goods would be taken.
We in the Americas would decide for ourselves, the President said, whether and when and where our American interests were attacked or our security threatened. We were placing our armed forces in strategic military posts and would not hesitate to use them to repel attack. In conclusion, the President repeated the words of the signers of the Declaration of Independence: "With a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor". (210)
Policy Toward France
The policy of the United States toward France in its broad aspects was based primarily on steady opposition to German aggression. After the fall of France and the conclusion of the French-German armistice this policy was specifically directed toward (1) denial of the French Fleet and French naval and air bases to the Axis powers; (2) closest practicable cooperation with the French people for the purpose of aiding them to keep alive their aspirations for liberty and democracy and to attain their earliest possible liberation from their conquerors; and (3) constant exertion of influence against French collaboration, voluntary or involuntary, with Hitler and Hitlerism. Another vital consideration was the need of keeping the French people reminded that their commitments under the terms of the French German armistice strictly defined the limits to which they, the French, were obligated as regards Germany.
The first fruit of continuing contact with the French Government
PEACE AND WAR
On November 4, 1940, following indications of French collaboration with Germany, Secretary of State Hull conferred with French Ambassador Henry-Haye. The Secretary declared that "we propose to be on our guard" with respect to acts of the Vichy Government, inspired by Foreign Minister Laval, that were intended to aid the military activities of Hitler, such as the supplying of naval and air bases, or other help given by French military or naval forces. He said that while this Government recognized the unfortunate situation of France as a "captive nation" it maintained that the French Government had no justification to render the slightest military aid to Germany. The Secretary referred to what he called the "extreme pro-German plans" of Laval and said that there could be no appeasement of Hitler, that Hitler would do what he pleased with all of his captive nations regardless of whether they offered him gifts and other considerations. He declared that the United States was too much concerned with possible future attacks by Hitler to acquiesce in the slightest degree in acts of the French Government that would aid Hitler in wider conquests, particularly in the direction of the Western Hemisphere. (190)
In June 1941, when Germany was exercising increasing pressure upon the French Government at Vichy in order to obtain assistance from that Government in the conduct of the war, Secretary Hull, in a statement of June 5, reviewed the policy of the United States with respect to France. Throughout our history, the Secretary said, we had been sympathetic to the true aspirations of France; we had fought beside France; France's cause had been our cause; the principles of free representative government by the people had been the bases of the democratic institutions of both countries. We had, he said, consistently conveyed to the French Government our understanding of the difficulty of their position and our determination to be of every assistance we could in solving their problems for the ultimate benefit of the French people. We had made clear to the French Government that the basic policy of the United States was to aid Great Britain in her defense against the same forces of conquest which had invaded and were subjugating France. We had aided in the furnishing of foodstuffs for unoccupied France, and children's supplies were now being distributed through the American Red Cross. We had collaborated in safeguarding the welfare and maintaining the integrity of the French possessions in the Western Hemisphere. In coopera-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
tion with the French Government we had helped in supplying commodities urgently needed for the economic stability of French North Africa. The Vichy Government had been assured that the United States had no interest in any territories of the French Empire other than their preservation for the French people.
It had been the determined policy of this Government, the Secretary said, to continue friendly and helpful cooperation with France in the existing difficult situation in which French action was restricted and limited by the terms of the armistices with Germany and Italy. It seemed scarcely believable, he said, that the French Government should adopt a policy of collaboration with other powers for the purpose of aggression and oppression; such action would not only be yielding priceless rights and interests beyond the requirements of a harsh armistice, but would at once place France in substantial political and military subservience and would also make France in part an instrument of aggression; this could only be "utterly inimical to the just rights of other countries, to say nothing of its ultimate effects on the liberties, the true interests, and the welfare of the people of France". (211)
Despite the collapse of resistance in France in June 1940 a number of French soldiers and sailors had continued to maintain the struggle against Germany on land and sea under the name of the "Free French". Portions of the French colonial empire rallied to their support. The Government of the United States entered into working arrangements with the Free French authorities in control of such territories, and a Free French delegation was established at Washington. In November 1941, President Roosevelt, finding that the defense of territory under control of Free French authorities was vital to the defense of the United States, directed that Lend-Lease aid be extended to them. This aid was given in such forms as the repair of naval vessels in American shipyards and the supply of tanks and other munitions to land forces.
The "Robin Moor"
In a message to the Congress on June 20, 1941 the President reported that on May 21 a German submarine had sunk an American merchant vessel, the Robin Moor, in the South Atlantic Ocean, while the vessel was on the high seas en route to South Africa. The vessel had been sunk within 30 minutes from the time of the first warning; it was sunk without provision for the safety of the passengers and crew, who were left afloat in small lifeboats from two to three weeks
PEACE AND WAR
until they were accidentally discovered and rescued by friendly vessels. He said that the "total disregard shown for the most elementary principles of international law and humanity brands the sinking of the Robin Moor as the act of an international outlaw"; that the United States held Germany responsible for this "outrageous and indefensible sinking"; that full reparation for the losses and damages suffered by American nationals would be expected from the German Government. This Government, the President continued, could only assume that Germany hoped, through the commission of such acts of cruelty, to intimidate the United States and other nations into a course of non-resistance to German plans of universal conquest. He said that the United States would not be intimidated, nor would it acquiesce in the plans of the German leaders for world domination. (212)
German Attack on Russia
In the winter of 1940-41 this Government received reports that Germany intended to attack the Soviet Union, despite the existence of the German-Russian non-aggression pact. This information was conveyed by Under Secretary Welles to the Soviet Ambassador early in 1941. On March 20, 1941 Mr. Welles informed the Ambassador that this Government had additional information in confirmation of the report that Germany intended to attack the Soviet Union. (202)
Hitler's treacherous attack on the Soviet Union occurred on June 22, 1941, when Germany launched an offensive along a front extending from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. In a public statement on the following day Acting Secretary Welles stated that to the leaders of the German Reich solemn pledges such as non-aggression pacts were "but a symbol of deceit, and constitute a dire warning on the part of Germany of hostile and murderous intent"; that to the German Government the very meaning of the word "honor" was unknown. The Acting Secretary said that the immediate issue presenting itself to the people of the United States was whether Hitler's plan for universal conquest and for the ultimate destruction of the remaining free democracies was to be successfully halted and defeated. He said that in the opinion of this Government any defense against Hitlerism, any rallying of the forces opposing Hitlerism, from whatever sources they might spring, would hasten the eventual downfall of the German leaders and would therefore redound to the benefit of our own defense and security. Finally, the Acting Secretary declared, "Hitler's armies are today the chief dangers of the Americas". (214)
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
Agreement With Iceland
President Roosevelt announced to the Congress on July 7, 1941 that in accordance with an understanding reached with the Prime Minister of Iceland, forces of the United States had arrived in Iceland in order to supplement, and eventually to replace, the British forces which had been stationed there to insure the adequate defense of that country. The President said that the United States could not permit the occupation by Germany of strategic outposts in the Atlantic, to be used as air or naval bases for eventual attack against the Western Hemisphere; that we had no desire to see any change in the existing sovereignty of those regions; that assurance that such outposts in our defense frontier remain in friendly hands was the very foundation of our national security and of the national security of every independent nation in the New World. It was imperative, therefore, that the approaches between the Americas and those strategic outposts should remain open and free from all hostile activity or threat. As Commander in Chief the President had issued orders to the Navy that all necessary steps be taken to insure the safety of communications in the approaches between Iceland and the United States, as well as on the seas between the United States and all other strategic outposts. This Government, the President said, would insure the adequate defense of Iceland with full recognition of the independence of Iceland as a sovereign state. He had given assurance to the Prime Minister of Iceland that the American forces sent there would in no way interfere with the internal and domestic affairs of that country, and that immediately upon the termination of the international emergency all American forces would be at once withdrawn, leaving the people of Iceland and their Government in full and sovereign control of their own territory. (216)
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill met at sea in August 1941. At this conference they examined the whole problem of the supplying of munitions of war, as provided by the Lend-Lease Act, for the armed forces of the United States and for the countries actively engaged in resisting aggression. Deeming it "right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world", they agreed on the joint declaration of August 14, 1941 which has become known as the "Atlantic Charter", as this conference took place on the Atlantic Ocean:
PEACE AND WAR
"First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other;
"Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;
"Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them;
"Fourth, they will endeavor, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity;
"Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement, and social security;
"Sixth, after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want;
"Seventh, such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance;
"Eighth, they believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons, must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments."
In reporting this joint declaration to the Congress the President said that it presented a goal which was "worthwhile for our type of civilization to seek". The declaration was so clear-cut, he said, that it was difficult to oppose it in any major particular without automatically admitting a willingness to accept compromise with Nazi-ism or to agree to a world peace which would give to Nazi-ism domination over large numbers of conquered nations. The President pointed out that the declaration included, of necessity, "the world need for freedom of religion and freedom of information". (229)
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
This Government has frequently expressed its view that after hostilities have ended, the nations contributing to the defeat of the common enemy should join together in an effort to restore peace and order on the basis of the general principles laid down in the Atlantic Charter; that meanwhile we expect a continuation of discussions between the several governments looking to the fullest possible agreement on basic policies and to later arrangements at the proper time; and that, above all, there must not be any "secret agreements".
Aid to Russia
On August 15, 1941 a joint message from President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill was delivered to Joseph Stalin, President of the People's Commissars of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In this message the President and the Prime Minister said that they had consulted together as to how best their two countries could help the Soviet Union; that they were cooperating to provide the Soviet Union with the very maximum of supplies most urgently needed; that many shiploads had left already for the Soviet Union and more would leave in the immediate future. In order that all concerned might be in a position to arrive at speedy decisions as to the apportionment of joint resources, they suggested that a meeting of representatives of the three Governments be held at Moscow. Realizing how vitally important to the defeat of Hitlerism was "the brave and steadfast resistance of the Soviet Union", they felt that they must act "quickly and immediately in this matter on planning the program for the future allocation of our joint resources." The conference was agreed to and was held in Moscow shortly thereafter. (227)
Battle of the Atlantic
By September 1941 the Axis war against shipping had resulted in several incidents that clearly demonstrated the grave menace to the vital interests of the United States. Two United States-owned merchant ships under the flag of Panama, the Sessa and the Montana, had been torpedoed and sunk while carrying cargoes to Iceland, where the United States had established a defense outpost. A United States merchant ship en route to Suez, the Steel Seafarer, had been sunk in the Red Sea by a German aircraft. On September 4 the United States destroyer Greer had been attacked by a German submarine while carrying mail to Iceland.
On September 11, 1941, in a radio address, President Roosevelt de-
PEACE AND WAR
nounced these "acts of international lawlessness" as a manifestation of the Nazi design to abolish the freedom of the seas and to acquire the domination of the seas for themselves. It would be unworthy, he said, for a great nation to exaggerate an isolated incident but it would be "inexcusable folly to minimize such incidents in the face of evidence which makes it clear that the incident is not isolated, but part of a general plan"; for with the control of the seas by the Nazis the way could become clear for their next step—domination of the United States and the Western Hemisphere by force. Under Nazi control of the seas no merchant ship of the United States or of any other American republic would be free to carry on any peaceful commerce, "except by the condescending grace of this foreign and tyrannical power". To be ultimately successful in world mastery, Hitler knew that he must get control of the seas, that he must first destroy the bridge of ships which we were building across the Atlantic, over which we would continue to roll the implements of war "to help destroy him and all his works in the end". He must wipe out our patrol on sea and in the air, and-he must silence the British Navy. The President said that the United States Navy was "an invincible protection" only if the British Navy survived; that if the world outside the Americas fell under Axis domination. the shipbuilding facilities which the Axis powers would then possess in all of Europe, in the British Isles, and in the Far East would be two or three times greater than all the shipbuilding facilities and possibilities of all the Americas. Even if the United States threw all its resources into such a situation, seeking to double and even redouble the size of our Navy, the Axis powers, in control of the rest of the world, "would have the manpower and the physical resources to out build us several times over".
Generation after generation, the President said, America had fought for the freedom of the seas, which meant that "no nation has the right to make the broad oceans of the world, at great distances from the actual theater of land war, unsafe for the commerce of others". The President stated that no act of violence or intimidation would keep us from maintaining intact two bulwarks of defense: our line of supply to Hitler's enemies and the freedom of our shipping on the high seas. We would "keep open the line of legitimate commerce in these defensive waters". We had sought no shooting war with Hitler and did not seek it "now", but we did not want peace so much that we were willing to pay for it by permitting him to attack our naval or merchant vessels when they were on legitimate business.
President Roosevelt declared that the very presence of Axis sub-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
marines or raiders in any waters which America deemed vital to its defense constituted an attack. In these waters, the President said, American naval vessels and American planes will no longer wait until Axis submarines lurking under the water, or Axis raiders on the surface of the sea, strike their deadly blow—first". Our naval and air patrol operating over a vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean would protect all merchant ships engaged in commerce in our defensive waters. It was no act of war on our part when we decided to protect the seas which were vital to American defense; the aggression was not ours. The President warned that from then on, if German or Italian vessels of war entered the waters the protection of which was necessary for American defense, they would do so "at their own peril". The sole responsibility rested upon Germany; there would be "no shooting" unless Germany continued to seek it.
Finally, the President said that he had no illusions about the gravity of this step; that he had not taken it hurriedly or lightly; that it was the result of many months of constant thought and anxiety and prayer; that in the protection of the nation it could not be avoided. (235)
Revision of the Neutrality Act
Ships of the United States and of other American republics continued to be sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by Nazi submarines. In view of this situation and in view of the fact that the Neutrality Act of 1939 prohibited the arming of United States merchant ships engaged in foreign commerce and prevented United States merchant ships from carrying cargoes to belligerent ports, it became increasingly difficult to obtain shipping for the carriage of Lend-Lease supplies to Great Britain and to other nations whose defense was considered vital to the defense of the United States.
On October 9, 1941 the President asked Congress to modify the Neutrality Act. In his message the President said that the act had been passed at a time when few people visualized the true magnitude of the Nazi attempt to dominate the world; that it required a complete reconsideration in the light of known facts. He recommended the repeal of section 6, which prohibited the arming of United States flag-ships engaged in foreign commerce. He said that the practice of arming merchant ships for defense had never been prohibited by international law; that there was now an imperative need to equip United States merchant vessels with arms. He declared that we were faced with modern pirates of the sea who were destroying defenseless ships without warning and without provision for the safety of the passengers and crews; that our merchant vessels were sailing the seas on
PEACE AND WAR
missions connected with the defense of the United States; that it was not just for the crews of these vessels to be denied the means of defending their lives and their ships. Although the arming of merchant vessels did not guarantee their safety, the President said, it certainly added to their safety. He emphasized that the arming of our ships was a matter of "immediate necessity, and extreme urgency".
The President then said that there were other phases of the Neutrality Act to which he hoped Congress would give earnest and early attention. While most of the vital Lend-Lease goods were being delivered, many of them were being sunk; as we approached full production requiring the use of many ships being built, it would be increasingly necessary to deliver our goods under our own flag. We could not and should not depend on the strained resources of our friends to deliver our goods "nor should we be forced to masquerade American-owned ships behind the flags of our sister republics". By keeping our ships out of the ports of our own friends we were inviting control of the seas by the aggressors. The President asked that Congress carry out the true intent of the Lend-Lease Act by making it possible for the United States to help deliver the articles to those who were in a position effectively to use them. It was our duty as never before, he said, to extend more and more assistance and ever more swiftly to Great Britain, to Russia, and to all peoples fighting slavery; we would not let Hitler prescribe the waters of the world on which our ships might travel. We could not permit the affirmative defense of our rights to be annulled by sections of the Neutrality Act "which have no realism in the light of unscrupulous ambition of madmen". (242)
Shortly after the President's delivery of this message, Secretary Hull made a statement before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in support of the proposal for modifying the Neutrality Act of 1939. At the outset of this statement of October 21 he said: The "paramount principle of national policy is the preservation of the safety and security of the nation"; the "highest right flowing from that principle is the right of self-defense"; this right "must now be invoked"; the key to that defense under existing conditions was to prevent Hitler from gaining control of the seas.
The Secretary reaffirmed that Hitler and his satellites were seeking to control the seas, particularly to sever the sea lanes which linked the United States "to the remaining free peoples". He believed, he said, that an indispensable part of our policy must be resolute self-defense on the high seas and that this called especially for protection of shipping on open sea lanes. When American ships were being
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
"wantonly and unlawfully attacked with complete disregard of life and property" it was absurd to forego any legitimate measures that might be helpful toward self-defense. One of the greatest mistakes we could possibly make would be to base our policy upon an assumption that we were secure when, if the assumption should prove erroneous, the consequence thereof would "lay us completely open to hostile invasion". (243)
The Congress passed, and the President approved on November 17, 1941, a joint resolution repealing sections 2, 3, and 6 of the Neutrality Act of 1939, thereby permitting United States vessels to be armed and to carry cargoes to belligerent ports anywhere. (249)
"We Americans Have Cleared Our Decks and Taken Our Battle Stations"
Meanwhile, on October 17, 1941 the United States destroyer Kearny had been attacked and hit by a torpedo from a Nazi submarine and eleven men of the Navy were killed. President Roosevelt said in an address on October 27 that we had wished to avoid shooting but the shooting had begun and "history has recorded who fired the first shot". The purpose of Hitler's attack was, he said, to frighten the American people off the high seas; if our national policy were to be dominated by the fear of shooting, then all of our ships and those of the other American republics would have to be tied up in home harbors. Naturally we rejected that "absurd and insulting suggestion". Each day we were producing and providing more and more arms for the men who were fighting on actual battlefronts; it was this nation's will that these vital arms and supplies of all kinds should neither be locked up in American harbors nor sent to the bottom of the sea; it was the nation's will that "America shall deliver the goods". He emphasized that the orders to the United States Navy "to shoot on sight" were still in effect.
The forward march of Hitler and of Hitlerism could be stopped, the President said, and would be stopped; we were pledged to pull our own oar in the destruction of Hitlerism; when we had helped to end the curse of Hitlerism we would help to establish "a new peace which will give to decent people everywhere a better chance to live and prosper in security and in freedom and in faith".
The President concluded his address with a statement that in the face of this newest and greatest challenge "we Americans have cleared our decks and taken our battle stations"; we stood ready "in the defense of our nation and the faith of our fathers to do what God has given us the power to see as our full duty". (244)
DISCUSSIONS WITH JAPAN 1941
Secretary Hull's Statement on Japanese Aggression, January 15
SECRETARY HULL discussed Japan's actions in the Far East, on January 15, 1941, at a hearing of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives on the Lend-Lease bill. The Secretary recounted the various steps in Japan's program of expansion, including the conquest of Manchuria, the denunciation of the naval treaty of 1922, the intensified construction of military and naval armaments, and the large-scale military operations against China which had begun in July 1937. He said it was clear that "Japan has been actuated from the start by broad and ambitious plans for establishing herself in a dominant position in the entire region of the Western Pacific"; that Japan's leaders had openly declared their intention to achieve and maintain that position by force of arms and thus to make themselves masters of an area containing almost one half of the entire population of the world.
The Secretary said that notwithstanding the course which Japan had followed during recent years, the United States Government had made repeated efforts to persuade Japan that its best interests lay in the development of friendly relations with the United States and with other countries which believed in orderly and peaceful international processes. (195)
Report That Japan Might Attack Pearl Harbor
Ambassador Grew reported to the Department of State on January 27, 1941 that one of his diplomatic colleagues had told a member of the Embassy staff that there were reports from many sources, including a Japanese source, that Japanese military forces planned a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor in case of "trouble" with the United States. (196)
Arrival of Ambassador Nomura
Shortly thereafter the new Japanese Ambassador, Admiral Nomura, presented his credentials to President Roosevelt, and on March 8, 1941 Secretary Hull had his first extended conversation with the Ambassador. The Secretary pointed out that the efforts of the United States to bring about organization of the world along liberal commer-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
cial lines had been impeded by movements of military conquest in various parts of the world. He inquired of the Ambassador whether the military groups in control of the Japanese Government could possibly expect the United States "to sit absolutely quiet while two or three nations before our very eyes organized naval and military forces and went out and conquered the balance of the earth, including the seven seas and all trade routes and the other four continents". The Secretary inquired further what would countries like the United States gain by remaining complacent in the face of a movement to substitute force and conquest for law and justice. The Ambassador sought to minimize the view that such military conquest was in the mind of his Government, and he said that embargoes by the United States were of increasing concern to Japan and that he did not believe there would be any further military movements by the Japanese Government unless compelled by the policy of increasing embargoes on the part of the United States. Secretary Hull replied that this was a matter entirely in the hands of the Japanese Government because Japan had taken the initiative in military expansion and seizure of territory, thereby creating an increasing concern on the part of the United States and other countries as to the full extent of Japan's contemplated conquests by force. He referred to the terms of the Tripartite Pact and to public declarations of Hitler and of Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka that their countries were out to establish by military force a new world order under their control. The Secretary said that, whatever interpretation the Ambassador might give these statements and military activities in harmony with them, the people of the United States had become thoroughly aroused and viewed with most serious concern the German and Japanese movements to take charge of the seas and the other continents for their own arbitrary control and pecuniary profit at the expense of the welfare of all of the victims of such a course. He said that these apprehensions would remain so long as Hitler continued his "avowed course of unlimited conquest and tyrannical rule and so long as the Japanese Army and Navy increase their occupation by force of other and distant areas". (199)
Meanwhile, reports had been received in the United States that elements in the Japanese Government and certain private groups in Japan would welcome negotiations between the two Governments looking toward a settlement of the issues between the United States and Japan.
PEACE AND WAR
President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hull well realized the probability that Japan had already gone so far in a policy of conquest that it would be impossible to persuade her to stop. Nevertheless, entertainment of even a faint hope that there might be worked out a fair and peaceful settlement in the Far Eastern area impelled this Government to agree to participate in exploratory conversations in order to ascertain whether there was sufficient agreement on basic issues to warrant entry upon more formal negotiations. Furthermore, there was the desirability of guarding against Japanese advances upon the relatively weak defenses of United States territory in the western Pacific and of territory of friendly nations in that area.
Accordingly, in the spring of 1941 the Secretary of State and the Japanese Ambassador began a series of conversations in which they discussed the issues between the two countries. In a conversation on May 11 Secretary Hull told Ambassador Nomura that if Japan really desired a settlement of the Pacific situation on a basis of peace and friendliness, there should be no serious difficulty. The Secretary inquired why it was that Japan persisted in using the slogan "New Order in Greater East Asia" unless Japan was using it as a cloak to continue her policy of conquest by force. He repeated that we were profoundly convinced that Hitlerism would prove not only a "scourge" to other parts of the world, as it had in Europe, but that it would be applied to Japan herself just as quickly as it had been applied to countries in Europe which had trusted Hitler. The Ambassador said that it would be "an incalculable loss to both Japan and the United States, as well as to civilization, if our two countries should become engaged in war". The Secretary rejoined that unless the civilization of the world was to run the great risk of being destroyed by Hitler, the united efforts of nations like Japan, the United States, and Great Britain would be required to shape the course of the world in a different direction. He said that steps looking toward the gradual development of basic programs for both the transition and the post-war periods could not be taken too soon. He re-emphasized that the United States was determined that Hitler should not get control of the seas, and that we should feel obliged to resist indefinitely such effort on Hitler's part. Since Hitler had avowed his movement to be one for world control, the United States did not, he said, propose to commit suicide as so many countries in continental Europe had done, by trusting Hitler and waiting until it was too late to resist; we proposed to resist when and where such resistance would be most
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
effective, whether within our own boundaries, on the high seas, or in aid of such countries as Great Britain. (208)
Japanese Proposal of May 12
On the following day, May 12, 1941, the Japanese Ambassador handed to the Secretary of State, as under instruction from his Government, a proposal for a general settlement between the United States and Japan. This proposal served to reveal authoritatively for the first time what the Japanese Government had in mind as a basis for agreement.
The proposal contained in the beginning a statement expressing the hope that "our nations may establish a just peace in the Pacific". It stated that the Tripartite Pact was "defensive and designed to prevent the nations which are not at present directly affected by the European war from engaging in it". It included an undertaking by the United States forthwith to "request the Chiang Kai-shek regime to negotiate peace with Japan". The Japanese stated that the United States would be expected also to "discontinue her assistance to the Chiang Kai-shek regime" in case the latter should decline to enter into such negotiations. They explained also that Japan's attitude toward China would include the principles of neighborly friendship; no annexations and no indemnities; independence of "Manchukuo"; mutual respect of sovereignty and territories; "withdrawal of Japanese troops from Chinese territory in accordance with an agreement to be concluded between Japan and China"; and joint defense against communism, which would involve the right of Japan to station troops in Chinese territory. The Japanese proposal contained also a mutual undertaking by the United States and Japan that each would supply the commodities which the other required; a mutual undertaking that steps would be taken to bring about resumption of normal trade relations between the two countries; and an undertaking by the United States that as "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". The proposal also contained an undertaking that the United States and Japan should "jointly guarantee the independence of the Philippine Islands on the condition that the Philippine Islands shall maintain a status of permanent neutrality". (209)
PEACE AND WAR
United States Proposal of June 21
Although the Japanese Ambassador constantly professed his Government's desire to adopt peaceful courses and although the general provisions of the Japanese proposal of May 12 contained affirmations of Japan's peaceful intent, the Japanese Government insisted upon maintaining its alignment with the Axis, insisted upon the stationing of an unspecified number of Japanese troops in large areas of China for an indefinite period, refused to commit itself to a policy precluding the retention by Japan of a preferential economic position in China and in the western Pacific, and refused to commit itself unreservedly to a general policy of peace. It was felt by the United States Government that an explicit understanding on these points was necessary in view of Japan's current course and in view of repeated affirmations by many responsible Japanese officials, including Foreign Minister Matsuoka, of Japan's determination to pursue a policy of cooperation with its Axis partners.
The Secretary of State, on June 21, 1941, handed to the Japanese Ambassador a document containing a comprehensive statement of the attitude of the United States. This included a proposal of the following points: 1. Affirmation by both Governments that their national policies were directed toward the foundation of a lasting peace and the inauguration of a new era of reciprocal confidence and cooperation between the two peoples. 2. A suggested formula that the "Government of Japan maintains that the purpose of the Tripartite Pact was, and is, defensive and is designed to contribute to the prevention of an unprovoked extension of the European war" and that the "Government of the United States maintains that its attitude toward the European hostilities is and will continue to be determined solely and exclusively by considerations of protection and self-defense". (For an explanation of the United States concept of self-defense, the Japanese, in a separate statement, were referred to Secretary Hull's address of April 24, 1941; see p. 104.) 3. A suggestion by the United States to China that China and Japan enter into negotiations, provided that Japan first communicate to and discuss with the United States the general terms which Japan contemplated proposing to China. 4. Mutual assurances by the United States and Japan that each would supply the other with such commodities as were required and were available and that steps would be taken to resume normal trade relations between the two countries. 5. Provision for cooperation between the two countries toward obtaining non-discriminatory access by peaceful means to supplies of natural
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
resources which each needed. 6. A mutual affirmation that the basic policy of each country was one of peace throughout the Pacific area and a mutual disclaimer of territorial designs there. 7. A provision that Japan declare its willingness to negotiate with the United States, at such time as the latter might desire, with a view to concluding a treaty for the neutralization of the Philippine Islands, when Philippine independence should have been achieved. (213)
Report of Japanese Plan To Attack Russia
On June 22, 1941 Hitler launched his invasion of Russia. Several days later, on July 4, a message was sent by this Government to the Japanese Prime Minister referring to reports which were being received from varied sources that Japan had decided to attack Russia. The message stated that such military conquest and aggression would destroy our hope that peace in the Pacific might not be disturbed anew but rather might be reinforced; that it was our sincere hope that such reports were incorrect; and that assurances to this effect by the Japanese Government would be appreciated. (215)
The Japanese reply of July 8, 1941 was to the effect that prevention of the European war from spreading to the regions of Greater East Asia and preservation of peace in the Pacific area had always been the sincere and genuine desire of the Japanese Government; that the Japanese Government had not so far considered the possibility of joining the hostilities against the Soviet Union. (217)
Japanese Occupation of Southern Indochina
Even before this time the United States Government had received reports that a Japanese military movement into southern Indochina was imminent. This Government brought these reports to the attention of the Japanese Ambassador at Washington, pointing out the inconsistency between such a military movement and the discussions which were then proceeding looking toward the conclusion of an agreement for peace in the Pacific. About July 22, as a result of pressure exerted by Axis authorities upon the Vichy Government, Japan was granted by the French the right to maintain troops and establish air and naval bases in southern Indochina. In explanation of this action the Japanese Ambassador informed Acting Secretary of State Welles on July 23 that Japan must be assured of an uninterrupted source of supply of rice and raw materials and other foodstuffs, whose flow to Japan might be obstructed by Chinese and DeGaullist activities
PEACE AND WAR
in southern Indochina; and that the step taken was a safeguard against a policy of encircling Japan on which the latter believed certain powers were intent. The Acting Secretary replied that any agreement which might have been concluded between the French Government at Vichy and Japan could only have resulted from pressure exerted on Vichy by Germany; therefore, it was our judgment that this agreement could only be looked upon as offering assistance to Germany's policy of world domination and conquest. He pointed out that the conclusion of the agreement which had been under discussion by the Secretary of State and the Ambassador would bring about a far greater measure of economic security to Japan than she could gain by occupation of Indochina. He said further that the policy of the United States was the opposite of an encirclement policy or of any policy which would be a threat to Japan; that Japan was not menaced by the policy of Great Britain and if an agreement had been concluded, Great Britain, the British Dominions, China, and the Netherlands would have joined the United States and Japan in support of the underlying principles stood for by the United States; that the United States could only regard the action of Japan as constituting notice that Japan intended to pursue a policy of force and conquest, and must assume that Japan was taking the last step before proceeding on a policy of expansion and conquest in the region of the South Seas. Finally, the Acting Secretary said that in these circumstances the Secretary of State-with whom he had talked a few minutes before-could not see any basis for pursuing further the conversations in which the Secretary and the Ambassador had been engaged. (218)
On the following day, July 24, 1941, the Acting Secretary, Mr. Welles, stated to the press that the Japanese Government was giving clear indication that it was determined to pursue an objective of expansion by force or threat of force; that there was no apparent valid ground upon which the Japanese Government would be warranted in occupying Indochina or establishing bases in that area as measures of self-defense; that there was not the slightest ground for belief that the United States, Great Britain, or the Netherlands had any territorial ambitions in Indochina or had been planning any moves which could be regarded as threats to Japan; that this Government could only conclude that the action of Japan was undertaken because of the estimated value to Japan of bases in that region primarily for purposes of further movements of conquest in adjacent areas. The Acting Secretary went on to say that these Japanese actions endangered the use of the Pacific by peaceful nations; that these actions
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
tended to jeopardize the procurement by the United States of essential materials such as tin and rubber, which were necessary in our defense program; and that the steps which Japan was taking endangered the safety of other areas of the Pacific, including the Philippine Islands. (219)
On the afternoon of that same day, July 24, 1941, President Roosevelt received the Japanese Ambassador. The President told the Ambassador that the new move by Japan in Indochina created an exceedingly serious problem for the United States. The President said that the Japanese Government surely could not have the slightest belief that China, Great Britain, the Netherlands, or the United States had any territorial designs on Indochina or were in the slightest degree providing any real threats of aggression against Japan. This Government consequently could only assume that the occupation of Indochina "was being undertaken by Japan for the purpose of further offense".
The President then made a proposal that if the Japanese Government would refrain from occupying Indochina with its military and naval forces, or, had these steps actually been commenced, if the Japanese Government would withdraw such forces, the President would do everything within his power to obtain from the Governments of China, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and of course the United States, a binding declaration, provided Japan would make a similar commitment, to regard Indochina as a neutralized area. This would imply that the powers concerned would not undertake any military act of aggression against Indochina and would not exercise any military control within or over Indochina. The President would further endeavor to procure from the other interested powers a guaranty that so long as the existing emergency continued, the local French authorities in Indochina would remain in control of the territory. If these steps were taken, the President said, Japan would be given binding proof that no other power had any hostile designs on Indochina and that Japan would be afforded the fullest and freest opportunity of assuring for itself a source of food supplies and other raw materials which-according to Japan's accounts-Japan was seeking to secure.
The President then said that it was believed in the United States that such policies as Japan was pursuing were due to German pressure upon Japan; that the Japanese Government did not understand as clearly as we that Hitler was bent upon world domination; that if Germany succeeded in defeating Russia and dominating Europe and Africa, Germany thereafter would turn her attention to the Far East
PEACE AND WAR
and to the Western Hemisphere; and that it was entirely possible that after some years the Navies of Japan and of the United States would be cooperating against Hitler as a common enemy.
In the course of this conversation the President reminded the Japanese Ambassador that the United States had been permitting oil to be exported from the United States to Japan; that this had been done because we realized that if these oil supplies had been shut off or restricted the Japanese Government and people would have used this as an incentive or pretext for moving down upon the Netherlands Indies in order to assure themselves of a greater oil supply; that the United States had been pursuing this policy primarily for the purpose of doing its utmost to preserve peace in the Pacific region; that our citizens were unable to understand why, at a time when they were asked to curtail their use of gasoline, the United States should be permitting oil supplies to go to Japan when Japan had given every indication of pursuing a policy of force and conquest in conjunction with the policy of world conquest and domination being carried on by Hitler. The President said that if Japan attempted to seize oil supplies by force in the Netherlands Indies, the latter would undoubtedly resist, the British would immediately come to their assistance, and war would then result. In view of our own policy of assisting Great Britain, "an exceedingly serious situation would immediately result". The President stated that with these facts in mind oil had up to this time been permitted to be shipped from the United States to Japan, notwithstanding the bitter criticism leveled against the administration. (220)
President Roosevelt discussed this question in an informal talk at the White House on July 24. He explained the essential necessity, from the standpoint of our own defense and of that of Great Britain, of preventing war from breaking out in the South Pacific. He said that if oil supplies from the United States had been cut off, Japan probably would have attacked the Netherlands Indies to obtain oil and war would have resulted; that the policy of the United States in allowing oil to go to Japan had succeeded in keeping war out of the South Pacific, "for our own good, for the good of the defense of Great Britain, and the freedom of the seas". (221)
Freezing of Japanese Assets in the United States
The Japanese move into southern Indochina, in disregard of the entire spirit underlying the exploratory conversations, was unmistakably an overt and flagrant act of aggression. Japan's constant
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
expansion of its military position in the southwest Pacific had already substantially imperiled the security of the United States along with that of other powers. By this further expansion of its field of aggression Japan virtually completed the encirclement of the Philippine Islands and placed its armed forces within striking distance of vital trade routes. This created a situation in which the risk of war became so great that the United States and other countries concerned were confronted no longer with the question of avoiding such risk but from then on with the problem of preventing a complete undermining of their security. In these circumstances the Government of the United States decided at that point, as did certain other governments especially concerned, that discontinuance of trade with Japan had become an appropriate, warranted, and necessary step-as a warning to Japan and as a measure of self-defense.
On July 26, 1941 President Roosevelt issued an Executive order freezing Japanese assets in the United States. This order brought under control of the Government all financial and import and export trade transactions in which Japanese interests were involved, and the effect of this was to bring about very soon the virtual cessation of trade between the United States and Japan. (222)
Japanese Proposal of August 6
Notwithstanding the President's proposal of July 24 for the neutralization of Indochina, Japanese forces continued to move into southern Indochina. Not until August 6 was a reply received to the President's proposal. On that day the Japanese Ambassador presented a counter-proposal, according to which his Government would undertake not further to station its troops in the southwestern Pacific areas, except French Indochina; would withdraw the troops then stationed in French Indochina after settlement of the "China incident"; would guarantee the neutrality of the Philippine Islands "at an opportune time"; and would cooperate with the United States in the production and procurement of such natural resources as were required by the United States. According to this counter-proposal, the United States on its part would suspend its "military measures" in the southwestern Pacific areas and, upon the successful conclusion of the conversations, would advise the Governments of Great Britain and of the Netherlands to take similar steps; would cooperate with the Japanese Government in the production and procurement of natural resources required by Japan in the southwestern Pacific areas; would take steps necessary for restoring normal trade relations between the
PEACE AND WAR
United States and Japan; would use its good offices for the initiation of direct negotiations between the Japanese Government and "the Chiang Kai-shek regime" for the purpose of a speedy settlement of the China incident; and would recognize a special status for Japan in French Indochina, even after the withdrawal of Japanese troops from that area. On presenting this proposal the Japanese Ambassador explained that the Japanese measures taken in Indochina were absolutely necessary "to prevent from getting beyond control the Japanese public opinion which had been dangerously aroused because of the successive measures taken by the United States, Great Britain and Netherlands East Indies against Japan". (223)
The Japanese counter-proposal disregarded the President's suggestion for the neutralization of Indochina and attempted to take full advantage-military, political, and economic-of the Japanese fait accompli in occupying southern Indochina. On August 8, 1941 the Secretary of State informed the Japanese Ambassador that Japan's counter-proposal could not be considered as responsive to the President's proposal. The Ambassador then inquired whether it might be possible to arrange for a meeting of the responsible heads of the two Governments to discuss means of adjusting relations between the two countries. (224, 226)
United States - British Collaboration
During a conversation between Secretary Hull and the British Ambassador on August 9, 1941 the Secretary referred to the Japanese plan "to invade by force the whole of the Indian Ocean and the islands and continents adjacent thereto, isolating China, sailing across probably to the mouth of the Suez Canal, to the Persian Gulf oil area, to the Cape of Good Hope area, thereby blocking by a military despotism the trade routes and the supply sources to the British". The Secretary said that this broad military occupation would perhaps be even more damaging to British defense in Europe than any other step short of a German crossing of the Channel; that this Government visualized these broad conditions and the problems of resistance which they presented; that the activities of the United States in the way of discouraging this Japanese movement and of resistance would be more or less affected by the British defensive situation in Europe and hence by the number of United States naval vessels and other United States aid that might be needed by Great Britain at the same time. The Secretary said that in the event of further Japanese movements south this Government and the British Government
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
should naturally have a conference at once; this Government would then be able to determine more definitely and in detail its position as to resistance. (226)
During the August 1941 conference between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill of Great Britain the situation in the Far East was discussed, and it was agreed that the United States and Great Britain should take parallel action in warning Japan against new moves of aggression. It was agreed also that the United States should continue its conversations with the Japanese Government and by such means offer Japan a reasonable and just alternative to the course upon which that country was embarked.
Warning to Japan
President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull conferred with the Japanese Ambassador on August 17. The President handed the Ambassador a document stating that notwithstanding the efforts of the United States to reach a sound basis for negotiations between the two countries for the maintenance of peace with order and justice in the Pacific, the Government of Japan had continued its military activities and its disposals of armed forces at various points in the Far East and had occupied Indochina with its military, air, and naval forces. Therefore, the statement continued, the Government of the United States "finds it necessary to say to the Government of Japan that if the Japanese Government takes any further steps in pursuance of a policy or program of military domination by forge or threat of force of neighboring countries, the Government of the United States will be compelled to take immediately any and all steps which it may deem necessary toward safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the United States and American nationals and toward insuring the safety and security of the United States".
The President also handed Ambassador Nomura a document in reply to a request which the Ambassador had made of the Secretary of State for a resumption of conversations and to the Ambassador's suggestion, advanced on August 8, that President Roosevelt and the Japanese Prime Minister meet with a view to discussing means for an adjustment in relations between the United States and Japan. In this document it was stated that in case Japan desired and was in a position to suspend its expansionist activities, to readjust its position, and to embark upon a peaceful program for the Pacific along the lines of the program and principles to which the United States was committed, the Government of the United States would be prepared to
PEACE AND WAR
consider resumption of the informal exploratory discussions. It was also stated that before renewal of the conversations or proceeding with plans for a meeting of the heads of the two Governments, it would be helpful if the Japanese Government would furnish a clearer statement of its present attitude and plans. The President said to the Ambassador that "we could not think of reopening the conversations" if the Japanese Government continued its movement of force and conquest. (228)
Proposed Meeting of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Konoye
Ten days later Prime Minister Konoye of Japan sent to President Roosevelt a message which was delivered by the Japanese Ambassador on August 28, 1941, urging that a meeting between President Roosevelt and himself be arranged as soon as possible for a frank exchange of views. The Prime Minister said in this message that the idea of continuing preliminary informal conversations and of having their conclusion confirmed by the responsible heads of the two Governments did not meet the need of the existing situation, which was developing swiftly and which might produce unforeseen contingencies; that he considered it, therefore, of urgent necessity that the heads of the two Governments meet first to discuss from a broad standpoint all important problems between Japan and the United States covering the entire Pacific area. (230)
Accompanying the Prime Minister's message was a statement by the Japanese Government giving assurances that Japan was seeking a program for the Pacific area consistent with the principles to which the United States Government had long been committed. However, the statement contained qualifications to the following effect: The Japanese Government was prepared to withdraw its troops from Indochina "as soon as the China incident is settled or a just peace is established in East Asia"; Japan would take no military action against the Soviet Union so long as the Soviet Union remained faithful to the Soviet-Japanese neutrality treaty and did "not menace Japan or Manchukuo or take any action contrary to the spirit of the said treaty"; the Japanese Government had no intention of using, "without provocation", military force against any neighboring nation.
In a conversation with Secretary Hull on the same day, Ambassador Nomura said that the Prime Minister would probably proceed to the proposed meeting in a Japanese warship and would probably be assisted by a staff of officials from the Foreign Office, the Army,
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
the Navy, and the Japanese Embassy at Washington. The Ambassador thought that the inclusion of Japanese Army and Navy representatives would be "especially beneficial in view of the responsibility which they would share for the settlement reached". He said his Government was very anxious that the meeting be held at the earliest possible moment in view of the efforts of a "third country" and "fifth-columnists in Japan" to disturb Japanese-American relations.
In the same conversation Secretary Hull pointed out to the Ambassador the desirability of reaching an agreement in principle on the main issues prior to a meeting of President Roosevelt and the Japanese Prime Minister. He said that should such a meeting be a failure the consequences would be serious and that, therefore, its purpose should be the ratification of essential points agreed upon in advance. (231)
In a reply of September 3 to the Prime Minister's message President Roosevelt stated that he was very desirous of collaborating with the Prime Minister; that he could not avoid taking cognizance of indications in some quarters of Japan of concepts which seemed capable of raising obstacles to successful collaboration between the President and the Prime Minister; that in these circumstances precaution should be taken toward insuring that the proposed meeting prove a success, by endeavoring to enter immediately upon preliminary discussions of the fundamental and essential questions on which agreement was sought; that these questions involved practical application of the principles fundamental to the achievement and maintenance of peace. The President repeated the four principles regarded by this Government as the foundation upon which relations between nations should properly rest: respect for the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of each and all nations; support of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries; support of the principle of equality, including equality of commercial opportunity; non-disturbance of the status quo in the Pacific except as the status quo might be altered by peaceful means. (232)
On September 6 Ambassador Grew reported by telegram that Prime Minister Konoye had said that from the beginning of the informal conversations in Washington he had had the warmest support of the responsible Japanese Army and Navy leaders. The Prime Minister also said that the Minister of War had agreed to have a full general accompany the Prime Minister to the conference; that the Navy had agreed to send a full admiral; and that the Army and Navy vice Chiefs of Staff and other high officers who were in full sympathy with the Prime Minister's aims would also go. (233)
PEACE AND WAR
In considering the Japanese proposal for a meeting between President Roosevelt and the Japanese Prime Minister this Government took into consideration that during the exploratory conversations up to this time Japan had evidenced an intention to continue its program of aggression and domination in the Far East. This Government had in mind that the Prime Minister, Prince Konoye, who would attend the meeting, had headed the Japanese Government in 1937 when Japan attacked China; that he had proclaimed and given publicity to the basic principles which the Japanese Government presumably would insist upon in any peace agreement with China; that the Japanese Government had shown in the "treaty" which Japan had concluded in November 1940 with the Japanese puppet regime at Nanking how it proposed to apply these principles. This "treaty" contained provisions that Japan should, "in order to carry out the defence against communistic activities through collaboration of the two countries, station required forces in specified areas of Mengchiang and of North China for the necessary duration"; that China should "recognize that Japan may, in accordance with previous practices or in order to preserve the common interests of the two countries, station for a required duration its naval units and vessels in specified areas within the territory of the Republic of China"; that "while considering the requirements of China, the Government of the Republic of China shall afford positive and full facilities to Japan and Japanese subjects" with respect to the utilization of resources.
This Government also had in mind that the military element in Japan, which would be heavily represented at the proposed conference, had been responsible for carrying on Japan's program of aggression since 1931 and that the Japanese military leaders had caused the Japanese Government to maintain in the conversations a rigid attitude and position.
Furthermore, if the proposed meeting accomplished no more than the endorsement of general principles, the Japanese Government would be free to make its own interpretation of those principles in their actual application. If the meeting ended without agreement the Japanese military leaders would be in a position to represent to their country that the United States was responsible for the failure of the meeting.
In view of all these factors, this Government could not but feel that there was scant hope that the Japanese Government could be persuaded to undergo a change of attitude and that in any case it was essential to determine in advance of a meeting between the responsible
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
heads of the two Governments whether there was in fact any basis for agreement.
Japanese Proposal of September 6
On September 6, 1941 the Japanese Ambassador handed to the Secretary of State a revised proposal. In that proposal it was stated that: 1. Japan would not make any military advance from French Indochina against any adjoining areas, and likewise would not, "without any justifiable reason", resort to military action against any regions lying south of Japan. 2. The attitudes of Japan and the United States toward the European war would be "decided by the concepts of protection and self-defense, and, in case the United States should participate in the European war, the interpretation and execution of the Tripartite Pact by Japan shall be independently decided". (The Japanese Ambassador said that the formulae contained in points 1 and 2 represented the maximum that Japan could offer at that time.) 3. Japan would "endeavor to bring about the rehabilitation of general and normal relationship between Japan and China, upon the realization of which Japan is ready to withdraw its armed forces from China as soon as possible in accordance with the agreements between Japan and China". 4. The economic activities of the United States in China would "not be restricted so long as pursued on an equitable basis". 5. Japanese activities in the southwestern Pacific area would be carried on by peaceful means and in accordance with the principle of non-discrimination in international commerce, and Japan would cooperate in the production and procurement by the United States of needed natural resources in the said area. 6. Japan would take measures necessary for the resumption of normal trade relations between Japan and the United States. On its part the United States would undertake: to "abstain from any measures and actions which will be prejudicial to the endeavour by Japan concerning the settlement of the China Affair" (Ambassador Grew was informed by the Japanese Foreign Minister that this point referred to United States aid to Chiang Kai-shek); to reciprocate Japan's commitment expressed in point 5 referred to above; to "suspend any military measures" in the Far East and in the southwestern Pacific area; and to reciprocate immediately Japan's commitment expressed in point 6 above. (234)
Some of the Japanese provisions were equivocal and ambiguous and some indicated a disposition by the Japanese Government to narrow down and limit the application of the fundamental principles with which the Japanese professed in the abstract to agree. The revised
PEACE AND WAR
proposals were much narrower than would have been expected from the assurances given in the statement communicated to President Roosevelt on August 28.
On September 6 Ambassador Grew reported that it had been revealed in his talk with Prince Konoye on that day that the Prime Minister and therefore the Japanese Government wholeheartedly subscribed to the four points considered by the United States Government essential as a basis for satisfactory reconstruction of United States-Japanese relations. These had been set out in President Roosevelt's reply of September 3 to the Prime Minister's message. However, the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs informed Ambassador Grew some time later that although Prince Konoye had "in principle" accepted the four points, the Prime Minister had indicated that some adjustment would be required in applying them to actual conditions.
Throughout September 1941 the Japanese Government continued to urge upon the United States an early meeting between the President and the Japanese Prime Minister. On September 23 the Japanese Ambassador told Secretary Hull that such a meeting would have a psychological effect in Japan by setting Japan on a new course; that it would counteract the influence of pro-Axis elements in Japan and provide support for the elements desiring peaceful relations with the United States. During a conversation with Secretary Hull on September 29 the Ambassador said that if the proposed meeting should not take place it might be difficult for the Konoye regime to stay in office and that if it fell it was likely to be followed by a less moderate government. The Ambassador handed to Secretary Hull a paper expressing the views of the Japanese Government on the proposed meeting. In this it was stated that the meeting would "mark an epochal turn for good in Japanese-American relations"; that should the meeting not take place there might never be another opportunity and the repercussions might be "most unfortunate". It stated that the ship to carry the Prime Minister was ready; that his suite, including a full general and a full admiral, had been privately appointed; that the party was prepared to depart at any moment. Finally, it stated that any further delay in arranging for the meeting would put the Japanese Government in a "very delicate position" and again emphasized that there was urgent necessity for holding the meeting at the earliest possible date. (237, 239)
The reply of the United States to the Japanese proposal of September 6, 1941 was contained in a statement made by Secretary Hull to the Japanese Ambassador on October 2. After reviewing the
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
progress of the course of the conversations thus far, the Secretary stated that a clear-cut manifestation of Japan's intention in regard to the withdrawal of Japanese troops from China and French Indochina would be most helpful in making known Japan's peaceful intentions and Japan's desire to follow courses calculated to establish a sound basis for future stability and progress in the Pacific area. The Secretary said that the United States Government had welcomed the suggestion for a meeting of the heads of the two Governments, but while desiring to proceed with arrangements as soon as possible, felt that clarification of certain principles was necessary to insure the success of the meeting. He remarked that from what the Japanese Government had indicated, it contemplated a program in which the basic principles put forward by the United States would in their application be circumscribed by qualifications and exceptions. Secretary Hull asked whether, in view of these circumstances, the Japanese Government felt that the proposed meeting would be likely to contribute to the advancement of the high purposes which the two Governments mutually had in mind. He repeated the view of the United States that renewed consideration of the fundamental principles would be helpful in seeking a meeting of minds on the essential questions and laying a firm foundation for the meeting.
The Japanese Ambassador, after reading this statement, expressed the fear that his Government would be disappointed, because of its earnest desire to hold the meeting. Secretary Hull replied that we had no desire to cause any delay but felt there should be a meeting of minds on the essential points before the meeting between the President and the Prime Minister was held. (240, 241)
The conversations between the Secretary of State and the Japanese Ambassador at Washington continued, but the issues between the Governments appeared no nearer settlement. The chief questions on which agreement seemed impossible were Japanese obligations to Germany and Italy under the Tripartite Pact; the question of adherence by Japan to a basic course of peace; and the terms of settlement of the conflict between Japan and China, particularly the matter of the evacuation of Japanese troops from China. In regard to the last point this Government throughout the negotiations maintained that any settlement involving China must provide fully for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country; otherwise there would be no prospect of stable peace in the Pacific area. With reference to the Tripartite Pact, there was implicit throughout the discussions a Japanese threat that if the United States should become
PEACE AND WAR
involved in war with Germany the Japanese Government, in accordance with the terms of the pact, would make war on the United States.
Ambassador Grew's Report That War Might Be "Inevitable"
In a telegram of November 3, 1941 Ambassador Grew reported to the Department of State on the current situation in Japan. He warned against acceptance of any theory that the weakening and final exhaustion of Japanese financial and economic resources would result shortly in Japan's collapse as a militarist nation. He pointed out that despite severe cuts in industrial output, the loss of most of Japan's commerce, and the depletion of national resources, such a collapse had not occurred; but instead there was being drastically prosecuted the integration of Japanese national economy. Events so far, he said, had given no support for the view that war in the Far East could best be averted by imposition of commercial embargoes. He said that considering the temper of the people of Japan it was dangerously uncertain to base United States policy on a view that the imposition of progressive and rigorous economic measures would probably avert war; that it was the view of the Embassy that war would not be averted by such a course.
The Ambassador said it was his purpose to insure against the United States becoming involved in war with Japan through any misconception of Japanese capacity to plunge into a "suicidal struggle" with us. Although reason, he said, would dictate against such a happening, our own standards of logic could not be used to measure Japanese rationality. While we need not be overly concerned by the "bellicose" utterances of the Japanese press, it would be short-sighted to underestimate the obvious preparations of Japan; it would be short-sighted also if our policy were based on a belief that these preparations amounted merely to saber rattling. Finally, he warned of the possibility of Japan's adopting measures with dramatic and dangerous suddenness which might make inevitable a war with the United States. (245)
Four days later, on November 7, Secretary Hull stated at a Cabinet meeting that relations between Japan and the United States were extremely critical and that there was "imminent possibility" that Japan might at any time start a new military movement of conquest by force. It thereupon became the consensus of the Cabinet that the critical situation might well be emphasized in speeches in order that the country would, if possible, be better prepared for such a development. Accordingly, Secretary of the Navy Knox delivered an address
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
on November 11, 1941 in which he stated that we were not only confronted with the necessity of extreme measures of self-defense in the Atlantic, but we were "likewise faced with grim possibilities on the other side of the world-on the far side of the Pacific", that the Pacific no less than the Atlantic called for instant readiness for defense. On the same day Under Secretary of State Welles, carrying out the Cabinet suggestion in an address, stated that beyond the Atlantic a sinister and pitiless conqueror had reduced more than half of Europe to abject serfdom and that in the Far East the same forces of conquest were menacing the safety of all nations bordering on the Pacific. The waves of world conquest were "breaking high both in the East and in the West", he said, and were threatening, more and more with each passing day, "to engulf our own shores". He warned that the United States was in far greater peril than in 1917; that "at any moment war may be forced upon us". (247, 248)
On November 17 Ambassador Grew cabled from Tokyo that in calling attention to the necessity for vigilance against sudden Japanese naval or military attack in regions not then involved in the Chinese-Japanese conflict, he considered it probable that the Japanese would make use of every possible tactical advantage, including surprise and initiative. The Ambassador said that in Japan there was an extremely effective control over military information and that as a consequence it was unlikely that the Embassy would be able to give substantial warning. (250)
Kurusu Sent to Washington
Early in November the Japanese Government informed this Government that it desired to send Mr. Saburo Kurusu to Washington to assist Ambassador Nomura in the conversations. This Government at once responded favorably and, upon request by the Japanese Government, facilitated Mr. Kurusu's journey by arranging that priority passage be given him and his secretary on a United States trans-Pacific plane and that the scheduled departure of the plane from Hong Kong be delayed until Mr. Kurusu could reach Hong Kong from Tokyo.
President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull conferred with Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu on November 17. It soon became clear in the course of this and subsequent conversations that Mr. Kurusu had brought no new material or plans or proposals.
During this conversation of November 17 the President expressed the desire of the United States to avoid war between the two countries
PEACE AND WAR
and to bring about a fair and peaceful settlement in the Pacific area; he accepted a statement of the Japanese Ambassador that this was also the desire of Japan. The President stated that, from the long-range point of view, there was no occasion for serious differences between the United States and Japan.
Secretary Hull said that any settlement for the Pacific area would not be taken seriously while Japan was still "clinging" to the Tripartite Pact; that since Hitler had announced that he was out for unlimited-invasion objectives and had started on a march across the earth, the United States had been in danger and this danger had grown with each passing week; that the United States recognized the danger and was proceeding with self-defense before it was too late; that the United States felt the danger so profoundly that it had committed itself to the expenditure of many billions of dollars in self-defense.
The Secretary said the belief in this country was that the Japanese formula for a new order in greater East Asia was but another name for a program to dominate all of the Pacific area politically, economically, socially, and otherwise, by military force; that this would include the high seas, the islands, and the continents, and would place every other country at the mercy of arbitrary military rule just as the Hitler program did in Europe and the Japanese program did in China.
Mr. Kurusu reiterated that ways must be found to work out an agreement to avoid trouble between the two countries and said that all the way across the Pacific "it was like a powder keg". Referring to the relations of Japan and Germany, he said that Germany had not up to then called upon Japan to fight. (251)
Secretary Hull conferred again with the Japanese Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu on November 18. The Secretary said that we were trying to make a contribution to the establishment of a peaceful world, based on law and order; that this was what we wanted to work out with Japan; that we had nothing to offer in the way of bargaining except our friendship. He said that the present situation was exceptionally advantageous for Japan to put her factories to work in producing goods needed by peaceful countries, if only the Japanese people could get war and invasion out of mind; that it would be difficult for him to cause this Government to go far in removing the embargo unless it were given reason to believe that Japan was definitely started on a peaceful course and had renounced purposes of conquest.
Mr. Kurusu expressed the belief that the two Governments should now make efforts to achieve something to tide over the present abnormal situation. He suggested that perhaps after the termination
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
of the Sino-Japanese conflict it might be possible to adopt a more liberal policy but said that he was unable to promise anything on the part of his Government.
Ambassador Nomura emphasized that the situation in Japan was very pressing and that it was important to arrest further deterioration of the relations between the two countries. He suggested that if this situation could now be checked an atmosphere would develop when it would be possible to move in the direction of the courses which this Government advocated.
Our people did not trust Hitler, the Secretary said, and we felt that it was inevitable that Hitler would eventually, if successful, get around to the Far East and "double-cross" Japan. He cited the instance when Germany, after concluding an anti-Comintern pact with Japan, had surprised Japan later by entering into a non-aggression pact with Russia, and finally had violated the non-aggression pact by attacking Russia. The Secretary expressed great doubt that any agreement between the United States and Japan, while Japan at the same time had an alliance with Hitler, would carry the confidence of our people. He considered the Tripartite Pact inconsistent with the establishment of an understanding. He said that frankly he did not know whether anything could be done in the matter of reaching a satisfactory agreement with Japan; that we could go so far but rather than go beyond a certain point it would be better for us "to stand and take the consequences".
Mr. Kurusu replied that he could not say that Japan would abrogate the Tripartite Pact but intimated that Japan might do something to "outshine" it. He said that Japan would not be a "cat's-paw" for Germany; that Japan had entered into the Tripartite Pact in order to use the pact for its own purposes and because it felt isolated; that the situation in Japan was very pressing and that it was important to arrest a further deterioration of relations between the two countries; that our freezing regulations had caused impatience in Japan and a feeling that Japan had to fight while still in a position to fight. (252)
Japanese Proposal of November 20
On November 20 Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu presented to the Secretary of State a proposal comprising mutual commitments: to make no armed advance into regions of southeastern Asia and the southern Pacific area excepting French Indochina (where Japanese troops were then stationed), to cooperate with a view to "securing the acquisition of those . . . commodities which the two governments
PEACE AND WAR
need in Netherlands East Indies", and to undertake "to restore their commercial relations to those prevailing prior to the freezing of the assets"; commitments by the United States to undertake to supply Japan "a required quantity of oil" and "to refrain from such measures and actions as will be prejudicial to the endeavors for the restoration of general peace between Japan and China" (which, the Japanese orally explained, meant that the Government of the United States was to discontinue its aid to the Chinese Government); and a commitment by Japan to undertake to withdraw its troops then in Indochina either upon restoration of peace between Japan and China or upon "the establishment of an equitable peace in the Pacific area" and "upon the conclusion of the present arrangement" to remove to northern Indochina the troops that it then had in southern Indochina (which would have left Japan free to increase its armed forces in Indochina to whatever extent it might desire). (254)
During a conversation on that same day with the Japanese Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu, Secretary Hull said that Japan could at any moment put an end to the existing situation by deciding upon an "all-out" peaceful course; that at any moment Japan could bring to an end what Japan chose to call "encirclement".
The Secretary said the people of the United States believed that the purposes underlying our aid to China were the same as those underlying our aid to Great Britain and that there was a partnership between Hitler and Japan aimed at enabling Hitler to take charge of one half of the world and Japan the other half. The existence of the Tripartite Pact and the continual harping of Japan's leaders upon slogans of the Nazi type, the Secretary said, served to strengthen this belief; what was needed was the manifestation by Japan of a clear purpose to pursue peaceful courses. He said that our people desired to avoid a repetition in East Asia of what Hitler was doing in Europe; that our people opposed the idea of a "new order" under military control.
In this conversation the Japanese representatives reiterated that their Government was really desirous of peace and that Japan had "never pledged itself to a policy of expansion". Secretary Hull remarked that the Chinese "might have an answer to that point". When Mr. Kurusu declared that Japan could not abrogate the Tripartite Pact, the Secretary observed that Japan did not take a similar view of the Nine-Power Treaty. Mr. Kurusu replied to the effect that the latter treaty was twenty years old and "outmoded". (253)
During a conversation on November 22 the Secretary of State informed the Japanese Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu that he had called
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
in representatives of certain other governments concerned in the Far East and that there had been a discussion of the question whether there could be some relaxation of freezing; that there was a general feeling that the matter could be settled if the Japanese could give some evidence of peaceful intentions. The Secretary said that if the United States and other countries should see Japan pursuing a peaceful course there would be no question about Japan's obtaining all the materials she desired. (255)
United States Memorandum of November 26
In all of the various formulae which the Japanese Government offered in succession during the course of the conversations statements of pacific intent were qualified and restricted. As each proposal was explored it became clear that Japan did not intend to budge from the fundamental objectives of its military leaders. Japan manifested no disposition to renounce its association with Hitlerism. It insisted that its obligations under the Tripartite Pact-a direct threat to this country-would be fulfilled by Japan. Japan was willing to affirm its adherence to the principle of non-discrimination in international commercial relations, but refused to relinquish in practice the preferential position which it had arrogated to itself in all areas under Japanese occupation. Japan insisted on obtaining in its hostilities with China a victor's peace and on having our assent thereto. Japan refused to make practical application of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. It was steadily adding to its armed establishment in Indochina; and it insisted upon continuing to maintain its armed forces in large areas of China for an indefinite period-clearly indicating an intention to achieve a permanent control there.
It was thus evident that it was illusory any longer to expect that a general agreement would be possible. It was also clearly apparent that the Japanese were attempting to maneuver the United States into either accepting the limited Japanese proposals or making some sort of an agreement which would serve only the ends of Japan, and that without trying to solve basic questions they were seeking to evade serious consideration of an equitable broad-gauge settlement such as had been under discussion in the earlier stages of the conversations. A clear manifestation was given by the Japanese Government that it would not desist from the menace which it was creating to the United States, to the British Empire, to the Netherlands Indies, to Thailand, and to China by the presence of large and increasing bodies of Japanese armed forces in Indochina.
PEACE AND WAR
The Government of the United States still felt obliged, however, to leave no avenue unexplored which might conceivably cause Japan to choose a better course. Moreover, if the Japanese proposal of November 20 was indeed Japan's "last word", it was obviously desirable that record of the United States Government's position before, at the beginning of, throughout, and at the end of the conversations be made crystal clear. Therefore, toward possibly keeping alive conversations looking toward inducing Japan to choose the pathway of restraint, and toward making its position utterly clear, this Government formulated a new statement.
On November 26, 1941 the Secretary of State handed to the Japanese Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu a proposed basis for agreement between the United States and Japan. In a statement accompanying the proposal it was said that the United States earnestly desired to afford every opportunity for the continuation of discussions with the Japanese Government; that the Japanese proposals of November 20 conflicted in some respects with the fundamental principles to which each Government had declared it was committed; that the United States believed that these proposals were not likely to contribute to insuring peace in the Pacific area; and that further effort be made to resolve the divergent views. With this object in mind, the United States was offering for the consideration of Japan a plan of a broad but simple settlement covering the entire Pacific area as one practical exemplification of a program which this Government envisaged as something to be worked out during future conversations.
The proposal contained mutual affirmations that the national policies of the two countries were directed toward peace throughout the Pacific area, that they had no territorial designs or aggressive intentions in that area, and that they would give active support to the following fundamental principles: inviolability of territorial integrity and sovereignty of each and all nations; non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries; equality, including equality of commercial opportunity and treatment; and reliance upon international cooperation and conciliation for the prevention and pacific settlement of controversies. There was also provision for mutual pledges to support and apply in their economic relations with each other and with other nations and peoples certain enumerated liberal principles.
The proposal contemplated the following mutual commitments: to endeavor to conclude a multilateral non-aggression pact among the governments principally concerned in the Pacific area; to endeavor to conclude among the principally interested governments an agree-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
ment to respect the territorial integrity of Indochina and not to seek or accept preferential economic treatment therein; not to support any government in China other than the National Government of the Republic of China with its capital temporarily at Chungking; to relinquish extraterritorial and related rights in China and to obtain the agreement of other governments now enjoying such rights to give up those rights; to negotiate a trade agreement based upon reciprocal most-favored-nation treatment; to remove freezing restrictions imposed by each country on the funds of the other; to agree upon a plan for the stabilization of the dollar-yen rate; to agree that no agreement which either had concluded with any third power or powers should be interpreted by it in a way to conflict with the fundamental purpose of this proposed agreement; and to use their influence to cause other governments to adhere to the basic political and economic principles provided for in this proposed agreement.
The proposal envisaged a situation in which there would be no foreign armed forces in French Indochina or in China. Withdrawal of the last armed forces of the United States from China was then in progress and had almost been completed and withdrawal of British armed forces from China had already been completed. Accordingly there was suggested one unilateral commitment, an undertaking by Japan that she would "withdraw all military, naval, air and police forces from China and from Indochina".
After the Japanese representatives had read the document, Mr. Kurusu said that when this proposal of the United States was reported to the Japanese Government, that Government would be likely to "throw up its hands"; that this response to the Japanese proposal could be interpreted as tantamount to the end of the negotiations. The Japanese representatives then asked whether they could see the President. (206, 267, 268)
President Roosevelt, with Secretary Hull present, received Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu on November 27. The President stated that people in the United States wanted a peaceful solution of all matters in the Pacific area; that he had not given up yet, although the situation was serious. He said that this Government had been very much disappointed by the continued expressions of opposition by Japanese leaders to the fundamental principles of peace and order. This attitude on the part of the Japanese leaders had created an atmosphere, both in the United States and abroad, which had added greatly to the difficulty of making mutually satisfactory progress in the conversations.
The President called attention to the fact that this Government had
PEACE AND WAR
been very patient in dealing with the whole Far Eastern situation; that we were prepared to continue to be patient if Japan's course of action permitted continuance of such an attitude on our part. He said that this country could not bring about any substantial relaxation in its economic restrictions unless Japan gave some clear manifestation of peaceful intent. If that occurred we could take some steps of a concrete character designed to improve the general situation. The Secretary said everyone knew that the Japanese slogans of "co-prosperity", "new order in East Asia", and the "controlling influence" in certain areas were all terms to express in a camouflaged manner the policy of force and conquest by Japan and the domination by military agencies of the political, economic, social, and moral affairs of each of the populations conquered. As long as the Japanese moved in that direction and continued to increase their military and other relations with Hitler through such instruments as the Anti-Comintern Pact and the Tripartite Pact, no real progress could be made toward a peaceful solution. During this conference the Japanese representatives had little to say except to express their disappointment at the small progress made thus far. (259)
"Japan May Move Suddenly"
On November 25 and on November 28, at meetings of high officials of this Government, Secretary Hull emphasized the critical nature of the relations of this country with Japan. He stated that there was practically no possibility of an agreement being achieved with Japan; that in his opinion the Japanese were likely to break out at any time with new acts of conquest by force; and that the matter of safeguarding our national security was in the hands of the Army and the Navy. The Secretary expressed his judgment that any plans for our military defense should include an assumption that the Japanese might make the element of surprise a central point in their strategy and also might attack at various points simultaneously with a view to demoralizing efforts of defense and of coordination for purposes thereof.
On November 29, 1941, Secretary Hull conferred with the British Ambassador. The Secretary said that "the diplomatic part of our relations with Japan was virtually over and that the matter will now go to the officials of the Army and Navy". He said further that it would be "a serious mistake for our country and other countries interested in the Pacific situation to make plans of resistance without including the possibility that Japan may move suddenly and with every possible element of surprise and spread out over considerable
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
areas and capture certain positions and posts before the peaceful countries interested in the Pacific would have time to confer and formulate plans to meet these new conditions; that this would be on the theory that the Japanese recognize that their course of unlimited conquest now renewed all along the line probably is a desperate gamble and requires the utmost boldness and risk". (260)
Reported Japanese Troop Movements
Secretary Hull conferred with the Japanese Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu on December 1. The Secretary said that in the current discussions we had to take into account the bellicose utterances emanating from Tokyo. He emphasized that we did not propose to go into partnership with Japan's military leaders; that he had not heard one whisper of peace from them, "only bluster and bloodcurdling threats". The Japanese representatives said that statements of Japanese officials were taken more seriously in the United States than was warranted; that these statements were misquoted in the press.
The Secretary said that this Government had no idea of trying to bluff Japan and that he saw no occasion for Japan's trying to bluff us; he emphasized that "there is a limit beyond which we cannot go".
He made clear that this Government was anxious to help settle the China affair if a settlement could be reached in accordance with the basic principles discussed in the conversations, and that under such circumstances we would be glad to offer our good offices. He said that under existing circumstances, while Japan was bound in the Tripartite Pact, Japan might just as well ask us to cease aiding Britain as to cease aiding China. The United States would give Japan all the materials it wanted, he said, if Japan's military leaders would only show that Japan intended to pursue a peaceful course.
The Secretary observed that Japanese troops in Indochina constituted a menace to the South Seas area; that the stationing of these troops in Indochina was making it necessary for the United States land its friends to keep large numbers of armed forces immobilized in East Asia; that in this way Japan's acts were having the effect of aiding Hitler. He called attention to reports of heavy Japanese troop movements in Indochina, stating that we could not be sure what the Japanese military leaders were likely to do. The Secretary said that we could not "sit still" while these developments were taking place; that we would not allow ourselves to be driven out of the Pacific. He said that there was no reason for conflict between the United States land Japan; that Japan did not have to use a sword to gain "a seat at the head of the table".
PEACE AND WAR
The Ambassador said the Japanese people believed that the United States wanted to keep Japan fighting with China and to keep Japan strangled; that the Japanese people were faced with the alternatives of surrendering to the United States or of fighting. Mr. Kurusu said that the Japanese Government had directed him to inquire what was the ultimate aim of the United States in the conversations and to request that the United States Government make "deep reflection of this matter". (261)
Meanwhile, this Government received reports of continued Japanese troop movements to Indochina. In a communication of December 2, handed to the Japanese Ambassador by Under Secretary Welles, President Roosevelt inquired regarding these reports and asked to be informed of the actual reasons for these steps. The President stated that the stationing of increased Japanese forces in Indochina seemed to imply the intention to utilize these forces for further aggression; that such aggression might be against the Philippine Islands, the Netherlands Indies, Burma, Malaya, or Thailand. (262)
On December 5 the Japanese Ambassador handed to Secretary Hull a reply which stated that as Chinese troops had recently shown frequent signs of movements along the northern frontier of French Indochina bordering on China, Japanese troops, with the object mainly of taking precautionary measures, had been reinforced to a certain extent in the northern part of French Indochina; that as a natural sequence of this step, certain movements had been made among the troops stationed in the southern part of the said territory; and that an exaggerated report had been made of these movements.
In a conversation which followed with the Japanese Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu, the Secretary said that he had been under the impression that Japan had been moving forces into northern Indochina for the purpose of attacking China from there; that he had never heard before that these troop movements were for the purpose of defense against Chinese attack.
Ambassador Nomura said that the Japanese were alarmed over the increasing naval and military preparations of the "ABCD powers"; that the United States blamed Japan for its move into Indochina but that if Indochina were controlled by other powers it would be a menace to Japan. Mr. Kurusu said that if an agreement could be reached on temporary measures, we could proceed with the exploration of fundamental solutions; that what was needed immediately was a temporary expedient.
The Secretary said that we could solve matters without delay if the Japanese Government would renounce its policy of force and ag-
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
gression. He added that we were not looking for trouble but that at he same time "we were not running away from menaces". (263)
President Roosevelt's Message to the Emperor of Japan
Despite the completely unsatisfactory Japanese reply with respect to its operations in Indochina, the United States Government still felt that every possible effort for peace should be exhausted. President Roosevelt on December 6 telegraphed to Tokyo a personal message to the Emperor of Japan in which he stated that developments were occurring in the Pacific area which threatened to deprive the United States and Japan and all humanity of the beneficial influence of the long peace between the two countries, and that these developments contained "tragic possibilities". The President said that we had hoped that the peace of the Pacific could be consummated in such a way that many diverse peoples could exist side by side without fear of invasion, that unbearable burdens of armaments could be lifted, and that all peoples would resume commerce without discrimination against or in favor of any nation. In seeking these great objectives both Japan and the United States "should agree to eliminate any form of military threat". The President said further that during recent weeks it had become clear to the world that Japanese military, naval, and air forces had been sent to southern Indochina in such large numbers as to create a reasonable doubt that this continued concentration in Indochina was defensive in its character; that the people of the Philippines, of the Netherlands Indies, of Malaya, and of Thailand were asking themselves whether these Japanese forces were preparing or intending to make attack in one or more of these many directions; that none of these peoples could sit either indefinitely or permanently "on a keg of dynamite". Finally, the President said that he was addressing the Emperor in the fervent hope that the Emperor might give thought to ways of dispelling the darkening clouds; that both he and the Emperor had "a sacred duty to restore traditional amity and prevent further death and destruction in the world". (264)
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, at 7:50 a.m. Honolulu time (1:20 p.m. Washington time) the Japanese Government brought discussions to an end with the surprise attack upon the United States at Pearl Harbor. One hour after that attack had begun, and while Japanese
PEACE AND WAR
planes were sowing death and destruction in Hawaii, and simultaneously were attacking the United States and Great Britain in the Far East, Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu called on Secretary Hull at the Department of State and handed him a memorandum. In that memorandum the Japanese Government stated that the United States had "resorted to every possible measure to assist the Chungking regime so as to obstruct the establishment of a general peace between Japan and China" and had "attempted to frustrate Japan's aspiration to the ideal of common prosperity in cooperation with these regions"; that in the negotiations the United States had "failed to display in the slightest degree a spirit of conciliation"; that the United States had "made known its intention to continue its aid to Chiang Kai-shek"; that it "may be said to be scheming for the extension of the war"; that it was engaged "in aiding Great Britain and preparing to attack, in the name of self-defense, Germany and Italy, two powers that are striving to establish a new order in Europe"; that the demands of the United States for the "wholesale evacuation of troops" from China and for unconditional application of the principle of non-discrimination in international commerce "ignored the actual conditions of China, and are calculated to destroy Japan's position as the stabilizing factor of East Asia"; that the United States proposal of November 26 "ignore Japan's sacrifices in the four years of the China affair, menaces the Empire's existence itself and disparages its honour and prestige" that obviously it was the intention of the United States "to conspire with Great Britain and other countries to obstruct Japan's effort toward the establishment of peace through the creation of a new order in East Asia"; and finally, that "in view of the attitude of the American Government" the Japanese Government "cannot but consider that it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations".
Upon reading this memorandum, Secretary Hull said to the Japanese representatives: "I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions-infamous false hoods and distortions on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any Government on this planet was capable of uttering them." (265)
Several hours after the beginning of the Japanese attack Ambassador Grew was informed by the Japanese Foreign Minister that the above-described memorandum, which had been delivered at Washington, was desired by the Emperor to be regarded as the Emperor's reply to the President's message. At the same time, however, the
UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941
Japanese Foreign Minister made an oral statement to the Ambassador also "as a reply" from the Emperor to the President to the effect that the establishment of peace "in the Pacific, and consequently of the world, has been the cherished desire of His Majesty for the realization of which he has hitherto made the Government to continue its earnest endeavors". (266)
At 11 a.m. December 8, Tokyo time (9 p.m. December 7, Washington time) the United States Embassy at Tokyo received a communication from the Japanese Foreign Minister, dated December 8, 1941, informing the Ambassador "that there has arisen a state of war between Your Excellency's country and Japan beginning today". (269)
War With Japan, Germany, and Italy
The Japanese attack of December 7 on territory of the United States aroused our entire nation. On the morning of December 8 President Roosevelt asked the Congress to declare the existence of a state of war between the United States and Japan. Both Houses of Congress acted immediately with but one dissenting vote. At 4:10 p.m. on the afternoon of December 8 the President approved a joint resolution providing that the state of war between the United States and the Government of Japan which had been "thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared"; and that the President was authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry ton war against Japan; and that, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, "all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States". (267, 268)
In a radio address of the following day, December 9, President Roosevelt stated that Germany and Japan were conducting their military and naval operations in accordance with a joint plan, which plan considered all peoples and nations not helping the Axis powers as common enemies of each and every one of the Axis powers. The President said that Germany and Italy, regardless of any formal declaration of war, "consider themselves at war with the United States at this moment just as much as they consider themselves at war with Britain and Russia"; that we expected to "eliminate" the danger from japan but it would "serve us ill" if we accomplished that and found the rest of the world dominated by Hitler and Mussolini.
The President said further that we were in the midst of war "not for conquest, not for vengeance, but for a world in which this nation? and
PEACE AND WAR
all that this nation represents, will be safe for our children"; we "are going to win the war and we are going to win the peace that follows". (270)
On December 11, 1941 Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. On that day the Congress passed with no dissenting vote, and the President approved, resolutions formally declaring the existence of a state of war between the United States and Germany and between the United States and Italy. (271, 272, 273)
SHORTLY AFTER WAR came to the United States this Government proposed that the nations arrayed against the Axis powers join together in a declaration pledging cooperation in the prosecution of the war and agreeing not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies. As a result, there was signed at Washington such a declaration, dated January 1, 1942, by representatives of the following Governments: United States of America, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, South Africa, and Yugoslavia. It is open to adherence by "other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism". During 1942 it was adhered to by Mexico, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, and Ethiopia.
This document, "Declaration by United Nations", states that the signatory Governments subscribe to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Atlantic Charter and are "convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world". Each signatory pledges itself "to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact and its adherents with which such government is at war"; and "to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies". (274)