Pt. 20, Exhibit No. 173, pp. 3985-4029.

Page 3985









1. Proposal for Japanese-American Understanding-(American) (Omitted. 
English original available) 

2. Proposal for Japanese-American Understanding-(Japanese) 

3. Outline of the policy of the Imperial Government in View of Present 

4. American Counter Proposal 

5. Plans for the Prosecution of the Policy of the Imperial Government 

6. Proposal for Arriving at an Understanding for the Adjustment of 
Japanese-American Diplomatic Relations 

7. American Memorandum of October 2 (Omitted. English original 

8. Resignation of Premier Konoye at the Time of the Resignation of the 
Third Konoye Cabinet 

9. Details of the Cabinet Resignation and the Progress of Japanese-
American Diplomatic Negotiations under the Direction of the Council of 
Senior Statesmen following the Resignation of the Third Konoye Cabinet 

                                                     WAR DEPARTMENT,
                                                 Washington, 1 May 1946. 
Memorandum for Mr. Richardson

In accordance with your oral request, there is forwarded herewith a copy 
of the Memoirs of Prince Konoye. It is a translation prepared by the 
Language Section G-2, United States Strategic Bombing Survey, of a 
document turned over to the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 
Prince Konoye. He stated that he had prepared the document during the 
period between the resignation of his cabinet in October 1941 and March 
1942. This translation was checked by T. Ushiba, Konoye's personal 
secretary, who verified all of the factual data, raising questions only 
as to the literary style of the translation. 

                                                      ROBERT M. DIGGS,
                                                      Capt,. AUS. 


                              March 1942


Beginning in December 1940, conversations for the readjustment of 
Japanese relations were conducted secretly between Bishop Walsh, 
president, and Mr. Draft, administrative secretary of Maryknoll (a high 
institution of American Catholicism), on the one hand, and Colonel 
IWAKURO of the Military Affairs Bureau of the Army Ministry and Mr. 
Tadao IKAWA on the other. 

By April 1941, the time had become ripe for the Governments of the two 
countries to conduct the conversations themselves. It should be 
remembered that because of the personal connections of the participants 
in the conversations from the first, private contact was maintained 
between President Roosevelt himself and Mr. Hull on the American side, 
and between Ambassador NOMURA and the Japanese Military and Naval 
Attaches in Washington on the Japanese side. Thus, both the President 
and the Japanese Ambassador were kept informed of what was going on. 

On April 8th, the first tentative plan was presented by the American 
side, and after examining this, the Japanese side drew up a second 
tentative plan. On April 14th, and 16th, Mr. Hull held the first of the 
series of conversations on this problem with Ambassador NOMURA. At this 
time, Mr. Hull stated that the conversations theretofore conducted by 
private persons might be taken over by unofficial conversations between 
the Secretary of State and the Ambassador, and that the negotiations 
might be conducted with the second tentative plan as a basis. At the 
same time he expressed the wish that the Ambassador obtain official 
instructions from his Government. 

Ambassador NOMURA's dispatch containing these important representations 
by Mr. Hull and the contents of the plan (tentatively called the 
Proposal for Japanese-American Understanding), which was to provide the 
basis for the conversations, was received at the Tokyo Foreign Office 
between the afternoon of April 17th and the morning of the 18th. Since 
Foreign Minister Yosuke MATSUOKA was then in Siberia on his way home 
from his visit to Europe, Mr. OHASHI, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
at 11 A. M. on the 18th, brought the first section of the dispatch to me 
while I was in a Cabinet conference. At 4:30 P. M. on the same day, 
after waiting for the cable to be decoded, he called on me at my 
official residence, accompanied by Mr. TERASAKI, Chief of the American 

This Proposal for Understanding was to announce, in the form of a joint 
declaration, an agreement between the two Governments on several 
fundamental items necessary for breaking the deadlock between the two 
countries. Detailed agreements were to be arranged by a Japanese-
American conference to follow the joint declaration.


The following seven items are those concerning which the two Governments 
were to establish mutual understanding: 

1. International and national ideals embraced by America and Japan. 
2. The attitudes of the two countries toward the European War. 
3. The relationship of the two countries to the China Incident. 

Page 3986

4. Matters pertaining to the Naval strength, air strength and shipping 
of the two countries in the Pacific. 
5. Trade and monetary agreements between the two countries. 
6. Economic activity Of the two countries in the Southwest Pacific. 
7. Policies of the two countries regarding political stability in the 

From the Japanese point of view, the vital points of the Proposal for 
Understanding were the prevention of the spread of the European War to 
the Pacific the termination of the China Incident, and the promotion of 
economic cooperation between America and Japan. 

[3]                              II

In view of the importance of the matter, I summoned a joint conference 
of high government and military leaders for 8 o'clock that very night. 

The Government was represented by the Premier, the Home Minister, the 
War and Navy Ministers and also by Mr. OHASHI, Vice-Minister of Foreign 
Affairs. The Chiefs of the Army and Naval General Staffs represented the 
Supreme Command. Also present were the Directors of the Military Affairs 
Bureaus of the War and Navy Ministries, and the Chief Cabinet Secretary. 
The consensus of opinion regarding the American proposal was as follows: 

1. Acceptance of the American proposal would be the speediest way toward 
disposal of the China Incident. That is to say, no effective results had 
been obtained by the setting-up of the Wang Regime, direct negotiations 
with Chungking were becoming more difficult, and Chungking was entirely 
dependent upon America; consequently negotiations with Chungking were 
possible only through the good offices of America. In view of these 
facts it was quite clear that acceptance of the American proposal would 
be the speediest way toward disposal of the China Incident. 

2. To accede to this proposal and to plan for a rapprochement between 
the two countries would not only provide the best means of avoiding a 
Japanese-American war, but would also be a prerequisite to preventing 
the European war from assuming the magnitude of a world war and to the 
creation of world peace. 

3. The considerable depletion of Japan's national strength made it 
desirable to restore and cultivate that strength by disposing of the 
China Incident as quickly as possible. For the success of Japan's 
southward advance which was being advocated in certain quarters, the 
supreme command itself confessed to having neither the confidence of 
success nor the necessary preparation. The cultivation of national 
strength, moreover, necessitated the temporary restoration of amicable 
relations with America and planning for the replenishment of the supply 
of vital commodities for the future. 

Thus, the participants were in favor of accepting the American proposal. 
However, the following items were brought forth as conditions of 

1. It should be made clear that there would be no infringement of the 
Tripartite Pact. This was considered axiomatic in view of Japans keeping 
faith with Germany. 


2. It should be made more clear that the object of Japanese-American 
cooperation was the promotion of world peace. If the understanding 
between the two countries were to relieve America of her commitments in 
the Pacific and thus afford her an opportunity for increasing her 
support of Britain, Japan would be breaking faith with Germany, which 
would be improper, and it would constitute a lowering of the tone Of the 
whole concept of the proposal. 

3. The contents of the proposal were too complex. 

4. Since the text gives the impression of a return to the old world 
order, clearer expression should be given to the constructive side of 
the proposal, namely, the idea of building a New Order. 

5. Speedy action was necessary to avoid the probable leakage of 
intelligence. For this reason the return of the Foreign Minister to 
Japan must be urged. 

There were the following two opinions as to whether or not this affair 
should be reported to Germany. 

1. Fidelity demanded that Germany be informed of a matter of such 
importance as this. She should be informed at least prior to Japan's 
answer being given to America. 

2. If Germany were informed before the fact, she might express her 
opposition. Since this might vitiate the success of the desired 
conversations, they should be kept secret from Germany while 
negotiations were in progress.

Page 3987

[5]                                III 

After the joint conference on the 18th, the Army, Navy and Foreign 
Office immediately started examination of the proposal. In the meantime, 
TERASAKI, chief of the American Bureau of the Foreign Office, wished to 
cable instructions to Ambassador NOMURA to transmit to America Japan's 
"acceptance in principle" of the proposal. Vice Minister of Foreign 
Affairs OHASHI, although in favor of the idea, vetoed it; he insisted 
that the answer be dispatched after the Foreign Minister's return. 
Foreign Minister MATSUOKA finally reached Dairen on the 20th, and I got 
in touch with him by telephone. It was learned later that the Foreign 
Minister then said to persons close to him, "The American proposal has 
probably come as the fruit of what I said in Moscow to Mr. Steinhart, 
the American Ambassador to Soviet Russia". In fact, the Foreign Minister 
on his way, both to and from Europe, had held conversations in Moscow 
with Mr. Steinhart, an old acquaintance, asking him to urge President 
Roosevelt, if the latter was really fond of gambling, to have faith in 
Japan and to lend a helping hand for the sake of Sino-Japanese peace. 
MATSUOKA had reported this to me by cable under the date of April 8th, 
and apparently had been secretly expecting his move to bear fruit. 

Because of adverse weather, the Foreign Minister was delayed a day, 
returning to Tokyo on April 22nd. Since a joint conference had been 
scheduled for the very evening of his arrival, the examination of the 
American proposal, by the Army Navy, and Foreign Ministries, had been 
roughly completed on the 21st. In addition, the Army and Navy held a 
joint conference that same day at the Navy Club, the respective 
Ministers and Heads of Departments, Bureaus and Sections participating, 
and presented a memorandum to me which stated that "Japan must turn the 
American scheme to good advantage and by embracing the principles 
embodied in the proposal, attain the objectives of the China Incident, 
restore the national strength, and thereby attain a powerful voice in 
the establishment of world peace". 

I went to Tachikawa airfield to meet the Foreign Minister personally. 
Realizing the significance of MATSUOKA's first glimpse of the American 
proposal, since he is an extraordinarily sensitive man, I had intended 
to explain the proposal to him in the automobile on the way back to 
Tokyo. However, MATSUOKA had already planned to pay homage at the 
Imperial Palace at Niju Bashi, so Vice Foreign Minister OHASHI rode in 
MATSUOKA's car in my place, and to OHASHI was entrusted the delicate 
task of discussing the American Proposal. I was told afterward, that as 
expected, the Foreign Minister was extremely annoyed and showed no 
interest whatever. At the Joint conference held after his return, 
MATSUOKA talked endlessly about his European trip, and when the 
conversation turned to the American proposal, he showed signs of 
excitement and laid special emphasis upon the question of keeping faith 
with Germany. 


He said that he interpreted the American proposal as being 70% ill-will 
and 30% good-will. He recalled that America had entered the first World 
War after safeguarding her interests in the Pacific by concluding the 
Ishii-Lansing Agreement, and had scrapped the agreement after the war 
without regard for the difficult task which had been imposed upon Japan 
during the period of hostilities. MATSUOKA asked for two weeks' time to 
ponder the question and left at 11 P. M. ahead of everyone else. The 
conference continued until 1:30 the next morning, the participants 
agreeing to proceed with the matter as far as possible, regardless of 
MATSUOKA's opinion. 

When on the 23rd, I summoned the Foreign Minister alone for an informal 
conference at my official residence, he seemed to have regained a 
certain degree of calm as compared with the preceding day. The only 
thing that he said, however, was "Let me pass judgment after my 
experiences in Europe have worn off."

In the meantime, ill-feeling toward the Foreign Minister increased among 
Army and Navy leaders.  Among these were some who in their anger 
demanded that resolute steps be taken, even at the cost of changing the 
Foreign Minister.  I, being familiar with MATSUOKA's complex nature, 
however, was aware that there was no other way than to let him alone for 
the time being.  The next day, I took to my bed with a cold and remained 
confined to my OGIKUBO home until May 1st.  The Foreign Minister, too, 
for about the same period, spent his days in recuperating from an 
illness. During this time, the Directors of the Military Affairs Bureaus 
of the Army and Navy Ministries called on the Foreign Minister jointly 
and separately, exerting their utmost efforts to soothe his feelings, so 

Page 3988

Japan's answer might be sent to America as soon as possible. However, 
the Foreign Minister, either on the pretext of illness, or for the 
reason of his disagreement with the contents of Japan's answer to the 
American proposal, was difficult to move from his position. 

[7]                               IV

There was no denying, however, that despite his outward demeanor, the 
Foreign Minister was giving concentrated thought to the handling of the 
problems then pending between America and Japan. It was learned later 
that on his sick-bed Matsuoka had been closely examining both the text 
of the America proposal and the revision of the same which had been 
drawn up by the appropriate authorities of the Army, Navy and Foreign 
Ministries. In addition, he was also thoroughly revising the latter. A 
third joint conference was finally held on May 3rd. 

Those participating in the conference approved, on the whole, of the 
revised proposal prepared by the Foreign Minister. The main points of 
the revision were the elimination of Item IV, "Naval Strength, Air 
Strength and Shipping of the two countries in the Pacific"; the 
insertion of a new clause under Item "2", "Attitudes of the two 
countries toward the European War", covering the mediation of Japan and 
America between Britain and Germany; and clear definitions of Japan's 
obligations under the Tripartite Pact. Other points were the withholding 
of the announcement of the China Incident peace terms, the deletion of 
Japan's declaration not to carry on a southward military advance and the 
deletion of the agreement concerning Japanese-American conversation. 
(See Appendix II).

 Although the demand to submit the revised plan immediately to the 
Americans was overwhelming, Foreign Minister Matsuoka stubbornly 
maintained that the conclusion of a neutrality treaty should be proposed 
to the United States as a test. His point was finally approved.

The next point was whether or not the Germans should be informed of the 
entire matter Different points of view were expressed on this matter 

Nevertheless. the Foreign Minister demanded that the whole affair be 
entrusted to his own diplomatic ability, and so it was left entirely to 
his discretion.

After the conference adjourned, the Foreign Minister dispatched two 
telegraphic instructions to Ambassador Nomura. The first was a tentative 
reply to the American proposal, and was in the form of an oral statement 
addressed to Secretary Hull by the Foreign Minister. The gist of this 
statement was that the German and Italian leaders were absolutely 
confident about the outcome of the European War; that American 
participation in the war would serve only to prolong hostilities, and 
thereby bring about the downfall of world civilization and that Japan 
could never act in any way injurious to the position of her allies; 
Germany and Italy. The other dispatch instructed Ambassador Nomura to 
propose as his personal idea a simple and clear-cut Japanese American 
neutrality treaty.

Before the Foreign Minister left Tokyo on May 4th to visit the Ise 
Shrine, he instructed Sakamoto, Director of the European and Asiatic 
Bureau, to inform in strict confidence both the German and Italian 
Ambassadors that a secret proposal for the readjustment of Japanese-
American relations [8] had been made by the American Government; that 
the Japanese Government had made the above-mentioned tentative reply- 
and that it had proposed a neutrality treaty.

When the Foreign Minister returned to Tokyo on May 6th, he himself 
inquired whether "Foreign Minister Ribbentrop had any opinions", and he 
further stated that it would be ultimately profitable to Germany to turn 
to America's ill-intentioned proposal to good advantage and terminate 
the China incident.

Meanwhile, in Washington. Ambassador Nomura and other members of the 
Embassy were growing impatient at the delay in Japan's submission of a 
reply to America. Having received the tentative instruction from Foreign 
Minister Matsuoka. the Ambassador had an interview with Secretary Hull 
on the 7th and sounded out his opinion regarding the conclusion of a 
neutrality treaty. However, Mr. Hull showed no interest whatever. Later 
Ambassador Nomura discovered that the American Government authorities, 
although they might be interested after the conclusion of the Proposal 
for Understanding, were not at all interested in concluding a neutrality 
treaty at this stage of the negotiations. As for the oral statement, the 
Ambassador refrained from transmitting the document to Mr. Hull, lest 
the feelings of the Americans be antagonized. He

Page 3989

did not even read the document in its entirety to Mr. Hull. It was said 
that during the interview, Mr. Hull in a tone unusually strong for him, 
urged commencement of the negotiations themselves as speedily as 
possible. Thus, Foreign Minister Matsuoka's test plan failed to produce 
its desired effect. Also, American domestic conditions were rapidly 
becoming more difficult, particularly in view of the National Defense 
Act and convoy problems. Ambassador Nomura repeatedly urged the Japanese 
Government to reply. He also reported that he had held in check the 
American demands insisted upon from the beginning, namely, the 
establishment of four basic principles: 1) Preservation of territorial 
integrity and respect for national sovereignty; 2) Non-interference with 
domestic issues; 3) Establishment of the equality principle, including 
equal commercial opportunity; and 4) Non-disturbance of the status quo 
in the Pacific, with the exception of changes in present conditions 
through peaceful means, by proposing to keep at a minimum discussions 
involving principles and to give precedence to a Japanese-American 
understanding which would be actual and effective. His report emphasized 
that an impatient demand by Japan at this time for recognition of the 
New Order and for mediation in the European War would be more harmful 
than beneficial. The Japanese Military and Naval Attaches in Washington, 
furthermore, sent to Japan a statement of their opposition to Matsuoka, 
terming his policy "gesture diplomacy". On the other hand, the Military 
Attache in Berlin sent a cable to the War Minister that it was known 
from reliable sources that the Japanese Government was conducting 
negotiations with America, that his office was completely opposed to 
such negotiations, and that, depending upon circumstances. his whole 
office might submit their resignations. 'his insight be regarded as one 
repercussion to having informed German and Italy of the Japanese-
American negotiations 



AS the situation became more confused and complicated, the activity of 
the cabinet members concerned grew more intense. On May 8th, the Foreign 
Minister v as received in audience by the Emperor and informed him that 
in ease America should enter the war, Japan must stand by Germany and 
Italy. In such an eventuality, the readjustment of Japanese-American 
relations would. be brought o nothing. In any ease, if Japan were to 
break faith with Germany and Italy ,y inclining too much toward American 
problems, he, the Foreign Minister, would be obliged to resign. This the 
Foreign Minister himself reported to me on the 9th. 

On the same night, I secretly summoned the Army and Navy Ministers to my 
house at OGIKUBO, and we held an informal discussion as to the best way 
of dealing with the Foreign Minister's attitude. We agreed that 
thereafter the Army and Navy should remain in close contact with me 
concerning the attitude o be taken by our country if America entered the 
war, and concerning what measures were to be used if Germany opposed or 
demanded revision of the Japanese-American negotiation. 

When or; the following day, May 10th, I was received in audience by the 
Emperor, he revealed to me, with the air of great concern, the substance 
of the Foreign Minister's report on the previous day. The Foreign 
Minister had informed the Emperor that if America were to enter the 
European War, Japan would have to attack Singapore, and that since 
America's participation would result in a prolongation of the war, there 
might be the danger of a German-Soviet collision. In such an eventuality 
Japan would have to abrogate the neutrality treaty, stand ~y Germany, 
and advance at least as far as Irkutsk. I advised the Emperor not o be 
concerned, since the Foreign Minister's utterances represented only one 
possible plan under the worst eventuality, and even if the Foreign 
Minister held such opinions, the military high command would have to 
take part in, and the 'cabinet would have to be consulted about, any 
final decision. Taking advantage of the opportunity, I advised the 
Throne that for the settlement of the China Incident, which was proving 
to be the most urgent matter at present, making use of America was the 
only way, that the present American proposal was the best and only 
opportunity, and that I would exert all my efforts toward furthering it. 
I further explained in detail the difference of opinion among Cabinet 
members and the split in public opinion that might occur in the event 
of: (1) Germany's signifying her opposition (2) America's further 
revising the Japanese revisions and; (3) America's participation in the 
war after a Japanese-American understanding had been reached. I assured 
the Emperor of my resolve to do my best 

Page 3990

to reach an amicable settlement, though if that were impossible, it 
might be necessary to use emergency measures. The Emperor acquiesced in 
all that I had said and ordered me to proceed according to the policies 
I had described. Upon consulting with Marquis Kido, Lord Keeper of the 
Privy Seal, I learned that the [10] Foreign Minister's reasoning had 
become so flighty after his visit to Europe that he had lost the 
Emperor's confidence. In fact, on the 8th, after receiving the Foreign 
Minister in audience, the Emperor had gone so far as to consider the 
advisability of changing the Foreign Minister. 

[11]                              VI

The German reply did not come. Meanwhile in spite of urging by both 
myself and the Army and Navy, the Foreign Minister postponed from day to 
day the presentation to America of the Japanese revised proposal decided 
upon on May 3rd. Pressed by the necessity of being in time for the 
American President's speech scheduled for May 14th, however, the Foreign 
Minster, on May 12th, without waiting for the German reply, cabled 
instructions to Ambassador NOMURA, authorizing him to start negotiations 
according to the revised proposal cabled on the previous day. 

Ambassador NOMURA, in compliance with the belated instructions, called 
upon Secretary Hull on May 11th and 12th (May 12th and 13th) (Japanese 
time), and offered an explanation of the Japanese revised proposal. 
Foreign Minister MATSUOKA, on May 13th, again sent a message to 
Secretary Hull. He laid stress upon the point that the two premises 
motivating Japan's decision regarding the conversations with America 
were: (1) America's non-participation in the European War, and; (2) 
America's agreeing at an early date to advise Chiang Kai-shek to open 
peace negotiations with Japan. Secretary Hull called upon Ambassador 
NOMURA to "talk frankly about everything, since the Japanese-American 
conversations now in progress are not negotiations conducted upon a 
definite basis, but are unofficial and free talks". Concerning the 
Japanese revised proposal, which had been handed to him by the 
Ambassador, he expressed not a little doubt concerning the Japanese 
deletion of the clause insuring Japan's armed invasion of the Southern 
regions. He showed special concern over the clause covering the China 
Incident and asked various questions. He remarked significantly that 
concerning this matter America would have to consult with Britain. 
Further, his explanation that American domestic conditions were not at 
all such as to make conversations with Japan easy, showed that he was 
proceeding with the utmost caution. More than this, the President's 
speech which had been scheduled for the 14th was postponed until the 
29th, and American public opinion was excited about the issue of 
convoys. It was apparent that, pressed by international and domestic 
issues, America was finding it difficult to determine its attitude. At 
any rate, contrary to Japanese expectations, the American answer was 
slow in coming. 

[12]                              VII

It was because Foreign Minister MATSUOKA had wished to receive a German 
reply before submitting his reply to Washington that he had caused the 
delay in dispatching the Japanese revised proposal. His efforts had been 
unavailing and he had been able to wait no longer. Immediately after the 
instructions had been sent to Ambassador NOMURA on May 12th, the German 
reply arrived. The gist of the reply was that, since America's 
underlying motive in planning conciliation with Japan apparently was 
that she wished to enter the war against Germany, it was desirable that 
the Japanese Government make it clear to the American Government that: 
(1) the patrolling and convoying being carried on by America was 
recognized as an act deliberately provocative of war, and one which 
would inevitably cause Japan to enter the war, and that; (2) if America 
refrained from such actions, Japan would be ready to study the American 
proposal. Furthermore, the German reply ended with the request that, in 
view of the effect of the present negotiations upon the Tripartite Pact, 
Germany be consulted before a final answer is sent to America. The 
Italian Government sent a communication to the effect that Italy's reply 
was the same as the German's.

Subsequently, on May 19th, as was more or less expected, Ambassador Ott 
made representations concerning the displeasure of his Government with 
Japan's having replied to America without waiting for the German reply. 
The German representations, by implication, expressed Germany's 
objection in principle to

Page 3991

the Japanese-American negotiations, and pointed out that any treaty 
concluded by any one of the signatories of the Tripartite Pact with a 
third country would weaken the common front of the Tripartite Pact 
signatories. The reply requested that at least "The American 
Government's obligation not to interfere with the war between England 
and the Axis countries" and "Japan's obligations accruing from the 
Tripartite Pact" be clearly defined. Lastly, the representations stated 
that "The German Government was obliged to express its desire or total 
participation by Germany in the Japanese-American negotiations and for 
an immediate report regarding the American reply. It constituted an 
infringement upon the articles of the Tripartite Pact for Japan to 
listen to American representations and to determine Japan's future 
policy without entering into a previous understanding with the German 
Government regarding all the important problems included in the 
proposal." Such were the high-handed representations of the Germans. At 
the same time Ambassador OSHIMA repeatedly sent cables, reporting that 
German national leaders were harboring extreme antipathy toward the 
Japanese-American proposal. He also declared is own opposition in strong 

[13]                             VIII

In Tokyo, joint conferences were held on May 15th and May 22nd. but they 
did not go beyond an exchange of information and opinions. It was 
evident that through the influence of the German representations and the 
repeated objections of Ambassador OSHIMA, the originally vague attitude 
of the Foreign Minister had become more and more vague; and it was more 
and more obvious that, in contrast with the other Cabinet members who 
were full of hopes, he was standing alone in his opposition. For 
instance, following the conference on the 22nd, Chief Cabinet Secretary 
TOMITA was asked by OKA, Director of the Military Affairs Bureau of the 
Navy Ministry to transmit to the Premier the request that he "take into 
consideration a possible split among Cabinet members in the event of the 
establishment of an agreement, were the Foreign Minister to continue to 
hold such a contrary point of view." 

On the other hand, the Foreign Minister had an interview with me on the 
23rd, in which he argued strongly that "although it appeared that Army 
and Navy leaders were trying to have the Japanese-American understanding 
put through, even at the cost, more or less of disloyalty to Germany and 
Italy,-what could be accomplished by such a weak-kneed attitude?" 

Concerning the interpretation of Article III of the Tripartite Pact, the 
Foreign Minister yielded not an inch in his stand that even if American 
convoys were attacked by the Germans, Japan would be obliged to enter 
the war and help the Germans, convoying itself being regarded as attack. 
In fact, the Foreign Minister frequently, in a half-threatening manner, 
stressed this point upon Ambassador Grew, thinking that this might just 
possibly prevent America's entry into the war. However, the American 
President was apparently determined to enter he war, and if that should 
happen, the Japanese-American understanding would be useless. Under such 
circumstances the nation would never be satisfied with an attitude such 
as the Army and Navy's present one, and a national uprising might ensue. 
At all events, Japan would have to clarify its stand, and come out for 
England and America, or for Germany and Italy. He took the stand that as 
Foreign Minister he must insist on union with Germany and Italy to the 
very last. Later, by saying that "as a subject there was no other course 
than to obey the Emperor's wishes," he by implication indicated the 
possibility of resignation. 

Although it was possible to suspect from the Foreign Minister's words 
and actions that he might have made some serious commitments while he 
was in Germany, there was no alternative to putting faith in his report. 
According to it, both Chancellor Hitler and Foreign Minister Ribbentrop 
had urged that Japan attack Singapore, but he (MATSUOKA) had said 
nothing to commit himself. However, according to a cable from Ambassador 
OSHIMA, Foreign Minister Ribbentrop had said "Foreign Minister 
MATSUOKA's personal view, at the time that he came to Germany, that 
Singapore would be attacked [4] seems to be entirely changed." The 
problem remained as to what was the truth. At any rate, it was extremely 
difficult to comprehend the Foreign Minister's actual intentions, 
pressed as he was between the American question on one side and loyalty 
to Germany and Italy on the other. 

Page 3992

At about this time the Foreign Minister began to express frankly his 
displeasure and animosity toward Ambassador NOMURA. At an interview with 
me on May 23rd, he angrily declared that "it was clear that the present 
proposal was not made by the Americans but was initiated by Ambassador 
NOMURA." In spite of my explanation that the Foreign Minister was 
mistaken in his surmise, he continued to censure the Ambassador's "going 
beyond his powers". When it became more and more clear that the proposal 
was not at least the fruit of the Foreign Minister's own labors with 
Steinhart, he seemed to be extremely displeased. Further, according to a 
cable which Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to Washington, sent back to 
London, and which was intercepted by the Navy Ambassador NOMURA had said 
to Secretary Hull that in Japan, the Emperor and the governmental and 
Army and Navy authorities were all desirous of the success of the 
present undertaking; the Foreign Minister alone being opposed to it. 
When the Foreign Minister saw this, he became very angry, and sent a 
telegram rebuking Ambassador NOMURA for the above statement which he 
(MATSUOKA) had "received from a reliable source". He also ordered NOMURA 
to "correct the Secretary's misunderstanding immediately". Ambassador 
NOMURA immediately replied by cable, saying that he "was completely 
surprised, and that the accusation was totally unfounded on fact". It 
also said that "the only thing he could have said bearing on the 
situation was in answer to Hull's question in which he had replied that 
in Japan, diplomatic policies could not be decided by the Foreign 
Minister alone". In reply the Foreign Minister cabled back, "that is 
good, but if there are any persons in America giving such an impression, 
take the proper steps." This reply clearly revealed the Foreign 
Minister's animosity towards persons who were not members of the 
Ambassador's staff but who were close to him. 

Though the issue was resolved for the time being, the opposition between 
the Foreign Minister on the one hand, and Ambassador NOMURA and his 
followers on the other, had already come out into the open. 

[15]                             IX

On May 14th, 16th, 20th, 21st and 28th, Ambassador Nomura held 
successive conversations with Secretary Hull "in an atmosphere of 
amity". They were "private conversations of from one to two hours, off 
the record," and did not appear to go further than to discuss back and 
forth the following subjects: the form of an agreement which was to 
cover the whole Pacific, the Tripartite Pact and the Chinese problem. 
From the Secretary of State's utterances and from inside information, 
the real facts seemed to be that America was suspicious of the sincerity 
of Japan's intention to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion, 
and in particular was taking careful note of the uncompromising attitude 
of such people as Foreign Minister Matsuoka. President Roosevelt gave 
his fireside chat on May 27th, with the whole world listening 
attentively. He made no direct reference to Japan, and touched but 
lightly on Chinese affairs. There was also information that the 
President had given special attention to relations with Japan. These 
things together seemed to reflect a cautious attitude on the part of 
America and at the same time to offer material for hope concerning 
Japanese-American negotiations. However, on the 29th, the Washington 
Times-Herald printed an account by Henning, the Chicago Tribune's 
Washington correspondent, exposing the inside story of the Japanese-
American negotiations. According to this story, the President prior to 
his fireside chat, had summoned Congressional leaders, and had revealed 
that America's policy was to concentrate upon entering the war with 
Germany, while pursuing a policy of appeasement toward Japan. The 
President was quoted as having said that "in Japan, the opposition of 
financial interests to the policy of the military would gather strength 
to the point where the Tripartite Pact would be virtually nullified". 
This story was immediately banned in Tokyo, but Foreign Minister 
Matsuoka, on the contrary, insisted that it be Published, and on the 
30th made public his statement of "refutation" which emphasized the 
absolute unchangeableness of Japan's Axis diplomacy, and the existence 
of a limit to the peaceful southern advance policy. 

[16]                               X

I left on a trip westward on June 13th, and after fulfilling previous 
engagements at the Heian Shrine in Kyoto and at the Omi Shrine, I 
returned to Tokyo on the 16th. On the following day, the 17th, President 
Wang Ching-wei of the Nanking Government arrived on a visit to Tokyo. 
Until he left on the 25th, I 

Page 3993

had to devote a good deal of time to his entertainment. Meanwhile, on 
the morning of the 22nd, to the utter consternation of the world, the 
German-Soviet war broke out. To make matters worse, by coincidence the 
American reply had been handed to Ambassador Nomura on the previous day, 
June, 21st, and was transmitted to Tokyo on the 24th. The Cabinet was 
now forced to concentrate its entire attention upon the development of 
the serious matter of the German-Soviet War.

As soon as Foreign Minister Matsuoka received word of the outbreak of 
the German-soviet War, he immediately gained audience with the Emperor. 
He advised the Emperor that "now that the German-Soviet War had started 
Japan, too, must cooperate with Germany and attack Russia. To do this, 
it was better for the time being to refrain from action in the south. 
Sooner or later Japan would have to fight there. Ultimately Japan would 
be fighting the Soviets, America and England simultaneously. Of course, 
the Foreign Minister had not consulted with the Cabinet. This was his 
independent action. The Emperor was greatly astonished, and ordered him 
to "consult with the Premier immediately". At the same time, through 
Marquis Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, the Emperor informed me of 
the contents of the Foreign Minister's advice. In compliance with the 
Imperial order, the Foreign Minister called on me at my Ogikubo 
residence at ten o'clock the same night. What he said was not very 
clear, but in short it appeared that the Foreign Minister had conveyed 
to the Emperor his own personal forecast of the situation at its worst. 
Upon seeing the Emperor on the 23rd, I tried to relieve his concern by 
saying that such was the nature of the Foreign Minister's advice. It was 
not clear whether the Foreign Minister's "uncompromising attitude" was 
nothing more than his own personal forecast, or whether it was a 
conviction. Therefore, for fear of further complications, I telephoned 
from the Imperial Palace to the Chief Cabinet Secretary to postpone the 
joint conference to consider the German-Soviet question which was 
scheduled to begin that same afternoon. It was learned that in addition 
to his statement to the Emperor, the Foreign Minister had made not a few 
similar statements to the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal and to various 
private persons, and had caused quite a stir. A searching investigation 
by the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal and myself disclosed that the 
Foreign Minister's claims appeared to be that "First, we must attack the 
Soviets. Although we must try to avoid war with America, in the event 
that America does enter the war, we must fight her too." Even though 
that was the Foreign Minister's opinion, I held informal conversations 
with the Army and Navy Ministers to determine the Government's attitude. 
In addition, I summoned joint conferences in quick succession on June 
25th, 26th, 28th and 30th, and July 1st. Finally, I requested the 
convening of a council in the presence of the Emperor on July 2nd, where 
it was decided that for the time being Japan would not undertake action 
against the Soviets. (See Appendix III). 

[17]                          XI

America showed a profound interest in Japan's attitude toward the 
German-Soviet War. On July 4th, the President had the Secretary of State 
send a message to me directly, which said that "We have information that 
Japan is starting military operations against the Soviets. We request 
assurance that this is contrary to fact." This message was delivered to 
me on July 6th by Ambassador Grew. This procedure was unprecedented, and 
showed how seriously the American Government held Foreign Minister 
MATSUOKA in disfavor. I conferred with the Foreign Minister, and on the 
8th he submitted to Ambassador Grew in place of an answer, a copy of the 
communication to the Soviet Government (handed to Soviet Ambassador 
Smetany on July 2nd). Turning the occasion to advantages I inquired 
whether "The American Government really intended to enter the European 
War." The American answer to this question arrived on July 16th, the day 
of the resignation of the Cabinet. This answer was bitterly ironical, 
saying that "it was quite proper to exercise the right of self-defense 
against Germany" and that "any country using force to keep America an 
indifferent bystander would be considered a partisan of the countries 
conducting armed invasion." Foreign Minister MATSUOKA at once disposed 
of this reply by expressing his opposition to unlimited abuse of the 
right of self-defense. Also, the Foreign Minister evinced considerable 
displeasure at the direct and secret transmission of the message to me. 
Whereupon Ambassador Grew could hardly hide his disappointment in having 
had a direct interview with me blocked. After this relationships between 
the Foreign Minister and Ambassador Grew, which had always been cool, 
grew increasingly worse. 

Page 3994

[18]                              XII

With the German-Soviet question settled for the time being, the American 
question permitted of no more delay. Also, the Foreign Minister's 
ambiguous attitude could no longer be disregarded. Consequently, on July 
4th, purposely using the form of a letter, I transmitted the following 
views to the Foreign Minister. 

1. Until the settlement of the Northern question, armed force should not 
be used against the Southern regions, and steps should be taken toward 
readjustment of diplomatic relations with America. Naval leaders clearly 
state that to fight America and the Soviets simultaneously offers almost 
insurmountable difficulties. From this point of view it is advisable 
that the invasion of French Indo-China should, if possible, be 

2. As a result of the readjustment of diplomatic relations with America, 
it would be impossible to satisfy German demands. This might temporarily 
create an undercurrent of misunderstanding among the Axis countries, but 
this could not be avoided. 

3. Readjustment of American-Japanese relations was also necessary in 
view of these three points: 

a. Expansion of national strength by acquisition of foreign goods. 
b. Prevention of American-Soviet rapprochement. 
c. Acceleration of peace negotiations with Chungking. 

4. Not only was it necessary to continue the present negotiations with 
America, from the above point of view-it was also necessary to bring 
them to a successful conclusion, in the light of high national policies. 
Lastly, I added that "even though from the Foreign Minister's point of 
view a compromise between Japan and America might seem impossible, I, 
who carried the responsibility of vital state affairs, was obliged to do 
my best. Moreover, the Emperor was seriously concerned about the 
situation. I, therefore was determined to do my utmost, and would work 
for the success of negotiations even at the cost of some concessions." 

The Foreign Minister said to me over the telephone that he was 
profoundly moved by my letter. When he saw me at my official residence 
the next day, the 5th, the following points were established. 

"Fundamentally he was of the same mind as I. No matter what public 
opinion might be, he considered himself to be the most zealous person in 
respect to the American question. He was certainly not trying to please 
Germany. However, he was opposed to do anything detrimental to the 
Tripartite Pact. From that very day he was going to give his entire 
attention to the American Question." At the same time, he made the 
significant statement that [19] "if at any time he became a stumbling-
block, he would resign his post."


[20] Deliberations on the Japanese-American Proposal for Understanding 
thus began again. Joint conferences were held on July 10th and 12th, 
which considered the American proposal of June 21st. The special points 
of this June 21st proposal were as follows: 

1. In the item covering the attitudes of the two countries toward the 
European War, the clause advocated by Japan, which proposed joint 
efforts of Japan and America for the restoration of peace, was deleted. 
This suggested by implication a determination to work to the last for 
the overthrow of Germany. 

2. In relation to the Tripartite Pact, America proposed that "Japan ... 
make clear her intention of preventing a spreading of the European War 
resulting from provocative acts. This seemed to reveal an effort to have 
Japan make a written promise not to take up arms in the event of 
America's participation in the war as the result of "provocation" by 

3. Concerning the China Incident, the distinction made in the first 
proposal between the Chiang Kai-shek Administration and the Nanking 
Government was omitted so as to make the recommendation of peace be to 
the "Chinese Government". Also, although the Konoye Principles were 
mentioned, only that part referring to amicable relations were included, 
and the matter of economic cooperation and a common front against 
communism was omitted. On the whole this marked a general reversion to a 
fear of American public opinion. 

4. The Sino-Japanese Peace Terms, which Japan had deleted were included 
in an Annex. The necessity for the establishment of perfect agreement 
concerning this was indicated.

Page 3995

5. Whereas Japan advocated limiting the economic cooperation of Japan 
and America to the "southwest" Pacific, this was revised to cover the 
entire Pacific. (See Appendix IV) 

Further, an oral statement was attached to the proposal. It attempted to 
sound out Japan's true intentions, saying that "America was ardently 
hoping for the realization of Japanese-American understanding, and would 
like to receive more clearly than it had up to this time assurances that 
the Japanese Government too was desirous of this realization as a whole. 
In one section it was mentioned that intelligence had been received that 
"among Japanese leaders in influential positions were those who had 
pledged themselves to further the demands of National Socialist Germany 
and its subjugation policies". In saying that under these circumstances 
the understanding between the two countries, presently being 
deliberated, might end in "disillusionment", the oral statement by 
implication censured Foreign Minister MATSUOKA. It also expressed doubts 
concerning [21] the stationing of Japanese troops in China. 

This June 21st proposal was finally deliberated upon at the joint 
conference of July 10th. 

However, in spite of my efforts, Foreign Minister MATSUOKA's attitude 
became increasingly uncooperative. It became clear that his attitude was 
one of opposition to the Japanese-American negotiations. During the 
joint conference of July 10th, he especially requested the presence of 
Dr. Yoshie SAITO, Advisor to the Foreign Ministry and MATSUOKA's 
confidential friend, and through him opened up a general attack upon the 
Japanese-American negotiations. He even distributed to those who 
participated in the conference, previously prepared leaflets expressing 
his views. These leaflets contained points almost the same as those of 
his spoken agreement, and might briefly be summed up as follows: The 
American proposal, from beginning to end, was based upon ill-will, which 
wanted to subjugate Japan or throw her into utter confusion. The Foreign 
Minister was particularly incensed over the suspicion cast upon his 
attitude, by implication, in the oral statement attached to the American 
proposal. This was a demand for a cabinet change which would change the 
Foreign Minister, and constituted an interference in domestic affairs. 
Such a thing was unprecedented in diplomatic history since the time when 
the German Kaiser demanded the resignation of the French Foreign 
Minister. The Foreign Minister's concluding statement was that, at the 
very least, the oral statement should be sent back at once and that the 
Japanese-American negotiations should be broken off, the when and how of 
this being now the only questions. Troubled by the uncompromising 
attitude of the Foreign Minister, I held a secret conference that night 
with the Army, Navy and Home Ministers. 

At the Joint conference on the 12th, the Army and Navy made a joint 
statement of their opinions. It differed from the Foreign Minister's in 
that it stated: 1) Japan's attitude toward the European War should be 
determined according to treaty obligations and the question of self-
defense. (2) The three Konoye Principles should form the basis of 
dealing with the Chinese question. America might make recommendations as 
to an armistice and peace, but should not intervene in the peace terms. 
(3) Japan reserved her right to use armed forces in the Pacific in case 
of necessity. 

It was thought necessary to define these three points clearly for the 
sake of the future. In other respects the American proposal was all 
right. However, even the eventuality of a breakdown in negotiations 
matters should be prolonged until after the entrance of Japanese troops 
into French Indo-China. 

Ultimately Foreign Minister MATSUOKA agreed to draw up the Japanese 
counter-proposal on the basis of the Army and Navy views. On the 12th, 
[22] after the end of the conference, MUTA and OKA, Directors of the 
Military Affairs Bureaus of the Army and Navy Ministries, respectively, 
TERASAKI, Director of the American Bureau of the Foreign office; TOMITA, 
Chief Cabinet Secretary; and SAITO, Foreign office Advisor, met in 
conference and drew up Japan's final draft proposal. 

There remained to obtain Foreign Minister MATSUOKA's agreement. In spite 
of strong Army and Navy pressure, the Foreign Minister, under pretext of 
illness, would not read the draft proposal. His seeing the German 
Ambassador and others in the meantime, however, angered the Army and 
Navy. Finally, on the 14th, the Foreign Minister listened to Dr. SAITO's 
explanation, and the final proposal including the Foreign Minister's 
revised opinions was drawn up. This affair lasted only a day or two, but 
there was tense atmosphere in the government, and an added strain was 
felt in political circles. 

Page 3996

The Japanese counter-proposal, which was drawn up according to the 
Foreign Minister's revision, differed from the American proposal of June 
21st, chiefly in the following points: 

1. To facilitate American acceptance the phrase "when the proper 
occasion arises" was added to the clause covering a joint effort by 
Japan and America to be exerted for the speedy termination of the 
European War. 

2. The paragraph concerning the Tripartite Pact was revised to read "if 
by mischance the European War spreads, the Japanese Government shall 
execute its obligations under the Pact and determine its attitude solely 
according to consideration of national welfare and safety." 

3. In the section pertaining to the Chinese question, the Konoye 
Principles were set forth as a whole, and the term "Nanking Government", 
which was disliked by America, was avoided. However. it was clearly 
stated that the American Government was to advise Chiang Kai-shek to 
make peace. 

4. Sino-Japanese peace terms were again omitted. 

5. For the reason that it was in the Southwest Pacific that Japanese-
American cooperation was particularly needed, the "whole Pacific area" 
was changed to "Southwest Pacific." 

When the Japanese counter-proposal was finally drawn up, everyone 
concerned was of the opinion that it should be sent to America 
immediately. However, the Foreign Minister clung to the opinion that 
"First of all, instructions rejecting the oral statement, and then two 
or three days later; the counter-proposal should be cabled. [23] The 
cabled instructions rejecting the oral statement termed it "an impolite 
and improper document", and indicated that "unless the American 
Government first withdrew it, Japan would be unable to proceed with 
deliberation on the Proposal for Understanding." 

I, and the Army and Navy, strongly urged that at least the Japanese 
counterproposal should be dispatched at the same time as the cabled 
instructions, since the latter by itself would only stir up ill feelings 
on the other side, and might lead to a rupture. However, late on the 
night of the 14th, the Foreign Minister in disregard of an agreement 
with me and Dr. SAITO. sent the cabled instructions of rejection alone. 
(Actually, Secretary Hull, surprised at the interpretation which had 
been given to it, withdrew it on July 17th, in, order to clear away the 
misunderstanding). On the following day, the 15th, the Foreign Minister 
ordered SAKAMOTO, the Director of the European and Asiatic Bureau, to 
inform the Germans secretly of Japan's last proposal which had not yet 
been presented even to America. 

[24]                              XIV

Upon arriving at this state of affairs, the Cabinet was of one mind with 
me that it could no longer deal with important diplomatic matters. So, 
on the 15th, after a Cabinet council from which the Foreign Minister was 
absent, I consulted with the Home, Army and Navy Ministers as to the 
best course available. The Army Minister declared that "realizing the 
various undesirable consequences which would ensue from the dismissal of 
the Foreign Minister, he had done his utmost to cooperate with him, but 
now it was no longer possible." At this point, there was nothing else 
for it but the Foreign Minister's dismissal, or the resignation of the 
Cabinet en masse. Four Ministers were agreed upon this point. However, 
should the Foreign Minister alone be dismissed, extremely serious 
consequences might follow, in view of the fact that the Foreign Minister 
had emphatically stated that "the American oral statement was a demand 
for a Cabinet change". At this time, it was decided that, quite apart 
from the Foreign Minister's attitude or the American question, and quite 
simply, from the viewpoint of the consolidation of the wartime 
structure, it would be better for the Cabinet to resign en masse. 

The council broke up with the decision to have a consultation again the 
next day. 

When I reported these circumstances to the Emperor at two o'clock that 
afternoon at his Hayama residence, the Emperor asked "whether or not it 
was possible to dismiss Matsuoka alone". I replied that I would do the 
best I could after careful deliberation but that the Cabinet could not 
continue to exist like this. I then had an interview with the Lord 
Keeper of the Privy Seal, and explained the reasons why a general 
resignation was necessary. I suggested Home Minister Hiranuma as the 
best candidate for the next premiership. The Lord Keeper of the Privy 
Seal, without saying whether he agreed or not, recommended that prompt 
action be taken. 

Page 3997

On the following day, July 16th, in accordance with the previous day's 
agreement, I, the Home Minister, the Army Minister, the Navy Minister, 
and the President of the Cabinet Planning Board met at noon in a secret 
conference at my Mejiro residence. As a result of the deliberations, we 
agreed upon a general resignation. Then, after all preparations had been 
made by the Chief Cabinet Secretary, who was standing by in readiness, 
at half-past six an extraordinary Cabinet council was convened, and the 
resignations were handed over. The Foreign Minister being at home in 
bed, the Chief Cabinet Secretary called upon him and obtained his 
resignation. The Foreign Minister was taken unawares, and showed great 
annoyance. However, he could do nothing in the face of the general 
decision, and entrusted his seal to the Chief Secretary. 

At 8:50 P. M. I tendered the resignations to the Emperor at his Hayama 
residence. At 11 P. M. I reported to the Cabinet Members. Thus the 
Second Konoye Cabinet came to an end. 

[25]                              XV

On July 17th at 5:10 P. M. I was received in audience by the Emperor at 
the Imperial Palace and ordered to organize the Cabinet again. 
Commencing the selection of Cabinet members at once, I completed the 
task at 5:30 P. M. on the 18th. I reported to the Palace at 7:00 P. M. 
and presented the names of the Cabinet members. At 8:50 P. M. the newly-
organized third Konoye Cabinet came into existence. The first Cabinet 
council was held at 9:45 P. M. The special feature of the new Cabinet 
was the appointment of Admiral Toyoda its Foreign Minister. 

The previous Cabinet had done its utmost for the success of the 
Japanese-American negotiations. Particularly, the Army and Navy had 
maintained the closest cooperation. The opposition of the Foreign 
Minister alone had caused the Cabinet's collapse. Unexpectedly, only the 
Foreign Minister was changed, and actually the identical Cabinet had the 
opportunity of again taking the stage. (In addition to the Foreign 
Minister, four Ministers, Kanemitsu, Ogawa, Akita, and Kawada had 
resigned, but essentially it was a matter of Foreign Minister Matsuoka's 
being changed.) Thus, the mission assigned to the new Cabinet was clear 
to everyone. 

It should be noted particularly that the Army and Navy Ministers 
remained in office, and that the important post of Foreign Minister was 
occupied by a representative of the Navy, which was most concerned with 
the American question, and hence had a significant voice in the matter. 
The Cabinet was given the additional privilege of holding joint 
conferences with the Supreme Command in the Imperial Palace, and 
launched immediately upon the attainment of its objectives, the solution 
of Japanese-American problems. 

In the first part of July, the Imperial Headquarters was established in 
the Imperial Palace. The joint conferences between the Government and 
the Supreme Command were to take place in the Palace also. On July 23rd, 
the first meeting for exchange of information was held in the Palace. 
The Army, particularly Tojo, the Army Minister, was responsible for the 
establishment of the Imperial Headquarters and the Joint conferences in 
the Imperial Palace. It was thought that by this maneuver orders issued 
by the joint conferences within the Palace would have more weight, and 
that such orders in themselves would completely obviate divisions within 
the Cabinet or a split in public opinion. That such a hope could be 
fully attained was inconceivable in the light of later developments. 

However, the significance of this very obvious political change was not 
clearly grasped by Ambassador Nomura in Washington. Because the 
Ambassador himself failed to understand it, almost nothing was done to 
convey its significance to the Americans. To the Tokyo Government, which 
had expected that a good impression would be made by the establishment 
of the new Cabinet, and that negotiations would progress swiftly now 
that the vague atmosphere had been dispelled, this situation was truly 

[26] The previous Cabinet in its last days had drawn up with great pains 
a Japanese counter-proposal to the American proposal of June 21st, and 
on July 25th had dispatched it by cable. In spite of this, the Embassy 
at Washington had not yet presented it to the Americans, first because 
of the change in Cabinets, second, because of fear that its contents 
might not be acceptable to the Americans. This was made clear in a cable 
from Ambassador Nomura on July 22nd. 

Page 3998

In addition to all that, Ambassador Nomura on July 23rd, requested that 
he be informed of the new Cabinet's policy toward America. 

While the Japanese Cabinet's strong desire to proceed with the Japanese-
American negotiations had not yet even been conveyed to the Americans, 
the time set by the Cabinet council for dispatching troops to French 
Indo-China drew near, and movements of forces on the Pacific grew 
frequent. This could not fail to increase the doubt and anxiety of the 
American Government. According to a cable from Ambassador Nomura on the 
24th, rumors were circulating to the effect that, 1) Future 
conversations would be "torpedoed" in Tokyo; 2) Japan had given our 
explanation to the Axis that the Japanese-American diplomatic 
adjustments were a stratagem until preparations for a Southern invasion 
were completed. In Japan, too, the expression "Japanese encirclement" 
was increasingly used, and in journalistic circles, for the most part, 
there was a strong anti-American tendency far removed from the attitude 
of the Cabinet. 

On July 21st, Under-Secretary Welles, representing Secretary Hull, who 
was ill, summoned Minister Wakasugi, Ambassador Nomura's representative, 
and warned him that "According to information, Japan appeared to be 
planning the occupation of French Indo-China, and that such an action 
would nullify previous conversations. On the 23rd, Under-Secretary 
Welles had a conversation with Ambassador Nomura also, in which he made 
serious representations to the effect that "Up to now America had 
exercised all possible forbearance in holding conversations with Japan, 
but that because of recent events, the basis of the earliest 
conversations had been entirely lost." 

On the 24th Ambassador Nomura had a private interview with the 
President. At this time, the President, declaring that the question of 
French Indo-China constituted a fatal problem, made the following 
important proposals. 

1. Evacuation of Japanese troops from French Indo-China (if they have 
already entered), and with that as a condition, 

2. A Joint guarantee by Japan, America, England, Holland and China of 
the neutralization of French Indo-China.

3. Guaranteed access to goods from French Indo-China. 

[27] The Tokyo Government's announcement of the entry of troops into 
French Indo-China, and the American Government's announcement of the 
freezing of Japanese assets came simultaneously. In view of the sudden 
change in the situation, I ordered the Chief of the Metropolitan Police 
Board, that night, to station a special police guard at the American 

[28]                             XVI

During the period of approximately ten days between the political change 
and the occupation of French Indo-China, there were many happenings 
which were unfortunate for mutual understanding between Tokyo and 
Washington. It now seemed as if the Japanese-American conversations had 
failed utterly. However the Cabinet, refusing to give up hope until the 
last, devoted its efforts to the resumption of conversations about the 
American President's July 24th proposal regarding French Indo-China. An 
elaborated form of this proposal, including the neutralization of 
Thailand as well as of French Indo-China, was transmitted through Under-
Secretary Welles on July 31st. 

In Tokyo, successive joint conferences took place on July 29th and 30th, 
and on August 2nd and 4th. I exerted my utmost efforts, holding informal 
conversations with the Navy and Foreign Ministers on the 31st, and with 
the Army Minister on August 1st. I also summoned Mr. Mitsuru TOYAMA and 
others as a move toward the conservatives. And so, at the joint 
conference of August 4th, a single proposal to the United States was 
decided upon. Although in its form this was an answer to the President's 
proposal, it was designed to be the key to reopening the Japanese-
American conversations which had come to a standstill. The gist of the 
proposal was as follows: 

1. Japan has no intention of sending troops further than French Indo-
China and will withdraw them from French Indo-China after the settlement 
of the China Incident. 

2. Japan will guarantee the neutrality of the Philippines. 

3. America will remove her armaments in the Southwest Pacific. 

4. America will cooperate in Japan's obtaining resources in the 
Netherlands East Indies. 

5. America will act as intermediary in the direct negotiations between 
Japan and China, and will recognize Japan's special position in French 
Indo-China, even After the withdrawal of troops.

Page 3999

These cabled instructions were sent to Ambassador NOMURA on August 5th. 
On the 6th, the Ambassador conveyed them to Secretary Hull. The 
Americans showed no special interest, however, and made it clear that 
there was no room for the continuation of conversations until Japan 
should abandon her saber-rattling policy. Ambassador NOMURA reported 
that America seemed to be ready to meet any situation. 

Two days later, on August 8th, Secretary Hull handed the American answer 
to Ambassador NOMURA. It contained no reference to the contents of the 
Japanese proposal. It merely pointed out that, as a reply to the 
President's proposal, the Japanese proposal was not to the point. It was 
a sharp document, repeating almost word for word the President's 


[29] During this time, I was considering every means by which to 
surmount the Japanese-American crisis. Finally, I made up my mind to 
personally meet with the President, and on the evening of August 4th, I 
told both the Ministers of War and of Navy about this for the first 
time. My words were as follows: 

"1. The President of the United States has gone so far as to say that he 
'wishes to leave nothing undone,' and it is our duty, I believe, to do 
everything that can be done. Behind the conversations which have been 
held between Japan and America to date, there have been various 
misunderstandings and differences of sentiment, and it seems that the 
real intentions of each are not thoroughly understood by the other. For 
a statesman to allow matters to develop in this manner into war could 
not be justified when viewed in the light of world peace. He would not 
be fulfilling his duties to the Emperor, who views Japanese-American 
relations with particular anxiety, nor to the people. If all that could 
be done had been done and still there is war, there can be no help for 
it. In such an eventuality, our minds can be made up, and the people's 
will determined. Although outwardly Chamberlain of England appeared to 
have been deceived by Hitler on his several trips to the Continent prior 
to the European War, it is believed that they were effective from the 
standpoint of solidifying the determination of the British people. 

"2. In this most critical period, it is feared that the opportune moment 
might be missed if negotiations are carried on through Ambassador 
Nomura. The Prime Minister should meet personally with the President and 
express straightforwardly and boldly the true intentions of the Empire. 
If the President still does not understand, I shall, of course, be fully 
prepared to break off the talks and return home. It is, therefore, an 
undertaking which must be carried out while being fully prepared for war 
against America. If, after a direct meeting with the President, an 
understanding cannot be obtained, the people will know that a Japanese-
American war could not be avoided. This would aid in consolidating their 
determination. The world in general, also, would be made aware that the 
primary factor is not aggression and invasion. It will know that great 
efforts were made in behalf of maintaining peace in the Pacific. This 
would be advantageous to us in that the unfavorable trend of the world's 
public opinion would be somewhat eased. 

"3. Since the matter of the President's coming to Honolulu has already 
been brought up in the first Proposal for Understanding, I do not 
believe that having it materialize is an impossibility. It is not 
necessary to assume from the start that the conversations will fail. 
Japan will insist, of course, on the firm establishment of the Greater 
East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. American claims will be based on the 
provisions of the Nine-Power Pact. The contents of these are at odds 
with each other. However [30] America has stated that 'it is ready at 
any time to discuss making revisions to the Nine-Power Pact through 
legal means.' Japan's ideal, of course, is to bring about the firm 
establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. In view of 
the national potential it is too much to expect this ideal to be 
fulfilled at once. Therefore, I do not believe that Japanese-American 
talks are an impossibility if they are carried out with broadmindedness. 

"4. This conference must be held soon. The outlook of the German-Soviet 
war indicates that the peak will become apparent in about September. If, 
as people in some circles predict today, a stalemate is brought about, 
Germany's future cannot be viewed with optimism. If that does happen, 
the American attitude will stiffen and she will no longer entertain the 
thought of talking with Japan. On the other hand, even if the German-
Soviet war develops favorably for Germany, 

Page 4000

this conference would not necessarily bring about unfavorable results 
for Japan. Even if Germany's attitude toward Japan becomes cool, since 
there is no chance of a German conquest of the world or of a complete 
victory over Britain and America, there are many ways in which Japanese 
German relations can be altered. Therefore, we need not feel much 
anxiety because of favorable developments for Germany in the German-
Soviet War. On the contrary, in consideration of possibly unfavorable 
developments for Germany, it is of the utmost urgency that we reach an 
accord with America without a day's delay. 

"5. But the problem is not merely to come to any agreement with America 
The urgency, of course, must not force us to strike a submissive 
attitude. In other words, we shall do everything that can be done, and 
then if success is not attained, there is no help for it. It is my 
opinion that to do everything that should be done is absolutely 
essential from a diplomatic as well as from a domestic standpoint." 

Both the War and Navy Ministers listened to me intently. Neither could 
give me an immediate reply but before the day was over, the Navy 
expressed complete accord and, moreover, anticipated the success of the 
conference The War Minister's reply came in writing, as follows: 

"If the Prime Minister were to personally meet with the President of the 
United States, the existing diplomatic relations of the Empire, which 
are based on the Tripartite Pact, would unavoidably be weakened. At the 
same time, a considerable domestic stir would undoubtedly be created. 
For these reasons, the meeting is not considered a suitable move. The 
attempt to surmount the present critical situation by the Prime 
Minister's offering his personal services, is viewed with sincere 
respect and admiration. If, therefore, it is the Prime Minister's 
intention to attend such a meeting [31] with determination to firmly 
support the basic principles embodied in the Empire's Revised Plan to 
the "N"-Plan and to carry out a war against America if the President of 
the United States still fails to comprehend the true intentions of the 
Empire even after this final effort is made, the army is not necessarily 
in disagreement. 

"However, (1) it is not in favor of the meeting if, after making 
preliminary investigations it is learned that the meeting will be with 
someone other than the President, such as Secretary Hull or one in a 
lesser capacity. (2) You shall not resign your post as a result of the 
meeting on the grounds that it was a failure, rather, you shall be 
prepared to assume leadership in the war against America." 

The War Minister was of the opinion that "failure of this meeting is the 
greater likelihood." After considering the matter from all angles, the 
Foreign Minister concluded that "matters should be carried out 
expeditiously." On the morning of the 6th, immediately after the joint 
conference, I was granted an audience, and I conveyed my intentions to 
the Emperor. During the afternoon of the 7th, I was summoned to his 
presence and was advised: "I am in receipt of intelligence from the Navy 
pertaining to a general oil embargo against Japan by America. In view of 
this, the meeting with the President should take place as soon as 
possible." Instructions were dispatched to Ambassador Nomura during the 
morning of the 7th. 

The first impression made on America by even this major proposal, was 
discouraging. The President was absent from Washington at the time, 
having gone to meet with Prime Minister Churchill. Ambassador Nomura 
called on Secretary Hull on the 8th, and relayed the proposal to him. As 
stated before, however, this coincided with our receiving the American 
reply to Japan's proposal of August 4th. With regard to this most 
important new proposal Hull's comment was: "As long as there is no 
change in Japan's policy, I lack confidence in relaying this proposal to 
the President." Ambassador Nomura did not press the matter further but 
suggested by telegraph that the matter be taken up in Tokyo with 
Ambassador Grew. 

In America, the joint statement of the President and Churchill was 
publicly announced and subsequently the caustic Japanese press comments 
concerning it were reported. The attempt on Minister Hiranuma's life on 
the 14th was reported in a sensational manner. On the 13th, Secretary 
Hull handed Ambassador Nomura a note of protest enumerating the various 
instances in which Japan had disregarded American rights and interests 
in China, calmly explaining that all representations that should be made 
would continue to be made in the typical tradition of American 
diplomacy. Among American Cabinet officials with whom Ambassador Nomura 
came in contact, the matter was viewed with pessimism on the theory that 
there was no reason for [32] America to participate in

Page 4001

a meeting of leaders which had no chance of succeeding. Realizing the 
very critical situation, Ambassador Nomura met once more with Hull on 
the 16th, just prior to the President's return to Washington from his 
conference at sea. Ambassador Nomura made every effort to convey to Hull 
our true intentions, but as usual. Hall repeated his opposition to 
"military domination." At the same time, however, his attitude with 
regard to the meeting of the two leaders softened somewhat and replied: 
"If the Ambassador is sufficiently confident Japan's wishes may be 
conveyed to the White House." 

[33]                            XVIII

As expected, President Roosevelt requested Ambassador Nomura to call on 
August 17th—in spite of its being Sunday—which was almost immediately 
upon his return to Washington from the conference at sea. He brought up 
two subjects: One was a warning against any further southward advance by 
force of arms, and the other was his reply to the proposal for the 
meeting between the leaders of the two nations. First, he expressed the 
appreciation of the American Government to me and to the Japanese 
Government for making this proposal. Then he said, "If the Japanese 
Government halts Japan's expansion activities and readjusts its stand; 
and if it desires to embark upon a program of peace in the Pacific along 
the lines proposed in the program and principles proposed by the United 
States; and if, moreover, it is able to effect such a program, the 
United States is prepared to reopen the unofficial preparatory 
discussions which were broken off in July, and every effort will then be 
made to select a time and place to exchange views." Thus be expressed 
agreement in principle. Finally: "For this purpose, it is requested that 
a statement concerning the present attitude and plans of the Japanese 
Government, with more clarity than heretofore, be submitted." 
Clarification of the term, "a peaceful program," showed that it included 
the application of the principle of equality of economic opportunity and 
treatment in the entire Pacific area; the voluntary and peaceful 
cooperation of all the nationals in the said area, the offering of 
assistance to any people who might be threatened; the abolition of 
control through military or political pressure; and the abolition of 
monopolistic or preferential economic tights. 

The President was in high spirits throughout this Nomura-Roosevelt 
conference. He even went so far as to say: "As for the locale of the 
meeting, Hawaii is impossible from a geographical standpoint. Juneau, 
Alaska, would be more suitable As for time, how about around the middle 
of October?" 

That the President took up this matter personally without having it 
proceed through regular administration channels, because he was of the 
opinion that the matter could be settled more quickly through his 
personal intercession, was indicated by one Cabinet official (Walker?) 
who met with Ambassador Nomura. Ambassador Nomura wired Tokyo: "A reply 
should be made before this opportunity is lost" and accompanied this 
with a draft of a reply to be used as reference. 

In Tokyo, after the instructions had been dispatched on the 7th, aside 
from holding joint conferences on the 9th, 13th, 14th, and the 16th, I 
remained in constant touch with the War, Navy and Foreign Ministers. On 
the 18th, Foreign Minister Toyoda invited Ambassador Grew to call and 
explain why the meeting between the leaders of the two nations was of 
the utmost importance, and requested his cooperation in having it 

[34] At about this time, Captain Iwakuro and Mr. Igawa, who had been 
aiding Ambassador Nomura in the talks with America, returned to Japan. 
Captain Iwakuro was invited to attend the joint conference of the 20th, 
at which he described in detail the developments up to then and 
explained conditions in America. My relationship with the army was 
explained to Mr. Igawa and his good offices in clarifying the situation 
were requested. Minister Wakatsuki also returned and described the 
Japanese-American negotiations as seen from a slightly different angle, 
principally to Foreign Office circles. 

[35]                              XIX

At the joint conference held on August 26th the Japanese Government 
decided upon Japan's reply to the American proposal, which was handed 
over to Ambassador Nomura by President Roosevelt on August 17th. In this 
reply, Japan pointed out that it was hard for Japan to accept the 
American Government's hitherto assumed attitude. In addition, Japan's 
attitude and intentions 

Page 4002

toward the Southern Regions and the Soviet Union were clarified. Japan 
further declared that the program which America claimed should be 
applied to the entire world should, by inference, be applied to the 
Pacific Area, which is a part of the world. In its reply Japan also 
expressed her view that it was reasonable to assume that any demand 
which was vitally necessary for the existence of a nation should be duly 

At this same Joint conference held on August 26th, in addition to 
deciding upon her reply, the Japanese Government approved a message 
addressed directly from me to President Roosevelt. In this message I, 
freeing myself from the past business-like negotiations, discussed the 
Japanese-American problem from a broader point of view. I frankly stated 
my sincere intention of proposing an interview which would aim at tiding 
over the present crisis. I also expressed my hope that the interview 
could take place as early as possible. 

On August 28th these two documents were handed personally to the 
President of the United States by Ambassador Nomura. After reading my 
message, President Roosevelt showed his appreciation by calling it a 
"splendid message" and expressing his hope for a three-day interview 
with me. Thus, although the President did not mention the date for the 
interview, he exhibited an unmistakable desire for such an interview 
with me. Compared with the President's enthusiasm, Secretary Hull, who 
was present at the time, took an extremely cautious attitude. On the 
same night Hull summoned Ambassador Nomura and emphasized America's 
feeling that the interview between the two Governmental heads should 
take the form of a ratification of matters discussed in already 
completed conversations. He also made clear his basic disagreement with 
the Japanese feeling in this matter and stressed the fact that before 
the interview Japan's intentions concerning the China Problem, 
especially that of the evacuation of Japanese troops and the right of 
self-defense, should be clarified more thoroughly than heretofore. 

Meanwhile, Ambassador Nomura sent two reports to Tokyo on August 29th 
and August 30th respectively. In one report Ambassador Nomura described 
the optimistic air surrounding his interview with the President, and in 
the other report he sent word concerning Mr. Hull's pessimistic opinion. 
These two reports contained important suggestions for a solution of the 
present crucial problems. Meanwhile. Japanese Governmental circles held 
two different opinions, one optimistic and the other pessimistic. 
However, in anticipation of the meeting becoming an actuality, the War, 
Navy and Foreign Ministries began selecting representatives. The 
Japanese Foreign Office [36] seems not to have viewed very seriously the 
State Department's "theoretical diplomacy" as represented by Hull, and 
their faith in the President's "statesman-like" way of resolution seems 
to have grown stronger. In the joint conference held on August 30th, 
Foreign Minister Toyoda inclined strongly toward the optimistic point of 

On September 3rd, President Roosevelt secretly summed Ambassador Nomura 
and personally handed him his reply to my message. Although the 
President addressed himself to me as being "very sincerely sympathetic," 
he showed none of his former enthusiasm. Even in his reply the 
President, while he used extremely polite language, avoided any clear 
expression indicating his consent to the proposed interview. Instead, he 
stated in his message that prior to the interview it would be necessary 
for Japan to agree upon certain basic principles. In the light of the 
President's message, it became clear that the State Department's opinion 
had become the dominant opinion. In his oral statement, President 
Roosevelt clearly specified the Four Principles which he had up to that 
time avoided bringing up. He stated that these were the basic principles 
upon which the conversations had been conducted up to that point. 
Furthermore, he said that though the Japanese reply handed to him 
personally on August 28th (the reply accompanying my message) seemed to 
have made clear its agreement with these principles, there still 
remained various untouched-upon and unsolved problems in respect to the 
June 21st American Proposal for understanding. He argued that it was 
necessary first to settle these problems and that he wished to learn the 
Japanese Government's stand in respect to them. In all this the 
President's attitude was the same as that of the State Department. 

Oh the following day, the 8th, when Ambassador Nomura met with Hull, the 
latter's attitude had become all the more firm. Hull stated that the 
Four Principles were the most important considerations, and that the 
Japanese Government must show more clearly its intention to support 
them. In short, the 

Page 4003

United States strongly maintained the attitude that the basis for any 
conversation between the Governmental Heads should be the same as the 
basis on which the earlier proposal for understanding was founded. 

[37]                               XX

However, on September 3rd, at the same time that the interview was being 
held between Ambassador Nomura and President Roosevelt, a joint 
conference was being held in Tokyo to discuss a new proposal to be sent 
to the United States. This proposal was drawn up by the Foreign Office. 
Based upon a different principle from that of the Proposal for 
Understanding that was considered by Nomura and Hull in their previous 
informal conversation, it was in its essence a simplification of this 
proposal, and reads as follows: 

1. Japan will not send occupational troops further than French Indo-

2. Japan will make an independent interpretation of the Tripartite Pact. 

3. In accordance with a Japanese-Chinese Agreement, Japan will withdraw 
her troops from China. 

4. Japan will not restrict American economic activities in China 
provided such activities are carried out along just lines. 

5. The principle of nondiscrimination in respect to trade will be 
established in the Southwest Pacific.

6. The necessary steps will be taken to restore normal trade relations 
between Japan and America. 

The above proposals were to be offered to the United States, and the 
United States was to reciprocate. The Foreign Office set great store by 
the proposal, and on September 4th Foreign Minister Toyoda conveyed this 
proposal to Ambassador Grew in Tokyo at the same time that Ambassador 
Nomura was conveying it to Secretary Hull. 

This proposal was not exactly a new one, since Japan had done her utmost 
to make known her desires. However, it would be difficult to say how 
long it would take to consider all of the important fundamental 
principles contained in the Proposal for Understanding which was used as 
the basis for negotiations in April. Since, in having to consider all of 
these, the present crisis might not be averted, Japan's purpose was to 
bring up only the immediate and concrete problems and on these to base 
the conversations between the Governmental Heads. 

However, the American interpretation was that Japan found it difficult 
to adopt, in toto, the Proposal for Understanding and therefore, to 
avoid the issue, was offering new proposals based upon a new policy. 
Under these [38] circumstances, contrary to the sanguine expectations of 
Foreign Office, the September 9th proposal merely invited 
misunderstanding and confusion. 

Nor was it unreasonable that America should have fallen into this 
misunderstanding since America had presented the June 21st Proposal to 
Japan as the final American proposal. As stated above, Japan's reply was 
dispatched on July 15th. However, because of the cabinet change, etc., 
Ambassador Nomura had failed to submit this reply to the American side. 
Thus, before the Japanese counter-proposal to the American proposal of 
June 21st had been received by Washington, another Japanese proposal 
dated September 4th had arrived. This seems to have been the principle 
reason for the American misunderstanding. 

[39]                              XXI

While the complicated and prolonged diplomatic negotiations were being 
conducted between Tokyo and Washington, in Tokyo itself a question of 
special significance was being deliberated upon by the cabinet. The 
question was whether to continue negotiations indefinitely with America, 
or whether to break them off abruptly. And more important still, they 
were considering whether war with America would follow upon the heels of 
the breaking off of negotiations. 

The diplomatic negotiations for establishing a better American-Japanese 
understanding were being participated in by only the highest leaders of 
the Government, Army, Navy and the Supreme Command. They were 
progressing to the absolute exclusion of lesser officials. With the sole 
exception of Foreign Minister Matsuoka, all the leading participants 
were hoping for the success of the negotiations and for this very reason 
they were conducting it in absolute secrecy lest it encounter 

Nevertheless, news began to leak out, particularly as a result of 
Foreign Minister Matsuoka's secret reports to the German and Italian 

Page 4004

As they began to perceive the general outline of the negotiations, the 
lesser officials began to give evidence of their disapproval. The Army 
in particular stiffened in its opposition. Just at this moment, the 
German-Soviet war suddenly broke out. Though the governmental leaders 
were able to set aside the insistent demands for an immediate war 
against the Soviets, they were obliged to decide upon the armed 
occupation of French Indo-China as a sort of consolation prize. At the 
same time, in order to be prepared for any emergency, they proceeded 
with full-scale preparations for a possible war against England and 
America. Though it was no easy task, the division between preparation 
for war and the war itself had to be firmly borne in mind. As 
preparations for war progressed, opposition to American-Japanese 
negotiations became more vociferous. 

Meanwhile, the effect of Japan's armed occupation of French Indo-China 
was immediate and powerful. America immediately effected a breaking off 
of economic relations painful to Japan and without hesitation made clear 
that her own country's traditional policy alone was the policy conducive 
to peace. This strong American retaliation created a proportionate 
reaction in the anti-American camp in Japan. Opposition to American-
Japanese negotiations came out into the open, and the course of action 
of the Cabinet, which had been created expressly for this purpose, 
became fraught with difficulties. Developments finally induced me to 
request a personal interview with the American President. However, the 
fact of the existence of the so-called "Konoye Message" had leaked out 
as a consequence of the conversations between Nomura and the President, 
and, while the actual contents were not known, various vague conjectures 
began to circulate, making even more difficult the problems confronting 
negotiations. It would [40] seem that from about August 1941, the Army 
General Staff, even including the highest quarters, began advocating an 
immediate breaking off of negotiations and an opening of American-
Japanese hostilities. Seeking in every possible way to contravene these 
policies, from the latter half of August I repeatedly held consultations 
with the Army and Navy Ministers and called together countless Joint 
conferences. To a certain degree, the "National Policy" calling for the 
breaking off of negotiations and the immediate opening of hostilities 
against England and America was brought under discussion. 

Thus it came about that on September 6th, at a conference held in the 
Imperial presence, the "Outline for the Execution of the National Policy 
of the Imperial Government" was decided upon. (See Appendix 5.) 

On the day before the conference held in the Imperial presence, I bad an 
audience with the Emperor in order to informally discuss the "Outline 
for the Execution of the National Policy of the Imperial Government." 
The Emperor, in examining the program, pointed out that it placed war 
preparations first and diplomatic negotiations second. This, he said. 
would seem to give precedence to war over diplomatic activities. He 
expressed the desire to question the chiefs of the Army and Navy General 
Staffs regarding this point at the meeting on the following day. In 
reply I explained that the order of business in the program did not 
indicate any differences in degree of importance. I also said that the 
Government intended to pursue diplomatic negotiations as long as 
possible and to commence preparations for war only when there seemed no 
prospect of successful negotiation. I also suggested that if he wishes 
to question the Chiefs of the Supreme Command on the subject, perhaps it 
would be more advisable to summon them privately rather than question 
them at the conference. The Emperor requested that they be summoned at 
once. They arrived promptly and in my presence were asked the same 
question and gave the same answer that I had given. In continuing, the 
Emperor asked the Army Chief of Staff General Sugiyama what was the 
Army's belief as to the probable length of hostilities in ease of a 
Japanese-American war. The Chief of Staff replied that he believed 
operations in the South Pacific could be disposed of in about three 
months. Turning to the Chief of Staff, the Emperor recalled that the 
General had been Minister of War at the time of the outbreak of the 
China Incident, and that he had then informed the Throne that the 
incident would be disposed of in about one month. He pointed out that 
despite the General's assurance, the incident was not yet concluded 
after four long years of fighting. In trepidation the Chief of Staff 
went to great lengths to explain that the extensive hinterland of China 
prevented the consummation of operations according to the scheduled 
plan. At this the Emperor raised his voice and said that if the Chinese 
hinterland was extensive, the Pacific was boundless. He asked General 
could be certain of his [41] three month calculation. The Chief of Staff 
hung his head, unable to answer. At this point the Navy 

Page 4005

Chief of General Staff lent a helping hand to Sugiyama by saying that to 
his mind Japan was like a patient suffering from a serious illness. He 
said the patient's case was so critical that the question of whether or 
not to operate had to be determined without delay. Should he be let 
alone without an operation there was danger of a gradual decline. An 
operation, while it might be extremely dangerous, would still offer some 
hope of saving his life. The stage was now reached, he said, where a 
quick decision had to be made one way or the other. He felt that the 
Army General Staff was in favor of putting hope in diplomatic 
negotiations to the finish, but that in case of failure a decisive 
operation would have to be performed. To this extent, then, he was in 
favor of the negotiation proposals. The Emperor, pursuing the point, 
asked the Chiefs of the Supreme Command if it was not true that both of 
them were for giving precedence to diplomacy, and both answered in the 

The Conference was held on September 6th at 10 AM in the Imperial 
presence. During the conference the President of the Privy Council 
Yoshimiehi Hara spoke up and said the proposal before the conference 
gave the impression that the emphasis was being placed upon war rather 
than upon diplomacy. He wished a clarification of the views of the 
Government and the Supreme Command on this point. The Navy Minister, 
representing the Government, answered Hara's question, but the Chiefs of 
the Supreme Command remained silent. 

The Emperor now spoke up suddenly and seconded the opinion put forth hr 
the President of the Privy Council, Hara, and expressed his regret that 
the Supreme Command had not seen fit to answer. He then took from his 
pocket a piece of paper on which was written a poem by the Emperor 
Meiji: "Since all are brothers in this world, why is there such constant 
turmoil?" After reading this poem aloud, the Emperor stressed that he 
had read it over and over again and that he was striving to introduce 
into the present the Emperor Meiji's ideal of international peace. 
Everyone present was struck with awe, and there was silence throughout 
the hall. Soon the Chief of the Navy General Staff, Admiral Nagano, rose 
and said that he was filled with trepidation at the prospect of the 
Emperor's displeasure with the Supreme Command. The truth was, he said, 
that when the Navy Minister spoke, he had been under the impression that 
the Navy Minister was representing both the Government and the Supreme 
Command, and he had therefore remained silent. He assured the Emperor 
that the Chiefs of the Supreme Command most certainly concurred with the 
Navy Minister's answer, that they too were conscious of the importance 
of diplomacy, and advocated a resort to armed force only when there 
seemed no other way out. The meeting adjourned in an atmosphere of 
unprecedented tenseness. 

[42]                           XXII

The American-Japanese negotiations gave the outward appearance of 
progress and yet made no material headway. And while the proposal for an 
interview between the nation's leaders seemed perceptibly to move the 
President, no progress was made toward a realization of this objective. 
This was partly due to the fact that Ambassador Nomura's actions were 
governed solely by official cables from Tokyo, and for this reason 
Japan's true intentions were not fully transmitted. Therefore, I made up 
my mind to meet personally with Ambassador Grew On September 6th, the 
day that the above mentioned "National Policy Outline" was approved, 
with the full cognizance of the Army, Navy, and Foreign Ministers, I 
dined in extreme secrecy with Ambassador Grew and the Councilor to the 
American Embassy, Mr. Dooman, who acted as interpreter. I stressed the 
fact that the present cabinet, including the Army and Navy 
representatives, was unified in its wish for a successful conclusion of 
negotiations, and moreover that the present cabinet was the only one 
capable of carrying it through. I also made a most significant statement 
when I said that should we miss this one opportunity, another one might 
not arise in our lifetime. I also informed them that the Japanese 
delegates to the proposed conference were all selected, including those 
of the Army, Navy, and Foreign Office. I laid emphasis upon the 
necessity of my meeting With the President at the earliest possible date 
in order that ideas could be exchanged concerning basic problems. 

Ambassador Grew asked for my views regarding Hull's Four Principles, and 
I said that they were splendid as principles but when it came down to 
actual application a variety of problems arose. It was in order to solve 
these very problems that I deemed it necessary to hold the meeting with 
the President. 

Page 4006

After this informal talk which lasted about one hour and a half, 
Ambassador Grew, who appeared to be much impressed, promised to report 
immediately the, contents of the conversation in the form of a direct 
message from me to the President. He stated in all sincerity that the 
report he was about to dispatch to the President was the most important 
cable to go from his hand since the start of his diplomatic career.

[43]                            XXIII

As far as Japan was concerned, since April, just about everything 
possible had been done to forward American-Japanese negotiations. I had 
taken the important step of proposing a personal interview with the 
President. I had sent him a message, and I had in addition explained by 
true feelings to Ambassador Grew. On the other hand, as a result of the 
important National Policy decided upon at the Imperial Conference on 
September 6th, as far as Japan was concerned, a point had been 
established beyond which negotiations could not proceed. We came more 
and more to feel that we were approaching a show-down. By this time we 
were largely aware of the difficulties confronting the negotiations, as 
well as the intentions of the United States. In other words, when it 
came to fundamentals, the difficulty was the "Four Principles," and when 
it came to more concrete obstacles, we were faced with the problems of 
the stationing of troops in China, the establishment of a principle of 
equal economic opportunity, and the problem of the Tripartite Pact. 
America seemed for the present to feel that Japan had no objections to 
the "Pour Principles." And since I myself had told Ambassador Grew that 
they were "splendid as principles," it could well be imagined that this 
did not represent a real obstacle. Nevertheless, among certain elements 
of both the Army and the Foreign Ministries, there was undeniably 
powerful opposition even to agreeing upon these as principles. (The fact 
that the United States misinterpreted the Japanese proposal of August 
28th was due to a misunderstanding on the part of Ambassador Nomura. 
There was considerable discussion as to whether this proposal should be 
canceled, or whether Ambassador Nomura should be recalled. However, 
since it was evident that to reject the "Four Principles" would he to 
doom the American-Japanese negotiations to failure, I was hard put to 
know how best to handle this problem. 

In regard to the problem of a basic economic principle, Japan was 
prepared to acknowledge equal opportunity in China. and was of the 
optimistic opinion that America would understand her peculiar 
geographical relationship with that country. As for the problem of the 
Tripartite Pact—although the following cannot be considered as a record—
the view had been put forward that it might be desirable for America to 
enter the European War since she would then waste her national strength. 
Nevertheless, I was of the opinion that a way could be found to settle 
these things if an interview could he arranged between myself and the 
president. Lastly, in respect to the stationing of troops, there were 
times when the Army seemed to hold the moderate view that pretext and 
form were of no importance, but at the very next moment one would come 
up against a firm resolution not to give in on any account. Even within 
Japanese Government circles there was a strong tendency to feel that 
this constituted a real problem. 

[44] Moreover Government circles were of one opinion in feeling that an 
official indication of peace terms would have to be made if we were to 
ask the United States to act as liaison between ourselves and China. It 
was in the light of recent negotiations and after careful consideration 
that these terms were to be decided upon. 

Thus at the Joint Conference of September 20th a proposal which adjusted 
and combined the views of the Japanese side was approved. (See Appendix 

[45]                            XXIV

Thus, on Japan's side, there was the feeling that she had finally 
settled upon everything that should be expressed on paper, and she 
assumed the position that she would, beyond this depend entirely on 
diplomatic success. 

Foreign Minister Toyoda decided that he would first of all unofficially 
submit the conditions of Sino-Japanese peace to the American side. Thus 
on September 22nd he himself presented these conditions to Ambassador 
Grew, and on the 23rd, presented them to Secretary of State Hull through 
Ambassador Nomura. At this time Ambassador Nomura brought up the problem 
of a meeting with lenders who in principle were supposed already to have 
received the approval of 

Page 4007

the President himself and requested Secretary Hull to grant him 
"agreement at least in principle," but this was a procedure which surely 
would be questioned. Since Secretary Hull had frequently gone so far as 
to disclose to other people he opinion of the State Department that the 
President had "gone too far," this proposal by Ambassador Nomura might 
have been something he was waiting for, but in any case he was 
completely hesitant about giving a definite answer. The feeling existed 
that the effect of thus unofficially submitting the peace terms was to 
bring about a sharp turn-about in the attitude of the United States to 
the problem of our stationing armed forces in China. The Americans said, 
and he stated that Foreign Minister Toyoda so explained it, "Whereas we 
had understood that Japan would at once withdraw all of its forces from 
China, sign a new treaty, and through its terms station its armed forces 
in fixed areas, according to the terms that were unofficially submitted, 
it would have a portion of the expeditionary forces then abroad remain 
just as they were, and would withdraw the rest; if this is so, the 
stories differ." Though the actuality was the same, the attitude taken 
was that the forms differ in their real nature. 

On the 23rd, Foreign Minister Toyoda and Terasaki, Chief of the American 
Bureau, explain in detail to Councilor Dooman the reasons for the 
stationing of troops, and as to the substance itself of the stationing 
of troops (in China) the American side also had no objection. The 
problem resided in the forms to be followed. On this point the American 
side in the end did not yield. 

On September 27th, Foreign Minister Toyoda submitted to the opposite 
side the comprehensive Proposal for Understanding that was determined 
upon on September 20th and that had been reserved to the last. Thus on 
that day, on the one hand, the Foreign Minister himself handed it over 
to and explained it to Ambassador Grew, and, on the other hand, at 
Washington, Ambassador Nomura and Matsudaira visit Valentine and present 
this plan. [46]  At the Foreign Office, they regarded this plan only 
about as follows: "It is our opinion, that as far as American desires 
are concerned, it is all right to use this plan as a basis and to 
proceed with negotiations." But they did not embark upon any principle 
that they would proceed with this plan alone, in  complete disregard of 
the various plans of the past. This was a matter of diplomatic 
technique, but it was hard to believe that it was proper. 

[47]                             XXV

As expected, on October 2nd the United States submitted a memorandum 
(See Appendix 7). The point of this memorandum which drew attention was 
that the United States, just as before, regarded with utmost importance 
the plan of September 4th. This observation was based, for one thing, on 
the fact that the memorandum took the form of an answer to the plan of 
September 4th, but nevertheless since the Japanese side had on September 
27th put forth a comprehensive final plan, the Americans, depending on 
the manner of handling, might have concentrated their attention upon 
this latter plan. In actuality, as stated before, half of the 
responsibility for this state of affairs might have been due to the 
attitude of our Foreign Office authorities in laying stress upon the 
plan of September 4th. Perhaps the Americans interpreted the complete 
plan as being simply an explanation of the plan of September 4th. But 
they did not mention this specifically. They stated that "It is 
regrettable that the negotiations that had almost reached a settlement 
have been split by the September 4th plan." They were concerned to the 
very end with the September 4th plan. And, as before, the Americans 
limited too much the applications of the peace policy made manifest by 
Japan, and the application of the principle aimed against economic 
discrimination. They also criticized the stationing of troops in China 
as a condition of peace between Japan and China. As for the Tripartite 
Pact, they expressed no pinion whatsoever. From its tone, one can 
understand that they still raised heir greatest objections to the matter 
of stationing troops in China. Thus, in short they said, "Japan agrees 
with the Four Principles, and gives wide guarantees for peace, but on 
concrete matters it contradicts them or insists upon delimiting them 
unreasonably." It seemed that because of this memorandum pessimistic 
arguments about the future of Japanese-American negotiations took on a 
darker color all at once. 

On October 7 the Foreign Minister invited Ambassador Grew to visit him 
and devoted himself to sounding out the real intentions of the United 
States. However, the Ambassador, contrary to previous occasions, was 
extremely circumspect. He made almost no explanations, and gave no 
pledges whatsoever. In Washington, 

Page 4008

too, Ambassador Nomura called upon Secretary Hull in accordance with 
instructions and strove to arrive at a break in the deadlock, but he was 
similarly unsuccessful. Later, Hamilton, in accordance with instructions 
from Hull, called upon the Ambassador, and said, "America's intentions 
are completely set forth in the memorandum of October 2nd, and in the 
plan of June 21st as more or less revised." He did no more than indicate 
that when the Japanese side had scrutinized these carefully and would 
again revise its plan of September 4th, then the United States was 
prepared to give it (the revised version) careful consideration. 

[48] About this time, even though the Japanese alone were stating their 
opinions on all sorts of problems, the Americans merely criticized or 
attacked these and did not at all try to show what was in their minds. 
This was the point on which the Japanese felt dissatisfaction. The focal 
point of their diplomacy was directed toward making the United States 
say something on its own side. At the same time, day by day. in the 
midst of anxiety, suspicion and fretfulness, the argument gained 
strength that "Since the United States had already discovered the 
innermost mind of Japan, it will henceforth only drag out negotiations 
as long as possible. In contrast to Japan, it feels no need to bring 
negotiations to a swift conclusion. Rather, if the negotiations were to 
extend themselves the longer they did so the better it would be for the 
United States. Therefore it should be concluded that there is no 
sincerity on the part of the United States." 

On October 13th, Minister Wakasugi, who had returned from Tokyo to his 
post of duty, called upon Under-Secretary Welles on receipt of 
telegraphic instructions and spoke intimately with him on the entire 
range of Japanese-American negotiations. He tried somehow or other to 
draw out positive expressions of opinion from the American side. but 
although Welles did say that "There is no change at all on the point 
that the President and Hull desire a meeting with Premier Konoye, just 
as soon as the three problems that are outstanding are settled," as 
regards the question. "If that is so, what is the opinion of America on 
those problems?" there was only an insistence on the point, that, "This 
also is fully taken up in the memorandum of October 2nd, and a 
clarification beyond this is unnecessary." 

In the end the Japanese side insisted that "It is now the United States' 
turn to say something," and to this the Americans continued to say 
stubbornly. "It is Japan's turn." The negotiations had now reached a 
complete deadlock. 

In the end, it was just as Ambassador Nomura's report had it, "The 
opposite side will not retreat at any point its former position. It will 
firmly adhere to its answer of October 2nd, and it takes the stand that 
it will consider at any time any Japanese proposal that agrees with it." 
On the Japanese side, we did indeed make up as answer to this memorandum 
of October 2nd, but nothing was achieved by it that improved the 
situation, and in any case the urgency of the political situation in 
Japan increased with oppressive force, and at last resulted in the 
resignation of the Cabinet en masse. 

[49]                            XXVI

After Japan's final comprehensive plan had been determined upon at the 
Joint conference of September 20th. the activities of the Government 
frequently began to show an acute seriousness. This was by reason of the 
balance struck between the progress of Japanese-American negotiations on 
the one hand and on the outline of national policy determined upon in 
the conference that was held on September 6th in the presence of the 
Emperor. On September 24th, and 25th, I held conferences for two days 
with the War Minister, the Navy Minister and the Foreign Minister and 
the president of the Cabinet Planning Board. From the 27th to October 
1st, I took a rest at Kamakura, but during that time I called the Navy 
Minister, Oikawa, and asked in detail concerning the atmosphere in his 
circle. Upon the arrival of the American memorandum of October 2nd, I 
went to the Imperial Palace on the 4th. Afterwards, driving away a group 
of bureau chiefs, I held a liaison conference with only the Cabinet 
Ministers and the leaders of the Supreme Command. On the evening of the 
5th, I asked the War Minister to come to my house in Ogikubo, and 
expressed my opinion that I would continue negotiations to the very end. 

Late on the night of the 7th, the War Minister visited me in my 
Japanese-style rooms, and declared, "As to the problem of withdrawing 
troops from China, such a formality as to once withdraw—in principle—all 
troops and after that to station them there, as insisted upon by the 
United States, is something that is difficult for the Army to submit 
to". In view of the stiff attitude of the Army, on both the 6th and 8th, 
I conferred separately with the Minister of the Navy 

Page 4009

and with the Foreign Minister, and deliberated with them on the methods 
of avoiding a crisis. The Foreign Minister further visited me twice on 
the 10th, and we spoke intimately on how we might somehow or other 
continue the negotiations. The Joint conference also held a meeting on 
October 11th. During this time the movements of the three chokan (the 
President of the Cabinet Planning Board, the Director of the Bureau of 
Legislation, and the Chief Secretary of the Board) and especially of 
President Suzuki (of the Cabinet Planning Board) became objects of 

October 12th. My fiftieth birthday. In spite of its being Sunday, early 
in the afternoon I gathered together the three ministers, the Minister 
of War, the Minister of the Navy, and the Foreign Minister, together 
with President Suzuki of the Cabinet Planning Board at Ogibuko, and held 
with them almost the last conference relative to peace or war. Before 
this meeting there was previous notification from the Chief of the 
Military Affairs Bureau of the Navy to the Chief Secretary of the 
Cabinet as follows: "The Navy does not desire a rupture in the 
negotiations. Thus it wishes as much as possible to avoid war. But as 
far as the Navy is concerned it can not of itself bring this openly to 
the surface and say so. At today's conference the Navy Minister is 
expected to say that the decision for peace or war is entirely up to the 
Premier, so I beg you to keep this matter in your mind." 

[50] Surely enough, at the very beginning there were the following 
opening remarks by the Minister of the Navy: "We have now indeed come to 
the crossroads where we must determine either upon peace or war. I 
should like to leave this decision entirely up to the Premier, And, if 
we are to seek peace we shall go all the way for peace. Thus, even if we 
make a few concessions, we ought to proceed all the way with the policy 
of bringing the negotiations to fruition. If in the midst of 
negotiations—after negotiations have gone on for two or three months, 
one says that "they won't do from any point of view, and "well, we've 
got to have war now,—the Navy will be put to inconvenience. If we are to 
have war, we must determine upon war here and now. Now is the time. We 
are now at the final moment of decision. If we decide that we are not to 
have war, I should like to have us proceed upon the policy that we will 
bring negotiations to fruition no matter what happens." To this I said, 
"If we were to say that we must determine on war or peace here, today, I 
myself would decide on continuing the negotiations." But the Minister of 
War said, "This decision of the Premier's is too hasty. Properly 
speaking, ought we not to determine here whether or not there is any 
possibility of bringing the negotiations to fruition? To carry on 
negotiations for which there is no possibility of fruition, and in the 
end to let slip the time for fighting, would be a matter of the greatest 
consequence. In fact, does the Foreign Minister think that there is any 
possibility or not of bringing the negotiations to fruition?" Thus, 
turning to the Foreign Minister, he asked this question, whereupon the 
Foreign Minister replied, "That depends entirely on the conditions. The 
most difficult point in the problem today, I believe, is the matter of 
stationing troops in China, but if in this regard the Army says that it 
will not retreat one step from its former assertions, then there is no 
hope in the negotiations. But if on this point the Army states that it 
would be all right to make concessions, however small they may be, then 
we can not say that there is no hope of bringing the negotiations to 
fruition." But the Minister of War said in answer to this, "The problem 
of the Stationing of troops, in itself means the life of the Army, and 
we shall not be able to make any concessions at all." I said, "At this 
time isn't it all right to forget about the glory but to take the 
fruits, perform the formalities as America wants, and achieve a result 
that will in actuality be the same as 'stationing troops'." To this, the 
Minister of War did not yield, and in the end, though the conference 
lasted from two o'clock till six o'clock, we did not arrive at any 
conclusion and adjourned. 

On the next day, the 13th, I went to the Palace and made a detailed 
report on the crisis which the Cabinet was facing. Then I spoke 
intimately with the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, Marquis Kido. On the 
following day, the 14th, at nine o'clock in the morning, prior to the 
meeting of the Cabinet, I asked the Minister of War to come to my 
official residence and once again asked his considered opinion 
concerning the problem of the stationing of troops. I said, "I have a 
very great responsibility for the [51] China Incident, and today when 
this Incident has lasted four years and still sees no settlement, I find 
it difficult to agree, no matter what is said, to enter upon a great war 
the future of which I can not at all foresee. On this occasion, we ought 
to give in for a time, grant to them the United States the formality of 
withdrawing troops, and 

Page 4010

save ourselves from the crisis of a Japanese-American war. Moreover, I 
believe that on this occasion both from the point of view of the 
nation's strength and from the point of view of the people's thinking it 
is necessary to end the China Incident. The advancement and development 
of the nation are, of course, things that we should aspire to, but in 
order to develop greatly we need also at times to fall back and to 
cultivate the national strength." Thus did I declare my sincerest 
feelings and explain them to the Minister of War. To this, the Minister 
of War declared, "If at this time we yield to the United States, she 
will take steps that are more and more high-handed, and will probably 
find no place to stop. The problem of withdrawing troops is one, you 
say, of forgetting the honor and of seizing the fruits, but, to this, I 
find it difficult to agree from the point of view of maintaining the 
fighting spirit of the Army." Thus he insisted and did not move from his 
position. Therefore, my talk with the Minister of War ended at odds, and 
as soon as possible as the meeting of the Cabinet opened, the Minister 
of War strongly and excitedly set forth the reasons why the Japanese-
American negotiations should no longer be continued. 

These opening remarks of the Minister of War were so sudden that the 
other Cabinet Ministers were somewhat taken aback and there was no one 
who would open his mouth to answer. The Cabinet meeting, after settling 
other subjects for discussion, made no reference to this problem of 
continuing negotiations and adjourned.

On the afternoon of the same day, Muto, the Chief of the Military 
Affairs Bureau, came to the Chief Secretary of the Cabinet, and said, 
"Somehow or other it seems that the reason that the Premier can not make 
up his mind is due to the fact that the Navy can not make up its mind. 
Thus, if the Navy really does not wish war the Army also must think 
about it. But the Navy does not say anything openly to the Army and only 
says that 'it will leave it up entirely to the Premier'. Just to say 
that it will be up to the decision of the Premier will not be enough to 
control the inner circles of the Army. But if the Navy will openly come 
to the Army and say that 'The Navy at this time does not wish war', then 
the Army can easily control its command. I wonder if you can not manage 
it so that the Navy will come and say something along this line." 
Thereupon the Chief Secretary spoke to Oka, the Chief of the Naval 
Affairs Bureau, concerning this matter, but all that the latter could 
say was this: "As far as the Navy is concerned, no matter what anyone 
may think, for it to say that it does not wish war is something that it 
can not do in any formal manner. What the Navy can say is that 'it is 
entirely up to the decision of the Premier.' " 

[52] Again that same night; Suzuki, the President of the Cabinet 
Planning Board, came to my home in Ogikubo as the messenger of the War 
Minister. The War Minister's message was as follows: "According to what 
we have been able to discover lately, it looks as if the Navy does not 
wish to have war. If this is so, why does not the Navy Minister clearly 
say so to me? If there were any clear statements to me from the Navy 
Minister, then I too would have to reconsider matters once more. But it 
looks as if the Navy Minister is making the Premier shoulder the entire 
responsibility. This is indeed a matter of regret. If the Navy can not 
make up its mind, the conference on September 6th in the presence of the 
Emperor will have been fundamentally overturned. Hence, this would mean 
that, beginning with the Premier, the Ministers of War and the Navy and 
the President of the Supreme Command all did not sufficiently perform 
their responsibilities as advisors to the throne. Hence I believe that 
there is no other way but that at this time we all resign, declare 
insolvent everything that has happened up to now, and reconsider our 
plans once more. There is no one who is now a subject who has the power 
to keep control over the Army and the Navy and to refashion a plan 
Therefore, I believe that at this time there is no other way but to have 
an Imperial Prince come forth as the leader of the next Cabinet. I 
believe, to begin with. that among the Imperial Princes, Prince 
Higashikuni is most suitable for the position. As far as myself am 
concerned, it is very hard for me to ask the Premier to resign, but as 
matters now have come to pass, I can not help but do so. I should like 
to beg that you kindly exert your efforts to having the Emperor ask 
Prince Higashikuni to become the next Premier." 

The next day, the 15th. I went to the Palace and reported on 
developments since the last time that I had been there. At that time, I 
said. "East night there was, indeed, a message from Tojo, and he says 
that he would like to have Prince Higashikuni as the head of the 
succeeding Cabinet." Thus I inquired concerning the inner feelings of 
the Emperor, whereupon the Emperor said, "Prince Higashikuni, I believe, 
is indeed most suited to his position as Chief 

Page 4011

of the General Staff. And I believe that to have a member of the 
Imperial Family stand in a Governmental position is something that 
requires considerable thought. In time of peace, it would be all right, 
but in a situation in which we fear that there may be war, and when we 
also think further of the interests of the Imperial House, I question 
the advisability of a member of royalty standing forth", but it did not 
seem that he was completely out of favor with the idea. On the way home, 
I met Marquis Kido, the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, and broached the 
matter of Prince Higashikuni, but the Lord Keeper seemed not at all to 
rise to the idea. 

The same night, I secretly visited the residence of Prince Higashikuni, 
reported to him the opinions of Tojo, the War Minister, and urged him to 
come forth. But the Prince said, "The matter is too important, so please 
let me think about it for two or three days." On the morning of the next 
day, the 16th, I spoke over the telephone with the Lord Keeper of the 
Privy Seal but [53] he said, "As to the matter of the Prince, there are 
great difficulties at the Imperial Court." But the situation was such 
that it did not allow for even a single day's delay. Thus from about ten 
o'clock in the morning I had each Cabinet member come individually to 
the Japanese-style room of my official residence, stated the unavoidable 
reasons for a resignation, obtained their understanding, and in the 
evening, after gathering together all of their letters of resignation, 
went to the Palace. The letter of resignation of the Premier at that 
time was as follows (see Appendix 8). 

After presenting the resignations, I met the Lord Keeper of the Privy 
Seal, whereupon he said, "The Emperor will not appoint Prince 
Higashikuni as the next leader of the Cabinet. The leader of the next 
Cabinet will in any case become the subject of consultation at the 
meeting of the senior statesmen tomorrow, but as far as I myself am 
concerned, looking back on the chain of events up till today, I feel 
that it seems reasonable that the command to form the next Cabinet will 
fall on either the Navy or War Minister. As to which is better, the Navy 
or War Minister, we are now greatly racking our brains over it. What is 
your opinion?" Thus, I was asked by the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, 
so I said, "From the point of view of polities, I feel that it is a post 
that is more suitable to the War Minister than to the Navy Minister. At 
the same time, the situation as it now stands is such that the War 
Minister is on the surface opposed to the continuation of negotiations 
between Japan and America; but, just as we may understand from his talk 
of two or three days ago, he even states that as long as the opinion of 
the Navy is not clear, we ought to declare everything insolvent and 
revise our plans, so I think that even if the Minister of War were to 
receive the command to form the next Cabinet, he would not plunge us 
immediately into war. Especially if there were a few words to this 
effect at the time of the command, I feel that the War Minister will 
take a prudent attitude all the more." It seemed that the Lord Keeper of 
the Privy Seal also was of the same opinion. The Lord Keeper, 
furthermore, asked if I would be present at the conference of the senior 
statesmen on the following day and explain the chain of events leading 
to our resignation. I decided that I myself would not be present but 
would explain everything by means of a letter. The letter that I 
submitted to that conference of senior statesmen was as follows (see 
Appendix 9). 

[54]                        SUPPLEMENT



The motive behind the Government's persistent efforts to bring Japanese-
American negotiations to a successful conclusion, which called for 
patience and more patience in view of world criticism, was the two great 
reasons described in a separate volume. Aside from these, an important 
consideration was the problem of economies, particularly the supplying 
of military stores and materials. 

Reliance on Britain and America for material, particularly for military 
stores was our big weakness. The Planning Board was ordered on several 
occasions from the time of the first Konoye Cabinet to consider ways and 
means of overcoming this weakness, but each time their reply was that it 
was an "impossibility." 

The chief aim of the normalization of Japanese-American trade relations 
which was one of the items of the Japanese-American negotiations as well 
as of the economic activities in the Southwest Pacific, was to obtain 
the materials mentioned above. During the negotiations, however, the 
order to freeze assets 

Page 4012

became effective, making it impossible to obtain or to be supplied with 
these goods and causing this problem to be an even more critical one. If 
matters were permitted to rest as they were, our stock piles would 
gradually dwindle. The principal advocates of war, therefore, proposed 
starting the war against America without delay. 

There were no means of avoiding this gradual impoverishment of military 
supplies other than to obtain goods through the successful conclusion of 
Japanese-American negotiations, or by increasing domestic production, at 
least to the extent of satisfying the requirements of the military. This 
was one of the main reasons for the extreme interest of the Government 
in the Japanese-American negotiations.

When the Japanese-American negotiations reached the danger point, the 
President of the Planning Board was again ordered to make a survey. This 
time, he reported that petroleum was the only item which posed a problem 
and that we could get along somehow as far as all other materials were 
concerned. Even where petroleum was concerned, it was reported that if 
two billion yen were sunk into expanding the synthetic oil industry, 
530,000 tons could be produced by the end of 1943 and four million tons 
could be produced by the end of 1944. On the other hand, if the 
Netherlands East [56] Indies were obtained through the force of arms, it 
is certain that the enemy would destroy all the oil field installations. 
Moreover, there would be the transportation problem. When there were 
given consideration, not more than 300,000 tons during the first year, 
and not over a million and a half tons during the second year, could be 
expected. It was believed that five or six years would be required 
before a five million ton figure could be reached. 

In other words, even by force of arms, we would be unable to obtain oil 
in necessary quantities in the immediate future. The report clearly 
established the fact that the gradual impoverishment of military 
supplies could best be avoided by expanding the synthetic oil industry. 

According to the decision reached by the Council in the Imperial 
presence on September 5th, "we shall resolve to open hostilities against 
America (Britain, and the Netherlands) if, by early October. there is no 
probability of our demands in the Japanese-American negotiations being 
met". There would therefore, be no objection to assuming that a 
resolution to open hostilities need not be made because a successful 
conclusion of the negotiations "is probable". Moreover, though the 
decisions states that we shall resolve to open hostilities, it does not 
state that "hostilities will he opened". It would, therefore, be 
possible to proceed without war and with only the economic relations 
broken off even if the Japanese-American negotiations end in failure. As 
a matter of fact, the Government did consider taking this step in the 
event that it could not be avoided, and then to consider secondary steps 
without haste. 

The principal advocates of war, however, basing their arguments on the 
theory of the gradual impoverishment of military supplies and resources 
would not make any concessions. I, therefore, told the President of the 
Planning Board, Suzuki, that if this gradual impoverishment of oil and 
other military supplies and goods could be avoided by increasing 
domestic productions, then the domestic production facilities should be 
expanded regardless of how many billions in capital would be required. 
It seems extremely foolish to make such a great sacrifice as a war 
against America and Britain for the sake of such goods. President Suzuki 
concurred but added that opening hostilities was a matter of domestic 
polities. Shortly after this, the Cabinet resigned en masse and all came 
to an end. 

Although this was a later occurrence, at the Senior Statesmen's 
Conference held on November 29th, which was just before the Tojo Cabinet 
plunged into the Greater East Asia [57] War, I asked whether it would 
not be possible to prevent the gradual impoverishment of military 
supplies and goods by stepping up domestic production: and that if it 
could be, was it not true that opening of hostilities against America, 
Britain, and the Netherlands, was not absolutely essential? Why could we 
not proceed as we were, with broken economic relations but without war, 
and at the same time consider subsequent plans, I asked. Prime Minister 
Tojo replied that from the time his Cabinet had been formed until today 
he had been concentrating on that point and could only conclude that, if 
we were to proceed with broken economic relations, even without war, the 
final consequences would be gradual impoverishment. That was the reason 
for reaching the decision to open hostilities, he said. 

Prime Minister Tojo claimed that gradual impoverishment could not be 
avoided. President Suzuki claimed that gradual impoverishment could be 
avoided. One 

Page 4013

of the two had to be lying. It must be admitted that President Suzuki's 
statement that "opening hostilities is a matter of domestic policies", 
was indeed one with much meaning. 



On the occasion of an informal conversation with War Minister Tojo on 
the subject of the Japanese-American negotiations, the War Minister 
said: "Sometimes it is necessary for a man to risk his life in one 
leap." I replied: "This might happen once or twice in the course of an 
individual's life; however, a person in a responsible position, when he 
considers a 2600 year-old national polity and a hundred million 
subjects, cannot take such a risk." 

Although I did not speak of this to the War Minister, there are people 
who talk about "crossing the Rubicon," or "risking the fate of the 
nation". Foreign Minister Matsuoka frequently uttered such phrases, and 
every time I heard them I had an uncomfortable feeling. "Crossing the 
Rubicon" and "risking the fate Of the nation" are exciting words, but 
starting a war without seeing the prospect of success is very different 
from the ease of an individual. At least, when one thinks of the 2600-
year-old faultless national polity, one cannot act so irresponsibly. 
Even when criticized as slow or old-fashioned, people like myself cannot 
act in such a way. 

However roundabout the way may seem, I firmly believe that war, unless 
it is a question of safety or 100% safety, must be avoided. 

At this time there are a number of military men who speak in this 
manner: "We did not have 100% confidence in our success when we entered 
the Sino-Japanese and the Russo-Japanese Wars. It is, in fact, 
impossible to have such a thing as 100% confidence in victory". 

At the time when War Minister Tojo and I dined together at my residence 
in Ogikubo in the early part of October, we talked over Japanese-
American problems, and I referred to the above opinion as follows: 

"We believe that Ito and Yamagata had sufficient confidence in victory 
when they plunged into the Russo-Japanese war. If they plunged into the 
war without confidence in victory, they were being extremely 
irresponsible. Thus, even though the war ended in our favor, we should 
have to consider it as a pure bit of luck. 

"Previous to the declaration of the Russo-Japanese war, Emperor Meiji 
experienced difficulty in making up his mind. Katsura, who was Premier 
at that time, decided one day that he would ask for the final words of 
the Emperor on that very [59] day. Prince Ito, however, held him back in 
order to allow the Emperor one more night in which to consider the 

"The following morning, Emperor Meiji granted an audience to Prince Ito 
and questioned him as to whether he had confidence in success. To this 
Prince Ito replied: "The Russian forces will certainly not be able to 
set foot inside Chosen and it will be possible for us to hold the 
Russians for a year along the line of the Yalu River. At some time 
during the year in which such a condition obtains, we can expect the 
intervention of a third nation. When we speak of a third nation, since 
Britain is our ally, and France and Germany are on the Russian side, we 
can mean none other than the United States. Hence we can commence 
preparations at once and with confidence in our success.'

"On hearing this, the Emperor was very much relieved, and at Council in 
the Imperial presence on the very same day he announced his final 

"However, this time there will be no third nation, and there will be no 
country ready to intervene. Hence any prediction as to future prospects 
of success is quite impossible. If, in spite of this, our country is to 
be plunged into war, the decision will have to be made with extreme care 
and with consideration of the national polity." 

On the morning of October 14th I had a final consultation with War 
Minister Tojo in a Japanese-style room at my official residence. At that 
time, the War Minister stated "I believe that the view of the Premier is 
rather overly pessimistic. This is because you are too well aware of the 
weak points of your own country. Is it not possible that the United 
States too has her weaknesses?" 

Our conversation at this time threatened to lead us into violent 
disagreement over the problem of the withdrawal of troops. However, the 
War Minister finally said, in a voice filled with emotion: "All this 
must be due to the difference In our characters." 

Page 4014

                               EACH OTHER


The fact that the Supreme Command and State Affairs are independent of 
each other has been a matter of anguish for cabinets from generation to 

During the present Japanese-American negotiations, too, the government 
on the one hand was conducting these negotiations with all its powers, 
but the military was vigorously making preparations in case the 
negotiations should be broken off. Moreover, as to what those 
preparations were, we did not know at all, and it was not possible to 
have them go along step by step with diplomacy. Since the military 
vigorously went about moving ships, mobilizing troops, etc. and these 
things were discovered by the United States, the United States would 
question the sincerity of our diplomacy, so that we were frequently 
embarrassed because the relationship between diplomacy and military 
matters was not smooth. 

In the pressing atmosphere since September last year, when we were 
either to have war with the United States or not, Prince Higashikuni, 
who was one of the supporters of prudence, used to say that in order to 
effect a break in this situation there was no other way but for the 
Emperor to stand firm. But it is said that the Emperor—and this is 
something that he also said to me—said a number of times to Prince 
Higashikuni too, that he was having a hard time of it because of the 
military. On such occasions the Prince said to the Emperor that it 
wouldn't do for him to say things that a critic might say, but if he 
were to feel that anything was improper he should say so. 

The fact that the Emperor practically never expressed his opinions, so 
rarely that one would think he was on the reserved side, was due, I 
think, to Prince Saionji, Count Makino, and others, who, thinking of the 
operations of a constitution in the English style, said that the 
Emperor, as far as possible, ought not to take the initiative and 
interfere in matters aside from stating three items at the time of 
issuing a command to form a new Cabinet, namely, respect for the 
constitution, not being unreasonable in diplomacy, and not bringing 
about sudden and great changes in the financial world. 

But the Japanese constitution is built on a framework of direct rule by 
the Emperor, and is fundamentally different from the English 
constitution. Especially in reference to the problem of the authority of 
the Supreme Command, the [61] government has no power at all of raising 
its voice, and the only person who may restrain both the government and 
the Supreme Command is the Emperor. And yet, the fact that the Emperor 
is on the passive side, acting in the English style, gives rise to 
numerous difficulties in wartime, although it may be all right in peace. 
In the Japanese-American-negotiations, I bitterly felt the fact that it 
could not be settled simply by the urgings and suggestions given, in the 
English style, by the Emperor. 

To give one or two examples of our experience with the relationship 
between the Supreme Command and State Affairs, what was submitted at the 
meeting of the Cabinet at the time of the start of the China Incident 
was as follows: the dispatching of a division or so for the purpose of 
protecting Japanese residents over there was first proposed by the 
Minister of War, Sugiyama, and this was decided upon; but as to where 
those troops would go and as to what was to be done with them 
afterwards, the government did not know these things at all. At the time 
of the outbreak of the China Incident too, the dispatching of troops 
solely under the pretext of protecting Japanese residents was proposed 
at the meeting of the Cabinet, but as to what would happen to them 
afterwards, and what the intentions were as to their use, the situation 
was such that we did not know these things at all. At the time of a 
special session of the Diet, Otani, the Minister of Overseas Affairs, 
received my understanding, and after discussing the matter with the 
other Cabinet members too, directed his words to Sugiyama, the War 
Minister at a Cabinet meeting in the Diet Building and asked for an 
explanation of the following: that, in spite of the war situation 
expanding more and more; the members of the Cabinet knew nothing at all 
of the future; if nothing was done to keep it within certain bounds, 
then he was afraid that Japan would not be able to come out of it. But 
before Sugiyama, the War Minister, changed color and turning to Yonai, 
the Navy Minister, said fiercely, "What's the matter? Can't you see?" 
The Navy Minister Yonai looked startled, and at this point, being the 
sort of person he is, said, "Is that so?" and withdrew

Page 4015

from further talk. However, this was enough finally to get a hint of the 
general situation. That there were talks between the Army and Navy can 
be seen from this, but as a matter of course they said nothing about 
these matters to the members of the Cabinet nor to the Premier. Among 
the Cabinet members there were those who afterwards protested as follows 
"To call a Cabinet meeting 'this sort of place', what does he mean by 
that?" but there was nothing that could be done about it, and nothing 
further was said or done. 

After that Cabinet meeting, during an audience with the Emperor, I told 
him what the situation in the Cabinet meetings was, and expressed my 
belief that although there were [62] among the members of the Cabinet 
those who came from the various political parties, etc., the Premier, 
the Foreign Minister, and the Finance Minister at least ought to be 
given a general idea of things; but the Emperor said that he would like 
to have time to think about this matter. At the next audience I was told 
that there was an agreement between the Army and the Navy that the 
operations would stop between the Paoting and the Yingting Rivers, but 
that this information should go only to the Premier and the Foreign 

After this, although Paoting was taken, the war situation expanded more 
and more, and when I questioned the Emperor about this a second time he 
said something to the effect that they had thought that they would stop 
things at about that point, but it was the kind of situation which I 
would not understand. 

After the Cabinet meeting at which we determined to send to Shanghai, I 
asked Sugiyama, the War Minister, whether he was going as far as Nanking 
or thereabouts, and he said that he would not possibly go to Nanking. 

At the time of the departure of General Matsui, the Supreme Commander in 
the Shanghai area, from Tokyo Station, he persistently told Sugiyama, 
the War Minister, to bring things about so that the Army would go as far 
as Nanking, and since the general had also told me the same thing, I 
asked the War Minister about it on the way home. He replied that 
although General Matsui spoke as he did, the Army would not possibly go 
as far as Nanking. 

However, it soon came to pass that the Army had gone as far as Hankow 
not to mention Nanking. How to attack Nanking concerns the military 
operations of the Army, and is not something that concerns the 
government, but unless the government knows in general about how far the 
Army is going, it stands to reason that it can make no move in 
diplomacy. Both in the case of the attacks on Nanking and Hankow, and in 
the spreading of the great military operations in North China, the China 
Incident has in all respects proceeded in this manner. If, from the 
beginning, the Army had had a far-reaching plan and had kept it a secret 
because of the demands of strategy, it would still have been 
embarrassing to the government, but there would have been something 
understandable about it. However, just as it had appeared in the 
conversation between Matsui and Sugiyama there was, as a matter of fact 
no great and firm plan. The situation was such that they were pushed on 
by developments and went on, gradually extending themselves. Herein lies 
the dangerous nature of [63] the China Incident. From the point of view 
of the relationship between State Affairs and the Supreme Command, among 
those matters that are dangerous is the point that things do not 
completely reach to the lower ranks of the Supreme Command. At the Five 
Ministers' Meeting that was convened after the great renovation of the 
first Konoye Cabinet, we took up, from the point of view of preserving 
international peace with Britain and America, each of 300 hostile 
incidents occurring between Japanese and Americans and between Japanese 
and Englishmen during the one-year period after the outbreak of the 
China Incident. But when we informed the Army Headquarters on the spot 
concerning their disposition, they acknowledged it but did not bring 
anything into actuality. And although we told them again in September or 
thereabouts, it was the same. After that, when a year and a half had 
passed and I examined the matter during the time of the second Konoye 
Cabinet. I could not but be amazed to find that just as before, not even 
one of the so-called outstanding questions had been settled. If one were 
to speak of egregious cases, the one where the Army was to remove ropes 
hung at railroad stations to prohibit the entering of foreigners had not 
been settled. 

Recently Premier Tojo spoke to the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, Kido, 
and sympathetically that, now that he had become Premier, he understood 
for the first time how difficult it was for the previous Premiers to do 
things, and hat he himself would to the very end proceed with a 
duplication of posts; to this I understand the Lord Keeper of the Privy 
Seal, Kido, replied that that 

Page 4016

was not the first time that someone had said this, that it had been 
exactly the same from the time of the first Konoye Cabinet, and that, 
late though it may be, to have the Army realize this point was fine. 

Again, when General Abe came to see me to express his greetings on 
taking the office of president of the Imperial Rule Assistance 
Association, he said that at first he declined Premier Tojo's invitation 
to accept office, whereupon Premier Tojo said that if he would not take 
the office he himself (Tojo) would have to do so, but if this were done, 
he would have to resign from active service and thus would not be able 
to keep this added portfolio of War Minister. It was thus that General 
Abe finally accepted the position. 

Whether it be the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, Kido, or General Abe, 
they, know from long experience that unless the same man is both War 
Minister and Premier, there can be no adjustment between diplomacy and 
military affairs. So we may believe that both were of the same opinion 
as Premier Tojo, and sympathized with his words. Even if Premier Tojo 
were to quit, someone would have to become the Minister of War, and his 
adding the post of Premier is something that will probably continue for 
a time. 


Ambassador Nomura returned to Japan in August. Soon afterward he visited 
me at my villa in Karuizawa with Ambassador Kurusu. I heard about the 
American situation from both Ambassadors. Because the Konoye Cabinet had 
resigned, and the Tojo Cabinet taken its place, America had concluded 
that there was no hope whatever for the success of the Japanese-American 

When Ambassador Nomura met President Roosevelt at the beginning of 
November, the President said that he had heard from reliable sources 
that Japan had finally decided upon war. The Ambassador denied this, but 
the President did not believe him. Also, Secretary Hull went so far as 
to say to Ambassador Nomura that he expected nothing whatever from 
Ambassador Kurusu's coming. It seemed that America had already given up 
hope for the negotiations. 

The resignation en masse of the Konoye Cabinet gave a considerable shock 
to America. Admiral Turner, Chief of Naval Operations, and a close 
friend of Ambassador Nomura—he was captain of the ship which brought 
back Ambassador Saito's remains to Japan—visited Ambassador Nomura. At 
that time he said that he supposed that the reason for that resignation 
of the Konoye cabinet was due to the fact that Premier Konoye considered 
the success of the Japanese-American negotiations to be hopeless, 
inasmuch as the President had refused the meeting which the Premier had 
proposed. However, the President had not refused flatly; there were 
merely two or three points which he wished to clear up. If these points 
had been clarified, he would have been more than willing to see him. It 
had been decided to send a personal message to that effect from the 
President to His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Japan, and it was 
understood that steps already had been taken. Two or three days later, 
the Admiral again visited the Ambassador and to]d him that the decision 
referred and told him that the decision referred to on his previous 
visit had been canceled, since opinions had arisen within the American 
Government that such a procedure would constitute an interference with 
internal affairs. 

[65]                         APPENDICES

1. Proposal for Japanese-American Understanding—(American) (Omitted. 
English original available) 

2. Proposal for Japanese-American Understanding—(Japanese) 

3. Outline of the policy of the Imperial Government in View of Present 

4. American counter Proposal 

5. Plans for the Prosecution of the Policy of the Imperial Government 

6. Proposal for Arriving at an Understanding for the Adjustment of 
Japanese-American Diplomatic Relations 

7. American Memorandum of October 2 (Omitted. English original 

8. Resignation of Premier Konoye at the Time of the Resignation of the 
Third Konoye Cabinet 

9. Details of the Cabinet Resignation and the Progress of Japanese-
American Diplomatic Negotiations under the Direction of the Council of 
Senior Statesmen following the Resignation of the Third Konoye Cabinet 

[66]                           APPENDIX I

1. Proposal for Japanese-American Understanding—(American) (Omitted 
English Original Available)

[67]                          APPENDIX II


(TN. Official English Translation available in the State Department. An 
informal Translation follows:)

The Japanese Government and the Government of the United States of 
America accept joint responsibility in drafting a general agreement for 
the purpose of restoring the traditional friendly relations between the 
two countries. No attempt will be made to enter into a discussion of the 
reasons for the recent deterioration of diplomatic relations. The 
purpose of these negotiations is to prevent the recurrence of incidents 
which tend to destroy the friendly relations between the peoples of the 
two countries or, in case unfortunate incidents do occur, to check the 
reverberations of the same. 

It is the purpose of the two countries to work together for the 
establishment of peace in the Pacific based on the principles of 
morality and, by securing a deep and friendly understanding on mutual 
problems, to bring to an end to the sad turmoil which threatens to wipe 
out civilization. If this is impossible, it is the sincere purpose of 
the two countries to at least prevent the present struggle from 

In view of the fact that the above-mentioned ideals must be carried out 
resolutely and speedily, the two Nations propose to draw up a general 
agreement based on the principles of morality and embodying measures for 
the attainment of immediate ends. 

The present understanding covers only pressing problems and all related 
detailed considerations will be left for a later conference to work out. 
The two governments believe that a clarification of the attitudes and an 
adjustment of the matters covered in the following list will greatly 
contribute to improving relations:

1. International and national ideals embraced by America and Japan.

2. The attitudes of the two countries toward the European War. 

3. The relationship of the two countries to the China Incident. 

4. Commerce between the two countries. 

5. Economic activities of the two countries in the Southwest Pacific. 

6. Policies of the two countries regarding political stability in the 

[68] The following understandings have been reached on these above-
mentioned matters. 

1. International and National Ideals Embraced by America and Japan: The 
two countries agree to respect each other's positions as equal and 
independent neighboring Pacific powers and declare their intention to 
bring about a new era of trust and co-operation based on mutual respect 
and a determination to bring about a lasting peace. 

The two countries declare that all nations and all races form a 
universal family whose members should enjoy equality of opportunity, 
that their mutual interests and spiritual and material welfare should be 
furthered by peaceful means, and that the preservation of these 
blessings shall be the responsibility of all. They further declare that 
it has ever been their purpose to prevent the oppression of backward 

The two countries declare that they shall mutually assist each other in 
preserving their traditional ideals and the social orders and moral 
principles upon Which the lives of their respective peoples are based. 
They are also determined to prevent the influx of foreign ideas that 
would break up the present order. 

2. The Attitudes of the Two Countries Toward the European War: It is the 
purpose of the Japanese and American Governments to cooperate in 
bringing about a world peace, to prevent the spread of the European War 
and to restore peace to the warring countries. 

The Japanese Government declares that the Axis Pact is a defensive 
agreement and aims to prevent the entrance of any more nations into the 
European conflict. The Japanese Government further declares its 
intention to furnish military aid in pursuance of its responsibility 
under the Tri-Partite Pact, in case the situation outlined in Article 3 

Page 4018

The American Government declares that it has no intention of taking 
sides in the European conflict either now or in the future. It also 
declares its antipathy toward war and states that it will take no part 
in the European conflict either now or in the future unless the welfare 
and safety of the nation itself are at stake.

3. The Relationship of the Two Countries to the China Incident: The 
American President understands the three principles of the Konoye 
Statement and those embodied in Japan's Treaty with Nanking and the 
Japan-Manchuria-China Joint Declaration which are based on those 
principles. He also has confidence in the good-neighbor policy of the 
Japanese Government and will immediately take steps to urge Chiang-Kai 
Shek's Government to make peace with Japan. 

[69] In the event that the Chiang Regime accepts the advice of the 
American President, the Japanese Government will immediately take up 
peace negotiations with the United Government of China or with the 
various elements that will go to make up that Government. 

After this agreement has been drawn up and ratified, the Japanese and 
American Governments will take mutual steps to guarantee the flow of 
necessary raw materials. Furthermore, both Governments will take 
suitable steles to restore the normal trade relations that existed while 
the Japanese-American Commercial Pact was in force. Whenever it is 
desired to make a new commercial agreement, conversations will be opened 
and study will be given to drawing up such a treaty following the usual 

5. [sic] Economic Activities of the Two Countries in the Southwest 
Pacific: In view of the fact that Japan has declared that it is her 
policy to expand her interests in the Southwest Pacific by peaceful 
means, America will co-operate in making it possible for Japan to secure 
the raw materials which it needs from those areas such as oil, rubber, 
tin and nickel. 

6. Policies of the Two Countries regarding Political Stability in the 

A. Japan and America will jointly guarantee the permanent neutrality of 
the Philippines with the understanding that Japanese nationals in the 
Islands will not suffer discriminatory treatment. 

B. Friendly consideration will be given to the matter of Japanese 
immigration to the United States and Japanese nationals shall be 
accorded treatment similar to that accorded to the nationals of other 

Addendum: It is understood that this Agreement shall be embodied in 
secret memoranda. Mutual exchange of views shall precede any decision to 
announce the contents of this Agreement and the time of such 

[70]                         APPENDIX III


(Decision reached at the Conference held in the Imperial Presence on 
July 2)

                              I. POLICY

1. The Imperial Government is determined to follow a policy which will 
result in the establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity 
Sphere and world peace, no matter what international developments take 

2. The Imperial Government will continue its effort to effect a 
settlement of the China Incident and seek to establish a solid basis for 
the security and preservation of the nation. This will involve an 
advance Into the Southern Regions and, depending on future developments, 
a settlement of the Soviet Question as well. 

3. The Imperial Government will carry out the above program no matter 
what obstacles may be encountered. 

                             II. SUMMARY

1. Steps will be taken to bring pressure on the Chiang Regime from the 
Southern approaches in order to bring about its surrender. Whenever 
demanded by future developments the rights of a belligerent will be 
resorted to against Chungking and hostile concessions taken over. 

2. In order to guarantee national security and preservation, the 
Imperial Government will continue all necessary diplomatic negotiations 
with reference to the southern regions and also carry out various other 
plans as may be necessary. In case the diplomatic negotiations break 
down, preparations for a

Page 4019

war with England and America will also be carried forward. First of all, 
the plans which have been laid with reference to French Indo-China and 
Thai will be prosecuted, with a view to consolidating our position in 
the southern territories. 

In carrying out the plans outlined in the foregoing article, we will not 
be deterred by the possibility of being involved in a war with England 
and America. 

3. Our attitude with reference to the German-Soviet War will be based on 
the spirit of the Tri-Partite Pact. However, we will not enter the 
conflict for some time but will steadily proceed with military 
preparations against the Soviet and decide our final attitude 
independently. At the same time, we will continue carefully correlated 
activities in the diplomatic field. 

[71] In case the German-Soviet War should develop to our advantage, we 
will make use of our military strength, settle the Soviet question and 
guarantee the safety of our northern borders. 

(Penciled Note: On this occasion the Army and Foreign Minister Matsuoka 
took a strong attitude toward the Soviet Union, and the Army began 
concentrating its armed forces in Manchoukuo. This resolution was drawn 
up to off-set the policies of the Army and the Foreign Minister.) 

4. In carrying out the preceding article all plans, especially the use 
of armed forces, will be carried out in such a way as to place no 
serious obstacles in the path of our basic military preparations for a 
war with England and America. 

5. In case all diplomatic means fail to prevent the entrance of America 
into the European War, we will proceed in harmony with our obligations 
under the Tri-Partite Pact. However, with reference to the time and 
method of employing our armed forces we will take independent action. 

6. We will immediately turn our attention to placing the nation on a war 
basis and will take special measures to strengthen the defenses of the 

7. Concrete plans covering this program will be drawn up separately. 

[72]                           APPENDIX IV 


(TN: The original document is available in the State Department. An 
informal translation of the Japanese copy follows.)

The United States of America and the Japanese Government share 
responsibility in drawing up a joint declaration and a general agreement 
aiming at the restoration of their traditional friendly relations. 

No effort will be made to enter into a discussion of the special reasons 
for the recent deterioration of diplomatic relations, but it is the 
sincere desire of both countries to prevent the recurrence of anything 
which would cause a further deterioration in friendly relations or, in 
case unexpected and unfortunate events do occur, to check the 
reverberations of the same. It is the purpose of the United States and 
Japan to establish a lasting peace in the Pacific and, by effecting a 
friendly mutual understanding to promote the interests of world peace. 
Furthermore, if it is impossible to bring to a speedy end the present 
war which could easily result in the destruction of civilization, the 
two countries will cooperate in preventing the spreading of that 

It is felt that prolonged discussions would be fruitless and that they 
are out of place at a time which demands speedy and resolute action. 
Therefore, the two countries are resolved to effect a general 
understanding based on the principles of morality and to take certain 
measures to guide their actions in the future. 

The two governments are agreed that only important questions demanding 
emergency action should be included in the agreement, leaving related 
and minor matters to be settled by a future conference. 

The two governments acknowledge that a clarification of the attitudes 
and problems listed below will bring about a friendly reconciliation. 

1. American and Japanese ideals with reference to international 
relations and the nature of the state. 

2. The attitudes of the two countries toward the European War. 

3. Plans for the establishment of peace between Japan and China. 

4. Commerce between the two countries. 

5. The economic activities of the two countries in the Pacific area. 

Page 4020

6. Policies of the two countries regarding the political stability of 
the Pacific area. 

[73] 7. The neutrality of the Philippine Islands.

Therefore, the Governments of the United States and Japan issue the 
following statements concerning their policies and mutual 

1. American and Japanese Ideals with Reference to International 
Relations and the Nature of the State: 

The two countries affirm that it is their policy to work for the 
establishment of permanent peace and to bring about a new era 
characterized by mutual trust between their two peoples. They declare 
that it is their present and traditional belief that all nations and all 
peoples form one great family characterized by the ideals of harmony, 
justice and equity. They acknowledge that the relations of nations and 
peoples should be built up and improved by peaceful means, that their 
spiritual and material welfare should be based on a consideration of 
mutual interests, and that the enjoyment of equal privileges should be 
based on a mutual sharing of responsibility. Each nation must take care 
not to endanger the welfare of others and this is the surest way of 
preserving its own welfare. Furthermore, the two Governments will work 
together to prevent the oppression and exploitation of other peoples. 

The two Governments acknowledge their responsibility in safeguarding the 
traditional ideals, the social orders and the basic and moral principles 
underlying the national lives of each other's peoples and in preventing 
the influx of any disturbing ideologies. 

2. The Attitudes of the Two Countries towards the European War: 

The Japanese Government declares that the purpose of the Tri-Partite 
Pact is and always has been a defensive one. The said Treaty aims to 
prevent the spreading of the European War by the unprovoked entrance of 
additional powers into the struggle. 

The United States Government declares that its present and future policy 
toward the European War is to avoid participating in it unless its own 
safety is endangered. 

Note: This article embodies a tentative proposal for a change in the 
corresponding article in the American proposal of May 31, 1941. 

3. Plans for the Establishment of Peace between Japan and China: 

Inasmuch as the Japanese Government has informed the American Government 
concerning the basic conditions of her proposal for a Sino-Japanese 
peace based on a good-neighbor policy and respect for [74] each other's 
sovereignty and territorial integrity, as embodied in the Konoye 
principles, the American President will propose to the Government of 
China that the latter enter into negotiations with Japan looking toward 
the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of a mutually 
advantageous peace. 

Note: The problem of joint action against the inroads of communism and 
the matter of Sino-Japanese economic cooperation, which are covered in 
the preceding paragraph, can be changed, if desired, in later 
negotiations. The matter of stationing Japanese troops on Chinese 
territory is a part of the communist problem). We believe that any 
proposals for the revision of this paragraph and any additional 
proposals in regard to these matters should be embodied in one draft and 
that the entire resulting proposal should be given unified consideration 
to the satisfaction of all concerned. 

4. Commerce between the Two Countries: 

With the formal ratification of this understanding, America and Japan 
agree to furnish each other with needed raw materials. They also agree 
to restore the normal commercial relations which existed under the 
former Japanese-American Treaty of Commerce and Navigation. In case the 
two countries desire to draw up a new commercial treaty, negotiations 
will be entered upon immediately to draw up the same in harmony with the 
usual precedents. 

5. The Economic Activities of the Two Countries in the Pacific Area: 

Japan and America's activities in the Pacific area shall be carried on 
by peaceful means, and all countries shall be guaranteed equal 
commercial opportunities. Based on this agreement, the Japanese and 
American Governments will cooperate in assisting one another in securing 
the natural resources, such as oil, rubber, tin and nickel, which are 
necessary to guarantee the safety and development of their national 

Page 4021

6. Policies of the Two Countries Regarding the Political Stability of 
the Pacific Area: 

Both governments agree that the fundamental principle underlying this 
understanding is a guarantee of peace in the Pacific area. They will 
exert all possible efforts to cooperate in the preservation of that 
peace and declare that they have no territorial ambitions in the said 

7. The Neutrality of the Philippine Islands: 

The Japanese Government declares that it is prepared to enter into 
negotiations to guarantee the neutrality of the Philippines [75] 
whenever the American Government decides to grant independence to that 

                           THE ORAL STATEMENT

The Secretary of State appreciates the sincere efforts of the Japanese 
Ambassador and his associates in working for a mutual understanding and 
the establishment of peace in the Pacific. The Secretary also 
appreciates the straight forward attitude of these officials in recent 

The American Government shares the earnest desire of the Japanese 
Ambassador that Japanese-American relations be speedily improved so that 
peace may be restored to the Pacific area. The Secretary of State 
himself shares the same spirit and has given careful consideration to 
the various viewpoints embodied in the Japanese proposal. The Secretary 
of State has no reason to doubt that many of Japan's leaders share the 
viewpoint of the Ambassador and his associates and support them in 
pressing forward to the attainment of our high purposes. Unfortunately, 
however, among the powerful leaders of Japan are some who have committed 
themselves to follow the path of Nazi Germany and its policy of 
aggression. These people can think of no other possible understanding 
with America than that they must join on Hitler's side in the event that 
America's considerations of self-defense force her into the European 
War. Well-authenticated reports to this effect have been flowing to this 
Government from many different countries and from the pens of many who 
for many years have been very friendly to Japan. 

The tone of many recent unnecessary declarations by Japanese spokesman 
concerning Japan's plans and promises under the Tri-Partite Pact 
unmistakably reveal this attitude. As long as those occupying 
responsible positions keep up this attitude and persist in directing 
Japan's public opinion in this direction, any hopes for the acceptance 
of the proposals now under consideration or the attainment of practical 
results from these discussions are inevitably doomed to disillusionment. 

Another source of suspicion in the Japanese proposals is the suggestion 
which calls for the stationing of troops in Inner Mongolia and North 
China for the ostensible purpose of cooperating with China in the 
suppression of communism. 

Very careful consideration has been given this matter. While it is not 
desired to enter into a discussion of the actual nature of this problem, 
as has often been stated to the Japanese Ambassador and his associates, 
the United States cannot agree to any plan which runs counter to the 
principles of freedom which have always been supported by the American 
Government. While it is admitted that careful consideration would 
naturally have to [76] have to be given before agreeing to any 
concessions which might adversely affect this nation, in this case the 
freedom of a third power is involved and this government will, 
therefore, have to give very special consideration to the problem. 
Therefore, the Secretary of State has unfortunately been driven to the 
conclusion that the United States Government must ask the Japanese 
Government for a statement clearer than any heretofore ever delivered 
which will show that the said Government is impelled by a desire to 
follow the ways of peace, as this forms the basic principle which should 
underlie the understanding we are attempting to arrive at. This 
government earnestly desires that the Japanese Government will make a 
clear statement clarifying its attitude on this point.

Note: This is an informal, tentative and unbinding statement delivered 
to the Japanese Ambassador on May 31 in an endeavor to bring these 
negotiations in line with the present situation. On June 21 a revised 
proposal was handed to the Japanese Ambassador. 

Page 4022

                               APPENDIX V


             (Agenda for a Council in the Imperial presence)

In view of the increasingly critical situation, especially the 
aggressive plans being carried out by America, England, Holland and 
other countries, the situation in Soviet Russia and the Empire's latent 
potentialities, the Japanese Government will proceed as follows in 
carrying out its plans for the southern territories as laid in "An 
Outline of the policy of the Imperial Government in View of Present 

1. Determined not to be deterred by the possibility of being involved in 
a war with America (and England and Holland) in order to secure our 
national existence, we will proceed with war preparations so that they 
be completed approximately toward the end of October. 

2. At the same time, we will endeavor by every possible diplomatic means 
to have our demands agreed to by America and England. Japan's minimum 
demands in these negotiations with America (and England), together with 
the Empire's maximum concessions are embodied in the attached document. 

3. If by the early part of October there is no reasonable hope of having 
our demands agreed to in the diplomatic negotiations mentioned above, we 
will immediately make up our minds to get ready for war against America 
(and England and Holland). 

Policies with reference to countries other than those in the southern 
territories will be carried out in harmony with the plans already laid. 
Special effort will be made to prevent America and Soviet Russia from 
forming a united front against Japan. 

                              ANNEX DOCUMENT


I. Japan's Minimum Demands in her Negotiations with America (and 

1. America and England shall not intervene in or obstruct a settlement 
by Japan of the China incident. 

(a) They will not interfere with Japan's plan to settle the China 
Incident in harmony with the Sino-Japanese Basic Agreement and the 
Japan-China-Manchoukuo Tri-Partite Declaration. 

(b) America and England will close the Burma Route and offer the Chiang 
Regime neither military, political nor economic assistance. 

[78] Note: The above do not run counter to Japan's previous declarations 
in the "N" plan for the settlement of the China Incident. In particular, 
the plan embodied in the new Sino-Japanese Agreement for the stationing 
of Japanese troops in the specified areas will be rigidly adhered to. 
However, the withdrawal of troops other than those mentioned above may 
be guaranteed in principle upon the settlement of the China Incident.

Commercial operations in China on the part of America and England may 
also be guaranteed, in so far as they are purely commercial. 

2. America and England will take no action in the Far East which offers 
a threat to the defense of the Empire.

(a) America and England will not establish military bases in Thai, the 
Netherlands East Indies, China or Far Eastern Soviet Russia.

(b) Their Far Eastern military forces will not be increased over their 
present strength.

Note: Any demands for the liquidation of Japan's special relations with 
French Indo-China based on the Japanese-French Agreement will not be 

 3. America and England will cooperate with Japan in her attempt to 
obtain needed raw materials.

(a) America and England will restore trade relations with Japan and 
furnish her with the raw materials she needs from the British and 
American territories in the Southwest Pacific.

(b) America and England will assist Japan to establish close economic 
relations with Thai and the Netherlands East Indies.

II. Maximum Concessions by Japan.

Page 4023

It is first understood that our minimum demands as listed under I above 
will be agreed to. 

1. Japan will not use French Indo-China as a base for operations against 
any neighboring countries with the exception of China. 

Note: In case any questions are asked concerning Japan's attitude 
towards Soviet Russia, the answer is to be that as long as Soviet Russia 
faithfully carries out the Neutrality Pact and does not violate the 
spirit of the agreement by, for instance, threatening Japan or 
Manchuria, Japan will not take any military action. 

2. Japan is prepared to withdraw her troops from French-Indo-China as 
soon as a just peace is established in the Far East. 

3. Japan is prepared to guarantee the neutrality of the Philippine 

[79]                          APPENDIX VI


(TN: Official translation available in State Department)

The American and Japanese Governments accept joint responsibility for 
initiating negotiations looking toward a general agreement embodying a 
joint statement on Japanese-American understanding aiming at the 
restoration of the traditional friendship between the two nations. 

It is believed that it is unnecessary to enter into a discussion of the 
special reasons for the recent deterioration of Japanese-American 
diplomatic relations. It is the sincere desire of both countries to aim 
at the prevention of any further incidents tending to destroy friendly 
relations or, if any unexpected and unfortunate events do occur, to 
cheek the reverberations of the same. 

The two countries agree to cooperate in bringing about peace in the 
Pacific, to make an effective contribution to the preservation of that 
peace, to bring about friendly relations in order to promote world-wide 
peace and to bring to an end the tragic struggle which now threatens to 
destroy civilization or at least to prevent the same from spreading over 
a wider area. 

A decisive resolution of this kind precludes long and delaying 
negotiations which might only tend to vitiate the same. The two 
countries desire quickly to formulate an understanding and to determine 
the necessary measures for implementing the same. 

Only important questions requiring emergency action will be covered in 
this agreement while minor related matters will be postponed to a future 

The two countries believe that a clarification of the attitudes and 
other matters listed below will greatly improve their mutual relations. 

1. American and Japanese ideas on international relations and the nature 
of the state. 

2. The attitude of the two countries towards the European War. 

3. Plans for appeasement of the Sino-Japanese problem. 

4. Commerce between the two countries. 

[80] 5. Economic questions in the Southwest Pacific Area. 

6. Policy for the political stability of the Pacific area. Therefore, 
the two countries have agreed to make the following declarations 
concerning their plans for mutual understandings. 

   1. American and Japanese Ideas on International Relations and the 
      Nature of the State: 

   The two countries declare that it is their purpose to establish a 
   lasting peace and to set up a new era characterized by cooperation 
   and mutual trust. 

   The two countries further declare that it is and ever has been their    
   firm conviction that all nations and all peoples should form one 
   great family based on the ideals of justice, equity and harmonious 
   living. They acknowledge that this comity of nations and peoples 
   should be built up by peaceful means, that their spiritual and 
   material welfare should be based on a consideration of mutual 
   interests, and that the enjoyment of equal privileges should be based 
   on a sharing of responsibility. Each nation must take care not to 
   endanger the welfare of others and this is the surest way of 
   preserving its own welfare. Furthermore, the two governments 
   acknowledge their responsibility to prevent the oppression and 
   exploitation of other peoples. 

   The two governments acknowledge their responsibility for safeguarding 
   the traditional ideals, the social order, and the basic and moral 

Page 4024

   underlying the national lives of each other's peoples in preventing 
   the influx of any disturbing ideas or ideologies. 

   2. The Attitude of the Two Countries Towards the European War: 

   The two countries declare that it is their purpose to bring about 
   peace in the world and that they are determined to work together in 
   bringing an end to the present conflict whenever a suitable occasion 
   arises. Until the restoration of world peace, the two countries are 
   determined to act only in self-defense. With reference to her 
   interpretation of and her obligations in the European War under the 
   Tri-Partite Pact, Japan reserves freedom of action in case America 
   should join that conflict. 

   3. Plans for a Peaceful Settlement of the Sino-Japanese Problem: 

   The two governments recognize that bringing a peaceful end to the 
   China Incident will prove to be a large contribution to the interests 
   of world peace and they are therefore determined to bring an early 
   end to that conflict. 

   [81] America acknowledges Japan's efforts and her sincerity in 
   endeavoring to settle the China Incident and in bringing about an 
   early cessation of hostilities and the restoration of peace. America 
   will urge China to open up peace negotiations with Japan and will 
   place no obstacles in the way of any efforts which Japan may make to 
   settle the China Incident. The Japanese Government declares that its 
   basic conditions for the settlement of the China Incident are those 
   embodied in the Konoye Statement and in the Sino-Japanese Agreement 
   which is in harmony therewith. It further declares that Sino-Japanese 
   economic cooperation shall be undertaken by peaceful means, that 
   international trade shall be nondiscriminatory, that special rights 
   inherent in geographical proximity will be respected, and that the 
   economic activities of Third Powers will not be interfered with 
   provided they are based on the principle of fairness. 

   Note: The basic conditions upon which Sino-Japanese peace is to be 
   based are as given in a separate document. These were decided upon at 
   the joint conference. 

   4. Commerce between the Two Countries: 

   The two countries are agreed to take immediate steps for the 
   restoration of normal trade relations between them. They guarantee 
   that their mutual freezing orders will be canceled and that they will 
   assist each other in furnishing necessary raw materials. 

   5. Economic Questions in the Southwest Pacific Area: The two 
   countries covenant to carry on their economic activities in the 
   Southwest Pacific by peaceful means alone. They further guarantee 
   that the principle of nondiscrimination shall characterize their 
   international trade. The two countries are agreed to cooperate in 
   permitting all reasonable latitude in commercial intercourse and 
   international investments in order to make it possible for each 
   nation to secure those raw materials and those articles which are 
   necessary for it to preserve and build up its economic life. 

   They are agreed to cooperate in a distribution of oil, rubber, 
   nickel, tin and other special raw materials and special products 
   without discriminating against anyone and to make the necessary 
   agreements with the countries concerned in order to carry out this 

   6. Policy for the Political Stability of the Pacific Area: 

   The two countries realize the vital importance of bringing about the 
   immediate stabilization of the situation in the Pacific area and 
   covenant to take no steps which would tend to threaten that 
   stability. The Japanese Government agrees not to use its troops 
   stationed in French-Indo China for military operations against 
   neighboring countries (China excluded) and further,to withdraw its 
   troops from French-Indo China as soon as peace is restored in the 
   Pacific area. 

   [82] The United States Government agrees to cut down its military 
   establishments in the Southwest Pacific. The two countries agree to 
   respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Thai and the 
   Netherlands East Indies, Furthermore, they declare their readiness to 
   make an agreement guaranteeing the neutrality of the Philippines when 
   independence is granted that nation. 

Page 4025

[83]                        ANNEXED DOCUMENT


1. Good Neighbor Policy. 

2. Respect for Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity.

3. Sino-Japanese Defensive Cooperation. 

This Sino-Japanese cooperation includes action against communism and any 
other movements which tend to disrupt the present order and mutual 
efforts preserve the peace. 

This envisages the stationing of Japanese troops and Japanese warships 
for a limited time in stated areas in harmony with past agreements and 

4. Withdrawal of Troops

All troops which have been sent to China in connection with the China 
Incident will be withdrawn except those mentioned in the preceding 

5. Economic Agreement.

a. A Sino-Japanese economic agreement will be drawn up covering the 
exploitation and utilization of those raw materials necessary in the 
national defense program. 

b. It is understood that the preceding understanding shall not limit the 
economic activities of Third Powers providing they are carried out in 
harmony with the principle of fairness. 

6. A Unification of the Chiang Regime and the Wang Government. 

7. No annexation. 

8. No reparations. 

9. Recognition of Manchoukuo. 

[84]                            APPENDIX VII

AMERICAN MEMORANDUM OF OCTOBER 2. (Omitted. English original available)

[85]                            APPENDIX VIII

                             THIRD KONOYE CABINET

By Your Majesty's Humble Servant, Fumimaro

At the time when I was honored for the third time with the totally 
unexpected Imperial order to organize a Cabinet, I felt that it was very 
urgent for the sake of guaranteeing the future progress of the nation to 
put forth all possible efforts to continue the negotiations with America 
and bring about a speedy settlement of the China Affair. We have, 
therefore, exerted ourselves to the utmost in conducting successive 
conversations with the American Government and have endeavored to bring 
about a meeting between the President of the United States and myself. 
The result of these efforts is still pending. Recently, however, War 
Minister Tojo has come to believe that there is absolutely no hope of 
reaching an agreement with America by the time we specified, (Namely, 
the middle or latter part of October), or, in other words, that we 
should now decide that "there is no reasonable hope to have our demands 
agreed to" as specified under Section II of the "Plans for the 
Prosecution of the Imperial Program" which was drawn up at a council in 
the Imperial Presence on September 6th. He thus concludes that the time 
has arrived for us to make up our minds to get reads for war against 
America. However, careful reconsideration of the situation leads me to 
the conclusion that, given time, the possibility of reaching an 
agreement with the United States is not hopeless. In particular, I 
believe that even be most difficult question involved, namely, that of 
the withdrawal of troops, can be settled if we are willing to sacrifice 
our honor to some extent and agree to the formula suggested by America. 
To plunge into a great war, the issue of which is most uncertain, at a 
time when the China Incident is still unsettled would be something which 
I could not possibly agree to, especially since I have 

Page 4026

painfully felt my grave responsibility for the present state of affairs 
ever sine the outbreak of the China Incident. It is vitally necessary 
now, not only to strengthen ourselves for the future but also to set the 
people's minds at ease that the Cabinet and the Army and Navy cooperate 
in the closest possible manner in bringing to a successful conclusion 
the negotiations with America. Now is the time for us to sacrifice the 
present for the future and let our people concentrate their entire 
efforts for the prosperity of the Emperor and the nation. Thus I have 
done my utmost in stating my earnest convictions in an endeavor to 
persuade War Minister Tojo to accept my viewpoint. In response to this 
the War Minister insisted that although he greatly appreciated my 
position and sincerity, it was impossible from the standpoint of 
preserving military morale for him to agree to the withdrawal of troops; 
that if we once gave in to America that country would become so arrogant 
that there would be no end of its depredations: and that even if we 
should be able to settle the China Affair now, Sino-Japanese relations 
would again reach a deadlock in a mere two or three years. He pointed 
[86] out that while there are certain weak points in our position 
America also has its weak points and that we should therefore grasp the 
present opportunity and get ready for war at once. I have had four 
serious conversations with him on this subject but was unable to change 
his position. It is therefore clear to me that my ideas will not prevail 
and that I shall be unable to carry out my responsibilities as an 
advisor to the Throne. I realize that this is entirely due to my 
insufficiency and I feel very humble as I approach the Throne. It is 
with trepidation that I present my request, but I humbly and sincerely 
ask that you relieve me of my present responsibilities. 

October 16, 1941.
                                                  PRINCE FUMIMARO KONOYE
                                                          Prime Minister

[87]                         APPENDIX IX


I. Differences between the Viewpoint of the Government and the Army. 

1. Concerning the "Decisions Reached at the Council in the Imperial 
Presence: "Clause 3 of the Plans for the Prosecution of the Imperial 
Program", as decided upon at the Council in the Imperial Presence on 
September 6th, states: "If by the early part of October, there is no 
reasonable hope to have our demands agreed to—we will immediately make 
up our minds to get ready for war against America, England and Holland". 
The Army takes the position that the progress of the negotiations with 
America in the early part of October impels us to decide that "there is 
no reasonable hope to have our demands agreed to", as referred to in the 
said article and that, therefore, the conclusion is inevitable that by 
the middle or end of October we "must make up our minds to ready for 

The Cabinet contends that not only have the diplomatic negotiations not 
reached a hopeless state, hut that in the light of the diplomatic 
documents which we have received from America and many other reports, 
the American Government also entertains considerable hope of arriving at 
a satisfactory agreement. However, that Government harbors certain 
misunderstandings and suspicious (for example, the Army's gradual 
infiltration into Northern Indo-China in the early part of October 
though, of course, this was carried out in harmony with definite treaty 
stipulations), is influenced by the deliberate misrepresentations of 
certain Third Powers, or is carefully watching the future of the 
international situation, especially of the European War. There are also 
activities on the part of strong anti-Japanese elements in the Far 
Eastern Sections of the State Department, activities which have covered 
up the true feelings of the President and Secretary of State Hull. In 
view of these facts, we can not decide that there is no hope of 
successful negotiations even with the present conditions as suggested by 
us, if time is allowed for the conduct of the negotiations. Especially, 
if we could get our Army authorities to relax their position somewhat, 
namely, with reference to the withdrawal of troops, we believe that 
there is a good possibility of reaching an agreement. 

The Army feels that although the early part of October is the ideal time 
for us to decide on war in harmony with the demands of the Supreme 
Command, it earl defer it till the middle of the month, but by all means 
not later than the 

Page 4027

latter part of the month. Otherwise, the Army feels itself seriously 
handicapped in the event of war. It, therefore, rigidly adheres to the 
middle of the month, the latter part of October, as the time to decide 
upon war, should war be decided upon, and this is a point that must ever 
be kept in mind. 

[88] 2. The obstacles in the negotiations with America (especially the 
problem of the withdrawal of troops); Diplomatic negotiations are still 
proceeding with America and while the true intentions of that country 
are not clear the following three points may be listed as the major 
unsolved problems: 

(1) The problem of stationing or withdrawal of troops from China. 

(2) Japan's attitude toward the Tri-partite Pact. 

(3) The problem of non-discriminatory trade in the Pacific area.

Among the three, it is clear to all that the outstanding problem is the 
withdrawal of troops. In other words, that problem is really the one 
problem, the negotiations with America. 

A summary of the Army's attitude concerning the withdrawal of troops is 
as follows: 

Our Government's terms for a Sino-Japanese peace, as indicated to 
America are very liberal, inasmuch as they include the principles of no 
annexation and no reparations. They merely insist on the stationing of 
troops in certain areas for a stipulated period in order to facilitate 
cooperation with China in preventing the inroads of communism and any 
other movements tending to disrupt the present order. It is evident that 
these dangers are a threat to the safety of both Japan and China and to 
the welfare and prosperity of the peoples of both countries. These 
measures are also vitally necessary for the economic development of the 
country. It is, of course, understood that all troops not necessary for 
the above purposes will be withdrawn as soon as the China Incident is 
brought to a close In view of the above, the stationing of troops in 
China is an absolutely necessary stipulation. In other words, the Army 
insists that this point is a consideration of first importance and that 
the stationing of these troops in China is, after all, the one and only 
tangible result of the China Incident. It follows that the Army can not 
agree to any plan which envisages the giving up of the right to station 
troops in China. If our troops' withdrawal from China is carried out, 
the Army will be overcome by a spirit of defeatism and it will be 
impossible to preserve its morale. 

On the other hand, the final position of America on this matter of 
stationing troops is not yet clear. It may be possible if we give time 
for further negotiations to have our terms for the China problem agreed 
to by America. Up to the present, the American position in this matters 
seems to be as follows: 

[89] (1) Japan is to agree in principle to the withdrawal of troops. 
(The matter of stationing troops in China must be decided after this 
principle has been accepted.) It is not clear at the present moment 
whether America will agree to the stationing of troops in China but in 
the light of the negotiations so far conducted, America's position does 
not seem to be entirely negative in the matter. 

(2) America desires to be assured of Japan's sincerity in the matter of 
the withdrawal of troops. For instance, Under-Secretary Welles stated to 
Minister Wakasugi in Washington that if Japan was sincere in her 
decision to withdraw the troops, America was willing to give more 
consideration to the manner in which this should be done. 

In the light of the above, the Cabinet's position in regard to the 
withdrawal of troops is as follows: 

(1) Diplomatic negotiations should be continued for a longer period. 

(2) We understand, of course, that the stationing of troops in China is 
a very necessary consideration. However, if the success or failure of 
the present negotiations hangs on this one problem, the Cabinet holds 
the view that it would be better for us to agree to the American formula 
for the withdrawal of troops and yet secure stationing of troops in 
China for a specified period. 

3. Views in Regard to War Against America: The Army points out that as a 
result of the British and American freezing orders, the import of 
necessary materials (especially oil) has become almost impossible and 
our shortages will become so severe that should America come upon us 
with impossible demands, we shall find ourselves unable to resist even 
for the sake of defending our very existence. Therefore, the Army 
insists that even though the situation is fraught with certain dangers, 
there is no cause for alarm and that now is the time for us to take 
decisive action if our people stand united in a determination to 
overcome all obstacles, remembering that America as well as Japan has 
certain weaknesses. 

Page 4028

The Army claims that if we propose too liberal terms through American 
good offices and settle the China Incident, China would learn to despise 
Japan and we would have to punish her again within two or three years. 

I, as the Prime Minister, on the other hand, could not possibly 
entertain the idea of plunging into a great war with all its 
uncertainties at a time when the China Incident is still unsettled. 
Although, as the result of the freezing orders we are faced with 
gradually shrinking stores of munitions of war, we believe that it is 
possible to take other means of replenishing our supplies, especially 
with reference to [90] oil. For even if we should capture the 
Netherlands East Indies, the necessary amount-of oil could not be 
obtained within a year or two because installations would be destroyed 
and transportation would be difficult. It would be far better for us, 
instead of going to war, to mobilize all our labor and material 
resources and begin the manufacture of synthetic oil. We think it would 
not be impossible to produce 500,000 tons by the end Of 1943 and 
4,000,000 tons during 1944. As a result of our four years of struggle in 
China, our national strength has considerably deteriorated and the 
morale of our people has declined. Would it not be better at this time 
for us to eat the bitter, preserve our as yet undamaged Navy, settle the 
China Incident and gradually build up our national strength? 

4. The Attitude of the Navy: The following is a summary of the Navy's 

At the present time, we stand at the parting of the ways where we must 
make up our minds to either carry on diplomatic negotiations to the 
bitter end or declare war. If we decide to follow the path of diplomatic 
negotiations, we must make up our minds to give up the idea of declaring 
war. For us to carry on diplomatic negotiations for two or three months 
and then to declare war because we decide that further diplomatic 
negotiations would be fruitless is an impossibility. However the 
question as to whether we are going to declare war or choose the plan of 
diplomatic negotiation is one which the Government must decide. In other 
words, the Prime Minister must make the decision as to whether we are 
going to turn to the left or to the right. There are some in Navy 
circles who hold that war should be avoided at all costs and that we 
should do our best to adjust our relations with America through 
diplomatic negotiations. 

II. The Progress of Diplomatic Negotiations with America.

In the middle of April this year, Secretary of State Hull gave 
Ambassador Nomura a proposal for arriving at a Japanese-American 
understanding Secretary of State Hull stated that a clarification of the 
attitudes and a settlement of the problems listed below would greatly 
contribute to adjusting our relations. 

1. The attitude of both countries toward the European War. 

2. The relationship of the two countries with reference to the China 

3. Commerce between the two countries. 

4. The policy of both countries with reference to the stability of the 
Pacific area. 

The Secretary presented detailed observations on these matters. 

[91] In the middle of May the Government and the Supreme Command held a 
conference and decided on Japan's answer to the American proposal. 
(Foreign Minister Matsuoka was returning from Europe at the end of April 
and this circumstance greatly delayed our answer). 

In the latter part of June, America sent a further revised proposal. 
Just at that time, at the end of June, the German-Soviet War broke out 
and the international situation grew very complex. Furthermore, in order 
to prosecute the war on the Continent, we carried out a peaceful 
occupation of Southern French Indo-China in harmony with our agreement. 
America, in return, retaliated with her freezing order. This resulted in 
very strained relations between the two countries. About the middle of 
June, but before Ambassador Nomura delivered the same, Japan sent her 
answer to America's proposal of the latter part of June, the Second 
Konoye Cabinet resigned. In the early part of August, the Third Konoye 
Cabinet entered into earnest negotiations to bring about a meeting of 
the American President and Prime Minister Konoye in order to restore 
cordial relations, settle the China problem and discuss the question of 
world peace. Konoye sent a message to the American President the latter 
part of August. On the 6th of September, there was held a Council in the 
Imperial Palace which drew up the "Outline of the Plan for the Execution 
of the Imperial Program". Judging by the events occurring just before 
and just after that date, it was evidently the mind of the Council to 
carry on diplomatic negotiations with a view to settling all outstanding 
problems with America and England and bring an 

Page 4029

end to the China Incident and not to resort to war unless there was 
absolutely no possibility of reaching an agreement by these 

In the early part of September we passed on our proposals for the 
problems to be discussed at the meeting of the President and the Prime 
Minister. On September 20th we sent a proposal to America embodying all 
the past proposals f both countries. On October 2nd the American 
authorities sent their answer in the form of a memo. The reception of 
this memorandum resulted in two schools of thought: One felt that 
America had no sincere intentions of concluding an agreement and that it 
would be fruitless to continue negotiations further. The other disagreed 
taking the position that the situation was not hopeless and at 
negotiations should be continued although it might be necessary for us 
to modify our demands. 

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