XVI. THE STATE DEPARTMENT NOTE OF NOVEMBER 26th

 

Dr. Stanley K. Hornbeck, of the State Department, testified that by the end of October it was evident that Japan and the United States could not agree. Early in November, the Secretary of State came to the conclusion that the question could not be solved by diplomacy (page 764). On November 20th, the Japanese submitted the things they wanted, which it was impossible to agree to. On November 26th, the Secretary of State gave Nomura and Kurusu a note setting forth the United States position. The following day the Secretary of State again said that he could not settle this by diplomacy, but that he still hoped that the Japanese might came forward with some reply. Between November 26th and December 7th, the President sent a note to the Emperor of Japan (page 764). While it was evident that no agreement could be reached, this did not necessarily mean that Japan and the United States could not get along without an agreement (Page 765).

Dr. Hornbeck had no recollection of discussing the note of November 26th with Admiral Stark or the Secretary of the Navy (page 765). He did not consider this note as an ultimatum to Japan (page 766). The text of the note of November 26th was not released until after December 7th. The Secretary of State had a press conference at which he announced that a note had been sent and the press discussed a variety of possibilities (page 772).

 

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Mr. Hamilton, also of the State Department, said that on November 21st, there was a conference which the Secretary of State, Admiral Stark, General Gerow, and Mr. Hornbeck, Ballantine and he were present, and at which the general military and diplomatic situation in the Pacific was discussed (page 1073). There were later meetings at which he was not present, including one of the War Council on November 25th and also on November 28th (page 1074). Mr. Hamil­ton could not be sure whether the note of November 26th or the substance thereof was given to the Navy Department (page 1073)

Admiral Turner remembered the Japanese dispatch concerning the note to Japan of November 26th and he saw it on November 28th. He believed that Admiral Schuirmann had brought it over from Secretary Hull to show it to Admiral Stark, and that Admiral Stark had stated that there was no possibility of Japan accepting this note (page 995)

Admiral Stark stated that he did not recall the November 26th note to the Japanese (page 108) but that on November 27th, Secretary of State Hull had advised him that negotiations were terminated (page 109). Admiral Stark later testified that when first asked about this note he had not remembered it, but after reading it his recollection was refreshed, and that Admiral Schuirmann may have discussed this note with him at the time (page 809).

Admiral Schuirmann stated that to the best of his recollection he did not deliver a copy of the November 26th note to the Navy Department, nor did he specifically inform Admiral Stark of this note (page 217). He characterized this note as an "ultimatum" in the sense that no one expected the Japanese to accept its terms (page 716).

Admiral Turner said that negotiations with Japan had been conducted so as to delay war as long as possible in order to give the Army and Navy time to prepare for war (page 1013). He knew that the Army and Navy had recom­mended that no ultimatum be given to Japan (Exhibit 39A). He did not con­sider that the note of November 26th was an ultimatum, although he did not expect Japan to accept its terms (page 1015). He did not know whether Admiral Stark saw a draft of the November 28th note before it was sent, but Admiral Turner did see it. He said that no note given by one government to another is ever entirely acceptable (page 1018). He did not regard the note as important (page 1023), nor think it hastened the time of war because Japan was then already on the move (page 1024).

General Short testified that prior to December 7th, he had no knowledge of the State Department note of November 26th (page 283).

The court took judicial notice of the note of November 26th (page 147). A Japanese summary of the diplomatic situation and of the American proposal, and the reaction of the Japanese to that proposal, were contained in communi­cations intercepted, decoded and translated on November 28th. These were:

(1) An Army translation (Document 16, Exhibit 63) of a message from Wash­ington to Tokyo, dated November 26, 1941, in the "Purple" code and marked "Extremely urgent," Message #1180, reading:

"From NOMURA and KURUSU.

"As we have wired you several times, there is hardly any possibility of having them consider our "B" proposal in toto. On the other hand, if we let the situ­ation remain tense as it is now, sorry as we are to say so, the negotiations will inevitably be ruptured, if indeed they may not already be called so. Our failure and humiliation are complete. We might suggest one thing for saving the situa­tion. Although we have grave misgivings, we might propose, first, that Presi­dent ROOSEVELT wire you that for the sake of posterity he hopes that Japan and the United States will cooperate for the maintenance of peace in the Pacific (just as soon as you wire us what you think of this, we will negotiate for this sort of an arrangement with all we have in us), and that you in return reply with a cordial message, thereby not only clearing the atmosphere, but also gaining a little time. Considering the possibility that England and the United States are scheming to bring the Netherlands Indies under their protection through mili­tary occupation, in order to forestall this, I think we should propose the estab­lishment of neutral nations, including French Indo‑China Netherlands India and Thai. (As you know, last September President ROOSEVELT proposed the neutrality of French Indo‑China and Thai.)

"We suppose that the rupture of the present negotiations does not necessarily mean war between Japan and the United States, but after we break off, as we said, the military occupation of Netherlands India is to be expected of England and the United States. Then we would attack them and a clash with them would be inevitable. Now, the question is whether or not Germany would feel duty bound by the third article of the treaty to help us. We doubt if she would.

 

PROCEEDINGS OF HEWITT INQUIRY                                                                    429

 

Again, you must remember that the Sino‑Japanese incident would have to wait until the end of this world war before it could possibly be settled.

"In this telegram we are expressing the last personal opinions we will have to express, so will Your Excellency please be good enough at least to show it to the Minister of the Navy, if only to him; then we hope that you will wire back in­stantly."

Admiral Schuirmann testified that he was familiar with this message, but had not delivered it to Admiral Stark (page 696).

(2) An Army translation (Document 17, Exhibit 63) of a message from Wash­ington (Nomura) to Tokyo, dated November 26, 1941, in the "Purple" code and marked "Extremely urgent", which stated:

"At 4:45 on the afternoon of the 26th I and Ambassador KURUSU met with Secretary HULL and we talked for about two hours.

"HULL said, ‘For the last several days the American Government has been getting the ideas of various quarters, as well as conferring carefully with the nations concerned, on the provisional treaty proposal presented by Japan on the 20th of this month, and I am sorry to tell you that we cannot agree to it. At length, however, we feel compelled to propose a plan, tentative and without commitment reconciling the points of difference between our proposal of June 21st and yours of September 25th. So saying, he presented us with the following two proposals:

"A. One which seeks our recognition of his so‑called 'four principles.'

"B. (1) The conclusion of a mutual non‑aggressive treaty between Tokyo, Washington, Moscow, the Netherlands, Chungking and Bangkok.

"(2) Agreement between Japan, the United States, England, the Netherlands, China and Thai on the inviolability of French Indo‑China and equality of economic treatment in French Indo‑China.

"(3) The complete evacuation of Japanese forces from China and all French Indo‑China.

"(4) Japan and the United States both definitely promise to support no regime in China but that of CHIANG KAI‑SHEK.

"(5) The abolition of extra‑territoriality and concessions in China.

"(6) The conclusion of a reciprocal trade treaty between Japan and the United States on the basis of most favored nation treatment.

"(7) The mutual rescinding of the Japanese and American freezing orders.

"(8) Stabilization of yen‑dollar exchange.

"(9) No matter what sort of treaties either Japan or the United States has contracted with third countries, they both definitely promise that these treaties will not be interpreted as hostile to the objectives of this treaty or to the mainte­nance of peace in the Pacific. (This is, of course, supposed to emasculate the Three‑Power Pact.)"

"In view of our negotiations all along, we were both dumbfounded and said we could not even cooperate to the extent of reporting this to Tokyo. We argued back furiously, but HULL remained solid as a rock. Why did the United States have to propose such hard terms as these? Well, England, the Netherlands and China doubtless put her up to it. Then, too, we have been urging them to quit helping CHIANG, and lately a number of important Japanese in speeches have been urging that we strike at England and the United States. Moreover, there have been rumors that we are demanding of Thai that she give us complete control over her national defense. All that is reflected in these two hard pro­posals, or we think so."

Admiral Stark testified that he did not recall having seen this message, but that it may have been discussed (pages 776‑777). Admiral Schuirmann said he was familiar with it, but had not delivered it to Admiral Stark, although he probably told Admiral Stark that such a note had been sent (page 697).

(3) An Army translation (Document 18, Exhibit 63) of a message from Tokyo to Washington, dated November 28, 1941, in the "Purple" code, reading:

"Re your #1189.

"Well, you two Ambassadors have exerted superhuman efforts but, in spite of this, the United States has gone ahead and presented this humiliating proposal. This was quite unexpected and extremely regrettable. The Imperial Govern­ment can by no means use it as a basis for negotiations. Therefore, with a report of the views of the Imperial Government on this American proposal which I will send you in two or three days, the negotiations will be de facto ruptured. This is inevitable. However, I do not wish you to give the impression that the negotiations are broken off. Merely say to them that you are awaiting instruc­tions and that, although the opinions of your Government are not yet clear to you, to your own way of thinking the Imperial Government has always made just claims and has borne great sacrifices for the sake of peace in the Pacific. Say

 

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that we have always demonstrated a long‑suffering and conciliatory attitude, but that, on the other hand, the United States has been unbending, making it impossible for Japan to establish negotiations. Since things have come to thin pass, I contacted the man you told me to in your #1180 and he said that under the present circumstances what you suggest is entirely unsuitable. From now on do the best you can." (NOTE.— The man is the Navy Minister.)

Admiral Stark testified that he may have seen this message (pages 775‑6). Admiral Schuirmann was familiar with this, but did hot deliver it to Admiral Stark (page 698). Admiral Ingersoll did not remember this (page 826).

Captain Layton said that neither he nor Admiral Kimmel had been advised of the note of November 26th. He thought that Admiral Kimmel could have been better informed, and that if he had had a full picture he would have had a clearer conception of Japanese‑United States affairs (page 914).

Admiral Kimmel stated that he was not advised of the contents of the United States note of November 26th, which was given to the Japanese, until after his return to the United States (page 301). And, he and Admiral Smith stressed, the press and radio indicated that negotiations between the Japanese and the United States continued after November 27th. But, Admiral McMorris, his War Plans Officer, said that the press may have indicated that Japanese‑United States negotiations were continuing after November 27th; he did not recall (page 893) .

Admiral Stark testified that he had no recollection of press and radio statements between November 27th and December 7th which indicated that negotiations with the Japanese were resumed. He pointed out that, according to "War and Peace" on November 25th and November 28th, Secretary of State Hull had said that there was practically no possibility of an agreement, that the Japanese might break out at any time with new acts of conquest by force, that the matter of safeguarding our national security was in the hands of the Army and Navy, and that the plans for military defense should include the assumption that the Japanese might use the element of surprise and attack at various points (page 149). There was, Admiral Stark said, a further conversation with the Japanese on December 1st (page 149).

Dr. Hornbeck stated that between November 26th and December 7th, there were some further conversations with the Japanese representatives (page 767).

Mr. Hamilton stated that there were some meetings with the Japanese Ambassadors between November 26th and December 7th. He, however, considered that negotiations with the Japanese ceased on November 26th. There was a bare possibility that diplomatic conversations might continue, but they had virtually reached a conclusion, and the matter, therefore, was one for the armed services. He considered that there was no chance of getting a favorable reply from the Japanese (page 1074).

Ambassador Grew, on the other hand, did not think that negotiations with Japan had definitely ceased until Tojo saw him on December 7, 1941, after the attack (page 1046).