5 August 1941.
#447 (In 2 parts, complete).
1. The Imperial Government is trying to give its attention to the all important matter of Japanese-U. S. relations. This is not an easy task, for there are numerous obstacles involving domestic politics.
According to the various reports you have submitted on the subject the President and the Secretary of State are displaying considerable understanding in their attitudes towards Japan. You imply that they view the situation cool headedly, regardless of the trend of general public opinion.
On our side, however, there are quite a few persons who vigorously insist that the U. S. economic pressure on Japan is being daily in creased in intensity. For example, the newspaper Yomiuri carried dispatch from ------ on the 2nd, in which it was reported that the President of the United States had either ordered the complete suspension of, or curtail to the extreme, all exports of petroleum products. As a result of this order, the dispatch continued, even those exports for which permits had already been issued, had to be cancelled.
Regardless of whether there was any truth in the report or not and regardless of the extent of the alleged curtailment, such reports give the antagonists a strong talking point. This is a situation which causes us no end of anxiety
2. If it is believed by any that our people and country can be threatened into submission by the so-called strengthened encirclement policy or by the application of economic pressure, it is a mistaken notion. As a matter of fact it is erroneous to the extreme as should be obvious to any who understands our national characteristics.
If such a policy as the above is adopted, we cannot guarantee that the trend will not be in directly the opposite direction from our goal of an improved U. S.-Japanese relationship. One should be able to see this clearly from the example set forth above.
3. We are convinced that we have reached the most important, and at the same time the most critical, moment of Japanese-U. S. relations. It was at a time like this that the Imperial Government voluntarily agreed to temporarily cease the bombing of Chungking and its suburban area. This should clearly indicate Japan's sincerity, considerateness, and restraint toward the United States.
If an improvement in the relations between the United States and Japan, as two equal powers on the Pacific, is sincerely desired, the points which will most effectively bring about such improvements must be given unbiased and cool consideration.
For the purpose of preventing the possibility of letting anyone, either within or out of the country, be under the impression that the negotiations were conducted under the threat of economic pressure, all measures which may be construed as being economic pressure should be abandoned at once. That we shall reciprocate in kind was made clear in the recent statement issued by the Minister of Finance.
4. Based on the general plan outlined by the last Cabinet, the Imperial Government proposes a plan, set forth in my separate message #448*, to improve Japanese-U. S. relations. This last plan was drawn up as a reply to the plan suggested by the President on the 24th, and is being submitted only after the respective positions of the United States and Japan as they affect the other, were given thorough consideration.
Will Your Excellency make an effort to clearly impress this point on the President and the Secretary of State and at the same time draw their attention to the graveness of this matter.
5. In form, the proposal which is being forwarded herewith, is a reply to the President's plan of the 24th. Our real motive, however, is to incorporate its provisions into the final agreement. With this instrument, we hope to resume the Japanese-U. S. negotiations which were suspended because of the delay in the delivery of our revised proposals of 14 July and because of our occupation of French Indo-China which took place in the meantime. Since that is our intention, please relay the matter contained in my separate message #448* without delay.
JD-1: (D) Navy Trans. 8-6-41 (S-TT)
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)