I.B. 131

                                                     SEPTEMBER 23, 1941.
Memorandum for the Chief of Staff:
Subject: Crisis in Japan.

1, This Division has information from a highly reliable source to the effect that the Japanese Cabinet is confronted with a highly critical and explosive situation. The Emperor's recent gesture in support of the Cabinet notwithstanding, certain pressure groups in Japan are making threatening gestures toward the Premier.

2. The point at issue is whether or not the Japanese Government is to encourage, authorize or permit a nationwide celebration on the anniversary of the signing of the Tripartite Agreement. Genuine Government anxiety over this point is obviously being used as a red herring in the road to national objectives in the hope that the United States Government can be rushed into making concessions designed to strengthen the authority of the present Japanese Cabinet. This on the theory that if the current Japanese Cabinet falls there will be no one left in Japan with whom we can deal satisfactorily.

3. Attention is invited to the fact that in all of her recent proposals and counter-proposals Japan has carefully avoided giving any definite assurance that she will not attack Russia.

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4. The present agitation, therefore, on the part of Japan to extract an immediate agreement from the United States to some or all of her proposals for a "conference of leaders" may be motivated by a desire to cover preparations for an all out attack on Siberia timed with the expected Russian collapse in Europe.

5. A lessening of pressure at this time would be considered as appeasement by the Japanese and would be highly detrimental to the advantage that the United States has gained by the policy initiated when Japanese funds in this country were frozen and reaffirmed when a strict embargo was placed on oil going to Japan.


6. The celebration of the signing of the Tripartite Agreement by the Japanese on September 27, and the extent of that celebration is a matter entirely within the control and jurisdiction of the present Japanese Government. The United States can and should judge only by the acts and not by the words of that Government.

7. This Division still believes, as stated in I. B. 112, dated August 16, 1941, that forceful diplomacy vis-a-vis Japan, including the application of ever increasing military and economic pressure on our part offers the best chance of gaining time, the best possibility of preventing the spread of hostilities in the Pacific Area, and also the hope of the eventual disruption of the Tripartite Pact. The exercise of increasingly strong "power diplomacy" by the United States is clearly indicated.

                                       (signed) Sherman Miles
                                                SHERMAN MILES
                                      Brigadier General, U. S. Army,
                                   Acting Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2.
   THE PRESIDENT                    Chief of Staff
   Secretary of State               Assistant Chief of Staff, WPD
   Under Secretary of War           Director of Naval Intelligence
   Under Secretary of War           General Embick
   Assistant Secretary of War