I. B 135
OCTOBER 2, 1941.
Memorandum for the Chief of Staff:
Subject: Japanese-American Relations.
1. The crisis in Tokyo brought about by the anniversary of the Tripartite Agreement has been weathered by the Konoye Cabinet through a somewhat perfunctory celebration involving speeches by the German and Italian Ambassadors, Prince Konoye, and others, at luncheons given in honor of the Axis on September 27, 1941.
2. This Division has information from a highly reliable source to the effect that at 4:30 p. m. on September 27th after completing the ceremonies celebrating the anniversary of the Tripartite Pact the Japanese Foreign Minister asked the American Ambassador to call on him, and urged him to strongly recommend to his home government an immediate meeting between Prince Konoye and President Roosevelt.
3. The Japanese Ambassador in Washington was advised as to the gist of Admiral Toyoda's conversation with Ambassador Grew. Admiral Nomura also was urged by his Foreign Minister to do everything in his power to prevail upon the President to meet and confer immediately with Prince Konoye.
4. The fervor with which the Japanese, over a period of many months, have been agitating for this "meeting of leaders" has been matched only by their reluctance to make commitments on two points, i. e. withdrawal from China, and preparation for an attack on Siberia.
6. This Division is of the belief that the present Cabinet in Tokyo does not yet feel strong enough to enforce any order for withdrawal of Japanese troops from China, even though under pressure from the United States, it might be inclined to do so. And, as a matter of fact, at this stage in the execution of our national strategic plan, a cessation of hostilities in China followed by the withdrawal of twenty-one Japanese divisions, 20 independent brigades, and 1,000 aircraft therefrom would be highly detrimental to our interests. Such a force if returned to Japan would be potentially of such an explosive nature that only a military oligarchy could control it. These militarists would submerge or destroy the moderate element in Japan replacing it with a restless Chauvinistic element possessing neither the ability nor the inclination to continue diplomatic relations with any of the Democratic Powers.
If the Japanese force in China were transferred to Indo China or Manchoukuo it would undoubtedly overflow into adjacent regions and our interests would be even further jeopardized.
It seems evident that the Konoye Government lacks confidence enough to make any promises in regard to restraining the Kwantung Army, even at its present strength, from launching an attack on Siberia. With its forces augmented by all or a part of the troops now in China, the home government would be helpless, for the Kwantung Army since 1932 has been completely independent of the various cabinets appointed in Tokyo and, reinforced by elements from China would undoubtedly attack when it felt assured that such action was opportune. The opportune moment will be coincident with or immediately following a Russian collapse in Europe, or if and when the Russian force becomes numerically inferior because of withdrawals from Siberia to reinforce the European Armies.
6. From the foregoing it seems imperative, for the present at least, to keep as much of the Japanese Army as possible pinned down in China. In other words we must cease at once our attempts to bring about the withdrawal of Japanese armed forces from China and must give to China whatever aid is possible on our part in sustaining the Chinese power and will to continue to contain and occupy the bulk of the Japanese Army.
7. The initial feeling of revulsion over this apparent utilization of China as a cat's paw in our plan of strategy will be alleviated by an examination of the situation of the anti-Axis powers in the light of cold reason. Our objective is the destruction of Naziism, and all out aid to those powers actively engaged in resisting its aggressive drive for world domination. Russia is, as a matter of expedience, an ally in this cause. We must, among other things, do what we can with what we have at our disposal to aid Russia in her struggle with Germany. Any action on our part, therefore, which would liberate Japanese (pro-Axis) forces for action against Russians' rear in Siberia would be foolhardy.
8. The eagerness on the part of the Japanese Foreign Minister for a "meeting of leaders" is probably based on a strong desire to strengthen the position of the cabinet with respect to the internal situation in Japan. Such a conference would: (1) Strengthen Prince Konoye's position with his people, (2) Extend the tenure of the present cabinet at least through the sessions of the conference, (3) Increase the belief of all Japanese leaders that we would not meet with them unless willing to make concessions. In other words, a conference to them will mean concessions on our part. If the President of the United States can be persuaded to loosen the economic restrictions now in force against Japan, Prince Konoye can then go before the Japanese people with a fait accompli such as no other man has been able to produce in the last decade. Economic concession, it must be observed, is the one essential which the Japanese military leaders recognize as necessary to be obtained before another mayor war can be fought. Once the conference is convened the Japanese will be in a strong position to demand some economic concessions, pleading the certainly of the collapse of the Konoye government if he goes home empty-handed.
9. From the point of view of the United States, a conference of leaders at this time might serve to give this country additional time in which to prepare more adequately for any eventuality. Definite understanding, however, should be established, prior to such a conference, with Great Britain, Russia, China, Thailand and the Netherlands East Indies. Through cooperative and unified action with the powers named, we have obtained the economic advantages we now hold. It is the opinion of this Division that these advantages should, under no circumstances, be sacrificed unless concessions can be gained from Japan which will benefit all the non-Axis countries of the Pacific area; otherwise the very objective this country has sought so long to attain, that of unified anti-Axis strength in the Pacific, will be lost completely.
10. This Division is of the opinion that neither a conference of leaders nor economic concessions at this time would be of any material advantage to the United States unless a definite commitment to withdraw from the Axis were obtained from Japan prior to the conference. The immediate objective of the United States is to weaken Hitler in every way possible. A Japanese guarantee not to attack Russia in Siberia would free Russia, psychologically and militarily, for stronger opposition to Hitler. With this in mind, a definite condition precedent to such a proposed conference should be a complete withdrawal by Japan from the Axis and a guarantee, backed by substantial evidence of sincerity, not to attack Russia in Siberia.
11. Since it is highly improbable that this condition can be met by the Japanese Government at the present time our course lies straight before us. This Division
still believes 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 the best hope of the eventual disruption of the Tripartite Pact. The exercise of increasingly strong "power diplomacy" by the United States is still clearly indicated.
HAYES A. KRONER,
Colonel, General Staff
Acting Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2.
The President Chief of Staff
Secretary of State Assistant Chief of Staff W. P. D
Secretary of War Director of Naval Intelligence
Under Secretary of War Major General Embick
Assistant Secretary of War
(EXHIBITS OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE, PHA, PT. 14, EXHIBIT NO. 33 MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATES PREPARED BY G-2, WAR DEPARTMENT)