Issuing Office: G‑2, H. H. D.

Army Contact Office

Honolulu, T. H.

Date: 17 October 1941.—1200




1. Summary of Situation

a. With the fall of the Third Konoye Cabinet, the 16th instant, tension in the Pacific reached a new high. The fall of said cabinet is apparently primarily due to a breakdown of the rapprochement negotiation between America and Japan, and also due to extreme pressure from the rightist elements in Japan as a result of German success against Russia, and also for fear of complete encirclement of Japan by the ABCD group.

b. The situation is generally admitted as being extremely critical, and is still necessarily uncertain, due to the fact that the formation of the new cabinet has not been completed and, consequently, little or no definite information is available as to the attitude of individual members, and nothing as to what the attitude of the cabinet as a whole will be.

c. Based upon contemporary opinions from various sources, however, it is fairly certain that Japan's basic policy, as heretofore frequently stated, will remain unchanged; and it is expected that Japan will shortly announce her decision to challenge militarily any nation or, combination of nations which might oppose the execution of said policies‑irrespective of what means she may choose to adopt or course she may decide to take in their achievement.


2. Conclusions

According to present indications, it is highly probable that Japan will, in the near future, take military action in new areas of the Far East. The primary reasons for such a move or moves are believed to be as follows:

a. Capabilities

1. Desperate economic conditions internally—making it perhaps preferable to risk a major foreign war rather than internal revolution.

2. Violent opposition by the "rightist" elements who are opposed to any appeasement of the democracies and desire more active cooperation with the Axis—for the time being.

3. That major successes of the Axis in Europe and the potential collapse of Russian resistance, afford an unparalleled opportunity for expansion with chances of minimum resistance—that is, when the strength of the Axis is at it maximum, and the strength of the democracies not yet fully mobilized.

4. A desire to break the so‑called encirclement of the ABCD block.

b. Probable Moves—The most likely moves which Japan may make in the near future, and the sequence thereof, are as follows:

1. Attack Russia from the east.

2. Pressure French Indo‑China and Thailand for concessions in the way of military, naval, and air bases, and guarantees of economic cooperation.

3. Attack British possessions in the Far East.

4. Defend against an American attack in support of the British.

5. Attack simultaneously the ABCD block at whichever points might promise her greatest tactical, strategic, and economic advantages.

c. Reasons Justifying These Moves.—The basis for each of the above possible moves are considered to be as follows:

1. Attack on Russia.— (a) Japan's desire to extend her first line of defense as far to the west as possible as a primary defense against potential aerial attacks on the heart of Japan proper by a continental power.

(b) To set up a buffer state between herself and Germany (assuming that Germany will eventually attempt to extend her influence and control eastward to the Pacific).

(c) To secure immense quantities of much‑needed raw materials known to be in Siberia.

(d) To secure effective control over, or perhaps stamp out, communism in the Far East by striking at the root or source of the doctrine.


CLAUSEN INVESTIGATION                                                                  193


(e) A possibility that an attack on Russia at this time can be undertaken with a reasonable chance of non‑military intervention by the United States; and that even the British might not resort to active military action in support of Russia in the Pacific, due to the fact that both the Americans and British are preoccupied in Europe, and that neither power has any genuine desire to ever see the state of the USSR emerge sufficiently strong to again plague the democratic states with the sinister ideals of communism.

(f) To open communications with Germany for the purpose of closer coordination and supply, in case it becomes necessary to continue the war against other Pacific powers.

(g) To achieve a spectacular victory which is now greatly needed to revive the morale of the people and prepare them for future efforts toward the south.

2. Pressure French Indo‑China and Thailand.—Pressure on French Indo-China and Thailand for concessions of military, naval, or air bases, and guarantees of economic cooperation, is entirely to be expected, and this may either precede or follow, or occur simultaneously with an attack on Russia, in order to insure security in the south while her primary objective in the north is being achieved; and to afford her more and better strategic bases from which she can operate against Chungking's lines of communication, and/or American and British lines of communications in case it becomes necessary to defend herself against either or both of these powers. Also, to secure additional raw materials, food, etc.

3. Attack on British Possessions in the Far East.—Following the principle of defeating one opponent at a time—famous with her Axis partner, Hitler—is believed that Japan, if faced with certain British military resistance to her plans, will unhesitatingly attack the British; and do so without a simultaneous attack on American possession, because of no known binding agreement between the British and Americans for joint military action against Japan, and that the American public is not yet fully prepared to support such action. However, it must be evident to the Japanese that in case of such an attack on the British, they would most certainly have to fight the United States within a relatively short time.

4. Simultaneous Attack on the ABCD Powers.—While a simultaneous attack on the ABCD powers would violate the principle mentioned above, it cannot be ruled out as a possibility for the reason that if Japan considers war with the United States to be inevitable as a result of her actions against Russia, it is reasonable to believe that she may decide to strike before our naval program is completed.

An attack on the United States could not be undertaken without almost certain involvement of the entire ABCD block, hence there remains the possibility that Japan may strike at the most opportune time, and at whatever points might gain for her the most strategic, tactical, or economical advantages over her opponents.


3. In Conclusion


Barring unforeseen and untoward incidents, which might setoff a conflict in any quarter and invite measures and countermeasures never contemplated, it is believed that the above represents the most logical major moves that Japan may take and the probable sequence thereof. This is assuming that the new cabinet will be, as generally predicted, "strongly military" and will support the present demands of the "rightists" elements which were largely responsible for the fall of the Third Konoye cabinet.



Lt. Colonel, G. S. C.,

Asst. A. C. of S., G‑2,

Contact Officer.



C/S H. H. D.

G‑2, H. H. D.

G‑2, H. A. F. 

G‑2, Scofield Barracks (3 copies)

G‑3, H. H. D.

F. B. I., Honolulu (2 copies)

O. N. I., Honolulu (2 copies)