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To: Contact office noted by General Short & Col Phillips, new Acting C of S.
Issuing Office: G‑2,.H. H. D.
Army Contact Office,
Honolulu, T. H.
Time and date: 1200 25 Oct. 1941.
G‑2 ESTIMATE OF INTERNATIONAL (JAPANESE) SITUATION
1. Summary of Situation. Reference paragraph 1; G‑2 Estimate of the International (JAPANESE) Situation, 1200 Oct. 17, 1941, there have been no fundamental changes in the international situation, centering on Japan, since the time mentioned; and the estimate is still in almost complete accord with contemporary opinions of most high officials and reputable observers who are known to be in close touch with the various phases of the present fast moving situation. However; the following generally summary is considered appropriate at this time:
a. A crisis of the first magnitude was created in the Pacific by the fall of the Third Konoye Cabinet on the 16th instant. The fall of said cabinet was allegedly precipitated by unsatisfactory progress of the rapproachement negotiations between America and Japan, and by extreme pressure from "rightest" elements who have been clamoring for stronger ties with the Axis and more forceful apposition to the ABCD block, including Russia.
b. An apparently imminent collapse of the Russian forces in the west, together with the loudly proclaimed German successes everywhere, tended to accentuate the cry for action on the side of the Axis to such a degree that the Konoye cabinet could no longer resist, hence resigned en block, and was almost immediately replaced by a new cabinet headed by ex‑War Minister, General Tojo.
198 CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
c. Ministers of the new cabinet, as well as Premier Tojo, have openly declared their intentions of stronger ties with the Axis—which automatically underscores Japan's policies with "intensified aggression"; definitely places Japan in a camp hostile to the United States and other democracies; makes all protestations of peaceful intentions a sham or objective of suspicion; and forces America into a state of constant vigilance—but at least clarifies the situation to such an extent , that we do know where we stand, what to expect, and what should be done.
2. Conclusions. No change in paragraph 2 of G‑2 Estimate of 17 Oct. 1941.
However, several important incidents have transpired, or are scheduled to take place, which are certain to have a profound bearing on the probable course of events in question in the near future. These are:
a. The formation of a new Japanese "War Cabinet", headed by ex‑War Minister, General Tojo.
b. The decision of Premier to continue his predecessor's order to permit three Japanese vessels to visit American ports for the purpose of transporting stranded Americans and Japanese nationals to their respective homelands.
c. Premier Tojo's expressed desire to continue rapprochement negotiations with the United States.
d. The order by the navy department to American vessels to avoid Asiatic ports in the north Pacific, including Shanghai.
e. The announced decision of the American government to abandon Vladivostok as a port of entry for war supplies to Russia, and to adopt the port of Archangel as the sole point of entry for such shipments.
f. Announcement of Ambassador Nomura's return to Japan for consultation with the new cabinet.
3. Justifications for conclusions. The following is a brief analysis and evaluation of the above. based on limited reports, and is not to be regarded as conclusive, but rather to assist in making accurate conclusions on the general situation as subsequent events and special situations are presented:
a. New Cabinet. Paragraph 1 c above is the general answer. The only other noteworthy viewpoint received, and considered to be worth mentioning, is that General Tojo was selected to head the new cabinet because he was the only man considered capable of controlling the "extremist" army elements, and thus stave off' any precipitate action until such time as the situation in Europe has become definitely clear, and until at least a decisive stage has been reached in rapprochement negotiations with the United States.
b. Japanese vessels to America. The Japanese government's decision to permit three ships to visit America for the purpose of repatriating stranded nationals of both countries, may be regarded either as a peaceful gesture or as a measure to "clear the decks" in the Pacific with a view to future naval and military moves. It will be recalled that the Japanese were careful to remove Japanese nationals from the interior of south China before spreading military operations to that section. It is considered impracticable to remove all Japanese nationals from America and American territories.
c. Rapprochement Negotiations. Inasmuch as the new Japanese cabinet has openly declared its intentions of stronger ties with the Axis‑definitely our enemy—we can only expect Japan to make a similar use of peace negotiations as her partner, Hitler, i.e., as a means to delude and disarm her potential enemies. From a military point of view such peaceful overtures should be preceded by concrete evidence of sincerity before they can be seriously considered.
d. Navy Order to Clear American Ships from North Pacific. This action on the part of the navy seems to have been largely "precautionary", which also appears fully justified—realizing that we are now definitely dealing. with an exponent and ally of Hitler.
e. Abandonment of Vladivostok as a Port of Entry for Russian Supplies. Two issues are here involved:
(1) Military. The crucial point as to whether we will be able to continue to face Hitler across the English channel, across the Atlantic, or on American shores, centers in the British Isles. Convoys must cross the Atlantic in order to hold the British Isles at all cost, irrespective of what happens in the Pacific. Convoys to Archangel, for the greater part of the distance, could be carried on incidental to convoys going to the British Isles. Requirements of armed escorts for the remaining distance to Archangel, would probably be less than what
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would be required over any Pacific route. .In fact, with a hostile Japanese fleet in the Pacific, any practicable route across the Pacific to Russia may have been entirely ruled out. Assuming this to be the case, the most logical step would be not to undertake a thing that would certainly have to be abandoned later.
(2) Diplomatic. Inasmuch as the shipping of supplies to Russia via Vladivostok has been one of the major issues between America and Japan recently, the abandonment of said route may serve to keep the door of diplomacy open for a longer period; and, in ease of an unforeseen major reverse for the Axis in Europe, might provide an open door for successful negotiations at a time when Japan desired to change her mind, seeing that further ties with the Axis were useless, and that a compromise with the democracies has become inevitable.
f. Nomura's report to New Cabinet. This is considered a very normal procedure with the Japanese government. Mr. Nomura will be expected to give a review of his efforts in Washington and perhaps the last word on the American attitude. If his previous work is still in harmony with Japan's new policy, he may return to Washington. If not, it seems a fair assumption that he may not even be replaced. In case the abnormal procedure is followed, of dispatching a subordinate to Tokyo, it may be taken as an attempt to conceal the real gravity of the situation. This is not, however, a prediction.
Remarks. Everyone is interested in the answer to the question, When will Japan move?—a question which no one dares predict with certainty. However, the following points are considered to be worth of mentioning:
a. Things which tend to indicate that a major move will not take place for approximately another month are:
(1) The dispatch of Japanese vessels to the United States for return of stranded nationals of both countries to their respective homelands.
(2) Ambassador Nomura's return to Japan for purpose of reporting to the new cabinet.
(3) Repeated declarations by Japanese officials that Japan desires to continue rapprochement negotiations.
(4) Extreme cold over Eastern Siberia makes military operations against Russia very risky before spring.
(5) A protracted Russo‑German war seems much more likely now than it did immediately prior to the assumption of office by the new cabinet, and that the "rightists" who were crying for action against a "collapsing" Russia, may again hesitate to take the final plunge on the side of Hitler. If the intense cold plus a tired Russian army is able to stop the invincible legions of Hitler before Moscow (?), wisdom may dictate not to risk the matchless legions of Nippon against a rested Russian army under temperatures still lower than around Moscow.
(6) Announcement that Cabinet leaders have requested Emperor Hirohito to convoke a special five‑day session of the Imperial Diet, beginning Nov. 15, at which time, it is predicted the government will be asked to clarify its stand on international policies particularly with reference to former Premier Konoye's message to President Roosevelt and the progress of the Washington negotiations.
b. In other words, it seems logical to believe that no major move will be made before the latter part of November—in any direction—with a chance that the great break, if it comes, will not occur before spring.
George W. Bicknell,
GEORGE W. BICKNELL,
Lt. Col., G. S. C.,
Asst. A. C. of S., G‑2,
C/S H. H. D.
G‑2 H. H. D.
G‑3 H. H. D.
G‑2 Schofield Barracks
G‑2 24th Div.
G‑2 25th Div.
F. B. I. (2)
O. N. I. (2)
Capt. Bryan, Trans. Sect.