From: Washington (Nomura)
15 November 1941
#1106 (In 6 parts, complete.)
Chief of Office routing.
The following is the conversation I had with Hull on the 15th, the gist of which I reported to you in my message #1095*:
Hull said that the United States is making sincere efforts too, and through such efforts, he said, he is now able to present a proposal concerning the commerce problem. So saying, he related to me Note "A", which was reported to you as my message #1096**.
Hull: "The United States has entered into trade agreements with 22 nations, all of which are based on the status of a "most-favored nation". Through them trade barriers throughout the world are being removed. There actually are between 1000 and 1200 articles on which tariffs have been substantially reduced. I strongly advocated this policy at the Economic Conference which was held in London some time ago, but because opposition to it was voiced by some, it was not adopted at that time." (He added that Germany was one of the countries which was opposed to it.)
"In this way, the United States desires to apply the non-discriminatory policy over a wide scope. Japan wants that part of the proposal which advocates the application of these terms to the entire Pacific area to be revised so that it will be applicable to the entire world. The United States is unable to guarantee any conditions which are outside of the United States' sphere of influence. Therefore, I hope that Japan will agree to delete her condition, in which she insists that she will agree to applying the non-discriminatory treatment to the Pacific area only if it is applied to the world."
So saying, he submitted Note "B" which contains the U. S. proposal and which was sent to you as my message #1097***. Wakasugi asked Hull if this was a counter proposal to that part of our proposal which we submitted the other day concerning the three major problems, pertaining to non-discrimination. Hull replied that in its application it covers a wider range, (meaning, apparently, that its contents covers a wider range). I, therefore, advised Hull that we would give it our study and that we would seek our government's opinion thereon after which I would submit our reply.
I said: "Since official proposals have been submitted by me to the President and the Secretary of State, we feel that these talks should be looked upon as negotiations."
Hull: "Your government may consider those talks as being negotiations today. As I said at our previous meeting, however, the subjects being discussed must be taken up with Britain, Netherlands, and others. Moreover, the Foreign Minister himself told Ambassador Grew in Tokyo that it was essential that those countries participate in the negotiations. For these reasons, we feel that it is necessary to hold these preliminary exploratory conversations between Japan and the United States first. It would be inappropriate if we were to consider these talks formal negotiations, because then it would seem as if we were trying to force whatever settlements we reached upon those other nations.
"I feel that we should first find the basic principles on which a suitable agreement could be reached, after which, the United States would reveal its attitude to those other countries, and ask them to participate in the final settlement. Thus until we work things out to a point which would seem to be satisfactory to all parties concerned, I shall consider these talks to be exploratory in nature.
"From a more practical viewpoint, too, if there were negotiations, the free exchange of opinions between the United States and Japan would be considerably hindered. In Tokyo the Foreign Minister requested to Ambassador Grew that . . . (several lines missing).
"In the United States proposal of 21 June, the United States advocates that that part pertaining to the political stabilization be made applicable to the entire Pacific area. Japan wants to limit it to the southwestern Pacific area only. In view of the fact that my talks with Your Excellency concerns the establishment of peace in the entire Pacific area, I find it difficult to understand Japan's desires to so limit the area. I would like to have this point explained."
He went on to repeat what he has said from time to time before, regarding Japan's peace policies and her connections in the Tripartite Pact.
Hull, as he did on the previous occasion, requested that the present government of Japan give its definite approval of the spirit of peace contained in our statement of 28 August.
I therefore replied: "The spirit of that statement was contained in our latest proposal and therefore I am convinced that there has been no change in our government's attitude. We are doing everything in our power to bring about a settlement so that peace may be guaranteed on the Pacific. It is true that the words "southwestern Pacific" appear in the main text of our proposal, but in the preface thereto we made it clear that our aims are to establish and maintain peace on the entire Pacific area."
Hull: "The preface is not a part of the main text and therefore its contents had no binding powers. The only parts which have any binding powers are the contents of the main text."
So saying, he again repeated his doubts as to Japan's expressed peaceful intentions.
He went on to say that Japan is apparently wanting to enter into a peaceful agreement with the United States on the one hand while maintaining a military alliance with Germany on the other.
Hull: "I, myself, can understand Japan's viewpoint and explanations on this matter. The general public, however, are aware only that Japan is allied to Germany and to it-the general public-this has a very militaristic connotation. Should the United States, disregarding what seems to be a paradox, enter into a peace agreement with Japan, the general public and the world in general would probably howl with laughter. We would be in a very difficult position to try to make any explanations.
"If Japan succeeds in coming to an agreement with the United States, she would not find it necessary to bold on to the Tripartite Agreement, would it?
"While on the one hand Japan is asking that Britain and the Netherlands, which are at war with Germany, to participate in a peaceful agreement which is to be established between Japan and the United States, while on the other she negotiates a military alliance with Germany which is the enemy of Britain and the Netherlands. That is incongruous."
I: "We have already explained our position in the Tripartite Pact in our proposal. As I said before, an alliance and a peace agreement need not necessarily be at odds with each other as may be seen by the example of the Japanese-British alliance. Fundamentally speaking, this alliance in question has peace as its main objective. Germany, too, understands that the alliance would not conflict with peace between Japan and the United States."
Hull: "If Japan insists on adhering to the alliance with Germany even after an agreement is reached between Japan and the United States, we could not explain the apparent paradox to other countries. The United States does not desire a situation such as exists between Japan and the U. S. S. R., which in spite of the fact that a Neutrality Pact exists, vast armed forces of each nation must constantly be facing each other across the national boundary. We desire that simultaneously with the establishment of an agreement between Japan and the United States, the Tripartite Pact shall disappear." (He called it a "dead letter").
Wakasugi: "In other words, do you mean that a U. S.-Japanese agreement is an impossibility as long as Japan does not withdraw from the Triple Alliance?"
Hull: "A peace agreement and a military alliance must be at odds with each other. Therefore, if and when an understanding is reached between Japan and the United States, I desire that the alliance become a dead letter".
Wakasugi: "May we consider that as your reply to our proposal pertaining to the matter of right of self-defense which is a part of the other two subjects?"
Hull: "Our reply to the other two problems will be issued after we receive: Definite assurance that your present government approves the peace policy expressed in a statement issued by the previous government; clarification of the meaning of changing "the entire Pacific area" in the U. S. proposal, to Japan's proposal's "southwestern Pacific area"; Japan's reply to today's U. S. proposal regarding a joint statement on the economic policy."
I said: "In view of the very critical situation, I am afraid that my government will be very disappointed over your replies."
We agreed to meet again after I had received further instructions from my home government.
Today's talks can be boiled down to the fact that the United States did clarify their attitude on the trade question. On the other two problems, although we agree in principle, we differ on interpretations. They harbor deep doubts as to the sincerity of our peaceful intentions and apparently they view the China situation through those eyes of suspicion.
Since the above seems to have been fairly clearly established, will you please speedily express your definite approval of the government's statement involved, so that we may make a reply to their proposal.
JD-1: 6627 (D) Navy Trans. 11-21-41 (2)
*JD-1: 6584 (S.I.S. #24930).
**JD-1: 6585 (S.I.S. #24931 & 25006).
***JD-1: 6586 (S.I.S. #24932 & 25007).
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)