To: Tokyo
From: Washington
November 20, 1941
Purple (Very Urgent)
#1147. Departmental secret

To be handled in Government Code.


(Part 1 of 2)


Our conversation with HULL on the 20th may be summarized as follows: (That day is America's biggest holiday. They call it "Thanksgiving." In spite of that, however, Mr. HULL not only agreed to talk with, but seemed glad to see both me and Ambassador KURUSU when we went to call on him.)


First, we explained the various items mentioned in the instructions in your #798 [a]. HULL had only one or two questions about the other parts and expressed hardly any opinions but, when we came to the part where we state that we do not want the United States to do anything to hinder us in bringing about a complete peace over China, he seemed extremely reluctant to consider it. He went on to reiterate what he has always said about the Tri-Partite Alliance. He said that so long as fears emanating from that treaty existed in the heads of the Americans, the United States would find it well-nigh impossible to cease aiding CHIANG KAI-SHEK and that, as we knew, the United States is now opposing the German policy of military expansion which knows no bounds; that on the one hand she is helping Great Britain and on the other hand CHIANG KAI-SHEK; that therefore until we Japanese made it perfectly clear that our policy is to be one of peace, it will be impossible to cease aiding China, just like it will be impossible to stop aiding England. He continued that, leading up to the state of affairs we find today, American interests in Japan, including Manchukuo, had undergone terrible embarrassment.

Army 25179                                           Trans. 11-24-41 (S)
[a] S.I.S. #25040 which tells Ambassador NOMURA to present Proposal "B" to the U. S. Government and says that no further concessions will be made.
From: Washington (Nomura)
To: Tokyo
November 20, 1941
#1147 (Part 2 of 2) (Departmental Secret)

(To be handled in Government Code.)


KURUSU said, "When I had an interview with the President the other day, he talked as if he would like to act as an introducer. Now if he wants to take the trouble to do this introducing in order to bring about peace, I cannot reconcile it with continued assistance to CHIANG KAI-SHEK, which actually hinders peace. In other words, it seems quite reasonable to us to ask the President to stop aiding CHIANG if he is going to act as an introducer." HULL replied, "Well, what the President meant when he said that was that he was pre-supposing that you Japanese would first make it apparent that your fundamental policy was peaceful. Heretofore, influential Japanese statesmen have expressed opinions favorable to HITLER's military expansion policy, and the American people find it very difficult to believe that Japan is turning peaceful." I said, "Well, the plan which I proposed today makes no progress whatever on two or three points. However, since the situation is so tense, if the tension between Japan and the United States can be relaxed, be it ever so little, particularly in the southwestern Pacific, and quickly clear the atmosphere, then I think we could go on and settle everything else." HULL said, "Yes, I understand what you mean thoroughly, but that would be very hard to do. In any case, you and I have on our shoulders a heavy responsibility toward both the Japanese and American people. I might say toward the whole human race." Mr. HULL's face assumed a sadly compassionate expression, and he said, "I want to think over this proposal you have brought me fully and sympathetically, and then I want to talk to you again.

Army 25180                                           Trans. 11/22/41 (2)