NOVEMBER 27, 1941.
Memorandum for the Chief of Staff:
Subject: Recent developments in the Far East.
1. It has been reported on good authority, that between 18 and 24 Infantry Divisions and 8 Armored Brigades from the Russian Far Eastern Army have been identified on the Western front. If this is true, between 24 and 18 Divisions and 2 Armored Brigades remain in Eastern Siberia. Thus the possibility of a Kwantung Army offensive thrust against Siberia is increased, although such a move is not believed imminent at present.
2. Certain Japanese troops have been withdrawn from North and Central China within the last three weeks-24,000 of them sailed from Woosung (near Shanghai)-between November 15 and 23. The transports carried 184 landing boats. Several other ships left during same period, number of troops and cargoes unchecked. A special landing craft carrier left Shanghai the 18th of November and was sighted of Wenchow on the 2[?]th sailing southwest.
3. A Naval Task Force which was reported by the 14th Naval District (Hawaii) as organized and concentrated at Taiwan and Hainan appears, according to a November 27 radio from the 16th Naval District (Manila) to be a loosely organized force on its way to an unknown concentration point. According to the latter dispatch it consists of:
3-4 battleships (possibly only) 5 mine layers
3 carriers 4 converted seaplane carriers
11 heavy cruisers 12 mine sweepers
5 light cruisers 12 patrol motor boats
47 destroyers 14 others
It is apparently not yet ready for concerted action as its Commander is still in home waters and the force concentration has not yet taken place.
4. The Japanese land forces in the Mandated Islands have been gradually increased in the last 6 months from 5,000 to 15,000 men, and they now have about 100 combat planes of all types, plus the 4th Fleet, a mixed naval force of second class units.
5. Reports from Bangkok indicate that the Japanese Foreign Office officials there expect hostilities to break out in that region in the near future.
6. According to British reports, the Japanese have made and will continue to make aerial reconnaissance over British Pacific Islands, especially the Gilbert Group, Nauru and Ocean Islands; also over the Northern portion of British Malaya.
7. Reliable information has been received that the Japanese Foreign Office officials in North French Indo-China expect military movements in and through that region in the near future.
8. In Tongking the total number of Japanese troops remains at about 25,000 (1 1/2 Divisions), with about 90 planes. Since November 21st, additional Japanese troops have been moving into Southern French Indo-China: 10,000 from Tongking (which have been replaced there by other troops), and some 20,000 by sea. Conservative estimate of number of Japanese troops now in southern Indo-China is at least 70,000. This is approximately 3 1/2 Divisions. The number of Japanese planes has also been increased by 82 (London, Military Attache report November 25), bringing the total in the south to not less than 157. There may be more than this number since observation is limited. A large quantity of equipment has been landed in Indo-China in the last 60-70 days in amounts far in excess of current needs for the force believed there at present. Totals (minimum):
At Saigon: 300 side cars
90 Tanks (under 5 tons) (Bren gun 20 road rollers
carriers?) 5,000 collapsible rubber boats
42 Tanks (7 to 9 tons) 500 horses
About 30 other Armored vehicles 3 locomotives
(Type not specified) 500 light railway freight cars (4
60 75-mm. guns. wheel)
230 Guns-various calibers 1,500 cases gas masks
1,030 trucks 14 ambulances
200 motorcycles 52 armored cars
Large quantities of railway material (type not specified) oil and aviation gasoline (quantities not mentioned). Tanks and artillery (quantities, types, calibers, not mentioned).
9. According to a reliable report of November 17, there is a concentration of approximately 50,000 troops on the Island of Hainan. The air bases on the southern part of this island are capable of holding several hundred planes which can be flown from there to Tourane in Indo-China and from that point to Saigon, which is only about 400 miles from Tourane.
10. A reliable source reported on November 25 that an unconfirmed report to the Hanoi government indicated Japanese plans for an invasion of Thailand about December 1, including seizure of the Isthmus of Kra. In connection with this last item, the Japanese are reliably reported to have been working on a naval and air base at Kompongson Bay on the Gulf of Siam, since September 27, 1941. Also Japanese reconnaissance planes have recently been seen over northern Malaya.
11. Up to the evening of November 26th, the Japanese Ambassador had been unable to make the Secretary of State yield to Japanese proposals and demands, and in consequence the Japanese hopes for an appeasing settlement by the United States are very slim.
12. There is good evidence that the Japanese are prepared to use chemical and probably bacteriological warfare whenever and wherever they deem it necessary or profitable to do so.
13. A press dispatch of November 21 quotes the Chinese military spokesman, Chungking, as accusing the Japanese of starting germ warfare. He said that on November 4th Japanese planes dropped food and clothing at Changteh, Hunan Province and that persons who made use of these were taken ill and died with symptoms similar to those of bubonic plague. (The Military Attache Chungking is investigating this report).
14. From the foregoing it appears evident that the Japanese have completed plans for further aggressive moves in Southeastern Asia. These plans will probably be put into effect soon after the armed services feel that the Kurusu mission is a definite failure. A task force of about five divisions, supported by appropriate air and naval units has been assembled for the execution of these plans. This force is now enroute southward to an as yet undetermined rendezvous.
15. This Division is of the opinion that the initial move will be made against Thailand from the sea and overland through Southern Indo-China. It is further believed that the Japanese are uncertain of the reaction of the ABD powers to this move and therefore have organized in sufficient strength to cope with any opposition they might initially encounter from those powers in the South China Sea.
Brigadier General U. S. Army
Acting Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2.
Secretary of War
Assistant Secretary of War
Assistant Secretary of War for Air
Chief of the Army Air Forces
Assistant Chief of Staff, W. P. D.
Director of Naval Intelligence
(EXHIBITS OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE, PHA, PT. 14, EXHIBIT NO. 33 MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATES PREPARED BY G-2, WAR DEPARTMENT)