29 November 1941
#1393 (In 3 parts, complete)
By his request, I was supposed to have called on Foreign Minister Ribbentrop during the evening of yesterday, the 28th. Suddenly, however, he requested that the time be postponed and it was not until 10:30 at night that I finally saw him.
This delay was occasioned by the fact that a long conference of the bigwigs of the government and military, from Goering down, was being held at the official residence of the Fuehrer. The war against the Soviet Union has now taken definite shape and the outcome can be unerringly foretold. Next year's campaigns were mapped at this conference, taking into consideration the points brought up at the conference of the various Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of Europe. It is an absolute certainty that Japan's moves were also given discussion at this conference.
1. Ribbentrop opened our meeting by again inquiring whether I had received any reports regarding the Japanese-U. S. negotiations. I replied that I had received no official word.
Ribbentrop: "It is essential that Japan effect the New Order in East Asia without losing this opportunity. There never has been and probably never will be a time when closer cooperation under the Tripartite Pact is so important. If Japan hesitates at this time, and Germany goes ahead and establishes her European New Order, all the military might of Britain and the United States will be concentrated against Japan.
"As Fuehrer Hitler said today, there are fundamental differences in the very right to exist between Germany and Japan, and the United States. We have received advice to the effect that there is practically no hope of the Japanese-U. S. negotiations being concluded successfully, because of the fact that the United States is putting up a stiff front.
"If this is indeed the fact of the case, and if Japan reaches a decision to fight Britain and the United States, I am confident that that will not only be to the interest of Germany and Japan jointly, but would bring about favorable results for Japan herself."
I: "I can make no definite statement as I am not aware of any concrete intentions of Japan. Is Your Excellency indicating that a state of actual war is to be established between Germany and the United States?"
Ribbentrop: "Roosevelt's a fanatic, so it is impossible to tell what he would do."
Concerning this point, in view of the fact that Ribbentrop has said in the past that the United States would undoubtedly try to avoid meeting German troops*, and from the tone of Hitler's recent speech as well as that of Ribbentrop's, I feel that German attitude toward the United States is being considerably stiffened. There are indications at present that Germany would not refuse to fight the United States if necessary.
2. I made inquiries as to the future of the war against the Soviet Union.
Ribbentrop: "The Fuehrer has stated that he is now determined to crush the Soviet Union to an even greater extent than he had planned at first. He is now bent on completely wiping out that state and went on to announce that practically all of the main military objectives had been attained and that a greater part of the German troops would shortly be brought back to Germany.
"Following up those campaigns, the Caucasus campaign will be launched in earnest. Next Spring Germany will advance to and cross the Ural Mountains and chase Stalin deep into Siberia."
I: "Approximately when do you expect that?"
Ribbentrop: "The campaign will be launched in about May of next year, according to present schedules."
I. "According to what you say, Germany is apparently preparing to gamble quite a bit in her Russian campaign. We hope that air connections between Germany and Manchukuo can be established at an early time."
Ribbentrop: "That is an item that Germany has been considering for some time. By summer of next year I do not believe that air connection from the Ural area to Manchukuo will be an impossibility."
3. I then asked him about the campaign against England proper to which he replied that before launching landing operations against England, Germany will probably completely wipe out Britain's influence in the Near East, Africa, Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea. I got the impression that more emphasis is being placed on this area than heretofore. So, I asked whether it was Germany's intention to conclude the war without attempting to go through with a campaign against England.
Ribbentrop: "Germany has, of course, made all necessary preparations for this campaign. However, Germany is in receipt of intelligences which would seem to indicate that all is not well within England herself. For example, we hear that there is a split within the ranks of the Conservatives; that Churchill's influence is on the wane; that Bevin, Chief of the Labor Party, is advocating revolutionary measures. All of these are tending to make the preservation of order there increasingly difficult.
"Of course, I am not one to implicitly believe all of this. However, I am convinced that things are getting bad in England. Under these circumstances, it may be that Germany's various other campaigns may cause England to fall even without our going through with our landing operations against England herself.
"In any event, Germany has absolutely no intention of entering into any peace with England. We are determined to remove all British influence from Europe. Therefore, at the end of this war, England will have no influence whatsoever, in international affairs. The Island Empire of Britain may remain, but all of her other possessions throughout the world will probably be divided three ways by Germany, the United States, and Japan. In Africa, Germany will be satisfied with, roughly, those parts which were formerly German colonies. Italy will be given the greater share of the African colonies. Germany desires above all else, to control European Russia."
4. In conclusion, I said: "I am fully aware of the fact that Germany's war campaign is progressing according to schedule smoothly. However, suppose that Germany is faced with the situation of having not only Great Britain as an actual enemy but also have all of those areas in which Britain has influence and those countries which have been aiding Britain as actual enemies as well. Under such circumstances, the war area will undergo considerable expansion, of course. What is your opinion of the outcome of the war under such an eventuality?"
Ribbentrop: "We would like to end this war during next year. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible that it will have to be continued on into the following year.
"Should Japan become engaged in a war against the United States Germany, of course, would join the war immediately. There is absolutely no possibility of Germany's entering into a separate peace with the United States under such circumstances. The Fuehrer is determined on that point."
In closing this conference, Foreign Minister Ribbentrop requested that the contents of our talks be kept a strict secret. Please, therefore, exercise particular caution in handling this message.
I have shown copies of this message to the military and naval attaché's, Lt-Gen. (Vice Adm.?) Nomura, and Maj-Gen (Rear Adm.?) Abe. Please show a copy to the Army and Navy authorities in Tokyo, too.
(In the last section of the first part of this message, we wrote * * * "the U. S. would undoubtedly try to avoid meeting German troops" * * * That should have read: "the U. S. would undoubtedly try to avoid war".)
JD-1: 6942 (D) Navy Trans. 12-1-41 (7)
*See end of message.
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)