December 2, 1941
#1232 (Part 1 of 2)
Re my #1231. [a]
Today, the 2nd, Ambassador KURUSU and I had an interview with Under-Secretary of State WELLES. At that time, prefacing his statement by saying that it was at the direct instruction of the President of the United States, he turned over to us the substance of my separate wire #1233. [a] Thereupon we said: "Since we haven't been informed even to the slightest degree concerning the troops in French Indo-China, we will transmit the gist of your representations directly to our Home Government. In all probability they never considered that such a thing as this could possibly be an upshot of their proposals of November 20th." The Under-Secretary then said: "I want you to know that the stand the United States takes is that she opposes aggression in any and all parts of the world." Thereupon we replied "The United States and other countries have pyramided economic pressure upon economic pressure upon us Japanese. (I made the statement that economic warfare was even worse than forceful aggression.) We haven't the time to argue the pros and cons of this question or the rights and wrongs. The people of Japan are faced with economic pressure, and I want you to know that we have but the choice between submission to this pressure or breaking the chains that it invokes. *We want you to realize this as well as the situation in which all Japanese find themselves as the result of the four-year incident in China; the President recently expressed cognizance of the latter situation.
Army 25659-B Trans. 12/3/41 (7)
[a] Not available.
*Original translation incomplete from this point on.
From: Washington (Nomura)
December 2, 1941
#1232 (Part 2 of 2)
Furthermore, I would have you know that in replying to the recent American proposals, the Imperial Government is giving the most profound consideration to this important question which has to do with our national destiny." Under-Secretary of State WELLES said: "I am well aware of that." I continued: "We cannot overemphasize the fact that, insofar as Japan is concerned, it is virtually impossible for her to accept the new American proposals as they now stand. Our proposals proffered on the 21st of June and the proposals of September 25th, representing our greatest conciliations based on the previous proposal, still stand. In spite of the fact that the agreement of both sides was in the offing, it has come to naught. At this late juncture to give thoughtful consideration to the new proposals certainly will not make for a smooth and speedy settlement of the negotiations. Recently, we promised to evacuate our troops from French Indo-China in the event of a settlement of the Sino-Japanese incident and the establishment of a just peace in the Far East. In anticipating the settlement of fundamental questions, the question of the representations of this date would naturally dissolve." The Under-Secretary assiduously heard us out and then said: "The American proposals of the 26th were brought about by the necessity to clarify the position of the United States because of the internal situation here." Then he continued: "In regard to the opinions that you have expressed, I will make it a point immediately to confer with the Secretary."
I got the impression from the manner in which he spoke that he hoped Japan in her reply to the American proposals of the 26th would leave this much room.
Judging by my interview with Secretary of State HULL on the 1st and my conversations of today, it is clear that the United States, too is anxious to peacefully conclude the current difficult situation. I am convinced that they would like to bring about a speedy settlement. Therefore, please bear well in mind this fact in your considerations of our reply to the new American proposals and to my separate wire #1233 [a].
Army 25660 Trans. 12-3-41 (7)
[a] Not available.
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)