3 December 1941
Re your message #985* to Berlin.
On this day, at 11 o'clock in the morning, I, accompanied by Ando, called on Premier Mussolini, (Foreign Minister Ciano was also present). I described the developments in the Japanese-U. S. negotiations in accordance with the contents of your message #986** to Berlin.
Mussolini: "I have been carefully watching the progress of the Japanese-U. S. talks from the very beginning and therefore am not at all surprised to receive your report. As a matter of fact, in view of the utter bull-headedness of the United States and the meddlesome nature of President Roosevelt, I should say that the outcome was nothing but what should have been expected. One of the aims of the United States is to make the Far East her own, from an economic standpoint. I have felt from the beginning that if it was the intention of the United States to separate Japan from the Axis first and then intervene in Europe, the United States was doomed to fail because of Japan's loyal and sincere nature.
"As Your Excellency and Your Excellency's predecessor know, I wholeheartedly endorse Japan's policy of creating a New Order in East Asia. This has been true in the past, is true now and will be so in the future. I am one who is firmly convinced that Japan has every right to be the leader of the Great East Asia area."
I continued by relating to him the contents of your message referred to in the heading, (with regard to paragraph 3 of that message, said that I had been advised that some arrangements were being made between our Ambassador in Berlin and Ribbentrop).
With regard to paragraph 2, Mussolini said that should war break out, Italy would give every military aid she had at her disposal, i.e., that she would make every effort to keep the British navy checked in the Mediterranean.
Mussolini: "Recently, the formation of an Italian-German air force bloc was discussed so as to afford closer cooperation between the two to apply further pressure on the British in the Mediterranean. The negotiations on this proposal have progressed to a point where it may be signed any day now."
Regarding paragraph 2 again, should Japan declare war on the United States and Great Britain, I asked, would Italy do likewise immediately? Mussolini replied: "Of course. She is obligated to do so under the terms of the Tripartite Pact. Since Germany would also be obliged to follow suit, we would like to confer with Germany on this point."
With reference to paragraph 3, I submitted the French text of your message #987***, as one proposal, and asked him whether he preferred it to be separately or jointly. He replied that as long as it was done simultaneously with Germany it did not make much difference to him, but if it were done jointly he thought it would give the impression of more strength. He said he would confer with Ambassador MAKKENZEN.
Mussolini failed to bring up the subject of Soviet Russia, so the matter was not brought up at all.
In the first part of this message, please correct "N-NEEN WA" to "KINKENSHA WA".
JD-1: (D) Navy Trans. 12-6-41 (W-TT)
*JD-1: 6943 (S.I.S. #25552-53).
**JD-1: 6944 (S.I.S. #25554-55).
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)