December 8, 1941
#1437 Limited distribution
Re my #143(9?).[a]
At 1:00 p. m. today (8th) I called on Foreign Minister Ribbentrop and told him our wish was to have Germany and Italy issue formal declarations of war on America at once. Ribbentrop replied that Hitler was then in the midst of a conference at general headquarters discussing how the formalities of declaring war could be carried out so as to make a good impression on the German people, and that he would transmit your wish to him at once and do whatever he was able to have it carried out promptly. At that time Ribbentrop told me that on the morning of the 8th Hitler issued orders to the entire German navy to attack American ships whenever and wherever they may meet them.
It goes without saying that this is only for your secret information.
Army 25978 Trans. 12/9/41
[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)