Contention of Premier Konoye and Foreign Minister Toyoda:
If Japan stubbornly upholds her contention then there is no possibility of the United States-Japanese negotiations reaching a settlement. However, the key to the negotiations lies in the problem of withdrawing troops. Therefore, if Japan makes concessions in this direction, there is a possibility of the negotiations resulting in success. Japan could drop the shadow for the substance. In other words, Japan could first decide upon the over-all withdrawal of her troops in compliance with the demand of the United States, then station her troops as a new problem after negotiating with China.
Note: Although this statement obviously meant a change in the decision made at the Imperial Conference of 6 September, neither Minister specifically so stated.
Contention of War Minister Tojo:
Taking into consideration the progress made thus far in the United States-Japanese negotiations, and specifically the United States' answer of 2 October to the decision made at the Imperial Conference of 6 September as well as their attitude in refusing a top-level parley, I suspect that there is every possibility of the United States-Japanese negotiation developing into a policy of postponement. If Japan is
forced to open hostilities against the United States, she will face the danger of being strategically trapped, if she is caught in this policy of postponement. Therefore, I believe that the time has come when we should make a decision in accordance with the resolution of 9 September. As for the problem of withdrawing our troops from China, negotiations have, since the start of the United States-Japanese negotiations, been underway on the basis that we will recognize the principle of an over-all withdrawal of our troops and that the stationing of troops will be made in accordance with the Japan-China Fundamental Treaty. This is also the attitude which the Foreign Minister is supposed to take. However, the true objective of the United States is quite different. With the progress of the negotiations, it has become clear that her objective lies in an unconditional withdrawal of our troops. In other words, she is calling for an immediate and complete withdrawal of our troops. Therefore, it is inconceivable that a compromise can be reached by "sacrificing the shadow for the substance", as has bean advocated by the two ministers.
What will happen if we accept fully the United States' demand for abandoning the stationing of our troops and effecting a complete withdrawal? Japan will not only bring to naught the effort and sacrifices she has made thus far in the China Incident for four long years, but will also bring upon herself the intensified contempt of the Chinese people if she should unconditionally withdraw from China under strong duress by the United States. Furthermore, with the Communist policy of
complete resistance to Japan, the relations between Japan and China will deteriorate rapidly. As a result, it is certain that a second and third China Incident will occur. This loss of Japan's prestige will exert its influence on both Manchuria and Korea. The difficulties in the United States-Japanese negotiations are not confined to the stationing and the withdrawal of troops but there are many other problems involving the demand for recognition by the United States of the four principles enunciate by them on 3 September, the interpretation of the Tripartite Pact and the problem of non-discrimination in trade. From this point of view alone, I consider the United States-Japanese negotiations will never reach a solution. However, I will reconsider, if the Foreign Minister is sure that success can be attained. The decision of war or peace cannot be left to the discretion of the Premier alone. The opinions of Imperial General Headquarters must also be considered.
View of Navy Minister Oikawa:
Let us leave the determination on the prospect of success or failure by diplomatic means to the discretion of the Premier.
However, Japan now stands at the crossroads of war or peace. If we are to wage war, now is the time. We must make the decision now. It will be embarrassing to the Navy to rely upon the possibility of a diplomatic solution without any decision on the opening of a war and then, after the elapse of two or three months, go to war. If we desire to attain success by diplomacy, we must stick to this means to the end.
Note: The above contentions were expressed, but no suggestion was
made as to the possibility of a solution and the way to realize it. It was decided that everything should be left to the Premier.