15 August 1941
On the 15th I told the German and Italian Ambassadors in Tokyo confidentially, of my recent conversations with the Soviet Ambassador along the lines of my separate message #739*. Ambassador Ott expressing a desire to understand the basic problem, said that according to the notice sent to the German Government on 2 July, he understood that the possibility of Japan's participating in the German-Russian war was not precluded but asked if, now since the Soviet have given assurances regarding the two points which Japan considers vital, to the effect that there has been nothing of the kind and will not be in the future, the Soviets do not have the impression that Japan will not take part in the German-Soviet war. To this I replied that, in view of the military expansion the Empire is at present effecting, I think under present existing conditions the above-mentioned arrangement with the Soviet is the very best means of taking the first steps toward carrying out future plans concerning the Soviet which will be undertaken together with the German Government, that this is entirely in harmony with the spirit and objectives of the Tripartite Treaty, and that I hoped that the German Government would fully understand this point. Ambassador Ott thereupon asked if it is proper to understand that this present arrangement is the first step toward future measures that are to be taken against Russia, that this is merely a temporary arrangement, in other words that it partakes of the nature of a restraint upon the Soviet until preparations can be completed. To this I replied in the affirmative.
Please relay to Rome together with the separate message.
JD-1: 4637 S.I.S. #21175. Report of conversation between Japanese Foreign Minister and the Soviet Ambassador in Tokyo, in which both insist the Neutrality Pact is being strictly observed, Japan warns against third power's acquiring Russian territory in East Asia; extension of third power's military movements to East Asia, and shipment of U. S. munitions to Vladivostok.
JD-1: 4656 (F) Navy Trans. 8-20-41 (C-NR)
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)