1 October 1941
#618 (In 5 parts, complete)
Counselor Iguti from Terasaki
Re your #870*
1. Please refer to our message #613** with regard to the matter contained in your #866***.
2. I feel that you are justified to a certain extent when you complain that after we have stated that we have put all of our cards on the table, we continue to send you note after note, etc. Our note of 4 September was so designed to contain our views of the three subjects which have been discussed hitherto in a very broad light. It was not drawn up with any intention of "slowing down" the procedure in the sense voiced by Hull. We were of the opinion that there were some points of the preliminary talks which needed clearing up. Thinking that it would facilitate matters if we drew up our proposals in the form that the U. S. proposal of 21 June was put in (my message #595****). We further sent you message #590*****, dealing with Japanese-Chinese peace terms and my message #591****** pertaining to the garrisoning of troops, in the hope that they would supplement and explain our note of 4 September. They were forwarded to your office by the Foreign Minister, as reference material to be used by the Ambassador in explaining our position to the United States. They were sent at the request of the Premier and the military.
Putting it bluntly, we were quite unaware of the fact that the Ambassador in the United States had allegedly submitted, for the purpose of further consideration by this office, certain changes in our note of 4 September, (the 1st, 4th—including the supplements—, 6th and 7th paragraphs were unchanged; paragraph 2 was unchanged with the exception of that part referring to the exchanging of official notes; paragraph 3 was identical to the Japanese note of 15 June, and to paragraph 5 was added the words: "For the production and procurement of national resources" to the U. S. proposal of 21 June), until we were questioned about it by the U. S. Ambassador in Tokyo. This allegation came as a great surprise and the Foreign Minister replied that the note of 14 July must have been the one implied. The Minister added that if the Embassy in Tokyo was in immediate need of the English text of that message, he could no doubt obtain it from the State Department, and that we could supply him with the Japanese text immediately.
It was then that that part which appears in parentheses in the preceding paragraph came to light. At the same time, the fact that the Japanese Ambassador had said that the "draft was not official" to the State Department was also brought to light.
These conditions have further complicated the already exceedingly complicated negotiations and for that reason, it is indeed very regrettable.
3. It is regrettable that in spite of the fact the Ambassador in Washington and yourself are putting forth your best efforts and in spite of the fact that we are facing the problems with the utmost sincerity, the United States does not reciprocate our statesmanship. However, there are none here who are underrating the United States or who are looking upon the developments with undue optimism.
4. We fear that possibly you are not completely familiar with the exceedingly critical situation at home. It is only through the clear thinking of the military and the superhuman work on the part of all those officials concerned with domestic matters that we have been able to avert the breaking out of any unfortunate incident subsequent to the 27th*******. The utmost caution shall have to be exercised in the future to preserve this condition. Will you please obtain from Minister Wakasugi at first hand a description of the situation in Japan. This is, of course, for your and the Ambassador's information only.
Your explanation to the United States should be made along the following lines: "Apparently there are those in the United States who misunderstand the political situation in Japan. These persons seem to be of the opinion that the Konoye cabinet's position is not strong. Therefore, any agreement entered into with that government is in danger of being disregarded by the military or some other strong organization. This is not a correct analysis of the situation in Japan It is true that there are those who express opposition to the present cabinet but these elements can be easily overruled.
"Of course there have been public utterances such as Colonel Mabuchi's broadcast and Nakano's speech, who expressed, judging from the reports, opinions opposed to those contained in the Premier's message. Anyone, however, who knows the characteristics of the Japanese and who are familiar with conditions in Japan, should be able to understand the true meaning of those speeches. Mabuchi placed the most emphasis on encouraging the people while Nakano, pursuing his usual line, need not be looked upon with any importance.
"Unfortunately, however, foreign newsmen stationed in Japan, attached much importance to these speeches. British and American newspapers which place the most importance on 'journalistic interest' played up minor points in an exaggerated manner.
"These, of course, are causing misunderstandings. We are confident, however, that the people who have spent any time at all in Japan can see the true picture, etc."
We believe that if the situation were explained to them in that manner, they will more readily understand matters. Moreover, it is the truth.
Not only the Foreign Minister but all concerned are as one in this matter, and are willing to meet any without fear. You can readily see, in view of domestic circumstances and in view of external relations, that we are all eager to have the "leaders' conference" take place. This is but a natural development, and if they insist on construing it to be impatience on our part, I guess it can't be helped.
That we intend Washington to be the central locale of these negotiations is as you stated in your recent message and should have been further clarified by the telephone communication between the Foreign Office and the Embassy. Because of some peculiar circumstances, the occasion may arise where some talks are conducted in Tokyo first. That would be done only under unavoidable circumstances. Any who believe that any idea of stalling was behind such a move thoroughly misunderstands the Foreign Minister's motives.
Time is now the utmost important element. Whether this matter materializes or not has a direct and important bearing on peace on the Pacific and even of the world. The seriousness of the situation must be thoroughly recognized. Please exercise every bit of power available to bring about a favorable conclusion of this matter.
Paragraph 2 of my message #614******** was meant to point out that we have no objections to using the contents of my message #595**** as a basis of negotiations if so desired by the United States.
Although there is that matter contained in my message #617*********, we make the above statement anew.
JD-1: (D) Navy Trans. 10-4-41 (S-TT)
*JD-1: 5614. Available, being translated.
**Available. not translated; dated 30 September.
***JD-1: 5500 (S.I.S. #22977). Grew's report of our terms of peace with China differs from what you sent me. Please check.
****JD-1: 5438 (S.I.S. #22748). Tokyo sends what appears to be nearly their final effort to get the U. S. to agree to a "leaders' conference".
*****JD-1: 5360 (S.I.S. #22550-51). Outline of Japan's terms for peace with China.
******JD-1: 5415 (S.I.S. #22709). Japan presents a long explanation of the necessity for her maintaining troops in certain parts of China, even after peace with Japan is restored.
*******First anniversary of the Tripartite Pact.
********JD-1: 5510 (S.I.S. #22870-71-72). I agree that we should avoid any more written suggestions to the U. S. until they give us some reply.
*********JD-1: (Available, being translated.)
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)