From: Washington (Nomura)
29 October 1941
#1008 (In 3 parts, complete)
From Minister Wakasugi
U. S.-Japanese relations are now fast approaching a critical crossroad. In view of the fact that the times are indeed grave, I am waiving formality and, though it may seem very presumptuous of me, am reporting to you my views on the general attitude of the United States after coming in contact with its representatives on several occasions.
As you no doubt are well aware through the many other reports pertaining to this matter, the basic U. S. policy is the crushing of the so-called "Hitlerism", (establishment of a new order through the force of arms). Working from this principle, the United States is gradually strengthening its war-time structure. Britain and China have been set up as the first line of national defense. In this way, the United States has succeeded in steamrollering over the isolationist opposition and is forcing the government and the public alike to follow this policy.
The government has determined to gamble on a long term program. It is on these grounds that Hull has said on several occasions that though he yearns for the preservation of peace on the Pacific, on the other hand it will have to be based on agreements covering the entire Pacific area and not upon a patchwork of hit-or-miss local agreements. During my talks with him on the 24th, Welles said that the United States was not in agreement with the British practice in the past of establishing special relations with her colonial holdings. The United States is a firm advocate of an absolute non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all in the entire Pacific area, (including Japan, United States, Britain, China, Australia, Netherlands East Indies, etc.) Every nation will be offered opportunities equal to those existing between the home government and its colonies. For this reason, Welles pointed out on that occasion, this policy should be advantageous to Japan as well.
Judging from these factors, we assume that the United States based their demands for equal opportunities of access to the natural resources of French Indo-China and Thailand, as well as a guarantee that they will remain strictly neutral, upon their principle of non-discrimination. Apparently, they presume that we intend to develop this area under the principle of our military's co-prosperity sphere, in a monopolistic manner, and through the force of arms.
Thus, there has arisen a clash of ideologies.
The United States-wants to tackle the China problem as merely one phase of the aforementioned "peace on the Pacific" issue. On the other hand, it should be recalled that Hull once said to the late Ambassador Saito that it was exceedingly doubtful that there should be war between Japan and the United States over merely the China problem. There are indications that the United States is still not anxious to fight Japan over only the China problem. However, it must be borne in mind that China is now relying solely on the United States. (It is said that T. V. Soong and others in the United States are working on the Treasury Department in particular) and the United States is doing everything in its power to prevent the bringing about of a truce between Japan and the United States. Since China is entirely dependent on the United States, the United States cannot turn a cold shoulder to her pleas. It is impossible for the United States to cruelly impose terms on China which would be almost impossible for the United States herself to endure.
Welles used the above described excuse during our talks on the 24th. He went on to say, however, that the United States would not be unreasonable; she would not demand of Japan to carry out that which is immediately impossible. What his implications were when he said that is not clear, but possibly he may have been referring to some such tough problem as that of evacuating our forces, (indications are that in spite of our repeated explanations concerning the garrisoning of troops in China, the above ambiguous statement may have been his camouflaged way of pointing out a means of carrying out a program of withdrawal of troops). I got the impression that he wanted to convey to me that the United States would not demand that it be carried out immediately.
In any event, it has become apparent that U. S.-Japanese relations have now become an integral phase of the national policy of the United States. There is every indication that the United States is anxious to adjust the relationship between the two nations as it has much bearing on her national policy, However, she is willing to come to terms only if the conditions suit her. She has set forth her stand in her proposals of 21 June and of 2 October. I am very doubtful that she will make any concessions therefrom.
Her preparations in the event of the worst have been completed. Therefore, I cannot believe that she is stalling for time. On the other hand, I am of the opinion that she is not so anxious to enter into the agreement that she will sacrifice any of her terms. Therefore, I do not believe that we should expect any further counter proposals from them. They have decided on a course of economic pressure plus watchful waiting.
Therefore, if we choose to good-naturedly continue these talks, I am of the opinion that all is not hopeless. I feel that such a move will almost automatically open up ways of breaking down differences if we make the best use of world developments. However, if we depend on immediate settlement by settling local differences by insisting upon our freedom of action, we must have our minds made up that not only will these negotiations be terminated, but that our national relations will be severed
The United States has expressed its interest in continuing with the talks after she has been advised of the attitude and policy of the newly formed Cabinet of Japan. I urge, therefore, that the new Cabinet establish its basic policy as speedily as possible, so that we may lay our cards on the table for them to see. I sincerely believe that that would be to our best interests.
JD-1: 6207 (D) Navy Trans. 11-1-41 (1)
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)