From: Washington (Nomura)
15 November 1941
#1098 (In 2 parts, complete)
Let us suppose that the Japanese-U. S. negotiations for the adjustment of relations between the two countries which are being conducted at present, unfortunately break down, and that, as a consequence, we pursue an unrestricted course. The following is my guess as to what would be the relationship between the United States and Japan under such circumstances.
Much, of course, would depend on what move we make and how we make it, but
(a) It is most probable that diplomatic relations between the two countries would be broken off immediately;
(b) Even if they are not, the same situation as now exists between Germany and the United States-that is, the closing of the consulates and recalling of the Ambassador-will probably be effected. (Through the application of the order freezing the assets, economic relations have already been broken off for all practical purposes). Under such circumstances, only a small staff will remain at the Embassy here. (Please see my separate wire #1099* for my suggestion as to the personnel of such a reduced staff).
I presume that the government has given careful consideration as to the disposition of the various offices and our nationals residing here. I would appreciate being advised in confidence of your decision in these matters.
In the event of (b), I presume that the same procedure as was followed in the case of U. S.-Germany will be followed. That is, personnel of the consulates of the respective countries will no doubt be evacuated by mutual consent. We can see that it could be possible for the officials and business men who remained here at that time (they would total about 300 or 400), to be evacuated on another vessel. However, we fear that the number of persons desiring passage will undoubtedly skyrocket. The Consuls will, of course, urge our nationals to remain here even if the worst eventuality should materialize, but we feel that there will be many who, because of various circumstances, will find it impossible to do so.
It will be practically impossible to make a distinction between them and officials and business men. Will you, therefore, give your consideration to sending enough ships to evacuate these people.
In the event of (a)-
(1) No doubt some agreement between the United States and Japan will be entered into to guarantee the safe passage of Embassy and Consulate staff members, (agreements will no doubt be entered into with regard to the course of the vessel, markers, and communication methods). (One plan may be to have these officials sent to some half-way point, for example Hawaii, some port in the Aleutian Islands, or, if unavoidable to French Tahiti, on ships belonging to the nation to which they are accredited, and at such prearranged place, have the respective ships exchange passengers). To the representative of what nation do we plan to entrust our national property and to protect the rights of our nationals remaining here? Is it correct to assume that negotiations with the country which has been selected will be completed in Tokyo with the diplomatic representative of that country and in that country by our ambassador or minister?
(2) Japanese residents here who are of military age, will undoubtedly be held here. Therefore, a plan to exchange our nationals residing here for Americans residing in Japan is conceivable, but in view of the difference in numbers, it is indeed a very slim hope. Dependence on ships of neutral register, too, would be an exceedingly precarious undertaking should war actually be declared. We would appreciate being advised of the government's attitude on these points.
JD-1: 6631 (D) Navy Trans. 11-19-41 (2)
*JD-1: 6654 (S.I.S. #25033)
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)