17 November 1941
On the evening of the 16th, we had Schmitt try to feel out the State Department's attitude. He reports that he talked with his good friend Williamson (secretary to Assistant Secretary of State Hurley) According to him, Williamson, the stumbling points in the Japanese U. S. negotiations are the Tripartite Pact and the matters pertaining to the China incident. A solution in so far as it involves the actual points is apparently quite possible from both the United States and Japanese viewpoints. The difficulty seems to be a more spiritual one-that is, the suspicion that the United States harbors of Japan. The United States bases its suspicion on the fear that the German and Japanese military cliques will apply pressure and prevail upon the Japanese Government. In other words, the United States believes that there is a possibility that immediately subsequent to the establishing of a U. S.-Japanese accord, the Japanese Government may be forced by Germany or by the Japanese military to pursue a course entirely different from that charted by the accord.
Compared to the above obstacles, the solution of the economic problems, of which the petroleum question is one phase, is indeed a very simple matter.
JD-1: 6693 (D) Navy Trans. 11-22-41 (2)
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)