27 November 1941 (2327-2334 EST)
(Telephone Code)—(See JD-1: 6841) (S.I.S. #25344)
(Conversation between Ambassador Kurusu and Japanese Foreign Office American Division Chief, Yamamoto.)
Literal translation Decode of Voice Code
(After connection was completed:)
KURUSU: "Hello, hello. This is Ku-
YAMAMOTO: This is Yamamoto".
KURUSU: "Yes, Hello, hello."
(Unable to get Yamamoto for about six or
eight seconds, he said aside, to himself, or
to someone near him:)
KURUSU: "Oh, I see, they're making a
record of this, huh?"
(It is believed he meant that the six second
interruption was made so that a record could
be started in Tokyo. Interceptor's machine
had been started several minutes earlier.)
KURUSU: "Hello. Sorry to trouble you
YAMAMOTO: "How did the matrimonial "How did the nego-
question get along today?" tiations go today?"
KURUSU: "Oh, haven't you got our tele-
gram* yet? It was sent—let me see—at
about six—no, seven o'clock. Seven o'clock.
About three hours ago.
"There wasn't much that was different "There wasn't much
from what Miss Umeko said yesterday." that was different from
Hull's talks of yester-
YAMAMOTO: "Oh, there wasn't much diff-
KURUSU: "NO, there wasn't. As before,
that southward matter—that south,
SOUTH—southward matter, is having con-
siderable effect. You know, southward
YAMAMOTO: (Obviously trying to indicate
the serious effect that Japanese concentra-
tions, etc. in French Indo-China were having
on the conversations in Washington. He
tries to do this without getting away from the
"Miss Umeko childbirth, marriage" charac-
ter of the voice code.)
YAMAMOTO: "Oh, the south matter? It's
KURUSU: "Yes, end at one time, the matri- "Yes, and at one
question seemed as if it would be time it looked as
settled." though we could reach
KURUSU: "But—well, of course, there are
other matters involved too, but—that was
it—that was the monkey wrench. Details
are included in the telegram* which should
arrive very shortly. It is not very long and
you'll be able to read it quickly."
YAMAMOTO: "Oh, you've dispatched it?"
KURUSU: "Oh, yes, quite a while ago. At
about 7 o'clock."
KURUSU: "How do things look there? "Does it seem as if a
Does it seem as if a child might be born?" crisis is at hand?"
YAMAMOTO: (In a very definite tone): "Yes, a crisis does
"Yes, the birth of the child seems imminent." appear imminent."
KURUSU: (In a somewhat surprised tone,
repeating Yamamoto's statement):
"It does seem as if the birth is going to take "A crisis does ap-
take place?" pear imminent?"
KURUSU: "In which direction. . ."
(Stopped himself very abruptly at this slip
which went outside the character of the voice
code. After a slight pause he quickly re-
covered, then to cover up the slip, con-
KURUSU: "IS it to be a boy or a girl?"
YAMAMOTO: (Hesitated, then laughing at
his hesitation took up Kurusu's cue to re-
establish the voice code character of the
talk. The "boy, girl, healthy" byplay has
no other significance):
YAMAMOTO: "It seems as if it will be a
strong healthy boy."
KURUSU: "Oh, it's to be a strong healthy
(Rather long pause.)
"Did you make any statement (to the news- "Did you make any
regarding your talk with Miss statement regarding
Kimiko today?" your talks with the
KURUSU: "No, nothing. Nothing except
the mere fact that we met."
YAMAMOTO: "Regarding the matter con-
tained in the telegram** of the other day,
although no definite decision has been made
yet, please be advised that effecting it will
KURUSU: "Oh, it is difficult, huh?"
YAMAMOTO: "Yes, it is."
KURUSU: "Well, I guess there's nothing
more that can be done then."
YAMAMOTO: "Well, yes."
YAMAMOTO: "Then, today . . ."
YAMAMOTO: "The matrimonial question, "Regarding negotia-
that is, the matter pertaining to arranging a tions, don't break them
marriage—don't break them off." off."
KURUSU: "Not break them? You mean talks."
KURUSU: "Oh, my."
(Pause, and then with a resigned laugh:)
KURUSU: "Well, I'll do what I can."
(Continuing after a pause:)
KURUSU: "please reed carefully whet Miss "Please read care
had to say as contained in today's fully what the Presi-
telegram*." dent had to say as con-
tained in today's tele-
YAMAMOTO: "From what time to what
time were your talks today?"
KURUSU: "Oh, today's was from 2:30."
(Much repeating of the numeral 2)
KURUSU: "Oh, you mean the duration?
Oh, that was for about an hour."
YAMAMOTO: "Regarding the matrimonial "Regarding the ne-
"I shall send you another message. How-
ever, please bear in mind that the matter of
the other day is a very difficult one."
KURUSU: "But without anything,—they "But without any-
want to keep carrying on the matrimonial thing,—they want to
question. They do. In the meantime keep on negotiating. we're
faced with the excitement of having a In the meantime we
child born. On top of that Tokugawa is have a crisis on hand
really champing at the bit, isn't he? Toku- and the army is champ-
gawa is, isn't he?" ing at the bit. You
know the army."
(Laughter and pause.)
KURUSU: "That's why I doubt if anything
can be done."
YAMAMOTO: "I don't think it's as bad as
YAMAMOTO: "Well,—we can't sell a moun- "Well,—we can't
KURUSU: "Oh, sure, I know that. That
isn't even a debatable question any more."
YAMAMOTO: "Well, then, although we
can't yield, we'll give you some kind of a re-
ply to that telegram."
KURUSU: "In any event, Miss Kimiko is "In any event, the
leaving town tomorrow, and will remain in President is leaving
the country until Wednesday." town tomorrow, and will
remain in the coun-
try until Wednesday."
YAMAMOTO: "Will you please continue to
do your best."
KURUSU: "Oh, yes. I'll do my best.
And Nomura's doing everything too."
YAMAMOTO: "Oh, all right. In today's
talks, there wasn't anything of special in-
KURUSU: "No, nothing of particular in-
terest, except that it is quite clear now that
that southward—ah—the south, the south
matter is having considerable effect."
YAMAMOTO: "I see. Well, then, good bye."
KURUSU: "Good bye."
JD-1: 6890 (M) Navy Trans. 11-28-41 ( )
*JD-1: 6915 (S.I.S. #25495). Outline of interview on 27 November with Roosevelt-Hull-Kurusu-Nomura .
**Probably #1189 (S.I.S. #25441-42). JD-1: 6896). Washington reports the two proposals presented by the U. S. on 26 November.
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)