1 December 1941
#1225 (Part 1 of 3) [a]
When I and Ambassador Kurusu called on Secretary Hull on the 1st, we conveyed to him the matter contained in your message #857*. Roughly speaking, Hull's reply stayed within the bounds of his earlier explanations. He placed the most emphasis on two points, namely, the tone and trend of the Japanese Government's expressions and movements and that of the general public opinion organs; and, the increase in strength of the garrisons in French Indo-China.
From the beginning of today's conference, Secretary Hull wore a deeply pained expression. Without wasting any time, he brought up the subject of the Premier's statement, (see my message #1222**), and said that that was one of the reasons for the President's sudden return to Washington. (Upon our arrival at the State Department, we found not only newspaper men, but even some members of the Departmental staff crowding the corridors. Some of these speculators were of the opinion that the issue of war or peace was to be immediately decided upon. In general, the scene was highly dramatic.)
We, therefore, replied that we were convinced that the Premier's statement had been erroneously and exaggeratedly reported in the vernacular. We pointed out that regardless of who the speaker may be if only an excerpt from his speech is reported, without having the entire text available, it is quite possible that the reader will get exactly the opposite meaning from that intended by the speaker.
We went on to advise the Secretary that we were at present awaiting the delivery of the entire text.
During the course of our explanations, the Secretary showed visible signs of relief.
He said: "Since our talks were begun recently, there has not been a single indication of endorsement and support from Japan. I have not heard of any steps being taken in Japan aimed at facilitating these conversations, all of which is exceedingly regrettable."
25778 (D) Navy Trans. 12-5-41 (2)
[a] For Part 2 see S.I.S. #25715.
*JD-1: 6921 (S.I.S. #25496).
**Available, dated 30 November (S.I.S. #25761).
1 December 1941
#1225 (Part 2 of 3) (Parts 1 and 3 not available)
(Message having the indicator 20803* is part one of three.)
For this reason CHA has been the target of considerable attack and dissatisfaction. It was admitted that he was in a very tight spot. As the President recently said, it is clearly understood that the people of Japan, after over four years of the Japanese-Chinese incident, are very tense.
Japan, too, is highly desirous of having peace on the Pacific assured by successfully concluding these negotiations. It is our hope that he would give his support and encouragement to the efforts that Hull and we are making in this direction.
With regard to the matters pertaining to French Indo-China the government of the United States, too, cannot help but feel concern since it has been receiving report after report during the past few days, from U. S. officials stationed in that area, of unusual movements of the Japanese army and navy; the landing of various types of arms; and the movements of transport vessels. Concern is felt as to the goal of all these activities (the implication was that they feared that they were going to be used not only against Thailand but in the southwestern Pacific area).
As to what plans the responsible persons in the Japanese army and navy are planning are not difficult to guess if one goes on the assumption that the Japanese army and navy joins forces with the Germans even if, in actuality, that is not what is taking place, preparations must be made for this possible eventuality, and all nations concerned must concentrate their fighting forces in that area.
JD-1: 7042 (D) Navy Trans. 12-4-41 (7)
*Not available, probably is Part 1 of this message.
1 December 1941
(Purple) #1225 (Part 3 of 3)
Hull: "In the final analysis, that means that Hitlerism is being given indirect support, and for this reason please exercise the utmost of caution.
"In view of the fact that Japan is acting in the manner described above, there is absolutely no way of bringing about a settlement of the situation.
"Disruptions in Japanese-U. S. relations is exceedingly unfortunate, not only for our two countries, but to the world in general. There shall be nothing constructive about a Japanese-U. S. war. We fully realize that it can be nothing other than destructive. For this reason, we are still highly desirous of bringing these conversations to a successful conclusion.
"However, with the existence of the above described conditions, and because of the nature of this country, the Secretary of State and the President are placed in an exceedingly difficult position."
I: "It seems mutually regrettable that all of our efforts which lead to the 21 June and 25 September proposals, should have been in vain."
In general he expressed his agreement to this.
Hull. "The recent situation in Japan and the U. S. public opinion made it necessary for us to return to the most recent proposal."
We then said that behind the problems at hand, there has always been the China problem.
"As I have pointed out on several occasions", I said, "this has been the bitterest experience since the Washington Conference. Peace between Japan and China could not be attained through any such terms as were contained in your most recent proposal. We hear your argument to the effect that you cannot stand by and do nothing while China dies. The converse of that argument should be even stronger. That is, that it is of the utmost importance for us to avoid standing by and watching our own respective countries die, just because of the China problem."
Hull indicated his agreement with this, but went on to say:
"Because the situation is as I have already described, I hope that Japan will take steps to bring about order through her public organs."
JD-1: 7042 (D) Navy Trans. 12-5-41 (2)
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)