1 December 1941
Re your #865.*
The immediate reasons for the President's sudden return to Washington are as I reported in my message #1222**. Basically speaking, however, the United States has been aroused against us by the reports of Premier Tojo's speech to Parliament, and by the speech of Cabinet official Kaya and Suzuki to the Convention of the Imperial Rules Assistance Association. The dispatches concerning these speeches have gave one the impression that anti-foreignism, crushing of Britain and the United States, were the points most emphasized.
Japan's true motives are being further doubted here because of the reports of increased troop movements in French Indo-China.
Thus, in the midst of this atmosphere, fraught with suspicion as it was, the report of Premier Tojo's speech arrived, in which it was alleged that the Premier advocated the purging of all Britons and Americans out of the Far East.
Since the alleged speech was made at a time when the United States was expectantly awaiting our reply to their official note of the 26th to Japan, particular importance was attached to it. (It is possible that the U. S. Government assumes that the speech was made by way of expressing our complete disapproval of the U. S. proposal and that it foreshadowed our launching a military campaign. Some of the newspapers go to the extreme of commenting that if the speech is given a literal interpretation it can mean nothing except a declaration of war.)
The President's speeches concerning foreign affairs are consistently very cautiously worded, for they are usually taken as a description of U. S. national policy. It is almost natural that people who are accustomed to interpret speeches in that manner, reacted the way they did to the Premier's speech.
I assume that you have already taken measures to do so, but may I suggest that when the Prime Minister or any Cabinet officer is to touch upon Foreign Affairs, careful consideration be given to those factors. I make this suggestion only because our country is at a very critical point in her history. Even if the worst eventuality materializes, we should be in a position to show all neutrals and outsiders the complete innocence on our part.
JD-1: 7056 (D) Navy Trans. 12-4-41 (1)
*JD-1: 6983 (S.I.S. #25605)
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)