5 December 1941
#1261 (In 2 parts, complete)
On the 5th, I, together with Ambassador Kurusu, called on Secretary Hull, and, putting the matter contained in your instructions in writing, submitted it to him.
Hull: "You explain the matter as if the Chinese have concentrated troops near the border and that there is a fear that they would take aggressive action."
We: "Whether or not they would attack and where from if they do attack, depends entirely on such things as the military strengths of each and on other considerations. We who do not have a clear picture of the exact conditions on the scene, cannot make any explanations other than those contained in the instructions we receive.
"However, the fact remains that there is a possibility that the Chinese would take the offensive. We have been in receipt of advices for some time past that the Chinese have been concentrating large forces in the Kwangsi area."
Hull said that he would relay the explanations to the President.
While we were there, we continued along the following line:
"Fundamentally speaking, it was because we wanted to avoid just exactly what happened as a result—namely, the misinterpretations and the consequent belligerent argumentations—of the President's most recent inquiries, that we wished to bring about a speedy settlement through our 20 November proposal.
"You keep bringing up the subject of our occupation of French Indo-China. Basically this is merely a phase of 'power politics'. Your country herself, has stated that the 'best defense is an offense'. Your military men in particular have taken this adage literally, and as proof thereof, have been making every effort to strengthen the army and the fleet of the ABCD. With this situation being flaunted before their eyes, our army and navy cannot remain unconcerned."
So saying, we repeated the gist of the contents of your message #878**.
Hull: "Since these conversations were started this spring until 24 July when Japan occupied the southern part of French Indo-China the United States continued to permit the exporting of oil to Japan During that time, I was the target of terrific criticism for allowing this, from Senators and from many other sources. Even in those times, the opposition to allowing this was of blistering intensity. Public opinion would absolutely prohibit the resumption of exporting of petroleum to Japan today."
We: "If the relationship between Japan and the United States underwent some improvement and if peaceful cooperation between our two countries is established, in accordance with that which is our Excellency's custom to advocate, the concern you express now would automatically be dissolved.
We are convinced that the correct starting point leading to the above described ideal situation, is to settle our major differences individually, rather than attempt to reach a blanket agreement, along the lines proposed by us on 20 November."
Hull then pointed out that the general tone of our press and other publications were making it difficult for the United States and Japan to reach an agreement. We therefore said that the same can be said of a portion of the U. S. press and went on to relate to him the contents of paragraph 1 of your message #878**.
(Translator's note: Last 5 lines of text unreadable).
JD-1: 7139 (D) Navy Trans. 12-6-41 (S-TT)
**JD-1: 7049 (S.I.S. #25720).
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)