December 6, 1941
Purple (CA) (Urgent)
Re 2 of your #1418 [a].
1. From the standpoint given in 4 of my #985 [b], we would like to avoid bringing about any situation likely to result in an armed clash with Soviet Russia until strategic circumstances permit it; and so get the German Government to understand this position of ours and negotiate with them so that at least for the present they would not insist upon exchanging diplomatic notes on this question.
In doing this, explain to them at considerable length that insofar as American materials being shipped to Soviet Russia through any point lying within the scope of our intelligence are concerned, they are neither of high quality nor of large quantity, and that in case we start our war with the United States we will capture all American ships destined for Soviet Russia. Please endeavor to come to an understanding on this line.
2. However, should Foreign Minister RIBBENTROP insist upon our giving a guarantee in this matter, since in that case we shall have no other recourse, make a statement to the effect that we would, as a matter of principle, prevent war materials from being shipped from the United States to Soviet Russia via the Japanese waters and get them to agree to a procedure permitting the addition of a statement to the effect that so long as strategic reasons continue to make it necessary for us to keep Soviet Russia from fighting Japan (what I mean is that we cannot capture Soviet ships), we cannot carry this out thoroughly.
3. In case the German Government refuses to agree with 1 or 2 and makes their approval of this question absolutely conditional upon our participation in the war and upon our concluding a treaty against making a separate peace, we have no way but to postpone the conclusion of such a treaty. This point is intended for you to bear in mind.
4. Concerning our participation in the war and the question of our promising not to conclude a separate peace, I shall wire you later.
Army 25925 Trans. 12/8/41 (NR)
[a] Not available.
[b] Parts 1 and 3, S.I.S. Nos. 25552, 3; Part 2 not available. Tokyo informs Berlin that there is extreme danger of war suddenly breaking out between the Anglo-Saxon nations and Japan and that if Russia joins hands with England and the United States against her, Japan will turn upon her with all her might.
(EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE , EXHIBIT NO. 1 INTERCEPTED DIPLOMATIC MESSAGES SENT BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN JULY l AND DECEMBER 8, 1941)