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Foreign Minister that this point referred to United States aid to Chiang Kai-shek); to reciprocate Japan's commitment expressed in point 5 referred to above; to "suspend any military measures" in the Far East and in the southwestern Pacific area; and to reciprocate immediately Japan's commitment expressed in point 6 above.
Some of the Japanese provisions were equivocal and ambiguous and some indicated a disposition by the Japanese Government to narrow down and limit the application of the fundamental principles with which the Japanese professed in the abstract to agree. The revised proposals were much narrower than would have been expected from the assurances given in the statement communicated to President Roosevelt on August 28.
On September 6 Ambassador Grew reported that it had been revealed in his talk with Prince Konoye on that day that the Prime Minister and therefore the Japanese Government wholeheartedly subscribed to the four points considered by the United States Government essential as a basis for satisfactory reconstruction of United States - Japanese relations. These had been set out in President Roosevelt's reply of September 3 to the Prime Minister's message. However, the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs informed Ambassador Grew some time later that although Prince Konoye had "in principle" accepted the four points, the Prime Minister had indicated that some adjustment would be required in applying them to actual conditions.
Throughout September 1941 the Japanese Government continued to urge upon the United States an early meeting between the President and the Japanese Prime Minister. On September 23 the Japanese Ambassador told Secretary Hull that such a meeting would have a psychological effect in Japan by setting Japan on a new course; that it would counteract the influence of pro-Axis elements in Japan and provide support for the elements desiring peaceful relations with the United States. During a conversation with Secretary Hull on September 29 the Ambassador said that if the proposed meeting should not take place it might be difficult for the Konoye regime to stay in office and that if it fell it was likely to be followed by a less moderate government. The Ambassador handed to Secretary Hull a paper expressing the views of the Japanese Government on the proposed meeting. In this it was stated that the meeting "would mark an epochal turn for good in Japanese-American relations"; that should the meeting not take place there might never be another opportunity and the repercussions might be "most unfortunate". It stated that the ship to carry the Prime Minister was ready; that his suite, including a full general and a full admiral, had been privately appointed; that the party was prepared to depart at any moment. Finally, it stated that any further delay in arranging for the meeting would put the Japanese
Government in a "very delicate position" and again emphasized that there was urgent necessity for holding the meeting at the earliest possible date. ()
The reply of the United States to the Japanese proposal of September 6, 1941 was contained in a statement made by Secretary Hull to the Japanese Ambassador on October 2. After reviewing the progress of the course of the conversations thus far, the Secretary stated that a clear-cut manifestation of Japan's intention in regard to the withdrawal of Japanese troops from China and French Indochina would be most helpful in making known Japan's peaceful intentions and Japan's desire to follow courses calculated to establish a sound basis for future stability and progress in the Pacific area. The Secretary said that the United States Government had welcomed the sugestion for a meeting of the heads of the two Governments, but while desiring to proceed with arrangements as soon as possible, felt that clarification of certain principles was necessary to insure the success of the meeting. He remarked that from what the Japanese Government had indicated, it contemplated a program in which the basic principles put forward by the United States would in their application be circumscribed by qualifications and exceptions. Secretary Hull asked whether, in view of these circumstances, the Japanese Government felt that the proposed meeting would be likely to contribute to the advancement of the high purposes which the two Governments mutually had in mind. He repeated the view of the United States that renewed consideration of the fundamental principles would be helpful in seeking a meeting of minds on the essential questions and laying a firm foundation for the meeting. ( )
The Japanese Ambassador, after reading this statement, expressed the fear that his Government would be disappointed, because of its earnest desire to hold the meeting. Secretary Hull replied that we had no desire to cause any delay but felt there should be a meeting of minds on the essential points before the meeting between the President and the Prime Minister was held. ( )
The conversations between the Secretary of State and the Japanese Ambassador at Washington continued, but the issues between the Governments appeared no nearer settlement. The chief questions on which agreement seemed impossible were Japanese obligations to Germany and Italy under the Tripartite Pact; the question of adherence by Japan to a basic course of peace; and the terms of settlement of the conflict between Japan and China, particularly the matter of the evacuation of Japanese troops from China. In regard to the last point this Government throughout the negotiations maintained that any settlement involving China must provide fully for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country; otherwise there
would be no prospect of stable peace in the Pacific area. With reference to the Tripartite Pact, there was implicit throughout the discussions a Japanese threat that if the United States should become involved in war with Germany the Japanese Government, in accordance with the terms of the pact, would make war on the United States.
Ambassador Grew's Report That War Might Be "Inevitable"
In a telegram of November 3, 1941 Ambassador Grew reported to the Department of State on the current situation in Japan. He warned against acceptance of any theory that the weakening and final exhaustion of Japanese financial and economic resources would result shortly in Japan's collapse as a militarist nation. He pointed out that despite severe cuts in industrial output, the loss of most of Japan's commerce, and the depletion of national resources, such a collapse had not occurred; but instead there was being drastically prosecuted the integration of Japanese national economy. Events so far, he said, had given no support for the view that war in the Far East could best be averted by imposition of commercial embargoes. He said that considering the temper of the people of Japan it was dangerously uncertain to base United States policy on a view that the imposition of progressive and rigorous economic measures would probably avert war; that it was the view of the Embassy that war would not be averted by such a course.
The Ambassador said it was his purpose to insure against the United States becoming involved in war with Japan through any misconception of Japanese capacity to plunge into a "suicidal struggle" with us. Although reason, he said, would dictate against such a happening, our own standards of logic could not be used to measure Japanese rationality. While we need not be overly concerned by the "bellicose" utterances of the Japanese press, it would be short-sighted to underestimate the obvious preparations of Japan; it would be short-sighted also if our policy were based on a belief that these preparations amounted merely to saber rattling. Finally, he warned of the possibility of Japan's adopting measures with dramatic and dangerous suddenness which might make inevitable a war with the United States. ( )
Four days later, on November 7, Secretary Hull stated at a Cabinet meeting that relations between Japan and the United States were extremely critical and that there was "imminent possibility" that Japan might at any time start a new military movement of conquest by force. It thereupon became the consensus of the Cabinet that the critical situation might well be emphasized in speeches in order that the country would, if possible, be better prepared for such a develop
ment. Accordingly, Secretary of the Navy Knox delivered an address on November 11, 1941 in which he stated that we were not only confronted with the necessity of extreme measures of self-defense in the Atlantic, but we were "likewise faced with grim possibilities on the other side of the world-on the far side of the Pacific"; that the Pacific no less than the Atlantic called for instant readiness for defense. On the same day Under Secretary of State Welles, carrying out the Cabinet suggestion in an address, stated that beyond the Atlantic a sinister and pitiless conqueror had reduced more than half of Europe to abject serfdom and that in the Far East the same forces of conquest were menacing the safety of all nations bordering on the Pacific. The waves of world conquest were "breaking high both in the East and in the West", he said, and were threatening, more and more with each passing day, "to engulf our own shores". He warned that the United States was in far greater peril than in 1917; that "at any moment war may be forced upon us".
On November 17 Ambassador Grew cabled from Tokyo that in calling attention to the necessity for vigilance against sudden Japanese naval or military attack in regions not then involved in the Chinese-Japanese conflict, he considered it probable that the Japanese would make use of every possible tactical advantage, including surprise and initiative. The Ambassador said that in Japan there was an extremely effective control over military information and that as a consequence it was unlikely that the Embassy would be able to give substantial warning. ( )
Kurusu Sent to Washington
Early in November the Japanese Government informed this Government that it desired to send Mr. Saburo Kurusu to Washington to assist Ambassador Nomura in the conversations. This Government at once responded favorably and, upon request by the Japanese Government, facilitated Mr. Kurusu's journey by arranging that priority passage be given him and his secretary on a United States transPacific plane and that the scheduled departure of the plane from Hong Kong be delayed until Mr. Kurusu could reach Hong Kong from Tokyo.
President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull conferred with Ambassador Nomura and Mr. Kurusu on November 17. It soon became clear in the course of this and subsequent conversations that Mr. Kurusu had brought no new material or plans or proposals.
During this conversation of November 17 the President expressed the desire of the United States to avoid war between the two countries and to bring about a fair and peaceful settlement in the Pacific area;
he accepted a statement of the Japanese Ambassador that this was also the desire of Japan. The President stated that, from the longrange point of view, there was no occasion for serious differences between the United States and Japan.
Secretary Hull said that any settlement for the Pacific area would not be taken seriously while Japan was still "clinging" to the Tripartite Pact; that since Hitler had announced that he was out for unlimited-invasion objectives and had started on a march across the earth, the United States had been in danger and this danger had grown with each passing week; that the United States recognized the danger and was proceeding with self-defense before it was too late; that the United States felt the danger so profoundly that it had committed itself to the expenditure of many billions of dollars in self-defense. The Secretary said the belief in this country was that the Japanese formula for a new order in greater East Asia was but another name for a program to dominate all of the Pacific area politically, economically, socially, and otherwise, by military force; that this would include the high seas, the islands, and the continents, and would place every other country at the mercy of arbitrary military rule just as the Hitler program did in Europe and the Japanese program did in China.
Mr. Kurusu reiterated that ways must be found to work out an agreement to avoid trouble between the two countries and said that all the way across the Pacific "it was like a powder keg". Referring to the relations of Japan and Germany, he said that Germany had not up to then called upon Japan to fight. ( )
Secretary Hull conferred again with the Japanese Ambassador and Mr. Kurusu on November 18. The Secretary said that we were trying to make a contribution to the establishment of a peaceful world, based on law and order; that this was what we wanted to work out with Japan; that we had nothing to offer in the way of bargaining except our friendship. He said that the present situation was exceptionally advantageous for Japan to put her factories to work in producing goods needed by peaceful countries, if only the Japanese people could get war and invasion out of mind; that it would be difficult for him to cause this Government to go far in removing the embargo unless it were given reason to believe that Japan was definitely started on a peaceful course and had renounced purposes of conquest.
Mr. Kurusu expressed the belief that the two Governments should now make efforts to achieve something to tide over the present abnormal situation. He suggested that perhaps after the termination of the Sino-Japanese conflict it might be possible to adopt a more liberal policy but said that he was unable to promise anything on the part of his Government.