Post by Jim Wilkins
On both sides the war factions prevailed over the peace factions.
Except the US did not have a war faction, rather a stop Japan one.
Post by Jim Wilkins
So a diplomat is on record as saying more diplomacy was needed.
Assistance to China, or at least arms sales was being done by the US and
others before the Panay bombing.
The Konoye-Roosevelt meeting, what exactly does "on the verge" mean,
given it is a value judgement?
Post by Jim Wilkins
FDR was away in Newfoundland conferring with Churchill when his underlings
took a harder stance than he had intended on Japanese oil purchases. On
his return he decided not to unilaterally back down.
Where is this shown?
On 9 April the US received a plan from private individuals for the
negotiations including an FDR Konoye conference. On 17 April
Nomura sent a copy of the plan to Tokyo.
On 22 June 1941 Germany invaded the USSR, giving no warning
Admiral Layton's book, And I Was There, p.118
"On 2 July 1941 the Japanese finally made up their
minds. An imperial conference that Friday took the
momentous decision for a policy of southward
expansion "no matter what obstacle may be
encountered." Konoye's prepared statement of the
cabinet position had rejected Matsuoka's advocacy
of an immediate attack on Russia in favor of advancing
"southward in order to firmly establish a basis for her
self-existence and self-protection."
On 23 July the occupation of Southern French Indo China began
and a few days later Japanese assets were frozen. Up until this
point the negotiations between the US and Japan were classified
as informal in diplomatic speak. No acceptable agreement
was even close. Given the effects of the embargo and the threat
of the new Japanese bases to the European colonies in South East
Asia negotiations became more formal.
Japan moved into South Indo China on 23 July 1941.
The US and UK froze Japanese assets on 25 July 1941.
The Japanese froze American assets on 26 July 1941.
On 7 August came the offer of a Konoye FDR summit, based
on that earlier proposal for a direct conference, text from the
"We are firm in our conviction that the only means by which the situation
can be relieved is to have responsible persons representing each country
gather together and hold direct conferences. They shall lay their cards on
the table, express their true feelings, and attempt to determine a way out
of the present situation.
2. In the first proposal made by the United States mention was made of just
such a step. If, therefore, the United States is still agreeable to this
plan, Prime Minister Konoye himself will be willing to meet and converse in
a friendly manner with President Roosevelt."
"The subjects which will be discussed, undoubtedly will depend greatly on
the time it is held. In general, however, the discussion will be conducted
along the lines of the negotiations which were being conducted in an attempt
to bring about better relations between Japan and the United States. In view
of the fact that both the Prime Minister and the President have many uses
for their time, arrangements should be made so that the discussions between
them will last no longer than a few days. With a view to practicalness it is
our hope that the delegations representing Japan and the United States will
consist of the minimum number of persons."
So someone has to put together the background so agreement
can be reached in a few days and in such a way that it will stick.
The meeting at Argentia was August 9 – 12, 1941
FROM: Washington August 18, 1941
TO: Tokyo # 709.
(Part 4 of 5)
"If it is difficult for the Japanese Premier to come to either S.F. or
Seattle, how about Juneau?" (I believe he mentioned Sitka which is in
Alaska, too, but I don't clearly recall.)"
Next comes the text of the statement read out at the 3 September meeting,
FROM: Washington September 3, 1941
TO: Tokyo # 777.
(In 5 parts complete) (a)
Reference is made to the proposal of the Japanese Government communicated on
August 28, 1941, by the Japanese Ambassador to the President of the United
States that there be held as soon as possible a meeting between the
responsible heads of the government of Japan and of the government of the
United States to discuss important problems between Japan and the United
States covering the entire Pacific area in an endeavor to save the situation
and to the reply of the President of the United States, in which the
President assured the Prime Minister of the readiness of the government of
the United States to move as rapidly as possible toward the consummation of
arrangements for such a meeting and suggested that there be held preliminary
discussions of important questions that would come up for consideration in
the meeting. In further explanation of the views of the government of the
United States in regard to the suggestion under reference observations are
offered, as follows:
On April 16, at the outset of the informal and exploratory conversations
which were entered into by the Secretary of State with the Japanese
Ambassador, the Secretary of State referred to four fundamental principles
which this government regards as the foundation upon which all relations
between nations should properly rest. These four fundamental principles are
1. Respect for the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of each and all
2. Support of the principles of non interference in the internal affairs of
3. Support of the principle of equality, including equality of commercial
4. Non disturbance of the status quo in the Pacific except as the status quo
may be altered by peaceful means.
In the subsequent conversations the Secretary of State endeavored to make it
clear that in the opinion of the government of the United States Japan stood
to gain more from adherence to courses in harmony with these principles than
from any other course, as Japan would thus best be assured access to raw
materials and markets which Japan needs and ways would be opened for
mutually beneficial cooperation with the United States and other countries,
and that only upon the basis of these principles could an agreement be
reached which would be effective in establishing stability and peace in the
The government of the United States notes with satisfaction that in the
statement marked "Strictly Confidential" which was communicated by the
Japanese Ambassador to the President of the United States on August 28 there
were given specific assurances of Japan's peaceful intentions and assurances
that Japan desires and seeks a program for the Pacific area consistent with
the principles to which the government of the United States has long been
committed and which were set forth in detail in the informal conversations
already referred to. The government of the United States understands that
the assurances which the Japanese Government has given in that statement
exclude any policy which would seek political expansions or the acquisition
of economic rights, advantages or preferences by force.
The government of the United States is very desirous of collaborating in
efforts to make effective in practice the principles to which the Japanese
Government has made reference. The government of the United States believes
that it is all important that preliminary precautions be taken to insure the
success of any efforts which the government of Japan and of the United
States might make to collaborate toward a peaceful settlement. It will be
recalled that in the course of the conversation to which reference has
already been made, the Secretary of State on June 21, 1941, handed the
Japanese Ambassador a document marked "Oral, Unofficial and without
commitment" which contained a redraft of the Japanese Government's proposal
of May 10, 1941. It will be recalled further that in oral discussion of this
draft it was found that there were certain fundamental questions with
respect to which there were divergences of view between the two governments,
and which remained unreconciled at the time the conversations were
interrupted in July.
The government of the United States desires to facilitate progress toward an
inclusive discussion, but believes that a community of view and a clear
agreement upon the points above mentioned are essential to any satisfactory
settlement of Pacific questions. It therefore seeks an indication of the
present attitude of the Japanese government with regard to the fundamental
questions under reference.
It goes without saying that each government in reaching decisions on policy
must take into account the internal situation in its own country and the
attitude of public opinion therein. The government of Japan will surely
recognize that the government of the United States could not enter into any
agreement which would not be in harmony with the principles in which the
American people --in fact all nations that prefer peaceful methods to
methods of force believe.
The government of the United States would be glad to have the reply of the
Japanese government on the matters above set forth.
(a) Part 3 not indicated.
Trans. 9 6 41"
Then comes the Ambassador's report,
FROM: Washington (Nomura) September 3, 1941
TO: Tokyo # 766.
(In 2 parts complete)
Foreign Office Secret. Chief of Office Routing.
I have read with appreciation Your Excellency's message of August 27, which
was delivered to me by Admiral Nomura.
I have noted with satisfaction the sentiments expressed by you in regard to
the solicitude of Japan for the maintenance of the peace of the Pacific and
Japan's desire to improve Japanese-American relations.
I fully share the desire expressed by you in these regards, and wish to
assure you that the government of the United States, recognizing the swiftly
moving character of world events, is prepared to proceed as rapidly as
possible toward the consummation of arrangements for a meeting at which you
and I can exchange views and endeavor to bring about an adjustment in the
relations between our two countries.
In the statement which accompanied your letter to me reference was made to
the principles to which the government of the United States has long been
committed and it was declared that the Japanese Government "considers these
principles and the practical application thereof, in the friendliest manner
possible, are the prime requisites of a true peace and should be applied not
only in the Pacific area but throughout the entire world" and that "such a
program has long been desired and sought by Japan itself".
I am very desirous of collaborating with you in efforts to make these
principles effective in practice. Because of my deep interest in this matter
I find it necessary that I constantly observe and take account of
developments both in my own country and in Japan which have a bearing upon
problems of relations between our two countries. At this particular moment I
cannot avoid taking cognizance of indications of the existence in some
quarters in Japan of concepts which, if widely entertained, would seem
capable of raising obstacles to successful collaboration between you and me
along the line which I am sure we both earnestly desire to follow. Under
these circumstances, I feel constrained to suggest, in the belief that you
will share my view, that it would seem highly desirable that we take
precaution, toward ensuring that our proposed meeting shall prove a success,
by endeavoring to enter immediately upon preliminary discussion of the
fundamental and essential questions on which we seek agreement. The
questions which I have in mind for such preliminary discussions involve
practical application of the principles fundamental to achievement and
maintenance of peace which are mentioned with more of specification in the
statement accompanying your letter. I hope that you will look favorably upon
Trans. 9 8 41"
The phrase the article attributed to Roosevelt was in fact said by the
So Konoye announces he has the terms that will solve the problem
but he says the Japanese had cracked the US diplomatic codes and
due to the people in the Foreign Office against such a solution the
diplomats on both sides could not see/send them, the first time the US
could see the proposals was at any conference.
I look forward to the idea Hull/FDR put forward that he had the solution
but told the Japanese Ambassador that given the US was cracking the
Japanese codes and the hawks in the state department he could not
reveal them, only hand them personally to the Japanese Prime Minister
who would then have a few days to decide.
Apparently a diplomatic courier was out of the question.
Also apparently no one to this day has ever seen the proposals, think
of all those anti US people around who would love to find them and
use them as proof the US was at fault.
So what happens to the Tripartite pact, if in fact the US ends up
declaring war on Germany for example?
Furthermore around late August there is an IJN destroyer with steam
up ready to do the transport to the conference. Presumably for days,
presumably that is because Konoye plus complete delegation was
within minutes of the dock, packed and ready to go, and could not
wait for the hour or so for steam to be raised. Then comes the problem
of a destroyer making a fast passage to the conference and having the
fuel to return.
A cruiser standing by makes more sense, it would have the sort
of radio systems able to reliably send messages to Japan for a start
and even that needs to be related to how quickly the US side could
travel to the meeting site.
The scrap embargo was put in place in 1940.
So the people at the US Embassy in Tokyo had the plan to avoid war
but were sabotaged in Washington, this conveyed by a rumour the
anti Japanese Far Eastern advisor had done the deed.
Furthermore the embassy was so right in its judgements, it was
others who made the mistakes.
Remove the nb for email.