By Anthony Kubek, University of Dallas

Throughout Soviet history China has been one of its main
considerations. That was dinned in the ears of the Communists
over and over again -- the importance of China with its great
reservoir of manpower. In 1932, Sergei Ivanovich Gussev, who
had served as Comintern agent and Stalin's personal representative
in the United States, "commanded the Communists in the United
States to take up four tasks. Two of them were the defence of the
Soviet Union and the furtherance of Red conquest of China." *1
In 1933 the notorious Gerhert Eisler "was secretly sent into the
United States by Moscow to make sure these orders were carried
out." *2

In 1935, Georgi Dimitrov was General Secretary of the
Comintern. At the 15th Anniversary of tbe Communist Party
of China he laid down tbe Communist line to the followers: a real Bolshevik Party, tbe Communist Party
of China realizes that however great tbe successes it has
achieved, they are only the first serious steps on the road
to the liberation of tbe Chinese people...

The Party... is faced with the task of carrying on a
systematic struggle to establish a united national front with
the Kuomintang...

It is necessary that energetic measures be taken to exert
pressure on public opinion and the governments, first and
foremost in England, France, and the U.S.A. *3

The Soviet Union properly evaluated the importance of the
United States in any Communist scheme for conquest og China.
The American government was to influence Chinese events in a
decisive manner. In 1939 Lauchlin Currie was appointed "Admin-

1. Louis F. Budenz, The Techniques of Communism, (Chicago: Henry
Regnery and Company, 1954), pp. 162-163.
2. lbid.
3. China: The March toward Unity, Address "The 15th Anniversary of
the Communist Party of China" by Georgi Dimitov, pp. 83-87. Italics

istrative Assistant to the President." *4  He was empowered to
coordinate "the work of the various departments in their relations
to the Executive." *5 For this purpose he was located in the offices
of the White House, "on the White House telephone."*6 Shortly
before he embarked on his China mission early in 1941, Currie
called on Stanley K. Hornbeck at the State Department. He
informed him that Chiang Kai-shek had requested that President
Roosevelt select an American advisor for him. The President had
decided to nominate Owen Lattimore. When Dr. Hornbeck dis-
covered that Secretary Hull had not been consulted on this matter
he "expressed doubt whether an assumption by the President of
responsibility for such a nomination was a wise procedure and
whether the nomination of Mr. Lattimore was a suitable nomina-
tion." He asked who had suggested Lattimore to the President.
Currie replied that he had, whereupon Hornbeck answered: "It
should be an easy matter to effect a reconsideration." Unmoved,
Currie was confident it was "a suitable nomination, and that, in
any event, there could be no reconsideration inasmuch as the
nomination had already been sent to Chiang Kai-shek." *7 After
his return from Chungking, Currie urged that "before taking any
action" the President seek to obtain Lattimore's confidence. This
was "most important." *8

President Roosevelt was favorable to the choice of Owen
Lattimore as his advisor to the Generalissimo. Now it remained for
him to obtain the concurrence of his Secretary of State for Currie's
recommendation. "It sounds good to me," he wrote.*9 Hull, ob-
viously annoyed at not having been consulted on the matter of
the selection, replied curtly that he had "no objection." *10 Currie
then informed the Generalissimo that Lattimore was "a person
admirably equipped for the post." *11 Shortly afterwards Lattimore
had a long conversation with Soviet Ambassador Oumansky. Dr.
Carter "thought it was pretty important for him... in view of his

4. Testimony of Lauchlin Currie, August 13, 1948. Hearings Regarding
Communist Espionage in the United States Government. Hearings
before the Committee on Un-American Activities. U. S. Congress,
House, 80th Congress, Second Session (Washington: Government Print-
ing office, 1948) Part I, p. 852.
5. New York Times, July 23, 1939.
6. Testimony of Edward C. Carter, July 25, 1951, U. S. Congress, Senate
Committee on the Judiciary, Internal Security Subcommittee, Institute
of Pacific Relations, Hearings, 82nd Congress, First Session (Washing-
ton: Government Printing Office, 1951), Part I, p. 133.
7. Testimony of Stanley K. Hornbeck, February 15, 1952. Ibid., Part 9,
pp. 3209-10.
8. Mr. Lauchlin Currie to President Roosevelt, May 6, 1941. Foreign Re-
lations, l941, Vol. V, 644.
9, President Roosevelt to Secretary Hull, May 19, 1941, Ibid., p. 644n.
10. Secretary Hull to President Roosevelt, May 21, 1941. Ibid., p. 648.
11. Secretary Hull to Ambassador Gauss, May 29, 1941, ibid., p. 651.


job and the evolving world situation. It was a most illuminating
2 hours."*12  On the same day President Roosevelt notified Chiang
Kai-Shek of his complete confidence in his new advisor. "I have the
highest opinion of his capabilities and I know that he is intimate with
and in complete accord with my basic politcal
attitudes." *13  Did the President suspect what his real views were?

Lattimore had spent many years in China. During the late thirties
he is supposed to have frequently expressed "his warm admiration
for the Chinese Communists." They constituted for him the wave
of the future and "represented the real people."*14  He advocated
general support for Soviet foreign policy, but opposed "using their
slogans" orgiving anyone "an impression of subserience." *15
Lattimore was spoken of as one of "our men" by General Bersin.
He was one of the two Americans who was suggested as a prospective
candidate for Soviet intelligence.*16   Louis Budenz testified Lattimore had been
hand picked "to change the thinking here in Washington and in
America on the Communist activities in China and relations
to the Soviet Union." Lattimore was thought to be a man "who
could put out propaganda and conceal the Communist activity, but
still have it carry out the policy of the Communists." According
to Budenz "the weight of his discussions was alwaye along the

12. Edward C. Carter to Philip C; Jessup, June 23, 1941. Institute of Pacific
Relations, Hearings, Part 9, p. 3264.
Three days previously Dr. Carter wrote Lattimore apropos the
luncheon with Oumansky: "If you have time while in San Fransisco,
yon and Bill Holland may want to arrange a private talk with Col.
Philip R. Faymonville whose present address is Headquartera of the
Fourth Army, Presidio of San Francisco, Calif.
"He would, I think, have been thoroughly at home and at ease if
he had lunched with us at the Mayflower on Wednesday; I think you
get the idea.'-Ibid.. p. 3263.
Colonel, later General, Faymonville, long had an interest in Russia.
He was ordnance officer to General Graves. He was senior military aide
to President Roosevelt in 1933 and 1934. From 1934 to 1939 he was
United Statea Military Attache in Moscow. He shared Ambassador
Davies' view concerning the Moscow trials. He said the Soviet Union
has "no desire" to conquer other nations. Communist Parties created
in non-Soviet areas "have nothing to do with the Russians." He said:
"The Soviet Union is completely sincere in backing global cooperation.
Its leaders want an organized and peaceful world." Ralph Izard, "A
General Looks at the Soviet Union," Our Times, People's Daily World
(February 18. 1949) 12, No. 35, Section 2; Institute of Paciffic Rela-
tions, Hearings, Part 10, pp. 3700-3703.

13. President Roosevelt to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, June 23, 1941.
Foreign Relations, 1941 V, 668.

14. Testimony of William Montgomery McGovern, September 28, 1951.
Institute of Paciffic Relations, Hearings. Part 4, pp. 1010-1011.

15. Owen Lattimore to E C. Carter, July 10, 1938. Ibid.. Part 1, p. 40.

16. Testimony of Alexander Barmine, July 31, 1951. Ibid., Part 1, pp.


lines of the Soviet policy," but the language employed 'Was non-
Soviet in character. " *17

The appointment of Oven Lattimore as "a special advisor to
the Chinese Government" was announced in the New York Times
on June 29, 1941. *18 The news was warmly received in China and
not merely by the Nationalists. Chou En-lai "was pleased to learn
of Mr. Lattimore's selection." It was "obvious" he believed Latti-
more "might have a sympathetic attitude toward the Chinese
Communists." *19

Meanwhile on June 22 Germany's invasion of Russia was to
have important repercussions in the Far East. Foreign Minister
Matsuoka of Japan felt deeply committed to the Germans and
was much impressed by the new vistas opened for Japan by the
Nazi-Soviet conflict. Early in May, 194l, he had assured the
German Ambassador in Japan that "no Japanese Premier or
Foreign Minister would ever be able to keep Japan neutral in the
event of a German-Russian conflict. In this case, Japan would be
driven, by the force of necessity, to attack Russia at Germany's
side. No neutrality pact would change that at all.' *20 The Japanese
Foreign Ministry now blandly told the Soviet Ambassador in Japan
that if the Tripartite (Axis) Pact and Japan's Neutrality Agree-
ment with the Soviet Union should prove at variance with each
other, the latter would have to be dropped. *21

The German invasion of Russia presented Japan with a golden
opportunity to launch an assault on Soviet Siberia to eliminate
once and for all the threat of Communist power. *22 Germany began
to apply pressure to obtain Japan'a declaration of war against the
Soviet Union. Ambassador Ott in Tokyo was instructed to advise
the Japanese that they had a "unique opportunity for the new
order in East Asia by going to war with the Soviet Union. After
the elimination of Soviet power in Asia, the solution of the China

17. Testimony of Louis Francis Budenz, August 22, 1951. Ibid., Part 2,
pp. 522-23.

18. Ibid., Part 9, p. 3265.

19. Memorandum of Conversation, by the Second Secretary of Embassy
in China (Drumright), June 30, 1941. Foreign Relations, 1941, V, 520.

20. Ambassador Ott to Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, Far Eastern Military
Tribunal, Document No. 4074.

21. Ambassador Ott to German Foreign Ministry, May 6, 1941, Ibid.,
Exhibit No. 1068; Defense Document No. 1500; excerpts from diary
of K. A. Smetanin, the Soviet Ambassador, April 25, 1941, Ibid., Docu-
ment No. 1886.

22. Ibid., p. 7955; Document No. 879, p. 52; For an excellent analysis of
Matsuoka'a policy over the German-Russian War, see Interrogation of
Kido, Ibid., pp. 494-499.


question would have no difficulty." *23 Ott handed the message to
Matsuoka, who was in full agreement with it and said that he
would bring it to the attention of the army and navy officials and
the Emperor. *24

By-passing the Prime Minister, Matsuoka hurried to the Im-
perial Palace to expound his grand design, but only to meet with
a cool reception. *25 Meanwhile, in order to be ready to take full
advantage of the eventual collapse of Soviet Russia, it was decided
to hasten the reinforcement of Japanese troops in Manchuria in
the hope that, if the Kremlin was obliged to withdraw part of
her army from the far East, Japan would be in a superior military
position, if necessary, to strike. *26

On July 2 an Imperial Conference was held in Tokyo and it
was decided not to move against the Soviet Union through Siberia,
but instead to prosecute a plan of advance into Indo-China and
Siam at the risk of war with the United States and Great Britain.
With regards to the German-Soviet conflict, Japan would continue
to observe her Neutrality Pact. Should the war go in Germany's
favor, however, Japan would then intervene "to secure stability
in the northern regions." *27  The possibility of a Japanese attack,
or of a joint German-Japanese evasion through Siberia, was a
spector that haunted Soviet officials. Invasion of Siberia, however,
offered no material advantage to Japan, other than a purely mili-
tary one. Japan needed oil, and with the United States constantly
applying economic pressure, it was to her advantage to move in
the direction of Southeast Asia, where oil was available. This was
the view strongly advocated by the Japanese naval officials.

In this connection, it is important to note that the Kremlin
was promptly informed by its master spy, Richard Sorge, of the

23. "American and British Phase: Summary of Proof," Ibid., p. 61. Also
Ribbentrop to Ott, Berlin, June 28, 1941, Ibid., Document No. 4097.

24. Ambassador Ott to Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, Tokyo, July 3, 1941,
Ibid., Document No. 4062.

25. "Matsuoka was opposed to the 'southern advance' on the ground that
it would jeopardizerelations with Great Britain and the United States."
Toshikazu Kaze,Journey to the "Missouri." (New Haven: Yale Uni-
versity Press, 1950), p. 48.

26. "Kido's Diary," Far Eastern Military Tribunal (Manuscript). Docu-
ment No. 1632; intercepted message from Tokyo to Nomura, August
20, 1941, Pearl Harbor Attack, Part l2, pp. 18-19.

27. Far Eastern Military Tribunal, Defense Document No. 1652; "Tojo
Memorandum," ibid., Record pp. 31254-58; "Konoye's Memoirs," Ap-
pendix III, Pearl Harbor Attack, Part 20, pp. 4018-19. A neutrality pact
between the Soviet Union and Japan was signed in Moscow on April
13, 1941; for text, CF Department of State Bulletin, April 29, 1945,
p. 812.


Japanese decision of July 2, and especially of the postponement
of the military operations into Siberia. *28

Sorge was attached to the German Embassy in Tokyo. His
assistant was Hotsumi Ozaki, an adviser to the Japanese Premier.
Mr. Ozaki was aided by Kimkazu Saionji, Secretary of the Japanese
Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations. *29 Mitsusada Yoshi-
kawa, Director of the Special Investigation Bureau of the Attorney
General's office of the Japanese Government testified before the
Committee on Un-American Activities that Sorge, working through
Ozaki and Saionji, sought to impress on the Japanese officials that
if they struck north, their forces would encounter powerful Red
armies, there would be little of value in Siberia, and she would
probably meet greater difficulties than in her war with China. If
Japan struck south, it was pointed out, she would find many useful
resources. Besides, Japan historically has always failed in any
military missions toward the north. *30

Sorge had become very friendly with Mrs. Ott, wife of the
German Ambassador to Tokyo. This source of information enabled
Sorge to report to the Kremlin the dialogues exchanged between
Konoye and Ott on relations with the Soviet Union and Japan. *31
Sorge's last report to Moscow before his discovery and arrest in
mid-October stated that there was no serious danger of an attack
from Manchuria, that the Japanese would move south, and that
war with the United States and Britain was probable before the

28. President Roosevelt followed the debate through the medium of
"Magic" -- a name applied to intercepted and decoded Japanese
messages. He described the Imperial Conference as "a real drag-down
and knockout fight... to decide which way they were going to jump --
attack Russia, attack the South Seas (or) sit on the fence and be more
friendly with us." President Roosevelt to Secretary Ickes, July l, l941
cited in William L. Langer and S. Everett Gleason, The Undeclared
War, 1940-41, (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953), p. 646.

29. Testimony of Major General Charles A. Willoughby, August 9, 1951,
Institute of Paciffic Relations, Hearings, Part 2, pp. 363-364; p. 505.

30. Testimony of Mitsusada Yoshikawa, August 20, 1951, Institute of
Pacific Relations. Part 2, p. 504. Ozaki was unofficial adviser to the
Konoye Cabinet, 1938-39. As a friend of Konoye and of Konoye's pri-
vate secretaries, Ushiba and Kishi, Ozaki knew all about the decisions
of the Japanese Cabinet and Liaison Conferences. Therefore, especially
from 1938 to October, l941, Moscow knew fully and accurately about
Japanese political decisions and intentions; it also received a wealth of
military and economic data. See Charles A,. Willoughby, Shanghai Con-
spiracy: The Sorge Spy Ring (New York: E. P. Dutton and Company,

Inc., 1952), pp. 33-39.
ll. Far Eastern Military Tribunal, Defense Document No. 1486.


end of the year.*32  Russian officials were able to breathe a sigh of

The significance of Japan's decision to move south instead of
against the Soviet Union cannot be overestimated. V. Kravchenko,
a high Soviet official and an eyewitness before he defected to the
United States, describes how Soviet Far Eastern troops were able
to stem the tide against the German advance into Russia. He
wrote: "Beginning with the nineteenth (October, 1941), tbe
situation improved. The first seasoned Siberian and Far Eastern
forces began to arrive... Far Eastern troops, hardened in border
struggle with the Japanese, and Siberian forces inured to winter
warfare were rushing westward across a continent to hold the
invaders." *33

Meanwhile, in August, 1941, Prime Minister Konoye, realizing
the situation with the United States was getting worse, made a
proposal to meet with President Roosevelt at Honolulu. Ambassa-
dor Grew was so deeply impressed with the sincerity of Konoye's
plea that he immediately sent a dispatch to Secretary Hull and
urged, "with all the force at his command, for the sake of avoiding
the obviously growing possibility of an utterly futile war between
Japan and the United States, that this Japanese proposal not be
turned aside without very prayerful consideration.... The oppor-
tunity is here presented... for an act of the highest statesman-
ship... with the possible overcoming thereby of apparently insur-
mountable obstacles to peace hereafter in the Paciffic." *34

There was "little doubt" that Konoye "would appealfor
American cooperation in bringing the China affair to a closeand
would probably be prepared to give far-reaching undertakings in
that connection, involvinp also the eventual withdrawal of Japanese
forces from Indo-China." The "time element" was "important be-
cause the rapid acceleration given by recent American economy
measures to the deterioration of Japan's economic life will tend
progressively to weaken rather than to strengthen the moderate
elements in the country and the hand of the present Cabinet and to
reinforce the extremists." In Grew's opinion the "most important
aspect of the proposed meeting" was that if the results were "not
wholly favorable," there would, nonetheless, be "a definite oppor-
tunity to prevent the situation in the Far East from getting rapidly

32. U.S. Congress, House of REpresentatives, Committee on Un-American
Activities, Hearings on American Aspects of the Richard Sorge Spy Case,
82nd Congress, First Session, (Washingotn: Government Printing Office,
1951) pp. 1198-99.

33. V. Kravchenko, I Chose Freedom (New York: Charles Scribner and
Sons, 1950), p. 377-378.

34. Ambassador Grew to Secretary Hull, Tokyo, August 18, l94l. Japan:
1931-1941, II, p. 565.


worse." *35  On August 26, Ambassador Nomura received an urgent
message which expressed an almost frantic desire to arrange a
meeting between the leaders of the two countries. The instruction
stated: "Now the international as well as our internal situation is
strained in the extreme and we have reached the point where we
will pin our last hope on an interview between the Premier and
the President."*36  Two days later the Japanese Ambassador handed
President Roosevelt Konoye's proposal for a meeting to "take place
as soon as possible." *37  It was rejected. *38

Since the end of 1940 our Ambassador in Tokyo had pressed
for a "thorough re-examination of our approach to the problems
of the Far East and a redefinition of the main immediate objectives
to be pursued by American diplomacy."*39  Both he and the entire
embassy staff were convinced the problem "could never be solved
by  formulas drawn up in the exploratory conversations." They
believed the problem "could and would be solved if the proposed
meeting between Prince Konoye and the President should take
place." *40 When Ambassador Grew urged President Roosevelt to
make a speech at the earliest possible moment in order that the
Japanese public would gain knowledge of our true intentions, his
"recommendation was not carried out." "Why?" Grew asked:
"History will wish to know." In his opinion this gesture "might
well have turned the whole trend in Japan at this critical time." *41
Following the outbreak of war Grew asked the Secretary why
Konoye's important proposal had not been accepted. Hull an-
swered: "If you thought so strongly, why didn't you board a plane
and come to tell us?" The Ambassador reminded him of the
urgent telegrams he had repeatedly sent the Department. Sud-
denly, he "wondered whether Mr. Hull had been given and had

35. Ambassador Grew to Secretary Hull, August l9, l941. Foreign Rela-
tions, l94l, IV, pp. 382-383.
The imposition of the embargo on exports of oil in the previous
month was looked upon by the Japanese as a "severance of economic
relations." Former Ambassador Nomura has characterized the action
as "a step just short of war." Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura, "Stepping-
Stones to War," United States Naval Institute Proceedings, LXXVII
(September, l95l), No. 9, p. 930.

36. The Japan Foreign Office to Ambassador Nomura. August 26, l941.
Pearl Harbor Attack, Part 12, p. 20.

37. The Japanese Prime Minister (Prince Konoye) to President Roosevelt,
August 27, 1941. Japan: l93l-1941, II, 573.

38. President Roosevelt's reply to the Japanese Prime Minister (Prince
Konoye), Handed to the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) on Septem-
ber 3, 1941. Ibid., p. 591.

39. Joseph C. Grew, Turbulent Era: A Diplomatic Record of Forty Years,
1904-1945 (Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1952), II, 1255.

40. Ibid., p. 1264,
41. Ibid., p. 1343.


read all of the dispatches from Tokyo."*42  There is "no evidence"
in the official correspondence of either a "desire or of efforts on
the part of our Government to simplify Prince Konoye's difficult
task or to meet him even part way." *43  Ambassador Grew assured
the President that Konoye was willing to "go as far as possible,
without incurring open rebellion in Japan to reach a reasonable
understanding with us."*44  He pleaded his case with courage and

It seems to me highly unlikely that this chance will come
again or that any Japanese statesman other than Prince
Konoye could succeed in controlling the military extremists
in carrying through a policy which they, in their ignorance
of international affairs and economic laws, resent and oppose.
The alternative to reaching a settlement now would be the
greatly increased probability of war, -- Facilis descensus
Averno est -- and while we would undoubtedly win in the
end, I question whether it is in our own interest to see an
impoverished Japan reduced to the position of a third-rate
Power. *25

A memorandum was prepared in the Far Eastern Division of
the Department of State which attempted to evaluate the argu-
ments, pro and con, regarding the proposed Roosevelt-Konoye
meeting. Mr. Joseph Ballantine arrived at the conclusion that
arguments against the meeting outweighed those in favor of it. It
was feared that if we entered into negotiations with Japan, Chinese
morale might be "seriously impaired." In this event "it would
probably be most difficult to revive in China the psychology neces-
sary to continue effective resistance against Japan."*46   Lauchlin

42. Ibid., p. 1330.
43. Ibid.,p. 1334.

44. Ambassador Grew to President Roosevelt, September 22, 1941. Foreign
Relations, l941, IV, 468.

The risk to Prince Konoye's life was real, not imaginary. On Sep-
tember 10, "an attempt on Prince Konoye'e life wee made by four men
who jumped on the running board of his car with daggers and short
swords as he was about to leave his private residence at Ogikubo.
Fortunately the doors of the car were locked inside and the would-be
assassins were quickly conquered by plainclothes police." Grew,
Turbulent Era, II, 1332.

45. Ambassador Grew to President Roosevelt, September 22, 1941. Foreign
Relations, 1941, IV, 469.

46. Memorandum by Mt. Joseph W. Ballantine, September 25, 1941. Ibid.,
p. 479. The pro arguments were summarized, as follows: A Roosevelt-
Konoye meeting would indicate that Japan was drawing away from the
Axis and that she questioned Germany'a ability to win the war in
Europe. The war-weary people of Japan would welcome a normalization
of relations between the two countries. The result might strengthen the
hands of those who seek to lead Japan in the way to peace and coopera-


Currie strongly emphasized this viewpoint. He was unalterably
opposed to an American agreement with Japan because it "would
do irreparable damage to the good will we have built up in
China."*47 Moreover, it was pointed out that the British, Dutch and
other Governments would entertain "misgivings" about America's
will to resist. This could result in a "breakdown in their efforts
to maintain a firm front against Japan." Mr. Ballantine expressed
the view that "such a meeting would create illusions for the
Japanese people the wide discrepancy between the viewpoints of
the American and the Japanese Governments."*48 Ambassador
Grew seemed to be of the opinion such a meeting would, on the
contrary, dispel such illusions. What he thought necessary "was a
dramatic gesture, something that would electrify the people both
in Japan and in the United States and would give impetus to an
entirely new trend of thought and policy."*49  Finally, the Ballantine
memorandum stated: "The effect of such a meeting upon the
American public would in all probability be unfavorable, par-
ticularly among those which have exhibited an uncompromising
stand on the question of stopping Japanese aggression." *50

Secretary Hull rejected the idea of a Konoye-Roosevelt meeting
and ramarked to Ambassador Nomura that before there could be a
meeting between the President and Prince Konoye, there would
first have to be an agreement upon basic principles of policy.*51
He knew that such an agreement was not possible. In other
circumstances, Hull's reason might have had validity; in the
unique circumstances of the Konoye offer, it had none. The meat
of the Konoye offer was that the Emperor would act; preliminary
negotiations would serve only to make the Emperor's action

The British attitude was generally affirmative with regards to
the Konoye offer. They presumed it would serve their interests of
securing Singapore and maintaining the stabilization of Southeast


tion with the democratic nations. The meeting would give an evidence
that the United States bore no hostility toward the Japanese Govern-
ment or people. The President would be able to explain his views and
purposes face to face with the Japanese Prime Minister. Ibid., pp.

47. Memorandum by Lauchlin Currie to President Roosevelt, September 13,

1941, as quoted by Langer and Gleaaon, The Undeclared War, 1940-
l941, p. 710.

48. Memorandum by Joseph W. Ballantine, September 25, 1941, Foreign
Relations, 1941, IV, 479-480.

49. Grew, Turbulent Era, II, 1350.

50. Memorandum by Joseph W. Ballantine, September 25, 1941, Foreign
Relations, l941, IV, 480.

51. Oral statement handed by Secretary Hull to Ambassador Nomura,
October 2, 1941, Japan: 1931-1941, pp. 656-661.


Asia. Actually, of course, war did result in the loss of Singapore.
However, the record indicates that Sir Robert Craigie, British
Ambassador in Tokyo, was "firmly of the opinion" that the Roose-
velt-Konoye meeting should be held. In his view "it would be a
foolish policy if this superb opportunity is permitted to slip by
assuming an unduly suspicious attitude." *52 According to Duff
Cooper,Ambassador Craigie stated to the Foreign Office shortly
before the fall of Konoye Cabinet "Time suitable for realpeace with
Japan. Hope this time American cynicism will not be allowed to interfere
with realistic statesmanship." *53

Hard-pressed Chinese stood to benefit from failure of confer-
ence and from involvement of Japan in war with the United
States. China could win only in the peace following a war. Am-
bassador Gauss believed it was "indeed vital" to "give China all
the support we can in her fight against Japanese aggression."
In a message which was received in Washington following the
outbreak of war, he wrote:

At the same time I believe that it is important that we
bear in mind that the defeat of Japanese aggression does not
necessarily entail, as many Chinese think, our crushing Japan
militarily. The complete elimination of Japan as a force in
the Far East would not be conducive either to order or
prosperity in this area. *54

With the rejection of Konoye's offer, Richard Sorge dismantled
his spy apparatoe, confident both of a Japanese war against the
United States and Great Britain, and of continued Japanese neu-
trality towards the Soviet Union. This suggests a motive for
Communist agents in Washington. If Sorge had penetrated far
enough into the Japanese military establishment (as he seems to
have done) to be certain that a preponderance of Japanese
admirals would never fight a two-front war, the Soviet Union might
conclude that precipitating an Anglo-American-Japanese war was
a means of safeguarding Siberia. It is true that the U.S.S.R. con-
stantly feared Great Britain would make a separate peace and
received a great scare from Hess's flight to Scotland, and it is also
true that Japan's attack on America would make a separate peace

Major General Charles A. Willoughby, who was formerly

52. The Japanese Foreign Office to Ambassador Nomura. October 3, l94l,
Pearl Harbor Attack, Part l2, p. 5l.

53. Owen Lattimore, American Political Advisor to Generalissimo Chiang
Kai-shek, to Mr. Lauchlin Currie, Administrative Assistant to President
Roosevelt, November 2, l94l, Foreign Relations, 1941, V, p. 747.

54. Ambassador Gauss to President Roosevelt, November 19, 1941. Ibid.,
p. 550.


American Intelligence Chief in the Far East, has testified that
Prince Konoye "was desperately serious in effecting a last minute
understanding with the United States." There werc certain "un-
identified" persons in the United States who "were opposed to
such an understanding."" There are two channels through which
Communist agents might have exerted influence. One is Harry
Hopkins and Lauchlin Currie. Hopkins, at this very time, took
Currie on as deputy for Lend-Lease to China, and they were on
very friendl terms. The other is the communist group in the
Department of State, particularly Alger Hiss. Currie and one of
the Hiss brothers were at this time, in daily consultation with
Harry Dexter White.

Not only was sentiment within the Department of State gen-
erally unfavorable to the proposed Roosevelt-Konoye meeting, the
Treasury Department, which was to play an increasingly formative
role in the development of American Far Eastern policy, voiced its
firm opposition to any agreement with Japan. The President was
warned of the hidden perils of "a new Munich." Harry Dexter
White, who was in the habit of preparing notes to the President
for Secretary Morgenthau to sign, submitted a spirited appeal for
bolder action in the Far East:

Mr. President, word was brought to me yesterday evening
that persons in our country's government are hoping to
betray the cause of the heroic Chinese people and strike a
deadly blow at all your plans for a world-wide democratic
victory. I was told that the Japanese Embassy staff is openly
boasting of a great triumph for the "New Order." Oil --
rivers of oil -- will soon be flowing to the Japanese war
machines. A humiliated democracy in the Far East, China,
Holland, Great Britain will soon be facing a Fascist coalition
emboldened and strengthened by diplomatic victory. -- So
the Japanese are saying.

Mr. President, I am aware that many honest individuals
argue that a Far East Munich is necessary at the moment.
But I write this letter because millions of human beings
everywhere in the world share with me the profound con-
viction that you will lead a suffering world to victory over
the menace to all our lives and all of our liberties. To sell
China to her enemies for the thirty blood-stained coins of
gold will not only weaken our national policy in Europe as
well as in the Far East, but will dim the bright lustre of
America's world leadership in the great democratic fight
against Fascism.

55. Testimony of General Charles A. Willoughby, August 9, 1951. Institute
of Pacific Relations, Hearings, Part 2, p. 382.


On this day, Mr. President, the whole country looks to
you to save America's power as well as her sacred honor. I
know -- I have, the most perfect confidence -- that should
these stories be true, should there be Americans who seek
to destroy your declared policy in world affairs, that you will
succeed in circumventing these plotters of a new Munich."

Soviet Russia stood to gain vitally from U.S.-Japanese war.
Roosevelt-Konoye in agreement would have left Japanese troops
-- indeed many more troops -- as a potential threat to Siberia,
immobilizing Soviet forces as far as the European war was con-

Although tension was mounting in Tokyo, Japanese officials
did not lose hope that an agreement could be made to avert war.
Ambassador Nomura was instructed to present a modus vivendi
to the Secretary of State, but this was rejected when it became
certain the Chinese and the British would not agree. However,
Mr. Hull went ahead and drafted a modus vivendi of his own
which President Roosevelt regarded as a "fair proposition" but
he was "not very hopeful" of its success.*57

At noon on November 25, Secretaries Stimson and Knox met
at the White House together with General Marshall and Admiral
Stark. The discussion dealt mainly with the Japanese situation
concerning the intercepted message fixing the November 29 dead-
line.*58  The President "brought up the event that we were likely
to be attacked, perhaps (as soon as) next Monday, for the
Japanese are notorious for making an attack without warning."
The main question was "how we should maneuver them into the

56. Undated, White House, MS. Princeton University.

57. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part 14, p. l142. Paul W. Schroeder in his inter-
esting analysis of our relations with Japan for the year 1941, says
until "the middle of July, 1941, the policy of Japan was unmistakably
aggressive in nature." The Americanpositionin this same period was
definitely defensive. After July, 1941, America went on a diplomatic
offensive with constant economic pressure being used as a weapon to
push Japan back, to compel her to withdraw from her conquests. On
the other hand, Japan, after freezing orders, was hesitant, worried, and
in retreat. Her main objective was "somehow to extricate herself from
the desperate position in which she was entangled, to get relief from
the inexorable economic pressure of the embargo, and to avoid what
seemed to be inevitable war." The Axis Alliance and Japanese-Ameri-
can Relations, 1941, (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press,
1958) Chapter VIII.

58. On November 22, 1941, Washington officials intercepted a message
from Tokyo to the Japanese Embassy. It extended Japan's deadline
from November 25 to November 29, but warned that thereafter "things
are automatically going to happen." Pearl Harbor Attack, Part12, p.


position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger
to ourselves. It was a dificult proposition."*59   This took place
before Hull sent his ultimatum on November 26.

The next morning Stimson heard from Hull over the telephone
that Hull had "about made up his mind" not to go through with
his plan for a three months' truce, but, instead, to "kick the whole
thing over" and tell the Japanese that he had no proposition at all.
The decision for a modus vivendi was thus dropped and the Presi-
dent gave his blessing to the shelving of it in his morning interview
with Hull on November 26.

The modus vivendi provided for a truce of three months during
which time the United States and Japan agreed not to "advance
by force or threat of force" in Southeastern and Northeastern Asia
or in the southern and northern Pacific area. The Japanese agreed
to withdraw their troops from Indo-China and to relax their freezing
and export restrictions permitting the resumption of trade in
embargoed articles. The United States modified its restrictions in
the same way. The draft of the proposal declared: "The Govern-
ment of the United States is earnestly desirous to contribute to
the promotion and maintenance of peace in the Pacific area and
to afford every opportunity for the continuances of discussions

59. Italics mine. Henry L Stimson's Diary, November 25, l941, Ibid., Part
II, p. 5433. Richard Current in "How Stimson Meant to 'Maneuver'
the Japanese" says, "The fact that the President and his advisers on
November 25 did not expect the Japanese soon to strike at American
territory was precisely the reason why the question 'how we should
maneuver them into the position of tiring the first shot' was such a
'difficult proposition.' Since the Japanese were not thought likely to
initiate hostilities against the United States itself, the problem was
how to put them in a position of seeming to fire the 'first shot' at this
country." Mississippi Valley Historical Review (June. l953), p. 74. Dr.
Harry Elmer Barnes, in his review of Secretary Stimson points out the
fallacy in Current's argument. "The only weak spot in Professor Cur-
rent's book lies in his treatment of the attitude of Roosevelt and his
entourage in the days immediately preceding Pearl Harbor.... There
is no doubt that the White House and the warmongering strategists in
the Cabinet were panic-stricken for a time over this possibility of
having to make war without any Japanese attack.... But this alarm
passed away with the receipt of the welcome news (decoded Japanese
messages) which revealed, as clearly as daylight, that the Japanese
would attack Pearl Harbor.... By the evening of December 5th, the
Japanese reply to Hull'a ultimatum of November 26th convinced
Roosevelt that war with Japan was about to break out." Facts Forum
News, February, 1956, p. 50. For other interpretations of Stimson's
statement Cf. Charles Beard, President Roosevelt and the Comming of
the War, 1941 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948). Chapter
XVII; Charles C. Tansil, Back Door to War (Chicago: Henry Reg-
nery, 1952), pp. 645-652; George Morgenstern, Pearl Harbor (New
York: Devin-Adair Company, 1947), Chapter XlX. Roosevelt's fear
was not that Japan would attack the United States. but that she might


with the Japanese Government directed toward working out a
broad-gauge program of peace throughout the Pacific area." There
had been "some progress" made in regard to "the general prin-
ciples which constitute the basis of a peaceful settlement covering
the entire Pacific area."*60  This proposal was never submitted to
the Japanese Government.

Had a modus vivendi with Japan been reached, and it could
have been reached with far fewer concessions at the expense of
China than were later to be made to Soviet Russia at Yalta, almost
certainly the war with Japan would thereby have been averted,
in view of the German reverses in Russia in the winter of 1941-
1942; there was also a growing conviction in Japanese military
circles that Germany was in a death struggle in her war with
Russia. In his testimony before the Congressional Committee
investigating the attack on Pearl Harbor, General Marshall said
that if the 90-day truce had been effected, the United States might
never have become involved in the war at all; that a delay by
the Japanese from December, 1941 into January, 1942 might
have resulted in a change of Japanese opinion as to the wisdom of
the attack because of the collapse of the German front before
Moscow in December, 1941.*61

Why did Secretary Hull change his mind about a modus
vivendi? It is difficult to get a precise sequence of events which
led to the final decision. However, factors which must have influ-
enced the decision were the strong protests from the Chinese and
Mr. Churchill's views which were received during the night of
November 25.*62  Another factor which cannot be dismissed was
the pressure exerted by Harry Dexter White. As soon as word of
Secretary Hull's offer of a modus vivendi leaked out, Harry Dexter
White took precipitate action. A letter signed "Henry Morgenthau,
Jr." was dispatched to President Roseevelt on the 24th or 25th
of November. His words told of the dire consequences that would
come in the wake of any agreement with Japan. They nearly
trembled with emotion. "After our long association, I need not
tell you that this is not written in any doubt of your objectives,
but I feel and fear that if the people, our people, and all the
oppressed people of the earth, interpret your move as an appease-

60. Final Draft of Proposed "Modus Vivendi" with Japan, November 25,
1941, Foreign Relations, 1941, IV, pp. 662-664.

61. Pearl Harbor Attack. Part 39, p. 502; Part 2, p. 5177; Part 3, p. 1149.

62. Prime Minister Churchill to President Roosevelt, November 26, 194l.
Pearl Harbor Attack, Part 14, p. 1300. See also Mr. Churchill's views
in The Grand Alliance, pp. 595-597, (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Com-
pany, 1950). For a description of the attitude ofCongresssee Admiral
Stark's testimony in Pearl Harbor Attack, Part 5, pp. 2327 ff. For com-
plaints by Chinese officials see Ibid., Part 14, p. l161; 1167-1170.


ment of repressive forces, as a move that savors strongly of 'selling
out China' for a temporary respite, a terrible blow will have been
struck against those very objectives." The President was reminded
of the "supreme part" he was "to play in world affairs." This
role could be played "with complete effectiveness if only [he]
retain[ed] the people's confidence in [his] courage and steadfast-
ness in the face of aggression, and in the face of the blandishments
of temporary advantages." The letter continued:

It is because of your forthright and unyielding stand, it
is because you are the one statesman whose record has never
been besmirched by even a trace of appeasement that the
United States holds its unique and supreme position in world
affairs today. Not the potential power of our great country,
but your record, Mr. President, has placed the United States
and you, its titular head and spokesman, in a position to
exercise the leading force which will bring ultimate victory
over aggression and Fascism.

Mr. President, I want to explain in language as strong as
I can command, my feeling that the need is for iron firmness.
No settlement with Japan that in any way seems to the
American people, or to the rest of the world, to be a retreat,
no matter how temporary, from our increasingly clear policy
of opposition to aggressors, will be viewed as consistent with
the position of our government or with the leadership that
you have established. Certainly the independence of the
millions of brave people in China who have been carrying on
their fight for four long, hard years against Japanese aggres-
sion is of no lena concern to us and to the world than the
independence of Thailand or French Indo-China. No matter
what explanation is offered the public of a "truce" with
Japan the American people, the Chinese people, and the
oppressed peoples of Europe, as well as those forces in
Britain and Russia who are with us in this fight, will regard
it as a confession of American weakness and vacillation.
How else can the world possibly interpret a relaxation of the
economic pressure which you have so painstakingly built up
in order to force Japan to abandon her policy of aggression
when that relaxation is undertaken not because Japan ac-
tually abandoned it, but only because she promises not to
extend her aggressive acts to other countries? The parallel
with Munich is inescapable.

The continuation and further intensification of our eco-
nomic pressure against Japan seems, in the light of all the
opinions I have sounded out, to be the touchstone of our


pledge to China and the world that the United States will
oppose Japanese aggression in the Pacific.*63

Pressure exerted by Communist sympathizers in the Institute
of Pacific Relations must also be taken into account when analyzing
the reasons for the rejection of a truce with Japan. On November
25, Professor Owen Lattimore of Johns Hopkins University, the
United States' special advisor to Chiang Kai-shek, dispatched an
anxious cable to Presidential Assistant Lauchlin Currie arguing
against any agreement between the United States and Japan on a
modus vivendi:

After discussing with the Generalissimo the Chinese
Ambassador's conference with the Secretary of State, I feel
you should urgently advise the President of the Generalis-
simo's very strong reaction. I have never seen him really
agitated before. Loosening of economic pressure or unfreez-
ing would dangerously increase Japan's military advantage
in China. A relaxation of American pressure while Japan has
its forces in China would dismay the Chinese. Any Modus
Vivendi now arrived at with China would be disastrous to
Chinese belief in America and analogous to the closing of
the Burma Road, which permanently destroyed British pres-
tige. Japan and Chinese defeatists would instantly exploit
the resulting disillusionment and urge oriental solidarity
against occidental treachery. It is doubtful whether either
past assistance or increasing aid could compensate for the
feeling of being deserted at this hour. The Generalissimo
has deep confidence in the President's fidelity to his con-
sistent policy but I must warn you that even the General-
issimo questions his ability to hold the situation together if the
Chinese national trust in America is undermined by reports
of Japan's escaping military defeat by diplomatic victory.*64

Lattimore, by this one act, designed to accomplish the Soviet
objective of promoting war between the United States and Japan
-- did more to promote the Sovietization of Chinathan in any
other act of his career. All Communist schemes for conquest of
China hinged upon destroying the balance of power in the Pacific.

Barring extreme alertness on the partogAmerican officials, the
"mopping-up" operation could be accomplished fairly simply. In
August, 1941, Carter wrote Currie asking if letters to Lattimore
in China could be transmitted so that "they are not read by others
before reaching him." Currie promptly replied on a White House
letterhead that "I will be glad to get the letters you mentioned to

63. White MS, Princeton University.

64. Owen Lattimore to Lauchlin Currie, November 25, l94l, Foreign Rela-
tions, 1941, Vol. IV, p. 652.


Lattimore uncensored." Currie's assistant in the White House
a Michael Greenberg, a British alien, who later bacame an Ameri-
can citizen and supplied information to a spy ring. *64-A

On the same day Harry White sent "an urgent telegram" to
Edward Carter of the Institute of Pacific Relations asking him to
"come to Washington." When he arrived the following morning
White assured him "that everything was all right" and "that every
friend of China could be satisfied."*65   On that day Secretary Hull
changed his mind and decided to "kick the whole thing over"
because Chiang Kai-shek felt that modus vivendi proposal "would
make a terrifically bad impression in China."*66 Hull declared later
that he dropped the modus vivendi proposal largely because "the
Chinese Government violently opposed the idea." He testified:
"It developed that the conclusion with Japan of such an arrange-
ment would have been a major blow to Chinese morale." There
was a "serious risk of collapse of Chinese morale and resistance,
and even of disintegration of China." In light of this fact it
"became perfectly evident that the modus vivendi aspect would
not be feasible." The cable from Owen Lattimore to Lauchlin
Currie, dated November 25, was the only documental evidence
which Cordell Hull presented in defense of his rejection of the
modus vivendi. *67

The question arises here as to whether the Chinese did reject
this proposal. The Chinese Ambassador denied his Government
"was blocking the putting into effect of a temporary arrangement
which might afford a cooling-off spell in the Far Eastern situa-
tion." *68

After reviewing the Far Eastern situation Admiral Stark and
General Marshall recommended that "no ultimatum be delivered

64-A. Washington Times-Herald, April l5, l951, p. 5. See also Elizabeth
Bentley's testimony in Institute of Pacific Relations, Hearings, Part 2,
Exhibit No. 1ll, 112, pp. 433-434. Currie has established residence in

South America after spy disclosures in 1948 placed him in the Silver-

master espionage cell.
65. Testimony of E. C. Carter, July 25, l95l. ibid.. Part l, pp. l53-l54.

66. "The Stimson Diary," November 26, l94l. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part
11, p. 5434.

67. Testimony of Cordell Hull, November 23, 1945. Pearl Harbor Attack,
Part 2, 434-435 and Unnumbered Volume, pp. 36-37.

68. Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Far
Eastern Affairs (Hamilton), December 1, 1941. Foreign Relations.
1941, IV, 702. Chiang Kai-shek did urge the American Government
not to "relax the economic blockade and freezing of Japanese assets"
until the question of Japanese evacuation was settled. The telegram was
sent to T. V. Soong on November 25, but waa not transmitted to the
Department of State until December 2. Foreign Relations, 1941, 1V,


to Japan."*69   Nevertheless, Hull went ahead and dropped the truce
idea. Then he told Secretary of War Stimson: "I have washed my
hands of it and it is now inthe hands of you and Knox -- the
Army and the Navy." Hull must have known that war between
the United States and Japan was inevitable now.

The part that Currie played in influencing the rejection of a
truce with the Japanese can be judged by his precipitate actions.
On November 28, when he lunched with Edward C. Carter, Sec-
retary-General to the Pacific Council of the Institute of Pacific
Relations, he was no longer worried. Hull had made up his mind
to "kick the modus vivendi over," and on November 26 he sub-
mitted to the Japanese Ambassador ten conditions which Japan
found represented so stiff a price for peace that war was now a
foregone conclusion.

"I should think" Carter noted on November 29, "that Currie
probably had a terribly anxious time for the past week. For a
few days it looked as though Hull was in danger of selling China
and America and Britain down the river."*70   But now everything
was all right. What Joseph C. Grew called "an utterly futile war"
with Japan was now directly ahead.

On the afternoon of November 26, 1941, Secretary Hull
abandoned all thought of a truce with Japan and put in final
shape the ten-point ultimatum to Japan. Both he and the President
knew this program would be rejected by Japan. The Japanese
Ambassadors were given an ultimatum reading: "The Government
of Japan will withdraw all military, naval, air and police forces
from China and from Indo-China."*71  Both Ambassadors were
aghast at the "sudden change of attitude." *72

It is very significant that the ultimatum presented by Hull to
the Japanese was based upon an explosive memorandum written
a memorandum embodying his views in May, 1941. This document
of May, 1941, with its lavish bounty to the Japanese business
class, would have made a certain bizarre sense. By November,
the business class no longer had political power, and the United
States was dealing with the military, which was oblivious to the
yen's international value. As the Hull-Nomura negotiations moved
towards a climax, White twice redrafted his May, 1941 document.

69. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part 14, pp. l06l-1062; Part 16. pp. 2222-2223.

70. Institute of Pacific Relations, Hearings, Part l, p. 157.

71. Oral statement handed by Secretary Hull to Ambassador Nomura and
Kurusu, November 26, 1941, Japan: l931-I941, II, 766-70.

72. Far Eastern Military Tribunal, Document No. 3105.

73. Robert Morris, No Wonder We Are Losing (New York: The Book-
mailer, 1958), p. 133.


On November 18, 1941, Secretary Morgenthau sent to Secre-
tary Hull a long memorandum drafted by Mr. White with reference
to the terms for peace that should be presented to Japan.*74  These
terms were so stiff that White knew that Japan could not accept
them. He was anxious for war between Japan and the United
States because such a conflict would relieve Japanese pressure
upon Russia's Far Eastern flank. Russia had over 200,000 men
facing Japan in the Far East. These troops were desperately needed
in the war against Germany.

On November 19, Maxwell Hamilton, Chief of the Far Eastern
Division of the Department of State, revised the White memo-
randum to a slight degree. He found the memorandum "the most
constructive one which I have yet seen."*75  Secretary Hull had both
the White memorandum and the Maxwell revision before him when
he drafted the ultimatum of November 26. It is significant that in
this ultimatum eight of the drastic demands of the White memo-
randum found a place. In other words, Harry Dexter White, a
Soviet agent, helped in an important, even decisive, way to draft
the ultimatum that provoked war between Japan and the United
States. This was a primary Soviet aim in the Far East. *76

Morgenthau was fearful that the American public would not

like the way he had helped to precipitate war between the United
States and Japan, and it was significant that he refused to permit
investigators to look at his diary for December 7, 1941. *77  It is
unlikely that the dairy entries for that date will be read for many

74. Memorandum by Secretary Morgenthau, November 17, 1941, Foreign
Relations, 1941, IV, pp. 606-613. White'e known relation with Currie
and one of the Hiss brothers at this time is altogether improbable that
he would have acted except in collaboration with them, and at their
instigation. He had heard his draft was being tampered with in the
State Department, as indeed it was, and wished to have the tampering

75. Maxwell Hamilton to Secretary Hull, November 19, 1941, Ibid., pp.
622-625. Admiral Stark considered the White memorandum acceptable
to the Navy and Lee Gerow, acting in General Marahall's absence, said
the White plan would attain "one of our present major objectives --
the avoidance of war with Japan." Alexander Deconde, Isolation and
Security (Durham: Duke University Press, 1957), p. 154.

76. The thesis is this: Since 1933 one of the main objectives in Soviet policy
had been to maneuver America into war with Japan. Japan was a
serious threat to Soviet desires in the Far East. If her power were broken,
there would be no difficulty in realizing Soviet objectives in Asia. The
Roosevelt Administration wittingly or unwittingly followed the Soviet
line, and Harry Dexter White, an important and trusted official in the
Administration, drafted a note to Japan that produced the war for
which Roosevelt had long been looking.

77. New Yorker, October 26, 1946, p. 24.


With reference to the Communist drive to involve the United
States and Japan in a war, the followingremarks by Benjamin
Gitlow, a devoted Communist before breaking with the Party, are

As far back as 1927 when I was in Moscow, the attitude
toward the United States in the  event of war was discussed.
Privately, it was the opinion of all the Russian leaders to
whom I spoke that the rivalry between the United States and
Japan must actually break out into war between these two.

The Russians were hopeful that the war would break out
soon, because that would greatly secure the safety of Russian
Siberian borders and would so weaken Japan that Russia
would no longer have to fear an attack from her in the East.
Stalin's hopes, through the activities of the Anerican Com-
munist Party, to create a public opinion in tbe United States
that would favor a war, presumably in defense of democracy
against the encroachment of Fascism, but actually
Japan. Stalin is perfectly willing to let Americans die in
defense of the Soviet Union even if they are not members
of the Commumist Party...." *78

Neither Roosevelt nor Hull believed that the Japanese would
accept the termsembodied in the American note of November 26.
Why, then, did they submit it? Could it be that they meant to
provoke Japan to attack the United States so that the latter migbt
get into war with Germanyby the "back door?" This is the thesis
followed by some of our best historians today. *79

Vice Admiral Frank E. Beatty, who was an aide to Frank
Knox and very close to the inner circle in the White House,

Prior to December 7, it was evident even to me... that
we were pushingJapan into a corner. I believed that it was
the desireof Presdient Roosevelt, and Prime Minister
Churchillthat we get into the war, as they felt the Allies

78. Benjamin Gitlow, I Confess (New York: E P. Dutton, lnc., 1940),
pp. 485-486.

79. Among them are Tansill, Morgenstern, Beard, Grenfell,Sanborn, and
Barnes. Harold Ickes, Secretary of Interior, wrote in his diary in Oc-
tober, 1941: "For a long time I have believed that our best entrance
into the war would be by way of Japan... Japan has no friends in
this countrv, but China has. And of course if we go to war against
Japan, it will inevitably lead us into war against Germany." The Secret
Diary of HaroldL. Ickes (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954),III,
p. 630. For an excellent analysis of Roosevelt's Foreign Policy see
Perpetual War for Pepetual Peace, Edited by Harry Elmer Barnes
(Caldwell, Idabo: Caxton Printers, 1953).


could not win without us and ail our efforts to cause the
Germans to declare war on us failed: the conditions we
imposed upon Japan -- to get out of China, for example --
were so severe that we knew that nation could not accept
them. We were forcing her so severely that we could have
known that she would react toward the United States. All
her preparations in a military way -- and we knew their
over-all import -- pointed that way. *80

Secretary Hull certainly made it clear that unless Japan ac-
cepted his ten-point ultimatum economy pressure upon her would
continue. Japan was faced with an alternative of making a public
surrender of all she had for years been building in the Far East.
At this time, Japan was deeply committed in China. Her expendi-
tures for carrying out the war in China had been very high. The
bulk of her national wealth was tied up in the China effort. As
Captain J. C. Wylle has noted:

If they had chosen to get out of China, I do not see how
they could have avoided an internal revolution, No power
clique such as the one that ruled Japan will ever abdicate
(and that would have been the result of getting out of
China); and even it they had done so, their successor would
have come to power in opposition to any such course.  *81

If Japan had withdrawn her troops from China as Hull's note
demanded, Japan would have lost her position as a stabilizing
power against Russia. *82   The Red tide had begun to flow rapidly
over the vast plains of Manchuria. Japan was the only power that
was able to build bastions of defense to stop it. But the Department
of State refused to regard Japan as a bulwark against Soviet
expansion in North China. As a matter of tact, not one
protost was sent by the Department of State against the Soviet
Union despite her absorption of Sinkiang and Outer Mongolia,
while at the same time, Japan was censured for stationing troops
in China. *83

The day after delivering his note to the Japanese Ambassadors,
Hull remarked to Stimson that he had "broken the whole matter
off" and that it was now "in the hands... of the Army and the

80. Vice Admiral Frank E. Beatty, "Another Version of What Started the
War with Japan," U. S. News and World Report, May 28, 1954, p. 48.
81. Captain J. C. Wylie, Jr., "Reflections on the War in the Pacific," United
States Naval Institute Proceedings, 78 (April, 1952), 352.
82. "The Explanation of the Foreign Minister at Imperial Conference,"
December 1, 1941, Far Eastern Military Tribunal, Record p. 26092.
83. Ibid., p. 26101. According to Alexander Barmine, who was in charge
of the supply of Soviet arms, by 1935, Sinkiang had become "a Soviet
colony in all but name." One Who Survived (NewYork: G. P.Put-
nam's Sons, 1945), pp. 231-232.


Navy."*84  The talking was over and the shooting would begin. On
the 25th of November, Stimson had stated the problem as one
of "how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the
first shot."*85  Secretary Hull had solved the problem the very next
day. This was the conclusion of the Army Pearl Harbor Board
when it reported that the Hull note "touched the button that
started the war." *86

When the American note arrived in Tokyo on November 27,
high Japanese officials were "dumbfounded' at its severity and
agreed that it indicated America's determination to go to war with
Japan. In the words of Foreign Minister Togo Shigenori, one of
the most moderate members of the Government: "I was utterly
disheartened, and felt like one groping in darkness. The uncom-
promising tone was no more than I had looked for; but I was greatly
astonished at the extreme nature of the contents."*87 It was obvious
that the next step was war.

The war against Japan upset the whole structure of the inter-
national balance of power in Asia. The United Statea destroyed
the one power that was able to check the flow of that Red tide
in the Far Eaat. When Japanese statesmen watched with
apprehension the movement of this Red tide accross North China
they moved their armies into Manchus and Inner Mongolia to
serve as dydes to restrain this menacing Soviet advance. Secretaries
Stimson and Hull refused to face the plain realities of the Far
Eastern situation and they entered upon a policy of the destruction
of the Japanese Empire. With the fall of Japan the last barrier to
Russian domination of the Far East was removed. Deprived of
her influence in China, and with her cities and industries de-
stroyed, Japan, at the end of the war, was back where she starred
at dawn of her modern era.

The present Soviet military might, which threatens our national
security, is the direct product of billions of lend-lease aid, coddling

84. Pearl Harbor Attack, Part 11, pp. 5434-5435.

85. As Stimson explained: "In spite of the risk involved... in letting the
Japanese fire the first shot, we realized that in order to have the full
support of the American people, it was desirable to make sure that the
Japanese be the ones to do this so that there should remain no doubt in
anyone's mind as to who were the aggressors." Stimson's Testimony
quoted in Basil Rauch, Roosevelt from Munich to Pearl Harbor (New
York: Creative Age, 1950), p. 473.

86. Pearl Harbor Attack. Part 39, p. 137. Churchill has since written that the
Hull ultimatum "not only met our wishes and those of the associated
governments, but indeed went beyond anything we had ventured to
ask." Churchill, TheGrand Alliance (New York: Houghton Mifflin
Co., 1950), p. 597.

87. Togo Shigenori, The Cause of Japan (New York: Simon and Schuster,
1956), p. 176.


of Communists in high places in the American Government and
failure to understand the basic drives of world Communism. The
present sawdust Caesar, Khrushchev, can insult at will the Presi-
dent of the United States and can hurl continual threats to "bury"
all Americans. Never before in our history was Presidential
leadership so devoid of vision and never before had the mistakes
of our Chief Executive been so fraught with peril to our nation.

                           THE   END


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