Japan: Rising Sun Notes

for The U.S. War Against Asia
by William P. Meyers

Site Search

Also sponsored by Peace Pins

Popular pages:

U.S. War Against Asia
Barack Obama
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Natural Liberation


Page 6 of 20

Notes from The Rising Sun, The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945 by John Toland

Book Club Edition, Random House, New York, copyright 1970

Hull indicated he needed changes in the Understanding to even begin serious negotiations. [90-91] Nomura’s report to Tokyo was overly optimistic and did not include Hull’s 4 principles. The leadership, including military, thought the Draft Understanding was an American proposal, and wanted to accept it in principle. Matsuoka, however, did not like that regular channels had been circumvented, and was against the understanding as endangering his recent progress with Hitler and Stalin. [91-93] He reminded them that the U.S. had broken the Ishii-Lansing agreement [text of] after World War I, and so could not be trusted [93]

Nomura, was instructed by Matsuoka to offer the U.S. a neutrality treaty in case Japan went to war with Britain [WPM: presumably over Singapore.] Hull rejected the idea. [94-95]

But the Emperor, Konoye, Tojo and Admiral Koshiro Oikawa put pressure on Matsuoka, who drafted a reply accepting the conditions of the Draft Understanding. Nomura delivered it to Hull on May 12, who did not like it, but who continued to talk to Nomura until June 21, when he rejected the offer, demanding that Japan abandon the Tripartite Pact and withdraw troops from China, including in the north. [95-98]

By the time in question, in 1941, the U.S. had broken Japan’s diplomatic code. But while they could “translate” Japanese cables, their command of Japanese was poor, so they often misinterpreted them. [95-96]

Dr. Stanley Hornbeck had been brought up in China and hated Japan. He believed the Japanese should be hit with economic sanctions and that war with Japan was inevitable. Joseph W. Ballantine was Hull’s leading Japan expert, but Hornbeck consistently overrode him. [96]

Matsuoka believe Hull had personally insulted him in his June 21 statement. [98]

Hitler invaded Russia on June 22, 1941. [98]

Marquis Koichi Kido, the Lord Privy Seal, was a liberal who had opposed the invasions of Manchuria and Japan, as well as the Tripartite Pact. He was the closest of the Emperor’s advisors. [99-100]

Matsuoka lobbied for an attack on Russia in Siberia. Japanese military leaders rejected the idea of pushing both north and south at the same time. [100-101]

On June 30 Hitler through Ribbentrop asked Japan to attack Russia, and Matsuoka again pushed for it. Instead the military recommended a move to the south on July 2, 1941, but the argument continued in the presence of the Emperor, who maintained his traditional silence. A minority argued to go North, as the U.S. would not enter the war on Russia’s side. Going south was cast as not necessarily war so much as applying diplomatic pressure. The decision was to go south, which became Japanese national policy. [102-105]

In a Japanese government liaison conference on July 12, Matsuoka “called Roosevelt “a real demagogue” and accused him of trying to lead America into war” and said he thought there was no hope for peace, but Japan must continue to negotiate. War Minister Tojo and Navy Minister Oikawa nevertheless wanted to come to an agreement with the Americans, believing “they weren’t in any position to instigate a war in the Pacific.” A message was sent to Hull rejecting his proposal of June 21 (the Oral Statement), but Matsuoka, without telling the others, delayed sending a Japanese counterproposal. To get rid of Matsuoka, who was considered erratic, the entire Cabinet resigned on July 16, 1941.  The new foreign minister was Teijiro Toyoda, “an admiral who got along well with Americans.” [106-107]

Continue page 7

III Blog list of articles