III Publishing

Notes on The Memoirs of Cordell Hull
by William P. Meyers

Site Search

Popular pages:

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

Page 22
Hulls' Japan Dilemma, Italy, Curacao, and Latin America

In late 1939 Ambassador Grew was arguing that the U.S. should cooperate with the civilian government of Japan, which was having difficulty exerting control over the Japanese military, particularly in China. [726-727] Cordell Hull, however, believed the government of Japan was just as interested in creating a greater Japanese empire as the army was. Hull also complained about the frequent turnovers of the Japanese government, which did not have the deep stability of the Roosevelt regime. [728]

General Abe's government fell on January 14, 1940, to be replaced by one led by Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai. [728]

U.S. Ambassador to France Bullitt had a number of suggestions to keep Italy from joining Germany in the war, but Hull and Roosevelt rejected them. The idea of sending the U.S. Atlantic fleet into the Mediterranean was nixed (at least in retrospective) by the belief that tying down the U.S. fleet in Europe would "prove an irresistible temptation to Japan to act in the Orient." In May the German victories on the Western front caused Mussolini to decide to enter the war. [780-781] Roosevelt refused to threaten Italy with war or substantial retaliation. Italy declared war on June 10. [784]

When the commercial treaty expired on January 26, 1940, the tariffs on imported Japanese goods were held steady. But on December 20, 1939 the U.S. government had "applied a moral embargo to the export of plans, plants, manufacturing rights, or technical information required to produce high-quality aviation gasoline." Hull told the Japanese ambassador the embargo had been imposed because of "Japanese bombing of civilian populations in China." [729]

German influence in Latin America increased after the defeat of France. Many businessmen believed Germany would control the entire economy of Europe, and so wanted to switch their business from the United States to Germany. Nazis hoped to install pro-German governments in the Americas.

"Immediately upon the [German] invasion of Holland, British and French troops occupied the Dutch islands of Curacao and Aruba respectively to protect the valuable oil refineries there." Hull was concerned that this would set a precedent for the Japanese to protect the Dutch East Indies. [WPM: the Dutch, or the Netherlands, ran a brutal worldwide empire, though on a smaller scale than the British and French] Hull advised British Ambassador Lothian that the British should have, and still should, confer with the Latin American nations and get their cooperation by pledging not to permanently occupy Curacao. The British soon issued a statement they intended to return the subjugated island of Curacao to the Dutch at their earliest convenience. [814-816]

"we had formally made clear to all the belligerents that we would not acquiesce in any attempt to transfer territory in the Western Hemisphere from one European nation to another." [816]

On June 17, 1940, the Petain Government of France agreed to an armistice with Germany. [818]

Cordell Hull issued statements to the effect that the Monroe Doctrine did not in any way resemble the Nazi or Japanese doctrines asserting spheres of influence or economic cooperation. [817-818]

Next Page
Hull notes home

III Blog list of articles