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

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Page 24
Japan and the U.S. Maneuver, 1940

In an outstanding display of hypocrisy, Cordell Hull accuses Japan of taking advantage of turmoil in Europe, as if the United States never did. [p. 888]

Japan expressed concern about the Netherlands (Dutch) East Indies, given its "economic interdependence," and the prospect of a German invasion of The Netherlands. Hull then worked with the French and British imperialists to remind Japanese Foreign Minister Arita that the Four-Power Treaty of 1921 "promised to respect the rights of The Netherlands in relation to their Pacific possessions." [WPM: Hull does not inform us how this squared with his alleged hero Woodrow Wilson's ideal of self-determination of nations.] On April 17, 1940 Hull made a public statement of the U.S. "interests" in protecting the colonial status quo in the East Indies. [888-889]

Hull again repeats, to Ambassador Horinouchi, that the Japanese Monroe Doctrine has no resemblance to the American Monroe Doctrine. [WPM: perhaps he forgot that Monroe was President before the U.S. grabbed half of Mexico. Or the Philippines, or Puerto Rico.] On May 10, 1940 Germany invaded Holland, generating new rounds of rhetoric by the concerned Powers. [890-891]

Ambassador Horinouchi questioned Hull about the French and British seizures of islands in the West Indies, and Hull explained why white men's empires interfering was a good thing while Japanese interference was a bad thing. Horinouchi said the Japanese were okay with the West Indies situation, but would not be with a French or British occupation of the East Indies. [891-892]

Given the grave situation in Europe and the need for U.S. assistance to the French and British empires, "Arita and Grew began elaborate but quiet discussions to review all points of conflict between our two countries." [893]

Hull recognized that the U.S. was "factually" at war with Japan in China, each side supporting a different puppet regime. [893-894] [WPM: of course this is implied; Hull only states Japan is at war with China.]

Arita asked the U.S. "to cease aiding Chiang Kai-shek and cooperate with Japan in the "reconstruction of China"." [894]

This was unacceptable because it would have given China to Japan, discouraged the white nation's imperial ambitions in Asia, and make Japan "the mistress of the Orient." [894]

Hull names the three ranking Far East experts he consulted with at the time: Stanley K. Hornbeck, Maxwell M. Hamilton, and Joseph W. Ballantine. [895]

Hull asked Arita to guarantee, with the U.S., the colonial holdings of the European empires. Arita declined. [895]

Hull pointed out the in 1937 15.8% of the exports of the Netherlands East Indies went to the U.S., while just 11.6% went to Japan.[895]

The Petain government of France on June 20, 1940 agreed to stop shipments to China (Chiang Kai-shek) through French Indochina [Vietnam]. France also recognized Japanese "special rights" in China. On June 19 the British and French in Tientsin turned over Chiang Kai-shek's silver held in their banks to the Japanese and started using Japanese "occupation currency." [896]

British Ambassador Lothian told Hull on June 27, 1940 that Britain was not in a position to reject Japanese demands unless the U.S. sent warships to Singapore and/or did a full embargo of Japan. Otherwise they wanted a comprehensive Far East settlement that would keep Japan out of the war. After a discussion with President Roosevelt, Hull rejected all the British proposals [WPM: a further indication that the U.S. planned to go to war with Japan at a later date]. Hull claimed "The United States possesses nothing tangible in the Far East which it might offer" to Japan. [WPM: Apparently the Philippines colony was either intangible or not in the Far East.] [896-898]

On July 14, 1940, against Hull's advice, the British agreed to stop sending supplies to Chiang Kai-shek over the Burma Road or through Hong Kong. [900] On July 2, President Roosevelt had signed a bill that gave him the power to prohibit or curtail military exports and even raw materials as desired. He gave the Secretary of State, Hull, the duty of issuing or denying export licenses. [901]

On July 22, 1940 Japanese Premier Mitsumasa Yonai resigned and was replaced by Prince Fumimaro Konoye, with Yosuke Matsuoka as Foreign Minister, who Hull describes as "crooked as a basket of fishhooks." [902]

On August 30 Vichy France and Japan signed an agreement allowing Japanese troops to use French bases in Indochina. Hull objected. [903-904] [WPM: recall the very first U.S. contact with Japan had demanded, and received, similar rights to set up naval bases in Japan.]

On September 12 Ambassador Grew cabled Hull urging that U.S. policy be changed from "restraint" to one of "firmness." [904] Hull notes that America's "vast program of rearmament" and "maintenance of the fleet at Pearl Harbor" were already part of a "policy of firmness." [905]

Hull stated he hoped to fight Japan, with the British, only after Germany had been defeated. [906]

On September 25, 1940, a $25 million U.S. loan to Chiang Kai-shek was announced. On September 26 the U.S. limited exporting iron and steel scrap to Japan. [907]

The U.S. refused a French request to purchase aircraft to defend Indochina from the Japanese, as it was believed the war materials would simply fall into Japanese control. [907] Hull asked the Petain regime to ask the Germans to restrain the Japanese in Indochina, as "The Germans could not refuse without thereby showing that they had abandoned France to Japan, nor could they comply without irritating Japan." [908]

On September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy and Japan signed the tripartite alliance.

On October 5, 1940 Hull urged the President to speed up military preparations and assume emergency powers. Roosevelt was receptive. [910]

On November 30, 1940 another $50 million in credit was given to Chiang Kai-shek. [914-915]

End of Volume I

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