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

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Page 26
Japan and America Prepare for War, 1941

As the conditions of peace with Japan Cordell Hull included "nondisturbance of the status quo in the Pacific." This meant that American, French, British and Dutch colonies were inviolable, but that Japan was to exit China, but could keep Korea. Regarding "equality of commercial opportunity," Ambassador Nomura "remarked that the Untied States had special relations with Latin America which Japan would not be permitted to have with countries in the Orient." [995]

Hull to Nomura on Latin America: "If I had not cultivated closer relations in lieu of the embittered relations that existed prior to 1933, there would probably be several Hitler puppet governments in Central and South America now." [995-996]

Hull thought Nomura's English was poor and so introduced Joseph W. Ballantine into conferences. [996]

President Roosevelt declared China [actually, warlord Chiang Kai-shek] eligible for Lend-Lease assistance on May 6, 1941.

On May 7, 1941 Nomura suggested to Hull that their nations sign a nonaggression pact. Hull "promptly brushed this aside." [997]

Secretary of State Hull already knew the content of Japanese diplomatic telegrams before they were handed to him, as the U.S. "had broken the Japanese code" as part of the Magic cryptography program. "They showed that the Japanese Government was going ahead with its plans of conquest even while talking peace to us." [997-998] [WPM: the U.S. War Department also had plans of conquest in place, notably War Plan Orange]

In May Hull told Nomura that the "cannot give any assurances of further patience in the event of more delay." The U.S. was determined to control the seas. "As you know, things are moving fast in the direction of resistance." [998] In response Japan made formal propsals on May 12, which again were not acceptible to Hull, but which was used as a basis for further negotiations. [999-1001]

[WPM: It is important to note that at this point, Hitler appeared to be winning the war in Europe, including in Russia]

On May 20, 1941 Ambassador Nomua introduced two new advisors, Colonel Hideo Iwakuro and Tadao Wikawa. Hulls assistants Hamilton and Ballantine also attended their meetings. Iwakuro and Wikawa had previously been working with the Roman Catholic negotiators. [1003]

The central disagreement continued to be over China. The Japanese military was unwilling to remove all troops from northern China, and the U.S. (and Chiang) were unwilling to accept any Japanese troop presence in China. [1004-1005 and aftewards]

In July Foreign Minister Matsuoka was forced to resign and was replaced by Admiral Teijiro Toyoda.

On July 21 Japanese troops occupied the southern portions of the French colony of Indo-China. [1013] On July 26 President Roosevelt froze Japanese assets in the U.S. [1014. An act of both theft and war]

Japanese Premier Konoye repeatedly offered to meet with Roosevelt face-to-face, but Roosevelt refused, with support from Hull. Hull and Roosevelt knew that the Konoye government might fall, if the meeting did not take place. [1018-1027]

One Japanese request was the U.S. cease strengthening its military presence in its Philippines colony. Another was that Japanese ships be allowed to use the Panama Canal. In general, Japan wanted to renormalize trade relations. Japan accepted Hull's four principles of April 16, but not Hull's interpretations of the four principles in favor of the U.S. [1028-1029]

President Roosevelt had given an order to "shoot on sight" order, allowing the U.S. Navy to attack the German Navy at will, on September 11, 1941. The Japanese were concerned that the U.S. and Germany would go to open warfare, obligating Japan to support Germany, and conveyed that to Hull. [1034]

In addition to reinforcing the Philippines, at the time the U.S. was sending military aid to "China, British Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies." [1036]

"We could have had an agreement with the Konoye Government at any time by signing on the dotted line." [1037]

In November 1941 the U.S. invaded, or "sent an occupying force" to Dutch Guiana, in order to secure supplies of aluminum ore. [1051]

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