America at war! (1941– ) (Part 1)

Background for treachery –
Year’s planning preceded Jap stab at Pearl Harbor

By H. O. Thompson, United Press staff writer

Here at last is the story, with many previously-unpublished facts, of how war was forced upon us in the Pacific. It has been assembled by a writer who was in Japan when the military clique shaped its plans, and who is now in a position to reveal the inside developments of the so-called “peace negotiations” of last year in Washington.

Washington –
A year ago today, Japanese aircraft carriers were sliding stealthily toward Pearl Harbor for the Dec. 7 attack. This treacherous onslaught had been carefully planned, and it can now be revealed that Japan long intended to fight us if we would not give in to her demands.

For a year, Japan talked peace and made preparations for war. As the showdown neared, her tone became openly ominous.

Japan made it clear in November of last year that she was becoming impatient – that if she were going to fight the United States, she preferred to do it soon.

Japan told this government Dec. 1, 1941, that she felt she must either surrender to the United States or fight us.

Six days later, Japan struck at Pearl Harbor.

Here is the story, written from the inside, about how the war developed. I saw the story unfold in Tokyo and Washington. In 1936, I was transferred from the Washington Bureau of the United Press to become manager of the company’s interests in Japan.

After more than five years in the Orient, I returned to Washington and have been covering the State Department since Sept. 1, 1941. Incidents which could not be assessed at their proper value when they occurred have now been clarified.

The record, now put in proper sequence, shows that Japan determined as far back as January 1941 that she would fight unless we gave her what she wanted.

Price of peace high

And from the start, the shameful strategy of a surprise attack upon Pearl Harbor without a declaration of war was part of her plan.

Japan wanted, as the price of peace, complete political, economic and cultural domination of the entire Western Pacific.

Japan would accept nothing less as an alternative to war.

Japan demanded that the United States abandon China – that we persuade China to come to peace with Japan, on Japan’s terms.

Japan professed a desire for peace with the United States but made not a peaceful move. Instead, she placed her men, ships and materials in position to drive the white man out of the Orient by force if she could not get her way by other means.

Hull refused to yield

The United States refused to abandon China. The United States insisted on the basic American principles of fair treatment and respect for territorial integrity.

Throughout those touch-and-go months, Secretary of State Cordell Hull labored with honor and shining patriotism to avert what the Japanese warlords were forcing upon us.

But on Dec. 1, 1941, his patience thin after the war talk from Japan’s emissaries and after Japan had violated peaceful assertions by massing troops in Indochina, Mr. Hull told the Japanese:

We will not allow ourselves to be kicked out of the Pacific.

BACKGROUND: Go back to September 1940. Japan joined the Axis then. The Japanese Army wanted to immediately attack Singapore and the Dutch East Indies. The Navy held back.

There was angry brawling on the streets and in hotel lobbies between Japanese Army and Navy officers. But by the end of 1940, the Navy was ready to accept the Army view and the war plotting began.

Treacherous plan reported

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, through channels regarded as reliable, heard that Japan intended to strike without warning at Pearl Harbor if the United States would not become a party to Japan’s brazen ideas of a Far Eastern overlordship.

The United States, though skeptical of Japan’s profession of peace, decided to explore every possibility of achieving a settlement consistent with our principles. So, the talks began.

NOMURA ARRIVES: Ambassador Kichisaburō Nomura presented his credentials here on Feb. 14, 1941. But he was handicapped by the unyielding nature of his government’s instructions.

On March 8, Mr. Hull received Nomura and expressed hope that the Ambassador had something constructive to offer. Nomura talked of liberalized commercial relationships between nations and affirmed Japan’s desire for a peaceful settlement of Pacific issues. But he offered no concrete plan.

U.S. principles given

On April 16, Mr. Hull gave Nomura a four-point statement of principles to which Japan’s agreement was desired:

  1. Respect for territorial integrity and the sovereignty of nations.
  2. Support of the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of other countries.
  3. Support of the principle of equality, including equality of commercial opportunity.
  4. Non-disturbance of the status quo in the Pacific, except as it might be altered by peaceful means.

Nomura came back May 12 with a proposal that the United States cease aid to China and negotiate a settlement of the Sino-Japanese war on terms which patently would be unacceptable to the Chiang Kai-shek government.

Foe’s troops stay

In July, the United States learned of an imminent Japanese military movement into southern Indochina. The Japanese said it was a purely precautionary move.

At this point, it appeared the U.S.-Japanese talks would be broken off. But President Roosevelt on July 24 offered the Japanese a chance to demonstrate peaceful intentions by withdrawing troops from Indochina. The troops were not withdrawn. On July 26, the United States took a sharp countermeasure by freezing Japanese assets in the United States.

JAPAN IS WARNED: Japan, by occupying Indochina, had committed an overt act of aggression. She was encircling the Philippines and had placed herself athwart vital lines of communication. The freezing order was the American answer.

Trade between Japan and the United States virtually ceased. Oil movements to Japan, the subject of increasing restrictions starting with the “moral embargo” of December 1939, stopped entirely.

On Aug. 17, President Roosevelt returned from his Atlantic Charter conference with Prime Minister Winston Churchill. They had discussed the Far East. Churchill told Mr. Roosevelt he thought a firm hand with Japan would pay dividends.

Mr. Churchill suggested:

Let’s send them a warning.

Mr. Churchill’s suggestion was adopted. Japan countered with a personal message to Mr. Roosevelt from Premier Fumimaro Konoe, who suggested that he meet the President somewhere on the Pacific.

Mr. Roosevelt, on Sept. 3, expressed a desire to collaborate with Konoe but said a discussion of fundamental questions was a necessary preliminary to such a meeting.

Then comes Tōjō

Japan handed in another document Sept. 6 and the United States sent a communication to Japan Oct. 2. These messages merely underlined the fundamental differences in viewpoint between the two countries.

On Oct. 13, Kanama Wakasugi, Japanese Minister who had made a roundtrip to Japan despite ill health, reported to Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles that there was danger of a coup in Japan which would bring into power the firebrands who favored war on the side of the Axis. He suggested a temporary settlement leaving out the question of China.

Mr. Welles replied:

That would be like producing the play Hamlet without the character of Hamlet.

On Oct. 17, a new cabinet headed by Gen. Hideki Tōjō came into power. It seemed that Wakasugi’s forebodings were being fulfilled.

On Nov. 7, Mr. Hull informed the Cabinet fully of the situation. He reported to the Army and Navy that a crisis was imminent.

The Army and Navy urged Mr. Hull to prolong the conversations while defense preparations were rushed.

But the Japanese were already maneuvering to strike.

ENTER KURUSU: On Nov. 16, 1941, Saburō Kurusu, usually regarded as the villain in Japan’s pre-Pearl Harbor diplomatic game, arrived in Washington.

Kurusu told friends after Pearl Harbor that he was used as the “goat” by Japan’s militarists. He insisted that he had no advance knowledge of the exact plans which the militarists had developed, that he did not know of the time and place chosen for the attack.

Mr. Hull received Kurusu and Nomura on the day after Kurusu’s arrival. Mr. Hull expressed hope that Japan and the United States could pursue policies of wise and farsighted statesmanship and contribute to a world move toward peace.

Views exchanged

Kurusu said there was a feeling in Japan, since the freezing order, that if Japan had to fight us, she should do it while she still could.

Mr. Hull said Japanese extremists seemed to be looking for trouble and that the Japanese government ought to “take the situation by the collar.”

The three men met again at Mr. Hull’s hotel apartment Nov. 19. On the 20th, the Japanese brought what must have been their “take it or leave it” offer:

  1. Japan and the United States would agree not to advance militarily in any regions of the South Pacific except as Japanese troops might be deployed in French Indochina.

  2. Japan would withdraw troops from Indochina upon establishment of peace between China and Japan.

  3. The United States and Japan would cooperate in obtaining raw materials from the East Indies.

  4. Commercial relations would be restored to their status prior to the freezing orders.

  5. The United States would cease to aid China.

Mr. Hull spoke of the Tripartite Pact and said the American people believed Japan to be chained to Adolf Hitler.

Kurusu replied:

We cannot abrogate the treaty.

They meet again

On Nov. 22, at another meeting at Hull’s apartment, Kurusu said immediate relief on trade and oil was necessary.

Regarding Japan’s determination to keep troops in Indochina, Mr. Hull said:

It is a pity that Japan cannot do just a few small, peaceful things to help tide over the situation.

On the evening of Nov. 25, Mr. Hull considered the idea of offering the Japanese a 90-day truce or “breathing spell” during which fresh efforts toward peace could be made.

Japs ask oil

On the following day, the historic Nov. 26, Mr. Hull changed that plan after consultation with President Roosevelt and handed the Japanese a document outlining a broad but simple settlement of Pacific problems which could be “worked out during our further conversations.”

Kurusu’s nervous mannerisms were more apparent than usual as he glanced through the document. He muttered as he read. Finally, he blurted out:

If this is the attitude of the American government, I don’t see how an agreement is possible. Tokyo will throw up its hands at this.

The Japanese again asked about a temporary agreement giving Japan oil and raw materials.

Mr. Hull replied:

I might almost be lynched if I permitted oil to go freely to Japan. American public opinion is very strong on that point.

ARMY, NAVY WARNED: On Nov. 28, Mr. Hull told the Army and Navy that diplomacy had done all it could. He warned again that it looked as though the Japanese would strike. As it proved later, the forces that struck Pearl Harbor were already in motion then.

On Dec. 1, Mr. Hull talked to the Japanese about threatening new troop movements in Indochina.

He said:

Japan is digging herself in there. She is creating an increasing menace to America and her friends.

We can’t continue to take chances on the situation; we will not allow ourselves to be kicked out of the Pacific.

Enemy lies again

Nomura replied that wars never settle anything and that a war in the Pacific would be a tragedy for both the United States and Japan.

At President Roosevelt’s request, an inquiry was sent to Japan regarding the Japanese reinforcements to Indochina. An attack upon Thailand appeared likely at any hour.

By now, Japanese carriers were advancing to attack stations.

So, the Japanese Ambassadors brought in a lie-crowded note in which Tokyo blandly asserted the Indochina troop movements were defensive in character.

On Dec. 6, President Roosevelt sent to Emperor Hirohito an urgent appeal for maintenance of peace. The connivings of the warlords in Tokyo prevented the message from reaching the Emperor in time to have any effect.

On Sunday, Dec. 7, Kurusu and Nomura asked for an appointment with Mr. Hull at 1 p.m. They then asked a 45-minute postponement. The three actually met at 2:20 p.m.

Envoys denounced

Japanese bombs were falling on Pearl Harbor. The attack had started an hour before, Kurusu and Nomura handed Mr. Hull a document declaring Japan’s belief that “it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations.”

Mr. Hull then spoke the words which have become a part of American history:

In all my fifty years of public service, I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions – infamous falsehoods and distortions on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any government on this planet was capable of uttering them.

Eyewitness reports –
Nazi planes have free run of sky over Tunisian front

By Ned Russell, United Press staff writer


By Florence Fisher Parry

Navy officers give swords for scrap metal drive

Washington (UP) –
Naval officers are beating their swords into bullets.

At the suggestion of Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, officers are turning in their swords to the scrap metal drive. First officer to respond was Vice Adm. H. V. Butler (ret.), administrative officer of the Navy Department.

The sword has been discarded under revised regulations as part of the uniform for formal occasions.

Marine, 20, survives two weeks in jungles

Boston club laxity shown

Place wired without permit, worker testifies

Boston, Massachusetts (UP) –
Nearly 200 more witnesses will be called at the Cocoanut Grove inquest to substantiate fresh evidence of official laxity in connection with the holocaust that claimed 492 lives, it was disclosed today.

Latest evidence of irregularities came in the testimony of a Boston Navy Yard worker who said city inspectors knew wiring was being installed at the club without a permit, license or professional skill.

Another revelation was that Attorney General Robert T. Bushnell had viewed a bundle of checks for meals served free to persons of political importance.

Benjamin Elfman, a Boston Navy Yard worker, indicated the electrical work was done by a yard machinist – Raymond Baer – who once ran a burlesque theater switchboard for Barnett Welansky, the club’s owner.

Mr. Elfman said Mr. Baer called him in to put in wiring, but he refused to do it without a permit. Mr. Baer, he said, didn’t object to doing the work without a permit.

Investigators were also seeking to learn where materials for new work at the club were obtained. Contracts and specifications were seized for examination. As far as could be determined, no permission for the work was given by the War Labor Board which, under wartime regulations, permits only $200 worth of new construction or remodeling on such projects.

OPA warns motorists!
Going to nightclub? Better walk if you have B or C Ration

Boards have right to revoke supplemental gasoline as well as grant it – so, keep your driving to actual necessities

McNutt likely to continue in manpower job

Democratic committeeman thinks President won’t shift Cabinet

Search for Wagner continued by Army

40-hour week curb proposed

Stassen wants to suspended for duration

Convicted in Flynn case

Hollywood, California –
Morris Black, youthful studio worker accused along with film star Errol Flynn of attacking Betty Hansen, 17-year-old movie-struck waitress, was today found guilty of a misdemeanor and given a year’s suspended sentence.

Envoy’s son killed

Washington –
Word was received today of the death in a flight over Scotland of Pilot Officer Ladislas Ciechanowski, 19, son of the Polish Ambassador to the United States, Jan Ciechanowski.

DSC-awarded officer killed in invasion

Comrades once again, U.S. and French troops join hands and exchange good wishes as the Yanks bid the Frenchmen farewell. The French entrained at Oran for frontline service in Tunisia.

317 more names added to ships’ casualty lists

Axis thwarted in North Africa by U.S. consul

Invasion groundwork laid in area year before Pearl Harbor
By John A. Parris, United Press staff writer

French river pilot leads U.S. destroyer to Port Lyautey

By Walter Cronkite, United Press staff writer

Marines mow down in Japs surprised during breakfast

By Charles P. Arnot, United Press staff writer

Huge Jap losses in air may force shift in strategy

2,000 enemy planes believed downed in Solomons, Guinea sectors since early August, making blow against India less likely
By Frank Tremaine, United Press staff writer

Justice Department angered at ‘minor’ interference

By Fred W. Perkins, Press Washington correspondent