Statement by Mr. J. Stowell Wright, Acting Territorial Director in Hawaii of the Federal Housing Administration70

1. On Thursday, May 7, at 2:30 p.m., the undersigned71 as Field Representative of the FHA, paid an official call (the second) on Mr. Teijiro Tamura, Japanese Consulate General, to thank him for his cooperation with the FHA, in that he pointed out to his subjects that loans under Title II of the national housing act were possible for aliens. The subject, as previously reported, is very frank in his discussions. During the course of the conversation, the undersigned suggested that inasmuch as Japan and her motives were so misunderstood, it might be a good idea for Japan to launch a national advertising campaign, explaining her problems, etc. The balance of the interview developed from that one suggestion. Below, I am quoting Mr. Teijiro Tamura almost verbatim:

Subject Speaking: “There was a time when Japan and her people cared what America thought …72 now the temper of the Japanese is so that they don’t care what anyone thinks and they are through explaining. If the time comes to fight, then Japan will fight, the odds be what they may. (Sat straight in chair and slapped desk.) We are going to pursue our course as we see it. Several years ago when I was on duty in Chicago, an American advertising agency with headquarters in N. Y. and offices in Chicago and San Francisco, approached me on an advertising campaign to build good will. I thought it was a good idea and got the Japanese Tea Association to sponsor it. It may have done some good but now it wouldn’t.

“America is very difficult to get along with. It is easier to get along with England. In America it is a democracy and anyone in any house may raise his voice in protest and the politicians listen and act even though trade agreements have been made by American ambassadors. Right now on the East Coast, a handful of manufacturers are shouting that the Japanese imports to the United States of cotton goods is hurting business. The United States Government can tell no lie and everyone believes what they say, yet the United States Department of Commerce figures show that we buy far more in raw cotton from the United States than is shipped back in piece goods. Our piece goods, according to the United States figures are less than one half of one per cent of all the goods sold in the United States. They all cry ‘The Japanese are shipping in too much. They should be curtailed. What will happen?’ The politicians will listen, and even though they know our exports to the United States are low, they will further stifle us just to get votes.

[Page 145]

“America and England say Japan cannot build but a few warships. We will never be satisfied with their orders. Warships are instruments of war, not peace. We have a small, isolated nation. We must protect ourselves. President Roosevelt is a navy man and his interests are there. He says that increases of the Army and Navy in manpower and ships, make for peace. It does not. It makes for war. The people of Japan read in the newspapers about the United States building more ships. To fight against who? No one but Japan. The fleet comes to Hawaii for maneuvers …73 practicing for war … against who … no one else would be the logical enemy but Japan.

“Admiral Yarnell and General Drum74 are gentlemen but their interests are military. Yarnell talks of increasing the defenses of Pearl Harbor … I read in the newspapers about Kolekole Pass … that General Drum believes Oahu needs that to expedite the movement of troops in case of emergency. Both of them have Japan in mind. They talk about possible trouble with aliens. They are talking about my nationals! They are suspicious of us. That is why the temper of the Japanese people is like it is. Everything is aimed at us. No more do we care what America or any other nation thinks of us. We are going to do what necessity compels us to do!

“The United States keeps getting nearer to Japan. The fleet comes all the way here for maneuvers. Then the clipper ship has bases at Midway, Wake and Guam. How much nearer to Japan is America coming, my people ask. All of this is what makes the people of Japan nervous.”

  1. Copy received from the War Department on May 28. The statement was an enclosure to a covering report to the War Department by Lt. Col. G. S. Patton, Jr., Assistant Chief of Staff for Military Intelligence at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, as “indicative of a changing attitude in part of the Japanese.”
  2. Copy not signed.
  3. Omission indicated in the original.
  4. Omissions indicated in the original.
  5. Rear Adm. Harry E. Yarnell, Commandant of Pearl Harbor Naval Station, and Maj. Gen. Hugh A. Drum, Commander of the Hawaiian Department, U. S. Army, respectively.