The Postmaster General (Walker) to the Secretary of State


1. Revelation to the Press (May 6) of the Hitler–Matsuoka interview is intended as a gesture of good will to confirm present conversations.

2. On May 3 the “Super-Cabinet” at Tokyo discussed and approved the proposed “understanding”.

To avoid resigning, Matsuoka agreed but asked to be permitted to handle present procedure. This concession was made, temporarily, but the Army and Navy authorities insisted that he act promptly. (Having agreed, he will remain as Foreign Minister—but hardly for long.)

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3. Matsuoka, thereupon, cabled an “oral statement” to be transmitted to Mr. Hull. This is intended for home consumption face-saving and as a little bit of poker-playing.35

The Japanese here ridiculed this cable and did not wish to present it. I have advised them to present it, while indicating to Mr. Hull its true character.

4. Nomura’s recent suggestion re: oil embargoes was made under instructions but not seriously intended. Similarly, Nomura will now touch upon the possibility of a Neutrality Pact with the United States. He desires to be told that such a Pact is at present out of the question. This will stop Matsuoka.

5. The Emperor of Japan has been officially informed of the “understanding”.

6. The Japanese are most grateful for Mr. Hull’s recent replies to the press concerning Japanese affairs.

  1. See memorandum by the Secretary of State, May 7, 1941, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, pp. 411, 412.