740.0011 PW/7–541

Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck) to the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hamilton)

On the basis of excellent evidence received over the week-end, it is my opinion:

That Germany has expressly asked the Japanese to move in force against the Soviet Union in the Far East.
That the Japanese are side-stepping that request.
That for the present the Japanese will, so far as action is concerned, proceed with operations calculated to strengthen their military position in French Indochina (of which intention we have already had knowledge).
That they will hope to have their way in Indochina without actual use of (that is, merely with threat of) force.

The effects so far as Axis interests are concerned are intended to be to freeze Russian military forces and equipment in the Far East—keeping them from movement toward and use in European Russia—and to freeze British and American forces (up to some amounts) in the Pacific, and to keep Great Britain and Holland and the United States worried over Far Eastern possibilities. Nothing in this setup should prevent the Japanese, while strengthening their position in Indochina, from simultaneously intensifying their air operations against the Chinese.