Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hamilton) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: It is the opinion of Mr. Ballantine, Mr. Hornbeck and myself that the letter of July 4 copy attached69 which the Japanese Ambassador sent you stating “that there is no divergence of views in the Government [Japanese]70 regarding its fundamental policy of adjustment of Japanese-American relations on a fair basis” does not improve the situation in any respect from the point of view of the United States interests and desiderata. The statement in the letter does not mean, in our opinion, that the Japanese Government desires to turn from courses of aggression and intimidation to courses of peace. It simply means that the Japanese Government would be pleased to improve its relations with the United States on a basis which would facilitate Japan’s efforts to improve its position in the Far East by military and other unwarranted means.

I do not believe that, in the light of the outbreak of German-Russian hostilities and of continued German victories in Europe, Japan would in good faith at this time agree to all of the following: (1) to respect fully the sovereignty and independence of China; (2) to refrain from obtaining, by military pressure or use, political, economic, and military advantages in regions to the southward; and (3) to refrain from embarking on military operations against the Soviet Union. We believe that the information we have in regard to reports of possible Japanese military movements against Siberia or possible Japanese pressure movements against French Indochina and Thailand with a view to obtaining military bases in those areas, convincingly supports the opinion expressed above.

M[axwell] M. H[amilton]
  1. Letter quoted in memorandum supra; see also Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, Vol. ii, p. 499.
  2. Brackets appear in the original.