740.0011 P. W./10–1641

President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State 20

Proposed Message From the President to the Emperor of Japan

Only once and in person and on an emergency situation have I addressed Your Imperial Highness.21 I feel I should again address Your Royal Highness because of a deeper and more far-reaching emergency in the process of formation. As Your Imperial Majesty knows, conversations have been in progress between representatives of [Page 514] our two governments for many months for the purpose of keeping armed conflict from any extension in the Pacific area. That has been our great purpose as I think it has been the real purpose of Your Imperial Majesty also.

I personally would have been happy even to travel thousands of miles to meet with your Prime Minister, if one or two basic accords could have been realized so that the success of such a conference would have been assured. I had hoped these accords could have been agreed upon with us by your Government. The first related to the future integrity of China and the second related to the assurance that neither Japan nor the United States would wage war to obtain control of any further territory in or adjacent to the Pacific area.

If reports are true that the Japanese Government is considering armed attacks against Russia or against France or Great Britain or the Dutch or independent territory in the South, the obvious result would, of necessity, be an extension of the Atlantic and European and Near East theatres of war to the whole of the Pacific area. Such an extension would necessarily involve American interests.

The United States opposes any conquest. It would like to see peace between Japan and China. It would like to see freedom of the seas and trade on a fair basis. If Japan could join with us to keep war out of the Pacific we would be only too happy to resume normal commercial relations, with the sole exception of certain articles which we must keep at home for our own defense and that of all of the Americas against possible aggression from the direction of Europe.

If on the other hand Japan were to start new wars north or south of her, the United States, in accordance with her policy of peace, would be very much concerned and would try to prevent any extension of such condition of war.

  1. Copy of a draft presumably sent by the White House to the Department on October 16, as a result of which two draft telegrams prepared by Mr. Hamilton on the same date were discarded. Original draft from the White House probably returned by the Department on October 16 with a redraft, printed infra.
  2. See President Roosevelt’s memorandum of December 13, 1937, read that date by the Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 523.