Memorandum Prepared in the Division of Far Eastern Affairs25

With reference to the call which Mr. Kurusu is to make upon you in company with the Japanese Ambassador on November 17, Mr. Kurusu may regard this first call as purely ceremonial and may not wish to initiate any discussion. Should the occasion appear opportune, however, you may wish to offer comments along lines as follows:

We cannot afford to make light of the tremendous seriousness of the present world situation confronting us. I want to repeat and to emphasize what I said to Admiral Nomura on November 10.26 The entire world has been placed in a precarious position as a result of the havoc which has been wrought by the forces of aggression. Our [Page 601] common sense tells us of the extreme need that the world come back to ways of peace. It is the purpose of this Government to do its best in the spirit of fair play to contribute to establishing a basis for peace, stability, and order in the Pacific area. As a means of achieving these objectives it is essential that emphasis be laid upon giving practical effect to a sound philosophy of human welfare. We have often and quite recently made clear publicly what we have in mind in this regard.
We are fully aware that it may require time for Japan to turn to courses of peace. The American people and Government, especially the President and the Secretary of State, have been very patient. We are ready and willing to continue to be patient, to endeavor to work out a broad-gauge peaceful settlement, and to afford every practicable opportunity to Japan to turn to courses of peace.
It is tremendously important that no statesman and no country miscalculate the attitude and the position of the American people and Government. The American people and Government are fully alive to the sinister menace which all peace-loving countries are facing from Hitlerism and courses of aggression. This country has been slow in arousing itself to the dangers of Hitlerism. Today we are fully aware of those dangers and are thoroughly aroused. Our national effort is primarily and in ever-increasing measure being devoted toward defeat of Hitlerism. We are determined to protect and preserve our national security against Hitlerism.
A victorious Hitler would constitute a menace to all other nations, including Japan. Our opposition to courses of aggression and to the program of Hitlerism stands firm. We are entirely convinced that Hitlerism will be defeated.
We hope that our exploratory conversations will achieve favorable results in the way of providing a basis for negotiations. We shall continue to do our best to expedite the conversations just as we understand that the Japanese Government is anxious to do. We hope that the Japanese Government will make it clear that it intends to pursue peaceful courses instead of opposite courses, as such clarification should afford a way for arriving at the results which we seek.

In veiw of the general character of these suggested comments no need is perceived of giving the Ambassador a written record of what you say to him.

  1. Drafted by Max W. Schmidt and submitted on November 15 by the Chief of the Division (Hamilton) to the Secretary of State “for your consideration”.
  2. See Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, pp. 715, 718.