The Chief of Naval Operations (Stark) to the Secretary of State
Subject: Comment on “Outline of Proposed Basis for Agreement between the United States and Japan,[”] of November 19, 1941.
I respectfully submit the following. Reference is made to similarly numbered sections and paragraphs. Where paragraphs are not mentioned, concurrence is implied.
Par. A–1. Further study of this paragraph comfirms the feeling I expressed to you this morning that it is unacceptable. It commits the United States to naval restrictions without imposing compensating naval restrictions on Japan. I think under no circumstances the word “reduce” should be employed, since our naval forces in the Pacific are inadequate and should not have to undergo additional loss of strength. I again note that this paragraph makes no reference to land or air components; I assume this was intentional and of course I wish we could get away with it but I doubt it. If some such paragraph is necessary I suggest a wording approximately as follows:
“Not to increase United States combatant naval (and military) forces in the Philippines”.
I included the (and military) in case they bring the point up and we have to acquiesce. I strongly hope that present plans for Army increases [Page 632] in planes, which will be largely carried out by 1 March, could be excluded from any limitation agreement but this too might have to be accepted.
Par. A–5. As I mentioned this morning I just don’t like the idea of our buying Hongkong from the British and giving it to China. If this is to be done I think the British at least ought to make this contribution to a cause more important for the British Commonwealth than for the United States. Portugal should likewise give up Macao.
Par. A–8 & 9. This is somewhat out of Navy province but I assume that in view of the present unfavorable financial status it has been considered these two paragraphs should be inserted. I can realize their great importance and the desire to have them form an integral part of any agreement that might be reached.
Par. B–l. Change the period to a comma and add the words “including Hainan, Macao and the islands of the China Sea to the southward of Formosa.” This would include among others the highly important Spratley Islands.
Par. B–2. Suggest the following addition to this paragraph:
“To refrain from establishing or supporting any government or regime in Indo-China, other than the regularly established French Government.”
This is to make clear our objection to any puppet regime, etc.
Par. B–5. I doubt the usefulness of this paragraph believing that it would prove unacceptable to both Russia and Japan. This morning I expressed it—“If I were a Russian I would not trust them.” If good faith could be assured there might be something to it. I believe it might better be left out.
Par. B–6. I confirm my comment this morning. I do not believe Japan could accept it and certainly not with regard to their naval vessels; it would be a humiliating procedure from their standpoint; I would not mention it. There might be some chance of utilization of some of their present shipping if world conditions prevent their full utilization of it. However, this merchant shipping is an integral part of Japan’s economic system and was built at great expense and difficulty. At the most the only proposal I would submit would be to buy a specific total of merchant ship tonnage; this might refer only to future construction if present construction could not be obtained. Chartering, as mentioned by some one this morning, might be considered.
General. Not in the paper. The provisions of the paper may be assumed to abrogate the tri-partite treaty on the part of Japan, but if it could be specifically so stated it would be helpful on this side of the water.