Draft of Proposed “Modus Vivendi” With Japan63
Tentative and Without
The representatives of the Government of the United States and of the Government of Japan have been carrying on during the past several months informal and exploratory conversations for the purpose of arriving at a settlement if possible of the questions relating to the entire Pacific area based upon the principles of law and order and fair dealing among nations. These principles include the principle of inviolability of territorial integrity and sovereignty of each and all nations; the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries; the principle of equality, including equality of commercial opportunity and treatment; and the principle of reliance upon international cooperation and conciliation for the prevention and pacific settlement of controversies and for improvement of international conditions by peaceful methods and processes.
On November 20 the Japanese Ambassador indicated64 that the Government of Japan is desirous of going ahead with such a program; that the domestic political situation within Japan is urgent; and that, in order to give the Japanese Government opportunity to develop and promote public sentiment in Japan in support of a comprehensive and liberal program of peace such as has been under discussion between our two Governments, it would be helpful if there could be taken some initial steps toward resumption of trade and normal intercourse between Japan and the United States. At that time the Japanese Ambassador communicated to the Secretary of State proposals65 in regard [Page 636] to measures to be taken respectively by the Government of Japan and by the Government of the United States, which measures are understood to have been designed to create an atmosphere favorable to pursuing the conversations which have been taking place. These proposals contain features which from the point of view of the Government of the United States present difficulties in reference to the broad-gauge principles the practical application of which represents the desires of both Governments as manifested in current conversations. In as much as the Government of the United States desires to contribute to the peace of the Pacific area and to afford every opportunity to continue discussions with the Japanese Government directed toward working out a broad-gauge program of peace throughout the Pacific area, the Government of the United States offers for the consideration of the Japanese Government suggestions as follows:
1. The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan, both being solicitous for the peace of the Pacific, affirm that their national policies are directed toward lasting and extensive peace throughout the Pacific area and that they have no territorial designs therein. They undertake reciprocally not to make by force or threat of force, unless they are attacked, any advancement, from points at which they have military establishments, across any international border in the Pacific area.
2. The Japanese Government undertakes forthwith to withdraw its armed forces now stationed in southern French Indochina, not to engage in any further military activities there, including the construction of military facilities, and to limit Japanese military forces in northern French Indochina to the number there on July 26, 1941, which number in any case would not exceed 25,000 and which number would not be subject to replacement.
3. The Government of the United States undertakes forthwith to remove the freezing restrictions which were placed on Japanese assets in the United States on July 26 and the Japanese Government agrees simultaneously to remove the freezing measures which it imposed in regard to American assets in Japan. Exports from each country would thereafter remain subject to the respective export control measures which each country may have in effect for reasons of national defense.
4. The Government of the United States undertakes forthwith to approach the British and the Dutch Governments with a view to those Governments’ taking, on a basis of reciprocity with Japan, measures similar to those provided for in paragraph three above.[Page 637]
5. The Government of the United States would not look with disfavor upon the inauguration of conversations between the Government of China and the Government of Japan directed toward a peaceful settlement of their differences nor would the Government of the United States look with disfavor upon an armistice during the period of any such discussions. The fundamental interest of the Government of the United States in reference to any such discussions is simply that they be based upon and exemplify the fundamental principles of peace which constitute the central spirit of the current conversations between the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States.
In case any such discussions are entered into between the Government of Japan and the Government of China, the Government of the United States is agreeable to such discussions taking place in the Philippine Islands, if so desired by both China and Japan.
6. It is understood that this modus vivendi is of a temporary nature and shall not remain in effect for a period longer than three months unless renewed by common agreement.
This draft and two later drafts are filed together, with the following notation: “Drafts prepared in FE successively on November 22, November 24, and finally on November 25, 1941, of the so-called ‘Modus Vivendi’ proposal to which tentative consideration was given in an exploratory way for a few days. The drafts of November 22 and November 24 were shown to and discussed with representatives of the British, Chinese, Netherlands and Australian Governments by the Secretary. The final draft is the draft of November 25, 1941. The ‘Modus Vivendi’ idea was discarded after tentative exploration and was not presented to the Japanese.”
The drafts of November 24 and 25 are printed on pp. 642 and 661. This November 22 draft was preceded by other drafts, marked “Not used”, three dated November 21 and three dated November 22, none printed (711.94/11–2141, 11–2241).↩
- See memorandum of November 20, 1941, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 753.↩
- Ibid., p. 755.↩