Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck)

In dictating this draft,90 I have tried to include as much of what is proposed in the John Doe draft as it would be possible, in my opinion, for this Government to agree to.

I regard this draft as a rough outline and a not complete setting forth of our position. The Japanese draftsmen have had months in which to prepare their draft. I have had only a few hours in which to dictate this possible “counter-draft”.

I feel that it is not necessary to present any draft to the Japanese in the immediate future, that is, before Mr. Matsuoka is well on his way toward Japan.

If and when a draft is presented to the Japanese, it would be well, in my opinion, for us to include in such draft less than we would be willing to agree to, that is, less than appears in my draft now under reference. The Japanese have put into their draft a good deal more than they expect to agree to. We, if we give them a draft, should put ourselves in a position for bargaining.

My view of the problem which now confronts us is substantially this: Nothing that might be agreed upon between the American and the Japanese Governments within the next few days or weeks will substantially alter the world situation in its material aspects; a negotiation between Japan and the United States might have some effect as regards deliberation and discussion between and among the various Japanese factions, but it would not enable any group not now in control of Japan’s affairs to oust those who are in control and gain control for itself; the decision of Japanese leaders whether to move or not to move southward will be made in the light of the physical situation in Europe as they view it and the physical situation in the Pacific as they view it; negotiations of any sort between would-be aggressors and persons or groups who wish to exercise a restraining influence are of greater advantage to the former than to the latter, by virtue of the fact that in the process of a negotiation the would-be aggressor gains information regarding what is or is not in the hands and in the minds of those whom he is seeking to outwit or to defeat; it is utterly desirable that, in our relations and our contacts with the Japanese at this time, we should avoid giving any indication of other than a firm attitude and firm intention on our part, we should do all that we can toward giving them an impression that we are both prepared [Page 143] and expecting to oppose by force any further moves southward if attempted by them.

Reference is respectfully made to the text of a telegram which we sent to London a few days ago.

It is believed desirable and it is suggested that, if and before we enter upon anything approximating a negotiation with the Japanese, we inform the British Government of the problem which confronts us and our intention in regard thereto.


In regard to the John Doe associates

Reference, draft left with the Secretary by D91 on April 9, 1941.92

A tentative outline of a possible counter-proposal indicative of what the United States might advisedly agree to. [This is based on and follows the set-up, as to form, of the draft submitted by D.]93

I. Concepts of the United States and of Japan regarding international relations and the character of nations.

Both Governments affirm that their national policies are directed toward the foundation of a lasting peace and the inauguration of a new era of reciprocal respect for rights and obligations, reciprocal confidence, and cooperation on the part of and among all peoples.

Both Governments declare that it is their concept and conviction that nations and races are all members of a world family; that each should enjoy rights and admit and accept and fulfill obligations with a community of objectives and purposes regulated by peaceful processes and directed to the pursuit of moral and physical welfare, individual and collective, which it is their right and duty to defend for themselves and not to destroy for others.

Both Governments expect and intend to be guided by these concepts and principles.

II. The attitudes of the United States and of Japan toward the European war.

The Government of Japan declares that the purpose of its Axis Alliance was and is defensive and is designed to prevent extension of military grouping among nations not already engaged in the European hostilities, and94 [The Government of Japan]95 declares that its [Page 144] military obligation under the Axis Alliance comes into force only if and when one of the parties of the alliance is aggressively attacked by a power not at present involved in the European hostilities.

The Government of the United States declares that its attitude toward the European hostilities is and will continue to be determined solely and exclusively by considerations of its national security and the defense thereof.

III. China affairs.

When this agreement is concluded and both Governments have committed themselves to its provisions, the President of the United States will suggest to the Government of Japan and the Government of China that those Governments enter into a negotiation for a termination of hostilities and resumption of peaceful relations on a basis as follows:

The independence and sovereignty of China to be respected.
Japanese troops to be withdrawn from Chinese territory in accordance with a schedule to be agreed upon.
No cession, leasing or military occupation of Chinese territory.
No imposition of indemnities.
Resumption of the “open door” on a basis of equality of opportunity in terms of and with conditions of fair treatment for all concerned.96
No large-scale or concentrated emigration of Japanese into Chinese territory.

With the acceptance by the Japanese and the Chinese Governments of this suggestion, the two Governments shall be expected to begin direct negotiations.

The negotiations shall be conducted on a basis of legal equality and with resort to no form of duress.

[Up to such time as the Japanese and the Chinese Governments shall have accepted this proposal, the United States will expect to conduct its relations with both of those countries in accordance with its own estimate of the requirements of its national security and self-defense.]97

IV. Naval, aerial, and mercantile marine relations in the Pacific.

Both Governments declare and they pledge to each other that their naval and aerial forces are not to be used for any purpose of disturbing or altering the status quo in the Pacific.
The Japanese Government will, if desired, use its good offices toward release for contract by Americans of a percentage which may be practicable of Japan’s total tonnage of merchant vessels as soon as such vessels can be released from their present commitments.
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V. Commerce and financial cooperation.

The two Governments agree that each shall permit export to the other of commodities in amounts up to the figures of pre-war trade, except, in the case of each, commodities which it needs for its own purposes of security and self-defense. The two Governments shall as soon as world conditions warrant conclude a new treaty of navigation and commerce.

As soon as a treaty of peace shall have been concluded between Japan and China, the United States will sympathetically consider, if presented, requests from Japanese and Chinese sources approved by their respective Governments, for gold credits for the purpose of fostering constructive enterprises, industrial developments and trade directed to the betterment of Far Eastern economic conditions and to sustained economic cooperation among the countries of the Pacific.

VI. Economic activity in the southwestern Pacific area.

On the basis of a pledge by the Japanese Government that Japanese activities in relations with other countries in the Pacific shall be carried on by peaceful means and without resort to arms, the American Government will cooperate with the Japanese Government toward and will give support to Japanese efforts toward production and procurement of supplies of raw materials, et cetera, which Japan needs.

VII. Policies of the two nations affecting political stabilization in the Pacific.

The Governments of the United States and of Japan will not assent to future transfers of territory for relegation of existing states within the Far East and in the southwestern Pacific area under conditions of duress to any power.
The Governments of the United States and of Japan jointly guarantee the independence of the Philippine Islands and will cooperate toward preventing any aggression against those islands.
The Government of the United States would be willing to discuss with the Japanese and the British Governments a project for an agreement that no territorial possessions of any of the three powers shall be used as a base for aggression or offensive military action against any power or area in the Pacific or the Far East.
The Government of the United States will use its influence toward causing amicable consideration to be given to desiderata which may be put forward by the Japanese Government on the subject of migration of nationals on a basis of equality, freedom from discrimination, and reciprocity.


It is suggested that a conference between delegates of the powers principally interested in the Pacific be held at Honolulu at the earliest [Page 146] possible moment for consideration of the problem of maintaining peace and safeguarding the interests of all concerned in the Pacific and the Far East.

  1. The annex to this document.
  2. Father Drought.
  3. Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 398.
  4. Brackets appear in the file copy.
  5. Word inserted in ink.
  6. Brackets in ink, apparently to indicate deletion.
  7. Three last words added in ink.
  8. Brackets in ink, apparently to indicate deletion.