740.00116 PW/1–746

The Acting Political Adviser in Japan (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State

No. 170

Sir: I have the honor to transmit copies, in Japanese (single copy) and in translation, of the note left by Prince Konoye85 to his second son at the time of his suicide on the night of December 15, 1945. These texts were furnished to this Mission by Mr. Wikawa,86 a close personal friend of the Prince.

The last paragraph of the note was censored by General Headquarters, SCAP, and hence did not appear in the Japanese press.

Respectfully yours,

George Atcheson, Jr.

Memo Left by Prince Konoye to His Second Son

Since the China Incident87 I have committed many political faults, for which I feel deep responsibility. But I never thought that I would be tried at an American court as a war criminal.88 It is almost unbearable to me, especially when I think of the fact that I, feeling responsible for the China Incident and thinking its solution the greatest mission I ever had, did everything in my power to make the Japan American negotiations89 successful, as I came to a conclusion that the troubles between Japan and China could only be solved if we could come to an understanding with America. It is more than regrettable that my name should ever be included in the war criminal list by this very America! However my real intentions would be appreciated by those who know me, and I am quite confident that there might be some of them even in America.

The excitement and exasperation resulting from the war, presumptuous overdoings of the victors, excess humiliation of the defeated, malicious calumnies, rumors and canards based on misunderstandings, etc.—all of them constitute the public opinion which, however, will sooner or later resume calmness and normality. And it will be at that very hour that a fair judgment based on justice be passed on my case at the Court of God.

  1. Prince Fumimaro Konoye, Japanese Prime Minister, June 1937–January 1939, and July 1940–October 16, 1941; State Minister Without Portfolio, August 17–October 9, 1945.
  2. Tadao Ikawa (or Wikawa), attached to the Japanese Embassy in the United States in 1941 to assist the Ambassador (Nomura).
  3. July 7, 1937.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vi, p. 976, footnote 12.
  5. Conversations in 1941 at Washington and Tokyo; see Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, pp. 325 ff., and Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. iv, pp. 1 ff.