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Modern History Sourcebook:
Pearl Harbour Attack Documents, 1941

Some Files Relevant To The Japanese Attack On Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
(Collected, formatted, and edited by Larry W. Jewell jewell@mace.cc.purdue.edu)

  1. United States Note To Japan November 26, 1941
  2. Message From The President To The Emperor Of Japan December 6
  3. Japanese Note To The United States December 7, 1941
    (Generally Referred To As The "Fourteen Part Message.")
  4. Selected Dispatches

 

I: UNITED STATES NOTE TO JAPAN NOVEMBER 26, 1941

(Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. V, No. 129, Dec. 13, 1941)

The text of the document handed by the Secretary of State to the Japanese Ambassador on November 26, 1941, which consists of two parts, one an oral statement and one an outline of a proposed basis for agreement between the United States and Japan, reads as follows:

Oral
"Strictly confidential
"November 26, 1941

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 questions relating to the entire Pacific area based upon the principles of peace, 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.

It is believed that in our discussions some progress has been made in reference to the general principles which constitute the basis of a peaceful settlement covering the entire Pacific area. Recently the Japanese Ambassador has stated that the Japanese Government is desirous of continuing the conversations directed toward a comprehensive and peaceful settlement of the Pacific area; that it would be helpful toward creating an atmosphere favorable to the successful outcome of the conversations if a temporary modus vivendi could be agreed upon to be in effect while the conversations looking to peaceful settlement in the Pacific were continuing. On November 20 the Japanese Ambassador communicated to the Secretary of State proposals in regard to temporary measure 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 accomplish the purposes above indicated.

The Government of the United States most earnestly desires to contribute to the promotion and maintenance of peace and stability in the Pacific area, and to afford every opportunity for the continuance of discussion with the Japanese Government directed toward working out a broad-gauge program of peace throughout the Pacific area. The proposals which were presented by the Japanese Ambassador on November 20 contain some features which, in the opinion of this Government, conflict with the fundamental principles which form a part of the general settlement under consideration and to which each Government has declared that it is committed. The Government of the United States believes that the adoption of such proposals would not be likely to contribute to the ultimate objectives of ensuring peace under law, order and justice in the Pacific area, and it suggests that further effort be made to resolve our divergences of view in regard to the practical application of the fundamental principles already mentioned.

With this object in view the Government of the United States offers for the consideration of the Japanese Government a plan of a broad but simple settlement covering the entire Pacific area as one practical exemplification of a program which this Government envisages as something to be worked out during our further conversations.

The plan therein suggested represents an effort to bridge the gap between our draft of June 21, 1941 and the Japanese draft of September 25 by making a new approach to the essential problems underlying a comprehensive Pacific settlement. This plan contains provisions dealing with the practical application of the fundamental principles which we have agreed in our conversations constitute the only sound basis for worthwhile international relations. We hope that in this way progress toward reaching a meeting of minds between our two Governments may be expedited." "Strictly confidential, tentative and without commitment

November 26, 1941.
Outline of Proposed Basis for Agreement Between the United States and Japan

Section I "Draft Mutual Declaration of Policy

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, that they have no territorial designs in that area, that they have no intention of threatening other countries or of using military force aggressively against any neighboring nation, and that, accordingly, in their national policies they will actively support and give practical application to the following fundamental principles upon which their relations with each other and with all other governments are based:

(1) The principle of inviolability of territorial integrity and sovereignty of each and all nations.

(2) The principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

(3) The principle of equality, including equality of commercial opportunity and treatment.

(4) 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.

The Government of Japan and the Government of the United States have agreed that toward eliminating chronic political instability, preventing recurrent economic collapse, and providing a basis for peace, they will actively support and practically apply the following principles in their economic relations with each other and with other nations and peoples:

(1) The principle of non-discrimination in international commercial relations.

(2) The principle of international economic cooperation and abolition of extreme nationalism as expressed in excessive trade restrictions.

(3) The principle of non-discriminatory access by all nations to raw material supplies.

(4) The principle of full protection of the interests of consuming countries and populations as regards the operation of international commodity agreements.

(5) The principle of establishment of such institutions and arrangements of international finance as may lend aid to the essential enterprises and the continuous development of all countries and may permit payments through processes of trade consonant with the welfare of all countries.

Section II

Steps To Be Taken by the Government of the United States and by the Government of Japan

The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan propose to take steps as follows:

1. The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan will endeavor to conclude a multilateral non-aggression pact among the British Empire, China, Japan, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, Thailand and the United States.

2. Both Governments will endeavor to conclude among the American, British, Chinese, Japanese, the Netherland and Thai Governments would pledge itself to respect the territorial integrity of French Indochina and, in the event that there should develop a threat to the territorial integrity of Indochina, to enter into immediate consultation with a view to taking such measures as may be deemed necessary and advisable to meet the threat in question. Such agreement would provide also that each of the Governments party to the agreement would not seek or accept preferential treatment in its trade or economic relations with Indochina and would use its influence to obtain for each of the signatories equality of treatment in trade and commerce with French Indochina.

3. The Government of Japan will withdraw all military, naval, air and police forces from China and from Indochina.

4. The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan will not support - militarily, politically, economically - any government or regime in China other than the National Government of the Republic of China with capital temporarily at Chungking.

5. Both Governments will endeavor to obtain the agreement of the British and other governments to give up extraterritorial rights in China, including right in international settlements and in concessions and under the Boxer Protocol of 1901.

6. The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan will enter into negotiations for the conclusion between the United States and Japan of a trade agreement, based upon reciprocal most favored-nation treatment and reduction of trade barriers by both countries, including an undertaking by the United States to bind raw silk on the free list.

7. The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan will, respectively, remove the freezing restrictions on Japanese funds in the United States and on American funds in Japan.

8. Both Governments will agree upon a plan for the stabilization of the dollar-yen rate, with the allocation of funds adequate for this purpose, half to be supplied by Japan and half by the United States.

9. Both Governments will agree that no agreement which either has concluded with any third power or powers shall be interpreted by it in such a way as to conflict with the fundamental purpose of this agreement, the establishment and preservation of peace throughout the Pacific area.

10. Both Governments will use their influence to cause other governments to adhere to and to give practical application to the basic political and economic principles set forth in this agreement.

II: MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE EMPEROR OF JAPAN DECEMBER 6

(Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. V, No. 129, Dec. 13, 1941)

The following message from the President to the Emperor of Japan was dispatched Saturday afternoon, December 6, and public announcement was made at that time that this message to the Emperor had been sent by the President:

Almost a century ago the President of the United States addressed to the Emperor of Japan a message extending an offer of friendship of the people of the United States to the people of Japan. That offer was accepted, and in the long period of unbroken peace and friendship which has followed, our respective nations, through the virtues of their peoples and the wisdom of their rulers have prospered and have substantially helped humanity.

Only in situations of extraordinary importance to our two countries need I address to Your Majesty messages on matters of state. I feel I should now so address you because of the deep and far-reaching emergency which appears to be in formation.

Developments are occurring in the Pacific area which threaten to deprive each of our nations and all humanity of the beneficial influence of the long peace between our two countries. Those developments contain tragic possibilities.

The people of the United States, believing in peace and in the right of nations to live and let live, have eagerly watched the conversations between our two Governments during these past months. We have hoped for a termination of the present conflict between Japan and China. We have hoped that a peace of the Pacific could be consummated in such a way that nationalities of many diverse peoples could exist side by side without fear of invasion; that unbearable burdens of armaments could be lifted for them all; and that all peoples would resume commerce without discrimination against or in favor of any nation.

I am certain that it will be clear to Your Majesty, as it is to me, that in seeking these great objectives both Japan and the United States should agree to eliminate any form of military threat. This seemed essential to the attainment of the high objectives.

More than a year ago Your Majesty's Government concluded an agreement with the Vichy Government by which five or six thousand Japanese troops were permitted to enter into Northern French Indo-China for the protection of Japanese troops which were operating against China further north. And this Spring and Summer the Vichy Government permitted further Japanese military forces to enter into Southern French Indo-China for the common defense of French Indo-China. I think I am correct in saying that no attack has been made upon Indo-China, nor that any has been contemplated.

During the past few weeks it has become clear to the world that Japanese military, naval and air forces have been sent to Southern Indo-China in such large numbers as to create a reasonable doubt on the part of other nations that this continuing concentration in Indo-China is not defensive in its character.

Because these continuing concentrations in Indo-China have reached such large proportions and because they extend now to the southeast and the southwest corners of that Peninsula, it is only reasonable that the people of the Philippines, of the hundreds of Islands of the East Indies, of Malaya and of Thailand itself are asking themselves whether these forces of Japan are preparing or intending to make attack in one or more of these many directions.

I am sure that Your Majesty will understand that the fear of all these peoples is a legitimate fear inasmuch as it involves their peace and their national existence. I am sure that Your Majesty will understand why the people of the United States in such large numbers look askance at the establishment of military, naval and air bases manned and equipped so greatly as to constitute armed forces capable of measures of offense.

It is clear that a continuance of such a situation is unthinkable.

None of the peoples whom I have spoken of above can sit either indefinitely or permanently on a keg of dynamite.

There is absolutely no thought on the part of the United States of invading Indo-China if every Japanese soldier or sailor were to be withdrawn therefrom.

I think that we can obtain the same assurance from the Governments of the East Indies, the Governments of Malaya and the Government of Thailand. I would even undertake to ask for the same assurance on the part of the Government of China. Thus a withdrawal of the Japanese forces from Indo-China would result in the assurance of peace throughout the whole of the South Pacific area.

I address myself to Your Majesty at this moment in the fervent hope that Your Majesty may, as I am doing, give thought in this definite emergency to way of dispelling the dark clouds. I am confident that both of us, for the sake of the peoples not only of our own great countries but for the sake of humanity in neighboring territories, have a sacred duty to restore traditional amity and prevent further death and destruction in the world."

III: JAPANESE NOTE TO THE UNITED STATES DECEMBER 7, 1941
(Generally referred to as the "Fourteen Part Message.")

(Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. V, No. 129, Dec. 13, 1941)

On November 26 the Secretary of State handed to the Japanese representatives a document which stated the principles governing the policies of the Government of the United States toward the situation in the Far East and setting out suggestions for a comprehensive peaceful settlement covering the entire Pacific area.

At 1 p.m. December 7 the Japanese Ambassador asked for an appointment for the Japanese representatives to see the Secretary of State. The appointment was made for 1:45 p.m. The Japanese representatives arrived at the office of the Secretary of State at 2:05 p.m. They were received by the Secretary at 2:20 p.m. The Japanese Ambassador handed to the Secretary of State what was understood to be a reply to the document handed to him the Secretary of State on November 26.

Secretary Hull carefully read the statement presented by the Japanese representatives and immediately turned to the Japanese Ambassador and with the greatest indignation said:

I must say that in all my conversations with you [the Japanese Ambassador] during the last nine months I have never uttered one word of untruth. This is borne out absolutely by the record. In all my 50 years of public service I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions - infamous falsehoods and distortions on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any Government on this planet was capable of uttering them."

The text of the document handed by the Japanese Ambassador to the Secretary of State at 2:20 p.m., December 7, 1941, reads as follows:

Memorandum

1. The government of Japan, prompted by a genuine desire to come to an amicable understanding with the Government of the United States in order that the two countries by their joint efforts may secure the peace of the Pacific Area and thereby contribute toward the realization of world peace, has continued negotiations with the utmost sincerity since April last with the Government of the United States regarding the adjustment and advancement of Japanese-American relations and the stabilization of the Pacific Area.

The Japanese Government has the honor to state frankly its views concerning the claims the American Government has persistently maintained as well as the measure the United States and Great Britain have taken toward Japan during these eight months.

2. It is the immutable policy of the Japanese Government to insure the stability of East Asia and to promote world peace and thereby to enable all nations to find each its proper place in the world.

Ever since China Affair broke out owing to the failure on the part of China to comprehend Japan's true intentions, the Japanese Government has striven for the restoration of peace and it has consistently exerted its best efforts to prevent the extension of war-like disturbances. It was also to that end that in September last year Japan concluded the Tripartite Pace with Germany and Italy.

However, both the United States and Great Britain have resorted to every possible measure to assist the Chungking regime so as to obstruct the establishment of a general peace between Japan and China, interfering with Japan's constructive endeavours toward the stabilization of East Asia. Exerting pressure on the Netherlands East Indies, or menacing French Indo-China, they have attempted to frustrate Japan's aspiration to the ideal of common prosperity in cooperation with these regimes. Furthermore, when Japan in accordance with its protocol with France took measures of joint defense of French Indo-China, both American and British Governments, willfully misinterpreting it as a threat to their own possessions, and inducing the Netherlands Government to follow suit, they enforced the assets freezing order, thus severing economic relations with Japan. While manifesting thus an obviously hostile attitude, these countries have strengthened their military preparations perfecting an encirclement of Japan, and have brought about a situation which endangers the very existence of the Empire.

Nevertheless, to facilitate a speedy settlement, the Premier of Japan proposed, in August last, to meet the President of the United States for a discussion of important problems between the two countries covering the entire Pacific area. However, the American Government, while accepting in principle the Japanese proposal, insisted that the meeting should take place after an agreement of view had been reached on fundamental and essential questions.

3. Subsequently, on September 25th the Japanese Government submitted a proposal based on the formula proposed by the American Government, taking fully into consideration past American claims and also incorporating Japanese views. Repeated discussions proved of no avail in producing readily an agreement of view. The present cabinet, therefore, submitted a revised proposal, moderating still further the Japanese claims regarding the principal points of difficulty in the negotiation and endeavoured strenuously to reach a settlement. But the American Government, adhering steadfastly to its original assertions, failed to display in the slightest degree a spirit of conciliation. The negotiation made no progress.

Therefore, the Japanese Government, with a view to doing its utmost for averting a crisis in Japanese-American relations, submitted on November 20th still another proposal in order to arrive at an equitable solution of the more essential and urgent questions which, simplifying its previous proposal, stipulated the following points:

(1) The Government of Japan and the United States undertake not to dispatch armed forces into any of the regions, excepting French Indo-China, in the Southeastern Asia and the Southern Pacific area.

(2) Both Governments shall cooperate with the view to securing the acquisition in the Netherlands East Indies of those goods and commodities of which the two countries are in need.

(3) Both Governments mutually undertake to restore commercial relations to those prevailing prior to the freezing of assets.

The Government of the United States shall supply Japan the required quantity of oil.

(4) The Government of the United States undertakes not to resort to measures and actions prejudicial to the endeavours for the restoration of general peace between Japan and China.

(5) The Japanese Government undertakes to withdraw troops now stationed in French Indo-China upon either the restoration of peace between Japan and China or establishment of an equitable peace in the Pacific Area; and it is prepared to remove the Japanese troops in the southern part of French Indo-China to the northern part upon the conclusion of the present agreement.

As regards China, the Japanese Government, while expressing its readiness to accept the offer of the President of the United States to act as 'introducer' of peace between Japan and China as was previously suggested, asked for an undertaking on the part of the United States to do nothing prejudicial to the restoration of Sino-Japanese peace when the two parties have commenced direct negotiations.

The American Government not only rejected the above-mentioned new proposal, but made known its intention to continue its aid to Chiang Kai-shek; and in spite of its suggestion mentioned above, withdrew the offer of the President to act as so-called 'introducer' of peace between Japan and China, pleading that time was not yet ripe for it. Finally on November 26th, in an attitude to impose upon the Japanese Government those principles it has persistently maintained, the American Government made a proposal totally ignoring Japanese claims, which is a source of profound regret to the Japanese Government.

4. From the beginning of the present negotiation the Japanese Government has always maintained an attitude of fairness and moderation, and did its best to reach a settlement, for which it made all possible concessions often in spite of great difficulties. As for the China question which constitutes an important subject of the negotiation, the Japanese Government showed a most conciliatory attitude. As for the principle of non-discrimination in international commerce, advocated by the American Government, the Japanese Government expressed its desire to see the said principle applied throughout the world, and declared that along with the actual practice of this principle in the world, the Japanese Government would endeavour to apply the same in the Pacific area including China, and made it clear that Japan had no intention of excluding from China economic activities of third powers pursued on an equitable basis. Furthermore, as regards the question of withdrawing troops from French Indo-China, the Japanese Government even volunteered, as mentioned above, to carry out an immediate evacuation of troops from Southern French Indo-China as a measure of easing the situation.

It is presumed that the spirit of conciliation exhibited to the utmost degree by the Japanese Government in all these matters is fully appreciated by the American Government.

On the other hand, the American Government, always holding fast to theories in disregard of realities, and refusing to yield an inch on its impractical principles, cause undue delay in the negotiation. It is difficult to understand this attitude of the American Government and the Japanese Government desires to call the attention of the American Government especially to the following points:

1. The American Government advocates in the name of world peace those principles favorable to it and urges upon the Japanese Government the acceptance thereof. The peace of the world may be brought about only by discovering a mutually acceptable formula through recognition of the reality of the situation and mutual appreciation of one another's position. An attitude such as ignores realities and impose (sic) one's selfish views upon others will scarcely serve the purpose of facilitating the consummation of negotiations.

Of the various principles put forward by the American Government as a basis of the Japanese-American Agreement, there are some which the Japanese Government is ready to accept in principle, but in view of the world's actual condition it seems only a utopian ideal on the part of the American Government to attempt to force their immediate adoption.

Again, the proposal to conclude a multilateral non-aggression pact between Japan, United States, Great Britain, China, the Soviet Union, the Netherlands and Thailand, which is patterned after the old concept of collective security, is far removed from the realities of East Asia.

2. The American proposal contained a stipulation which states - 'Both Governments will agree that no agreement, which either has concluded with any third power or powers, shall be interpreted by it in such a way as to conflict with the fundamental purpose of this agreement, the establishment and preservation of peace throughout the Pacific area.' It is presumed that the above provision has been proposed with a view to restrain Japan from fulfilling its obligations under the Tripartite Pact when the United States participates in the war in Europe, and, as such, it cannot be accepted by the Japanese Government.

The American Government, obsessed with its own views and opinions, may be said to be scheming for the extension of the war. While it seeks, on the one hand, to secure its rear by stabilizing the Pacific Area, it is engaged, on the other hand, in aiding Great Britain and preparing to attack, in the name of self-defense, Germany and Italy, two Powers that are striving to establish a new order in Europe. Such a policy is totally at variance with the many principles upon which the American Government proposes to found the stability of the Pacific Area through peaceful means.

3. Whereas the American Government, under the principles it rigidly upholds, objects to settle international issues through military pressure, it is exercising in conjunction with Great Britain and other nations pressure by economic power. Recourse to such pressure as a means of dealing with international relations should be condemned as it is at times more inhumane that military pressure.

4. It is impossible not to reach the conclusion that the American Government desires to maintain and strengthen, in coalition with Great Britain and other Powers, its dominant position in has hitherto occupied not only in China but in other areas of East Asia. It is a fact of history that the countries of East Asia have for the past two hundred years or more have been compelled to observe the status quo under the Anglo- American policy of imperialistic exploitation and to sacrifice themselves to the prosperity of the two nations. The Japanese Government cannot tolerate the perpetuation of such a situation since it directly runs counter to Japan's fundamental policy to enable all nations to enjoy each its proper place in the world.

The stipulation proposed by the American Government relative to French Indo-China is a good exemplification of the above- mentioned American policy. Thus the six countries, - Japan, the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, China,, and Thailand, - excepting France, should undertake among themselves to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of French Indo-China and equality of treatment in trade and commerce would be tantamount to placing that territory under the joint guarantee of the Governments of those six countries. Apart from the fact that such a proposal totally ignores the position of France, it is unacceptable to the Japanese Government in that such an arrangement cannot but be considered as an extension to French Indo-China of a system similar to the Nine Power Treaty structure which is the chief factor responsible for the present predicament of East Asia.

5. All the items demanded of Japan by the American Government regarding China such as wholesale evacuation of troops or unconditional application of the principle of non-discrimination in international commerce ignored the actual conditions of China, and are calculated to destroy Japan's position as the stabilizing factor of East Asia. The attitude of the American Government in demanding Japan not to support militarily, politically or economically any regime other than the regime at Chungking, disregarding thereby the existence of the Nanking Government, shatters the very basis of the present negotiations. This demand of the American Government falling, as it does, in line with its above-mentioned refusal to cease from aiding the Chungking regime, demonstrates clearly the intention of the American Government to obstruct the restoration of normal relations between Japan and China and the return of peace to East Asia.

5. (sic) In brief, the American proposal contains certain acceptable items such as those concerning commerce, including the conclusion of a trade agreement, mutual removal of the freezing restrictions, and stabilization of yen and dollar exchange, or the abolition of extra-territorial rights in China. On the other hand, however, the proposal in question ignores Japan's sacrifices in the four years of the China Affair, menaces the Empire's existence itself and disparages its honour and prestige. Therefore, viewed in its entirety, the Japanese Government regrets it cannot accept the proposal as a basis of negotiation.

6. The Japanese Government, in its desire for an early conclusion of the negotiation, proposed simultaneously with the conclusion of the Japanese-American negotiation, agreements to be signed with Great Britain and other interested countries. The proposal was accepted by the American Government. However, since the American Government has made the proposal of November 26th as a result of frequent consultation with Great Britain, Australia, the Netherlands and Chungking, and presumably by catering to the wishes of the Chungking regime in the questions of China, it must be concluded that all these countries are at one with the United States in ignoring Japan's position.

7. Obviously it is the intention of the American Government to conspire with Great Britain and other countries to obstruct Japan's effort toward the establishment of peace through the creation of a new order in East Asia, and especially to preserve Anglo-American rights and interest by keeping Japan and China at war. This intention has been revealed clearly during the course of the present negotiation.

Thus, the earnest hope of the Japanese Government to adjust Japanese-American relations and to preserve and promote the peace of the Pacific through cooperation with the American Government has finally been lost.

The Japanese Government regrets to have to notify hereby the American Government that in view of the attitude of the American Government it cannot but consider that it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations.

December 7, 1941."

IV: SELECTED DISPATCHES

The following is a collection of dispatches relevant to the topic. Care should be taken in noting that not all the information enclosed was known to all parties and that some of the coded messages were not decyphered until well after the commencement of hostilities. LWJ

To: Tokyo Date: 16 Jan. 41

... 2. The number of vessels seen in the harbor on the morning of the 16th was as follows: 5 battleships... 5 light cruisers...19 destroyers, 2 destroyer tenders...about six small submarines...and three transports. " The Yorktown is not in port. " The CinCUS shifted the flag from the New Mexico to the Pennsylvania on 15 Jan. 41."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Honolulu To: Tokyo Date: 21 Feb. 41

1. The capital ships and others departed from Pearl Harbor on the 13th and returned on the 19th. (It is said that they will depart again on the coming Wednesday and return on the following Wednesday). Judging from the statements by various sailors who were on these vessels, the training was apparently held in the vicinities of Kauai, Lahaina, and Hilo."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Naval Intelligence, Washington To: alcon Date: 1 Apr. 1941

Personnel of your Naval Intelligence Service should be advised that because of the fact that from past experience shows [sic] the Axis Powers often begin activities in a particular field on Saturdays and Sundays or on national holidays of the country concerned they should take steps on such days to see that proper watches and precautions are in effect."

From: THE CODEBREAKERS; The Story of Secret Writing, David Kahn, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London,1967

From: Japanese Foreign Ministry To: Washington Date: 31 Jul. 1941

Commercial and economic relations between Japan and third countries, led by England and the United States, are gradually becoming so horribly strained that we cannot endure it much longer. Consequently, our Empire, to save its very life, must take measures to secure the raw materials of the South Seas. Our Empire must immediately take steps to break asunder this ever-strengthening chain of encirclement which is being woven under the guidance and with the participation of England and the United States, acting like a cunning dragon seemingly asleep. This is why we decided to obtain military bases in French Indo- China and to have our troops occupy that territory..."

From: AT DAWN WE SLEPT; The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. Gordon W. Prange, Penguin Books, 1982

From: Tokyo To: Honolulu Date: 21 Sep. 41

Henceforth, we would like to have you make reports concerning vessels along the following lines insofar as possible: [The message divides Pearl Harbor waters into a number of areas which are delineated.] " 2. With regard to war ships and aircraft carriers, we would like to have you report on those at anchor...tied up to wharves, buoys, and in docks. (Designate types and classes briefly. If possible we would like to have you make mention of the fact when there are two or more vessels alongside the same wharf."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Navy Department To: CinCUS, Pearl Harbor Date: 16 Oct. 41

The resignation of the Japanese Cabinet had created a grave situation. If a new Cabinet is formed it will probably be strongly nationalistic and anti-American. If the Konoye Cabinet remains the effect will be that it will operate under a new mandate which will not include rapprochement with the U.S. In either case hostilities between Japan and Russia are a strong possibility. Since the U.S. and Britain are held responsible by Japan for her present desperate situation there is also a possibility that Japan may attack these two powers. In view of these possibilities you will take due precautions including such preparatory deployments as will not disclose strategic intentions nor constitute provocative actions against Japan."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Japanese Naval General Staff To: alcon Date 5 Nov. 1951

Navy Order No. 1 " By Imperial Order, the Chief of the Naval General Staff orders Yamamoto Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleets as follows: " 1. Expecting to go to war with the United States, Britain and the Netherlands early in December for self-preservation and self-defense, the Empire has decided to complete war preparation. " 2. The Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet will carry out the necessary operational preparations. " 3. Its details will be directed by the Chief of the Naval General Staff."

From: AT DAWN WE SLEPT; The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. Gordon W. Prange, Penguin Books, 1982

From: Tokyo To: Honolulu Date: 15 Nov. 41

As relations between Japan and the United States are more critical, make your 'ships in harbor report' irregular, but at a rate of twice a week. Although you already are no doubt aware, please take extra care to maintain secrecy."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Tokyo To: Washington date: 19 NOV 1941

Regarding the broadcast of a special message in an emergency. " In case of emergency (danger of cutting off our diplomatic relations), and the cutting off of international communications, the following warning will be added in the middle of the daily Japanese language short-wave news broadcast: " 1) In case of Japan-U.S. relations in danger: HIGASHI NO KAZE AME ("east wind rain") " 2) Japan-U.S.S.R. relations: KITA NO KAZE KUMORI ("north wind cloudy") " 3) Japan-British relations: NISHI NO KAZE HARE ("west wind clear") " This signal will be given in the middle and at the end as a weather forecast and each sentence will be repeated twice. When this is heard please destroy all code papers, etc. This is as yet to be a completely secret arrangement. " Forward as urgent intelligence."

From: THE CODEBREAKERS; The Story of Secret Writing, David Kahn, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London,1967

From: Tokyo To: Washington Date: 20 Nov. 1941

There are reasons beyond your ability to guess why we wanted to settle Japanese-American relations by the 25th, but if within the next three or four days you can finish your conversations with the Americans; if the signing can be completed by the 29th (let me write it out for you-twenty- ninth); if the pertinent notes can be exchanged; if we can get an understanding with Great Britain and the Netherlands; and in short if everything can be finished, we have decided to wait until that date. This time we mean it, the deadline absolutely cannot be changed. After that things are automatically going to happen."

From: THE CODEBREAKERS; The Story of Secret Writing, David Kahn, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London,1967

From: Navy Department To: CinCUS, Pearl Harbor Date: 24 Nov. 41

Chances of favorable outcome of negotiations with Japan very doubtful. This situation coupled with statements of Japanese Government and movements of their naval and military forces indicate in our opinion that a surprise aggressive movement in any direction including attack on Philippines or Guam is a possibility. Chief of Staff has seen this dispatch concurs and requests action addressees to inform senior Army officers their areas. Utmost secrecy necessary in order not to complicate an already tense situation or precipitate Japanese action. Guam will be informed separately."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: War Department, Washington To: Army Hq. Hawaii Date: 27 Nov. 1941

War Department Msg No. 472 " Negotiations with Japan appear to be terminated to all practical purposes with only the barest possibilities that the Japanese Government might come back and offer to continue. Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at nay moment. If hostilities cannot, repeat cannot be avoided the United States desires that Japan commit the first overt act. This policy should not, repeat not, be construed as restricting you to a course of action that might jeopardize your defense. Prior to hostile Japanese action you are directed to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary but these measures shout be carried out so as not, repeat not, to alarm civil population or disclose intent. Report measures taken. Should hostilities occur you will carry out the tasks assigned in Rainbow Five [the Army's basic war plan] so far as they pertain to Japan. Limit dissemination of this highly secret information to minimum essential officers.

From: AT DAWN WE SLEPT; The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. Gordon W. Prange, Penguin Books, 1982

From: Navy Department To: CinCUS, Pearl Harbor Date: 27 Nov. 41

This despatch is to be considered a war warning. Negotiations with Japan looking toward stabilization of conditions in the Pacific have ceased and an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days. The number and equipment of Japanese troops and the organization of naval task forces indicates an amphibious expedition against either the Philippines, Thai or Kra Peninsula or possibly Borneo. Execute an appropriate defensive deployment preparatory to carrying out the tasks assigned in WPL-46. Inform district and Army authorities. A similar warning is being sent by the War Department. SPENAVO inform British. Continental districts Guam Samoa directed take appropriate measures against sabotage."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: War Department, Washington To: Army Hq. Hawaii Date: 28 Nov. 1941

War Department Message 482 " Critical situation demands that all precautions be taken immediately against subversive activities...Also desired that you initiate forthwith all additional measures necessary to provide for protection of you establishments, property, and equipment against sabotage, protection of your personnel against subversive propaganda and protection of all activities against espionage. This does not repeat not mean that any illegal measures are authorized. Protective measures should be confined to those essential to security, avoiding unnecessary publicity and alarm. To insure speed of transmission identical telegrams are being sent to all air stations but this does not repeat not affect you responsibility under existing instructions."

From: AT DAWN WE SLEPT; The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. Gordon W. Prange, Penguin Books, 1982

From: Tokyo To: Honolulu Date: 29 Nov. 41

We have been receiving reports from you on ship movement, but in future will you also report even when there are no movements."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Director of Naval Intelligence To: CinCUS, Pearl Harbor, alcon Date: 1 Dec. 41

Deployment of naval forces to the southward has indicated clearly that extensive preparations are underway for hostilities. At the same time troop transports and freighters are pouring continually down from Japan and northern China coast ports headed south, apparently for French Indo-China and Formosan ports. Present movements tot he south appear to be carried out by small individual units, but the organization of an extensive task force, now definitely indicated, will probably take sharper form in the next few days. To date this task force, under the command of the Commander in Chief Second Fleet, appears to be subdivided into two major task groups, one gradually concentrating off the Southeast Asiatic coast, the other in the Mandates. Each constitutes a strong striking force of heavy and light cruisers, units of the Combined Air Force, destroyer and submarine squadrons. Although one division of battleships also may be assigned the major capital ship strength remains in home waters, as well as the greatest portion of the carriers. " The equipment being carried south is a vast assortment, including landing boats in considerable numbers. Activity in the Mandates, under naval control, consists not only of large reinforcements of personnel, aircraft, munitions but also of construction material with yard workmen, engineers, etc."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Tokyo To: Washington Date: 2 Dec. 1941

Take great pains that this does not leak out. " You are to take the following measures immediately: " 1. With the exception of one copy each of the O[pa-k2] and the L[LA] codes, you are to burn all telegraph codes (this includes the codebooks for communication between the three departments [HATO] and those for use by the Navy). " 2. As soon as you have completed this operation wire the one word HARUNA. " 3. Burn all secret records of incoming and outgoing telegrams. " 4. Taking care not to arouse outside suspicion, dispose of all secret documents in the same way. " Since these measures are in preparation for an emergency, keep this within your consulate and carry out your duties with calmness and care."

From: THE CODEBREAKERS; The Story of Secret Writing, David Kahn, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London,1967

From: Tokyo To: Honolulu Date: 2 Dec. 41

In view of the present situation, the presence in port of warships, airplane carriers, and cruisers is of utmost importance. Hereafter, to the utmost of your ability, let me know day by day. Wire me in each case whether or not there are any observation balloons above Pearl Harbor or if there are any indications that they will be sent up. Also advise me whether or not the warships are provided with anti-mine nets."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Adm. Nagumo To: Pearl Harbor Attack Force Date: 2 Dec. 1941

This force is already in the anticipated scouting areas from Kiska and Midway Islands. Tonight we will pass the 180 degree line and near the enemy zone. More strict air alert and strict lookout against enemy ships suspected of tracking us will be maintained. Particular attention will be paid not to reveal any light at night and to limit blinker signals as much as possible.

From: AT DAWN WE SLEPT; The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. Gordon W. Prange, Penguin Books, 1982

From: Tokyo To: Pearl Harbor Attack Force Date: 2 DEC 1941

Climb Mount Niitaka."

From: THE CODEBREAKERS; The Story of Secret Writing, David Kahn, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London,1967

From: Adm. Nagumo To: Pearl Harbor Attack Force Date: 3 Dec. 1941

1. It has already been ordered to go to war on 8 December, but so critical has become the situation in the Far East that one can hardly predict was would not explode by that time. So far no new information on Hawaii area received and also no indications of our Task Force being detected. But since the enemy intention is naturally far beyond prediction, strict attention will directed to meet any unexpected encounter with an enemy. " 2. It is intended that this force will operate as scheduled even if war breaks out before 8 December.."

From: AT DAWN WE SLEPT; The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. Gordon W. Prange, Penguin Books, 1982

From: Honolulu To: Tokyo Date: 4 Dec. 41

On the afternoon of the 3rd one British gunboat entered Honolulu harbor. She left port early on the morning of the 4th... " Furthermore, immediately after the vessel entered port a sailor took some mail to the British Consular Office and received some mail in return."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Honolulu To: Tokyo Date: 5 Dec. 41

1. During Friday morning, the 5th, the three battleships mentioned in my message [previously] arrived here. They had been at sea for eight days. " 2. The Lexington and five heavy cruisers left port on the same day. " 3. The following ships were in port on the afternoon of the 5th: 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers, 16 destroyers."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Tokyo To: Honolulu Date: 6 Dec. 41

Please wire immediately movements of the fleet subsequent to the fourth."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Honolulu To: Tokyo Date: 6 Dec. 41

1. On the American Continent in October the Army began training barrage balloon troops at Camp Davis, North Carolina. Not only have they ordered four of five hundred balloons, but it is understood that they are considering the use of these balloons in the defense of Hawaii and Panama. In so far as Hawaii is concerned, though investigations have been made in the neighborhood of Pearl Harbor, they have not set up mooring equipment, nor have they selected the troops to man them. Furthermore, there is no indication that any training for the maintenance of balloons is being undertaken. At present time there are no signs of barrage balloon equipment. In addition, it is difficult to imagine that they have actually any. However, even though they have actually made preparations, because they must control the air over the water and land runways of the airports in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor, Hickham, Ford, and Ewa, there are limits to the balloon defense of Pearl Harbor. I imagine that in all probability there is considerable opportunity left to take advantage for a surprise attack against these places. " 2. In my opinion the battleships do not have torpedo nets..."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Honolulu To: Tokyo Date: 6 Dec. 41

The following ships were observed at anchor on the 6th: 9 battleships, 3 light cruisers, 3 submarine tenders, 17 destroyers, and in addition there were 4 light cruisers, 2 destroyers lying at docks (the heavy cruisers and airplane carriers have all left). " 2. It appears that no air reconnaissance is being conducted by the fleet air arm."

From: PEARL HARBOR: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Vice Admiral Homner N. Wallin USN(Ret), Naval History Division, Washington, 1968

From: Tokyo To: Washington Date: 7 Dec. 1941

Will the Ambassador please submit to the United States Government (if possible to the Secretary of State) our reply to the United States at 1:00 p.m. on the 7th, your time.

From: THE CODEBREAKERS; The Story of Secret Writing, David Kahn, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London,1967

From: Gen. Marshall To: alcon Date: 7 Dec. 1941

Japanese are presenting at one p.m. Eastern Standard Time today what amounts to an ultimatum also they are under orders to destroy their code machine immediately Stop Just what significance the hour set may have we do not know but be on alert accordingly Stop."

From: THE CODEBREAKERS; The Story of Secret Writing, David Kahn, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London,1967

From: USS WARD To: Commandant 14th Naval District Date: 7DEC41 0654 local

We have attacked, fired upon and dropped depth charges on a submarine operating in the defensive sea area."

From: AT DAWN WE SLEPT; The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. Gordon W. Prange, Penguin Books, 1982

From: Radio Communication Station, Hawaii To: alcon Date: 7 Dec. 1942

Air raid. Pearl harbor. This is not drill."

From: AT DAWN WE SLEPT; The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. Gordon W. Prange, Penguin Books, 1982

From: Adm. Nagumo To: Pearl Harbor Attack Force Date: 7 Dec. 1941

Brilliant success was achieved for our country through the splendid efforts of you men. But we still have a great way to go. After this victory we must tighten the straps of our helmets and go onward, determined to continue our fight until the final goal has been won."

From: AT DAWN WE SLEPT; The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. Gordon W. Prange, Penguin Books, 1982


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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997
halsall@murray.fordham.edu