The End of American Power
Trump’s Reelection Would Usher in Permanent Decline
DURING the decade and more preceding Pearl Harbor a conflict went on within the Japanese Government between a dominant group in the Army, which insisted upon plunging the country into a course of forcible expansion, and civilian and Navy leaders, who were either opposed to such a course or perceived grave risks in it. Each successive step toward the fulfillment of expansionist aims was taken on the initiative of the Army, often in defiance of constituted authority, until finally the moderates lost control of the situation altogether and an Army-dictated Cabinet under Prince Konoye came into office in July 1940. The complete story of this struggle and of the victory of the Army was revealed for the first time by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, which on November 12, 1948, completed the reading of its judgment in the trial of the 25 major Japanese war criminals, on which the Tribunal had sat for over two years. Many of the essential facts are still little known, and the full significance of the revelations seems scarcely to have been appreciated in the United States.
It is an amazing record of how a reckless, determined and ruthless military group succeeded in imposing its will upon an irresolute nation; of how that group relied upon an extraordinary abuse of power in order to gain its ends, and resorted freely to intrigue, duplicity, terrorism and assassination. It shows that the opposing majority, apprehensive lest the military, if crossed, be aroused to take extreme measures, supinely tried to placate and appease the warmakers. A review of the record suggests that the sequence of events that carried Japan inexorably one step at a time toward the fateful decision to go to war against the western Powers falls into three stages. The first reached from 1928 until February 1936, when expansionist moves were made by the Army on its own initiative without awaiting, and often in defiance of, government orders. The second was from March 1936 until September 1940, when the Japanese Government itself adopted a policy of expansion but with substantial reservations. And September 1940, when the Japanese Government decided to proceed with expansion even at the risk of war, marked the beginning of the final stage.
In 1928, General Giichi Tanaka, who had become Prime Minister the year before, announced what he termed a "positive" policy toward China. By the use of the term he probably intended to make a distinction between the course he proposed to follow and the courses of his predecessors in office during the previous seven years, when liberal influences in the Japanese Government were in the ascendant. Tanaka was far from being the sinister figure that he was supposed to have been by westerners who had accepted the so-called Tanaka Memorial for what it purported to be -- an English translation of a confidential Japanese state document, presenting for the consideration of the Throne a plan for a course of far-reaching conquest. Neither in the Tokyo trials nor previously, to the present writer's knowledge, has reliable evidence ever been produced that there ever existed a genuine original document. It is true that Tanaka favored a policy of Japanese penetration in Manchuria, but he proposed to further it through conciliating local Chinese leaders. It was in fact while he was negotiating with Marshal Chang Tso-lin that the latter was murdered by Japanese army officers, impatient over Tanaka's policies. His efforts to punish the officers responsible were resisted by the Army General Staff, which was at that time under the influence of a movement among extremists to take the Manchurian question out of the Government's hands. In the face of the opposition to the Cabinet in the General Staff and of continuing disorders in Manchuria, Tanaka resigned on July 1, 1929.
The Army extremists organized a plot for the seizure of Manchuria, which was carried out by the Army in a well-organized campaign, following a framed-up incident and a coup at Mukden on September 18, 1931. The story is so well known that it needs no recounting here; but we may note that the home government opposed the plot. Tokyo became aware of the preparations when they were in their last stages, and instructions were issued to the Army to stay action. It went ahead in defiance of these instructions. The Government, thus confronted with a fait accompli, chose to ratify the action, doubtless in the conviction that if it did not a revolt of the Army would ensue. Gradually the moderate elements in the Government managed to strengthen their position at home, but they had little success in checking the Army's activities in Manchuria and across the border in China proper, where efforts were being directed toward extending Japanese domination to the five northern provinces.
Eventually the restiveness within the Army over the efforts of the Government to curb it found expression in the outbreak of an insurrection among Army forces stationed in and near Tokyo. This was the incident of February 26, 1936, when a number of statesmen of moderate views were assassinated. Premier Okada barely escaped death and the incident precipitated the downfall of his cabinet.
The second stage in Japan's commitment to courses of expansion began with the advent of the Hirota Cabinet, which succeeded the Okada Cabinet on March 9, 1936, and which was more acceptable to the militarists than its predecessor. This stage was marked by a degree of mutual tolerance between the two opposing forces in the Japanese Government. Although the militarists abandoned neither their ultimate aims nor their initiative, they showed a greater readiness to keep within bounds of constituted authority, while the civilian and Navy leaders made material concessions to the Army standpoint. This does not imply that Japanese leaders differed on any moral issues. Japanese naval circles had for years championed the view that Japan's future lay in the south in distinction to the Army's advocacy of northward or continental expansion. The Navy had, however, a wholesome respect for the prowess of the British and the American navies, and along with the civilian leaders had a clearer perception of Japan's weaknesses and of the strength that would oppose them than did the Army with its more parochial attitude. The issue between the Army and its opponents was over questions of method and timing.
The Hirota Cabinet reached an agreement on what should be the fundamentals of national policy on August 11, 1936, when it was decided at a Five Ministers' Conference that, among other things, the efforts of "national defense" and diplomacy should be combined to acquire for the Empire a solid footing on the continent of Asia and the islands to the south, and to eradicate the Soviet menace. But it was specified that cordial relations with the Powers should be maintained, and, as regards expansion southward, that Japan should move gradually and by peaceful methods so as to avoid arousing other nations. This policy decision, be it noted, had its origin in a draft proposal drawn up jointly by the service ministers some two months earlier. The draft proposal corresponded in every material respect with the final decision, but was more bluntly worded.
The outbreak of the all-out attack on China on July 7 of the following year grew out of a minor incident near Peiping, provoked by and enlarged upon by the Japanese military. Although the Army had thus chosen the time and place of the attack, it was a natural consequence of fixed national policy calling for establishment of a solid footing on the continent. No serious effort was made by the Japanese Government to localize the hostilities, and on July 26 Prime Minister Konoye revealed to the Diet the Government's intention of achieving "the new order" in East Asia and of obtaining a fundamental solution of Sino-Japanese relations. From the outset of the hostilities there was no serious conflict within the Government on Japan's declared objectives in China, attainment of which would have reduced China to a vassal state.
During this period active efforts were made by the military party for a closer political alignment with Germany, or a military alliance, but these efforts were frustrated by the unwillingness of the Navy and of certain civilian statesmen to accept the obligation of giving Germany military aid in a war against the western Powers. The relatively innocuous and purely defensive Anti-Comintern Pact had been concluded in November 1936, and thereafter every successive Japanese representative in Berlin approached the German Government on the subject of cementing a still closer relationship. Japan's earlier overtures were directed to obtaining an instrument aimed primarily at the Soviet Union. Japan also wanted German recognition of her special position in China, and she offered in return to give Germany "especially favorable" treatment in that country. Germany was unwilling to settle for less than an instrument that included provision for mutual assistance in the event of an unprovoked attack upon one of the signatories, and, being dissatisfied over the systematic discrimination to which German interests in China were being subjected at the hands of the Japanese authorities there, wanted more explicit and formal commitments with regard to commercial privileges than Japan was prepared to give. Consequently, nothing came of the first Japanese efforts.
In May 1939, Hiranuma, who had become Prime Minister, took a fresh initiative toward Germany with a declaration in the form of a personal message to Hitler, expressing a desire for an agreement to strengthen the Anti-Comintern Pact. This offer was coldly received by the Germans because of a reservation made by Hiranuma that Japan was unable at that time or in the near future to extend to the Axis Powers any effective military aid. He did, however, promise that Japan would gladly support them in that way if a change of circumstances made it possible. General Oshima, the Japanese Ambassador at Berlin, an Army appointee, was asked by von Ribbentrop whether, in the event that Germany and Italy went to war with another nation, Japan could be considered at war with that nation even though she could not provide any military aid. Oshima replied in the affirmative, without referring the question to Tokyo. About the same time, a new proposal for an alliance that came before the Japanese Government, purportedly emanating from the German Foreign Office, turned out to have originated in the Japanese General Staff. The Foreign Minister objected to Oshima's having exceeded his authority and to the sharp practice resorted to by the Army, but no backing was forthcoming from Hiranuma, who took the part of the military.
From this point on Hiranuma began to lose control of the situation. His stand was displeasing alike to the opponents and to the proponents of the alliance. While favoring an alliance, he clung to his reservation. When the German Government pressed Oshima in Berlin and the War Ministry in Tokyo for a quick decision, the War Minister, Itagaki, in his zeal to get the alliance sanctioned, falsely represented to the Emperor that the Foreign Minister had come around to supporting the proposal. The Emperor learned of Itagaki's duplicity and taxed him with it. Itagaki then realized that he could make no headway so long as the project was opposed by the Foreign Minister, the Navy Minister and the Emperor. He talked of resigning but was persuaded by the Home Minister to make one more effort to prevail upon the Cabinet. The Cabinet met on August 8, but was still unwilling to go as far as the Germans required. Itagaki then planned to have the Japanese Ambassadors at Berlin and Rome act under his instructions and to keep the Foreign Minister out of the matter until the Cabinet could be confronted with a negotiated agreement that could be represented as being within the framework of what had been only a tentative decision by the Cabinet. Before Itagaki's plan could be carried out, the conclusion of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was announced on August 23. This was a mortal blow to the Hiranuma Cabinet, for its thesis for a German alliance had rested on the idea of securing an ally against Russia. In its dying gasps the Cabinet instructed Oshima to protest Germany's action as a violation of secret clauses of the Anti-Comintern Pact. Oshima was slow to act, but he finally delivered the protest in such a manner that it could be accepted informally as a matter of information.
The succeeding Cabinet under General Abe sought to reorient policy toward better relations with the Anglo-Saxon Powers, but as Japan still adhered to her fixed policy of aggression the attempt failed. The Cabinet lasted only four months. Admiral Yonai, who had been Navy Minister in the two preceding ministries, now took the helm, but found it hard to steer between conflicting national and group interests. The morass into which the Japanese had got themselves in China had a good deal of effect on their domestic policies and their international relations. Japanese leaders saw in the preoccupation of the European Powers in the war a golden opportunity to realize their dreams of empire in the south, and were fearful lest if they failed to act promptly they would be forestalled by a victorious Germany marching eastward. To gain freedom of action for the southern venture the speeding up of the conquest of China was imperative, and this called for cutting off the National Government of China from American and British aid. The United States and Great Britain (which also stood in the way of an advance southward) now took the place of the Soviet Union as the chief Japanese enemies. Although Yonai was still averse to Japan's becoming involved in the European war, his objections to the alliance with Germany on that ground were harder to sustain in the face of mounting anti-American and anti-British public sentiment. Moreover, he found it difficult to combat the argument that the alliance would make secure Japan's rear against Russia, cow the United States into noninterference in the Far East, and enable Japan to obtain German scientific and engineering aid.
These considerations brought about a change in the Cabinet's attitude. The Foreign Minister, Arita, opposed as he had been to the Army's proposals, came out with an announcement of a more forward policy. The Army, which was already committed to the overthrow of the Yonai Cabinet, interpreted the announcement as an effort to retain power by attempting to gain public support at the Army's expense. It charged the Cabinet with reversing policy, and forced Arita to modify the original text of his statement. When, on the following day, the chief of the Foreign Ministry's Press Bureau disclosed the original text of the announcement and the fact that the Army had forced its alteration, the press chief was arrested and subjected to questioning by the military police. A plot was hatched to assassinate Premier Yonai and other opponents of the military faction, but it miscarried and the plotters were arrested. This incident shows clearly that the issues between the contending factions were not on question of principle but of method.
The incident failed to daunt the Cabinet in its effort to prolong its life by seeking to consummate an entente with Germany. A special emissary, Naotake Sato, a former Foreign Minister, was sent to Berlin to make a fresh approach to the German Government. He pointed out to von Ribbentrop, among other things, that for three years Japan had served Germany by diverting British and American attention to the Orient; that the threat of Japanese action had kept the American fleet in the Pacific; and that it was Japan's policy to contain the United States in the western hemisphere. Sato explained, however, that Japan could not afford to provoke the United States too far, and that avoidance of war with America was to the best interests of both Germany and Japan. The Japanese emissary dwelt upon the desirability of economic coöperation between the two countries, and proposed that Japan be host to Germany in dispensing economic privileges in China.
Von Ribbentrop, who had been given the cue that a change in cabinets in Japan more favorable to Germany was impending, made a discouraging and noncommittal reply. He instructed the German Ambassador in Tokyo, however, that the Japanese proposals were quite welcome to Germany, which no longer required military help in Europe but desired above all the continued neutrality of the United States. The Ambassador passed the information on to the Japanese military group, which forthwith set in motion the wheels for toppling over the Cabinet. Since the positions of the two Japanese service ministers could be held only by a general officer and a flag officer respectively, all that needed to be done was to cause the War Minister to resign and then withhold the nomination of a successor. This the Army did. The Yonai Cabinet fell July 16, 1940, and Konoye came into office for a second time. The way was now prepared for the alliance.
Although the new Cabinet had strong pro-German leanings, there were still obstacles ahead, chiefly the opposition of the Navy and of the Emperor. Nevertheless, the new Foreign Minister, Matsuoka, entered into negotiations with the German emissary, Stahmer, who had come to Tokyo for that purpose. Stahmer made it clear that Germany desired to end the European war quickly, that she did not for the moment require Japanese military assistance, but that she did want Japan to restrain the United States. He said that Germany and Italy would help provide Japan with equipment. He assured Matsuoka that Germany respected Japan's leadership in eastern Asia and that all German interests there were in the economic field; and he promised to assist in bringing about a rapprochement between Japan and the Soviet Union. Though the European war might end quickly, Stahmer declared, there was destined to develop a struggle for world supremacy against the whole Anglo-Saxon world, and in the long run war between Japan and the United States could hardly be avoided. He said that he envisioned the alliance as a long-term arrangement for coöperation in the coming struggle, and that he therefore desired its consummation before the war with Great Britain was ended.
Stahmer and Matsuoka drew up a draft of a treaty, which was laid before the Privy Council on September 16, 1940. The Navy held back its approval until some days later. The Cabinet still had to obtain the sanction of the Emperor, who strongly relied upon the advice of Prince Saionji, the last surviving elder statesman and a bitter opponent of the alliance. Kido, who, as Lord Privy Seal, was charged with keeping the aged and ailing Saionji informed of the negotiations, failed to do so, and the old statesman was left completely in the dark on what was going on. In this way the Emperor's sanction was obtained, and the Tripartite Alliance was signed on September 27, 1940. Saionji upon learning what had been done was sorely aggrieved and felt that the Emperor had been betrayed.
The conclusion of the Tripartite Alliance marked Japan's transit from the second to the final stage of a course of unreserved expansion, and war with the western Powers, if necessary. The plans for action as drawn up by the Foreign Office and approved by the Cabinet early in October called for: 1, the early successful settlement of the China affair; 2, the negotiation of a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union; 3, the incorporation of the countries of Southeast Asia and the islands of the Malay Archipelago in the so-called "Co-Prosperity Sphere" (i.e. the establishment of domination or control there). At a Four Ministers' Conference held on September 4, even India, Australia and New Zealand had been marked for inclusion in Japan's sphere of influence.
All possibility of a settlement with Chiang Kai-shek was destroyed by the conclusion two months later by Japan of a "treaty" with the puppet régime of Wang Ching-wei at Nanking. And in April of the following year a neutrality pact, rather than a nonaggression pact, was concluded with the Soviet Union.
For the realization of the expanded Co-Prosperity Sphere two plans were worked out, to be pursued along parallel lines or alternatively, according to exigencies. One plan called for reliance upon "diplomacy" (if that term can be rightfully applied to the tactics of chicanery and intimidation contemplated and attempted), and the other upon military action. Each of the two plans focused upon Singapore and the Philippines, presumably because it was believed that the rest of the area coveted would fall like a ripe plum into Japan's hands. The diplomatic plan, fantastic as it may sound, was to make an offer to Great Britain to mediate the European conflict in return for British recognition of the Co-Prosperity Sphere (including surrender of Singapore), and to propose to the United States that Japan would recognize Philippine independence in return for United States recognition of the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Japan intended to occupy Singapore and Malaya in any case, along with the Netherlands Indies, but not the Philippines or Guam unless war broke out with the United States.
The military plan for taking Singapore contemplated first the securing of advance bases in Indo-China and Siam by means of concluding protective treaties with those countries. The next step would await a settlement in China or a German invasion of Britain -- whichever occurred first -- or, failing either, some substantial German military successes. In January 1941, Japanese and German military experts agreed that attack on Singapore should follow occupation of Saigon and a landing on the Malay peninsula. Aerial photography was undertaken in the latter area to collect data for a landing. Military currency was printed for use in the countries along the line of advance. On February 10, 1941, Matsuoka informed the German Ambassador that an attack on Singapore had been planned; three days later he instructed the Japanese Ambassador at London to inform Foreign Minister Eden that a report communicated to him by the British Ambassador at Tokyo of impending Japanese action was a ridiculous fantasy. On February 22, the Japanese Ambassador at Berlin told von Ribbentrop that preparation for attack on Singapore would be completed by May, and that for safety's sake preparations had also been made for war against the United States and Great Britain.
The preparations for war against the United States envisaged a plan for the destruction of the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese relied on seizing all points in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans before the United States could prepare a counterattack. They expected that the United States would weary of a prolonged war and negotiate a peace settlement on the basis of recognition of Japanese supremacy in the territories that had been seized. In January 1941, the Commander of the Combined Fleets approved and transmitted to Imperial General Headquarters a plan for a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor while the two countries were at peace. In late May the Japanese Navy began training for the attack, and dive-bombing was practised at Kagoshima.
By June 1941, Japan had received a number of setbacks to her hope of achieving southward expansion through diplomacy. A settlement in China had failed to materialize. Negotiations with the Dutch to obtain large quantities of oil and other materials from the East Indies had broken down, and Japan's reserves of war supplies were in danger of depletion. Germany had failed to invade Britain, and the British had rebuffed a Japanese approach looking to the mediation of the European conflict. Although the United States had expressed a willingness to explore the possibilities of a comprehensive Pacific settlement for which the Japanese had asked, Secretary Hull had made it clear that this Government would not enter into any agreement that disregarded the rights and interests of other countries. This meant that there was little hope that the United States would recognize the program of annexations politely called the Co-Prosperity Sphere.
These discouragements failed to divert Japan from her fixed purposes. When Germany attacked Russia on June 22, some Japanese leaders proposed postponing the southern project in favor of an onset on the Russian Far East, but they were overruled at an Imperial Conference on July 2. Here it was decided to continue diplomatic negotiations while completing final preparations for military action. The troops that later made landings in Malaya and the Philippines began practising along the China coast and in Hainan and Formosa. Attention was devoted to experimenting with and perfecting a shallow water torpedo, and refueling at sea was practised so that the more secluded northern route could be used for sneaking up on Pearl Harbor.
Japan's occupation of southern Indo-China was declared by Japan's Foreign Minister on July 26 to be for the purpose of winding up the China affair. He alleged that Japan had reports of an intended encirclement of Indo-China that would interfere with that purpose. The Tribunal found no evidence of any such intended encirclement, but did find conclusive evidence that Japan's reason for advancing into southern Indo-China was to secure bases for attacking Singapore and the Netherlands Indies. Such bases would also threaten the Philippines. The conclusion coincides with that reached at the time by the United States Government, prompting it to freeze Japanese assets on July 26. In a memorandum of the Department of State of May 19, 1942,[i] it was explained that "by this further expansion in southern Indo-China Japan virtually completed the encirclement of the Philippine Islands and placed its armed forces within striking distance of vital trade routes. This constituted an overt act directly menacing the security of the United States and other Powers that were at peace with Japan. It created a situation in which the risk of war became so great that the United States and other countries concerned were confronted no longer with the question of avoiding such risk but from then on with the problem of preventing a complete undermining of their security. . . . . Under those circumstances and in the light of those considerations, the Government of the United States decided at that point, as did certain other governments especially concerned, that discontinuance of trade with Japan had become an appropriate, warranted and necessary step -- as an open warning to Japan and as a measure of self-defense." The British and Netherlands Governments also froze Japanese assets.
On September 6 the Imperial Conference decided that Japan should endeavor to gain acceptance of certain "minimum" demands incidental to achieving the purpose of southern expansion through negotiations with the United States and Great Britain, and, in the event of the failure of the negotiations by October, a decision on the opening of hostilities should be made. Japan's "minimum" demands were as follows:
(1) Noninterference with Japan's efforts to settle the China affair, including discontinuance of assistance to Chiang Kaishek and the closing of the Burma Road.
(2) Abstention from action in the Far East to threaten Japan's national defense, from establishing any military "interests" in Siam, China, the Netherlands Indies and the Soviet Far East, from strengthening armaments in the Far East; and the recognition of Japan's special relationship with Indo-China.
(3) Coöperation with Japan in obtaining supplies of materials and the restoration of commercial relations.
In return, Japan would engage to make no military advance beyond Indo-China except toward China, to withdraw her troops from Indo-China after an equitable peace had been effected with China, and to guarantee the neutrality of the Philippines.
This proposed basis of a settlement, with minor variations, formed the essence of the terms put forward by Japan to the United States on successive occasions, including the final set of terms delivered on November 20, which the Japanese Foreign Minister described in his instructions to Ambassador Nomura as an "ultimatum." They called upon the United States and Great Britain to abandon China to Japan, and provide Japan with the materials for a Japanese advance into American, British and Dutch territories in the Far East. The reciprocal commitments that Japan offered to make, even if the Japanese Government had been one that could be trusted, were valueless, since Japan proposed to determine unilaterally what constituted an "equitable" peace with China and expected British and American recognition of Japan's "special relationship" with Indo-China. With such American, British and Dutch demilitarization in the Far East as Japan demanded, there would have been no need of moving Japanese troops beyond Indo-China. Acceptance of the Japanese demands would have meant that Japan gained all that she sought without fighting.
When the Japanese Government received the American Government's communication of October 2, which made clear that Japan's proposed basis for an agreement was unacceptable, the question of opening hostilities was again discussed; at the Imperial Conference of September 6 it had been decided that this question would be settled early in October. The Navy had misgivings as to whether it could carry out the mission that would fall to it without more oil than it had. Despite the strong insistence of War Minister Tojo upon making a definitive decision for war, Konoye was unwilling to assume this responsibility until the Navy considered itself better prepared, and he tendered the resignation of his Cabinet on October 16.
Two days later Tojo was installed as Prime Minister with a new Cabinet. The final preparations for attacks upon Pearl Harbor, Singapore and other American, British and Dutch possessions in the Far East were completed by November 1. At an Imperial Conference on November 5 it was decided that if by the 25th (later extended to the 29th) of the month the United States had not accepted the Japanese terms the Japanese Government would inform its allies that a decision had been reached to open hostilities with Great Britain and the United States. Nothing was said of a negotiated settlement. On the same day there was issued a Combined Fleet Operation Order, which began as follows:
The Empire is expecting war to break out with the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands. When the decision is made to complete over-all preparations for operations, orders will be issued establishing the approximate date (Y-Day) for commencement of operations and announcing "First Preparations for War."
The order then continued with instructions that upon the announcement of Y-Day all fleets and forces, without further special orders, would organize and complete battle preparations, and when directed by their commanding officers would proceed to their rendezvous and wait in readiness for the attack. The order went on to say:
The time for outbreak of war (X-Day) will be given in an Imperial General Headquarters Order. This order will be given in advance. After 0000 hours, X-Day, a state of war will exist. Each force will commence operations according to plan.
On November 10, Vice-Admiral Nagumo, who was to command the carrier task force in its attack upon Pearl Harbor, issued his order to the task force to rendezvous in the Kurile Islands. The order directed all ships of the task force to complete battle preparations by November 20 and proceed to the rendezvous under strict security regulations. Combined Fleet Operations Order No. 3 of the same day fixed December 8 (Japan time) as X-Day. That was the day when after 0000 hours a state of war would exist. On November 22 orders were issued to the Japanese task force in the Kuriles to proceed to Lat. 40 N. and Long. 170 W. so as to arrive there on December 3. Accordingly on the morning of November 26 the task force moved out on its mission.
It seems quite clear from the facts brought out in the trial and judgment of the Tribunal that at no time during the period after Japan's occupation of Manchuria would it have been possible to have brought Japan to abandon her policy of territorial and political expansion through measures short of the application of superior force. After 1932, Japan was determined to hold her grip on Manchuria. After 1937, it became Japan's fixed policy to subjugate all the rest of China as well, and, after 1940, to dominate the whole of the Far East and the western Pacific region. It is also abundantly clear that after the summer of 1941 Japan's leaders, with their reserves of oil running lower and with the golden opportunity to realize the dreams of a rich empire slipping by, would brook no delay, and that the United States could not have gained more time by further exploration of the issues and the possibilities. The Japanese were not offering to negotiate a reasonable settlement by processes of agreement; they were presenting demands, to be accepted or rejected. The United States had only two choices: either to yield to the Japanese demands and sacrifice principles and security, or to decline to yield and take the consequences.
[i] "Foreign Relations of the United States: Japan, 1931-1941," Vol. II, p. 342.