Oral Statement on Indochina and the Oil Embargo Handed by the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) To the Secretary of State on August 6, 1941


The purport and nature of the measures taken by the Japanese Government in effecting a joint defense of French Indo-China has already been explained by the Japanese Foreign Minister to the United States Ambassador in Tokio as well as by myself to the President and the Acting Secretary of State. To summarize, the measures are of entirely peaceful character and for self-defense, and an intervention by any third Power would be wholly unwarranted. They were absolutely necessary in order to prevent from getting beyond control the Japanese public opinion which had been dangerously aroused because of the successive measures taken by the United States, Great Britain and Netherlands East Indies against Japan, and consequently in order to preserve peace in the Pacific.

As the United States Government has nevertheless manifested certain anxiety over the situation in regard to French Indo-China, the Japanese Government, with a view to dispelling any such misgiving, has instructed me to transmit a proposal and to enter into negotiations in strict confidence and on an "off record" basis. The proposal is intended to serve as a reply in a way to the suggestion made by the President on July 24 during his conversation with me, and to provide a fresh basis for Japanese-American understanding on which informal conversations have been carried on during the past months. I have to add that any accord of views which may result from. the present negotiations is to be incorporated in the general formula for the adjustment of the relations between our two countries.

At all events, the Japanese Government is convinced that it is more than ever necessary to examine calmly and with a spirit of understanding toward the standpoint of each other the diverse causes which have been responsible for the strained relations between Japan and the United States, and to endeavor for the removal and alleviation of such causes and conditions as will upset the military, political and economic equilibrium that should normally exist between the two countries. The Japanese Government believes that its views in this respect are fully shared by the Government of the United States.

[WASHINGTON,] August 6, 1941.

[Annex]

PROPOSAL BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT HANDED BY THE JAPANESE AMBASSADOR (NOMURA) TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE ON AUGUST 6, 1941

I. The Japanese Government undertakes:-

(A) that, in order to remove such causes as might constitute a menace of a military character to the United States, it will not further station its troops in the Southwestern Pacific areas except French Indo-China and that the Japanese troops now stationed in French Indo-China will be withdrawn forthwith on the settlement of the China Incident, and
(B) that, in order to remove such causes as might constitute a menace of political and military character to the Philippine Islands, the Japanese Government will guarantee the neutrality of the islands at an opportune time on the condition that Japan and the Japanese subjects will not be placed in any discriminatory positions as compared with other countries and their nationals including the United States and its nationals, and
(C) that, in order to remove such causes as might be responsible for the instability of the economic relations between Japan and the United States, [65] the Japanese Government will cooperate with the Government of the United States in the production and procurement of such natural resources as are required by the United States.

II. The Government of the United States undertakes:-

(A) that, in order to remove such causes as might constitute a direct menace of military character to Japan or to her international communications, the Government of the United States will suspend its military measures in the Southwestern Pacific areas, and also that, upon a successful conclusion of the present conversations, it will advise the Governments of Great Britain and of the Netherlands to take similar steps, and
(B) that, in order to remove such causes as might be responsible for military, political and economic friction between Japan and the United States, the Government of the United States will cooperate with the Japanese Government in the production and procurement of natural resources as are required by Japan in the Southwestern Pacific areas, especially in the Netherlands East Indies, and
(C) that, in conjunction with the measures as set forth in (B) above, the Government of the United States will take steps necessary for restoring the normal relations of trade and commerce which have hitherto existed between Japan and the United States, and
(D) that, in view of the undertaking by the Japanese Government as set forth in I. (A) above, the Government of the United States will use its good offices for the initiation of direct negotiations between the Japanese Government and the Chiang Kai-shek regime for the purpose of a speedy settlement of the China Incident, and that the Government of the United States will recognise a special status of Japan in French Indo-China even after the withdrawal of Japanese troops from that area.

[WASHINGTON,] August 6, 1941.


[65] On August 7, 1941 the Japanese Embassy requested that a correction be made at this point by the insertion of three words, omitted through a typographical error, as follows: "in East Asia".

Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943), pp. 705-706


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