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Hull's apartment or, by means of secret access, in the White House with the President himself. During , several members of the United States cryptanalytic organization began preparing a highly classified history of these critical United States-Japanese negotiations. They placed in juxtaposition an account of the talks from Mr.
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Hull's memoirs and the Japanese diplomatic messages available to the United States which were pertinent to those negotiations. The information so arranged became Part A of each of the five volumes in the series.
Parts B and C contained dispatches dealing with Japanese espionage activities in the Western hemisphere and Japanese diplomatic relations world-wide, respectively. Included in the appendix to each volume were the actual translated Japanese messages which had been used as the basis for that particular narrative section.
The compilers of this historical account completed the five volumes in In , the Joint Congressional Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack used some of these translations, especially those of late , as unclassified exhibits.
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A few explanations for the reader are in order. Occasionally in the text of a given translation a series of dashes will occur. These blank spaces indicate that a portion of the original encrypted text was not intercepted, was garbled, or could not be decrypted. The date when each decrypted message was translated, e. The Japanese diplomats of exchanged a large number of messages, and senior United States officials probably could not have read all these messages in their entirety. Which messages were actually seen by them and which were not are questions beyond the scope of this study.
The date shown at the top right of the translation, it is important to note, is always the date assigned by the originator of the message. The time in hours and minutes is not available. An understanding of the world's time zones is essential, particularly for the period just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Technical problems account for the differences which occur between the "day of origin" and "the day translated. From time to time references are made to "Kana".
Kana refers to the system of notation for representing the Japanese language in terms of sounds rather than in written ideographs. This system consists of approximately fifty syllables: a, i, u, e, o, ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, etc.
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There is a symbol for each that may be used in written form. When the United States translator could not be certain of the name place or person he indicates this fact in a footnote as "Kana spelling. The Department of Defense reviewed the original series of volumes for declassification and reissue in unclassified form.
In this process the reviewers located many additional pertinent Japanese messages. They either integrated them at the appropriate places in the appendices or included them in the last volume of the series. Necessarily, there has been editing, cross-checking, clarification and supplementation. These five volumes, The "MAGIC" Background of Pearl Harbor , should best be viewed as a compilation of historical source materials—many of which have not been disclosed to the public before—and not necessarily as a definitive history of that tumultuous period.
In the process of declassifying and re-publishing the original version of The "MAGIC" Background of Pearl Harbor , efforts were made to preserve as much of the original publication as possible. The original style and format remain the same. Spellings of personal and place names are those of that period, except where some misunderstanding might arise.
The text and decrypted messages still reflect the strong emotions of a nation at war. References to the enemy, now considered perhaps dated and quaint, were not always the most flattering. These references remain intact. Identifications of individuals are those given in the original.
The re-published version respects the rights of privacy of individuals, business firms and so on. From time-to-time the footnote, "DoD Comment: Name withheld" will be seen. The original translations, decrypted by U. In accordance with editorial practices of that time, these footnotes were placed at the end of the translation, regardless of the number of pages. Both the original versions and the declassified re-publication continue that editorial practice.
Most of the technical processing details and symbols have been deleted. Such information, it is believed, would not only be superfluous and confusing to the reader, but would be of no historical value. Each of the first four volumes covers a particular period.follow link
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Volume V contains supplementary and explanatory material, including an Index to all the volumes. The recent publication of State Department documents relating to the informal conversations in between Secretary of State Hull and the Japanese Ambassador, Admiral Nomura, has made it possible to review the story of their fateful meetings, which took place just before the outbreak of the American-Japanese War. The eventual failure of these discussions to achieve their purpose has changed in no way the significance of their contents.
The Hull-Nomura conversations will acquire a still greater significance in the future when historians of the American-Japanese war begin to investigate the period immediately preceding the catastrophe of Pearl Harbor. It should be pointed out here that United States naval and military authorities had a full appreciation of the value of these informal discussions while they were still in progress.
For this reason, cryptanalysts of the United States devoted their attention to diplomatic dispatches emanating from the Japanese Embassy in Washington, and since they successfully deciphered many of these messages, it was possible to obtain a well-detailed picture of the Japanese viewpoint. This intelligence was made available to the proper authorities of the State Department all during the year of , and was undoubtedly of great value to those charged with estimating the trend of future events.
For the sake of those high authorities of the United States who need to know, it has been decided to combine in the same volumes both the evidence made available to the public in the State Department documents and the intelligence resulting from the decryption of secret dispatches in which Ambassador Nomura reported the results of each conversation with Secretary Hull. The present volumes are unusual in that they have been written within a few years of the events described, though derived from sources which are usually concealed for generations.
Rarely is the opportunity given to scan the confidential records of rival diplomats as is possible in this instance. Hereafter this volume will be referred to as S. The year was important for many reasons. World War II had been in progress for more than a year, and the Axis nations, Germany, Italy and Japan, had bound themselves to a strict military alliance which had its formal beginnings in the Tripartite Pact of Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka's New Year message for had stressed the Japanese-Axis "New Order" aims, and though Premier Fumimaro Konoye's message had been more conciliatory in that it urged cooperation with the United States, his warning to the Japanese people to prepare for international pressure was also ominous.
The United States was anxiously watching both the European scene and the activities of Japan in Asia, for there were grave fears that in the near future it would be necessary to enter the struggle against the Axis. Twelve hundred United States citizens were reported ready to leave Japan if a crisis occurred, 3 and emergency conferences were being held by Japanese national leaders prior to a session of Parliament in which Cabinet policies were to be explained by Premier Konoye, War Minister Hideki Tojo, and Navy Minister Admiral Koshiro Oikawa.
There were many signs of the approaching storm. Times , Jan. Navy Vice Minister Toyoda attempted at this time to calm public opinion by stating that the Japanese Navy was not menaced by the Pacific power of the United States, but the Nichi Nichi of Tokyo strengthened the positions of Japanese extremists by assuring its readers that Japan could destroy Singapore and Guam with a single blow. Thousands of miles away across the Pacific, China had been at war for several years.
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The lack of supplies, and the threat of inflation were robbing the Chinese of some of the tremendous vitality which had permitted them to oppose Japan for so long despite the loss of most of their industrial centers and communication facilities. Though many Japanese were anxious to avoid entrance into the European war and were desirous only of profiting from wartime trade, a strong group of nationalistic militarists were determined to win a dominant place in Asia for Japanese interests, even if it meant conflict with the United States.
Yet the official Japanese government was publicizing its desire to end the war in China and to isolate the war in Europe.
Despite these allegations of friendship, many sources of friction existed between Japan and the United States. While the troops of Chiang Kai-Shek were making the Japanese invasion of their homeland very costly, American aid to China was growing in volume. At the end of , fifty million dollars was loaned to China by the Export-Import Bank in Washington, and a second loan of equal magnitude was contemplated for Another irritant affecting the Japanese was the gradual tightening of export control by the United States on such war materiel as iron and steel.
The tremendous problem of supplying materials of war to Great Britain, to the Near East and to Mediterranean battle fields, as well as to Russia and to South American countries cooperating with the "Good Neighbor" plan, emphasized the difficulties of sending adequate equipment to the Pacific nations which had determined to resist both the economic and military aggressions of the Japanese.
Australia and New Zealand were very conscious of the potential danger to their national existence, and British and Dutch authorities were concerned over the future fate of the Netherlands, British Malaya, Burma and India. It was apparent that most of the burden would fall upon the United States, if trouble broke out in the Pacific, since the British were faced with the major responsibility of waging war in the Atlantic Ocean and in Europe.
There seemed to be little hope of expecting aid from any other source. Although China, Australia and New Zealand could supply splendid fighting men, who were the equal of any infantry in the world, most of their equipment would have to be furnished by American industry. Russia, at this time, was still neutral, having entered into a non-aggression pact as well as into close economic relations with Germany. Despite this seeming friendship, it was suspected that the age-old enmity of Germans and Russians still continued beneath the surface. Accordingly, the government of the United States was not surprised to learn early in that Germany planned to attack Russia.
Russia was informed confidentially. It will be remembered that there were many internal problems confronting the United States at the beginning of Domestic problems such as labor disputes, the controversy between the isolationists and interventionists, and the necessity of stimulating production to meet the wartime needs of many friendly nations throughout the world—all these had to be solved. But now the feeling that national security was more important than any domestic problem began to emerge.
The dangerous predicament of England in Europe and the overweening ambitions of Japan in Asia made a two-fold problem which could not be solved by wishful thinking. There appeared to be little hope of preserving England as a fortress of democracy without giving her tremendous support, even if this meant eventually coming into the war at her side. It seemed the better part of wisdom, therefore, to eliminate the danger of war in the Pacific, if it were at all possible, so that the full strength of the nation could be concentrated against one foe.
It was probably in the light of this that the American government decided to honor an informal suggestion from private individuals that the Japanese government be given an opportunity to discuss a change in its policy concerning the Far East. It was thought that if an equitable agreement could be reached with the United States, the moderate elements in Japan might be able to control the extreme militarists.
This agreement would naturally be based on an understanding which would provide security for Japan, but which, it was hoped, would disassociate it from its two Axis partners.
Yet, despite the wishes of sincere individuals in both countries to bring about a peaceful settlement of American-Japanese problems, it was evident that the heart of the controversy was the China question. Secretary Hull represented the complete accord of the American government in insisting that the rights of China should not be violated by any aggressor.
If Japan would not agree to terms which would permit the maintenance of the "Open Door" in China, with Japan receiving the same privileges in the rest of the Far East, the discussions would fail. Furthermore, despite the prevailing opinion that the Japanese people were weary of war with China, and that most of them were anxious to have moderate elements controlling their nation's destiny, it was obvious that any program emerging from Japan would have to be scrutinized carefully.