The misunderstandings that led to attacks on Pearl Harbor

21st March 2003 at 00:00
What Cordell Hull read

This proposal is our revised ultimatum.

Should the American authorities question you in regard to the suitable period (for keeping Japanese troops in China), answer vaguely that such a period should encompass 25 years.

We have hitherto couched our answers in vague terms. I want you in as indecisive yet as pleasant language as possible to euphemise and try to impart to them to the effect that unlimited occupation (of China) does not mean perpetual occupation.

In view of the fact that the United States is so much opposed to our stationing soldiers in undefined area (of China) our purpose is to shift the regions of occupation and our officials, thus attempting to dispel their suspicions...

Well, the relations between Japan and the United States have reached the edge, and our people are losing confidence in the possibility of ever adjusting them.

What the Japanese wrote.

This is our proposal setting forth what are virtually our final concessions.

In case the United States inquires into the length of the necessary duration, reply is to be made to the effect that the approximate goal is 25 years.

You are directed to abide at this moment by the abstract term "necessary duration" and to make efforts to impress the United States with the fact that the troops are not to be stationed either permanently or for any definite period chinal.

In view of the strong American opposition to the stationing for an indefinite period, it is proposed to dismiss her suspicion by defining the area and duration of the stationing...

night to adjust Japanese relations which are on the verse of rupture.

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