Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hull/Nomura negotiation in 1941

{T}he Peal Harbor attack was not just America's first official battle in World War Ⅱ but the culminating event in nearly four and a half years of diplomatic

Proposal A
Japan's plan A did not offer much.Japan promised to accept a liberal commercial world system provided it was "applied uniformly to the rest of the world as well." It was impossible to extend liberal commercialism to the entire world in the best of times, and certainly not while a war raged through Europe.p167

 甲案では、(1)日本は、通商の無差別原則が全世界に適用されるという前提の下に、太平洋全域及び中国における通商の無差別原則の適用を求めること、(2)日独伊三国同盟の解釈については、「自衛権」のみだりな拡大をしないことを明確化するとともに、従来通り日本政府独自の解釈に基づくこと、(3)撤兵問題については、中国からの撤退では華北及びモンゴルの一部と海南島に関しては日本・中国間の平和条約成立後およそ25年を目処として駐屯するが、それ以外の地では2年以内の完全撤退を目指し、仏領インドシナからは日中戦争が解決するか極東の平和が確立ししだい直ちに撤退すること、が示されました。11月5日( Japan Center for Asian Historical Records)


In proposal B,Japan promised not to make any more aggressive moves south and once peace was restored with China or a general peace in the pacific established, all troops would be pulled out of Indochina.In the meantime Japan would at once move all troops in south Indochina to the north of that country.In return, America was to sell Japan one million tons of aviation gasoline.p126


Japanese-American conflict grew out of two mutually exclusive views of world order.Japan,seeing itself as a poor nation surrounded by richer and more powerful nations,sought to gain security through the establishment of an New Order.By dominating the political and economic life of East Asia, then Greater East Asia, and ultimately Greater East Asia and the South Seas,Japanese leaders hoped to assure safe access to the markets and raw materials vitalto Japan's role as a great nation.American leaders could agree that a secure source of raw materials and markets was essential for all nations,but they flatly rejected Japan's autarchic approach.American favoured the liberal commercial world order, characterized by free trade and free investment......It was learning to live with Japan in China, but expansion farther south was intolerable.p179

Hull note

Pal's assessment
Pal asserted in his judgement at the Tokyo Trial that the "Hull" note was an American ultimatum, "Even contemporary historians could think that as for the present war, the Principality of Monaco and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg would have taken up arms against the United States on receipt of such a note as the State Department sent the Japanese government on the eve of Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor
Noam Chomsky
Excerpted from Chronicles of Dissent, 1992

QUESTION: Alexander Cockburn likes to tell the joke that the two greatest disasters that befell U.S. power in the twentieth century were the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and your birthday, both on December 7. About the Pearl Harbor attack: you have a kind of non-traditional view of the events leading up to that.
CHOMSKY: I wrote about it a long time ago, in the 1960s. What I think is not very far from what is actually in the scholarly literature. First of all, let's be clear about what happened. It's not quite the official picture. About an hour before Pearl Harbor, Japan attacked Malaya. That was a real invasion. The attack on Pearl Harbor was the colony, the military base on a colony of the United States. An act of aggression, but on the scale of atrocities, attacking the military base on the colony is not the highest rank. The big Japanese atrocities in fact had already taken place. There were plenty more to come, but the major ones, the invasion of China, the rape of Nanking, the atrocities in Manchuria, and so on, had passed. Throughout that whole period the U.S. wasn't supportive, but it didn't oppose them very much.

The big issue for the United States was: will they let us in on the exploitation of China or will they do it by themselves? Will they close it off? Will they create a closed co-prosperity sphere or an open region in which we will have free access? If the latter, the United States was not going to oppose the Japanese conquest.

There were other things going on in the background. By the 1920s, which was of course the period when Britain was still the dominant world power, Britain had found that they were unable to compete with Japanese manufacturers. Japanese textiles were outproducing Lancashire mills. As soon as that became evident, Britain dropped its fancy rhetoric about the magnificence of free trade. Nobody supports free trade unless they think they're going to win the competition. Britain hadn't supported it before it had won the industrial game, and it was now going to withdraw its support. In 1932 there was an important conference in Ottawa, still the British Empire then, remember. There was an empire conference and they basically decided in effect to close off the empire to Japanese exports. They raised the tariff 25 percent, or something absurd. This in effect closed off India, Australia and Burma and other parts of the British Empire. Meanwhile the Dutch had done the same thing. This is the 1930s. The Dutch had done the same with Indonesia, the Dutch East Indies. The United States, which was a smaller imperial power at that time, had also done the same with the Philippines and Cuba. The Japanese imperialists' story was they were being subjected to what they called A, B, C, D encirclement: America, Britain, China, which was not being penetrated properly, and the Dutch.

There was some truth to that. The Japanese idea was: they're just denying us our place in the sun. They've already conquered what they wanted, and now when we're trying to get into the act as latecomers, they're closing off their imperial systems so we can't compete with them freely. That being the case, we'll go to war.

It didn't happen like that mechanically. The invasion of Manchuria preceded the Ottawa conference, but these things were going on. There was an interaction of that sort which continued up until 1941. The Japanese were being constrained by the imperial powers. They were carrying out more aggression to create for themselves a domain that they would control. That aggression led to more retaliation from the imperial powers. Things got pretty tight.

At the end there were negotiations between the United States and Japan with Cordell Hull, [who was the U.S.] Secretary of State, and Admiral Nomura. They went on until very shortly before Pearl Harbor, and the issue was always basically the same: will Japan open up its imperial system to U.S. penetration? At the very end they actually made some kind of an offer to do that, but they insisted on a quid pro quo, namely, that the United States reciprocate. That led to a very sharp response from the Americans. They're not going to be told anything by these little yellow bastards, is what it came to. Shortly after came Pearl Harbor.

There is a complicated interaction throughout the Pacific War. Had the Japanese not been so murderous and near genocidal in their conquest of Asia, they might have had more Asian support. They did gain a lot of support in the countries that they invaded, like Indonesia. A lot of the Asian nationalists supported them. It was only when they showed themselves to be so utterly brutal that they lost most but not all of that support. They were regarded in essence as liberators, getting rid of the white man who'd been on our neck forever. So it's a complicated story.

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