October 14, 1941
: Washington (Nomura) to Tokyo:
I had an interview with Rear Admiral TURNER. If I sum up what he told me, it is this: What the United States wants is not just a pretense but a definite promise. Should a conference of the two governments be held without a definite preliminary agreement, and should, in the meantime, an advance be made into Siberia, the President would be placed in a terrible predicament. Japan speaks of peace in the Pacific and talks as if she can decide matters independently, and so it would seem to me that Japan could set aside most of her obligations toward the Three-Power Alliance. As to the question of withdrawing or stationing troops, since it is impossible to withdraw troops all at once, it would seem that a detailed agreement could be arranged between China and Japan for a gradual withdrawal. He speculates on the various difficulties which Japan had to face internally. It seems that this opinion of his has also been given to the Secretary of State. He said that should the Russo-German war suddenly end and should Germany offer Great Britain peace, it would after all be a German peace and England would not accept it. Now, this man is a responsible fellow in an important position and I take it that this is the view of the Navy.
On the other hand, HOOVER and his considerable following consider that should Moscow make a separate peace with Berlin and should Berlin then turn to London with generous peace terms, this whole fray would end with unimaginable quickness. CASTLE (former US Ambassador to Japan) told me that HUGH GIBSON feels the same way and that Japan, too, should be on the alert for this possibility. This, however, I take to be a minority view entertained by the Isolationists. MOORE (American legal adviser to the Japanese Embassy in Washington) reports that Secretary HULL told Senator THOMAS that he is proceeding patiently with the Japanese-American negotiations, but he hopes that Japan will not mistake this for a sign of weakness on America’s part, and that no answer has arrived to the memos of October 2. KIPLINGER (A Washington newspaper correspondent) reports that there is a very good basis for rumors of a cessation of hostilities between Russia and Germany and that the chances for war between Japan and the United States are fifty-fifty. (Costello II)