105 Mr F. K. Officer, Charge' d'Affaires in Japan, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 495 [1] TOKYO, 7 November 1941, 8.50 p.m.

SECRET

In my telegram No. 493 [2] I referred to the deterioration of the tone of the Press. Although slightly less tense today this is still bad. Belief here is that this is not promoted by the Government but represents the opinion of such public who have an opinion, admittedly a minority. On the other hand it is not being taken too seriously as equally fierce attacks have been seen before. Despatch of Mr. Kurusu to Washington [3] is no doubt one of the further efforts that Mr. Nishi [4] referred to (vide my telegram 493), but situation is undoubtedly grave. I have had discussions with those best qualified to judge. Their appreciation (following that in my telegram 486 [5]) is that effect of stiff attitude of United Kingdom and U.S.A. Governments during the last year, coupled with miscalculation as to Germany's success and Germany's policy, has been to persuade the Japanese Government to try to reach a settlement. But it would be most unwise to believe that if they fail to reach a settlement further economic pressure will deter them from going to war.

On the contrary they are in a desperate mood and will face war rather than sacrifice through lack of essential commodities what they believe to be their 'legitimate' aims; for example, China settlement and co-prosperity sphere. Accordingly if the conversations fail we must be prepared for Japanese moves to some sources of materials such as oil even at the risk of war. Real crisis may come with conclusion of the Diet session about November 20th.

OFFICER

1 Repeated to the Legation in Washington as no. 54 and to the High Commission in London as no. 64.

2 Dispatched 5 November. On file AA : A981, Japan 185B, ii.

3 As Japanese special envoy to the United States.

4 Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs.

5 Document 94.

[AA : A981, JAPAN 185B, ii]