I-P: Papers Illuminate Pearl Harbor Attack

R. A. Hettinga rahettinga at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 6 11:33:45 EST 2001

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Status:  U
From: "Arnell" <Arnell at logicsouth.com>
To: <ignition-point at theveryfew.net>
Subject: I-P: Papers Illuminate Pearl Harbor Attack
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 09:12:58 -0500
Sender: owner-ignition-point at theveryfew.net
Reply-To: "Arnell" <Arnell at logicsouth.com>


DECEMBER 05, 19:33 ET
Papers Illuminate Pearl Harbor Attack

Associated Press Writer

KOBE, Japan (AP) - Japan may have attacked Pearl Harbor because decoded U.S.
cables did not prepare its leaders for American demands that the imperial
army withdraw from China and Southeast Asia, a Japanese scholar said

Previously classified Foreign Ministry documents reveal a turning point that
may have persuaded doves in the Japanese government that war with the United
States was necessary, Kobe University law professor Toshihiro Minohara said.

``The discovery will probably help reevaluate the history of this period,''
Minohara told The Associated Press before announcing his findings.

That turning point came in November 1941, just weeks before the Dec. 7
attack that killed 2,390 and plunged America into World War II.

Japan and the United States had been at odds for years over the imperial
army's march through Asia. On Nov. 22, 1941, Tokyo intercepted a Chinese
telegram saying the United States would propose allowing Japan to keep its
colonies if it abandoned further aggression, Minohara said. The telegram was
sent from the Chinese Embassy in Washington to Chinese government officials
in the wartime capital of Chungking, now Chongqing.

The sudden possibility of a compromise strengthened the position of Foreign
Minister Shigenori Togo, who opposed war with the United States and was
trying to persuade militarists in the government to back down, Minohara

But the official U.S. position sent to Japan on Nov. 26 was entirely
different: Agree to withdraw from China and Southeast Asia or say goodbye to
a diplomatic solution.

That message, sent to Japan's embassy in Washington by then-Secretary of
State Cordell Hull, was interpreted as an ultimatum and convinced pacifists
in the Japanese government that war was inevitable.

``I was so shocked I even felt dizzy,'' Togo later wrote in his memoirs.
``At this point, we had no choice but to take action.''

Researchers also said Japan broke secret codes employed by the United
States, Britain, China and Canada between May 18, 1941, and Dec. 3, 1941,
Kyodo News Agency reported.

Kobe University professor Makoto Iokibe said that ``defies the common
belief...that Japan was behind in the information war against the U.S. and
others,'' the agency reported.

But Japan's extensive spying operations misguided it about Washington's
intentions. Intercepted telegrams, from multiple sources including U.S.
telegrams, suggested the United States was about to propose the two nations
cooperate on obtaining natural resources in Southeast Asia, Minohara said.

Japanese scholars researching declassified government documents also say
Japan may have tried to warn the United States about the attack.

The documents say staff at Japan's embassy in Washington were slow to
decipher a de facto declaration of war and didn't hand it to the U.S.
government until almost an hour after the attack began.

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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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