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do it, but he is convinced of a victory of his fleet in Japanese
waters." (1834-PS) In the paragraphs that follow, Ribbentrop again stresses the mutual interdependence of the Tripartite Pact powers and suggests coordinated action. He indulged in a typical bit of Nazi cynicism:
"The Reich Foreign Minister then touched upon the question, explicitly pointed out as theoretical, that the contracting powers might be required, on the basis of new affronts by the U.S.A., to break off diplomatic relations. Germany and Italy were fundamentally determined on this; after signing of the Three-Power Pact we should proceed if the occasion arises, but also jointly in this matter. Such a lesson should open the eyes of the people in the U.S.A. to the situation and under certain conditions bring about a swing toward isolation in public opinion. Naturally a situation had to be chosen in which America found herself entirely in the wrong. The common step of the signatory powers should be exploited correspondingly in propaganda. The question, however, was
in no way acute at the time.” (1834-PS) Again on 29 March 1941, Ribbentrop—this time in a conference with the Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka-discussed the possible involvement of the United States. (1877-PS)
The Nazi conspirators knew that the aggressive war they were urging the Japanese to undertake both threatened the vital interests of the United States and could lead the U.S. to involvement in the contemplated Far Eastern conflict. This fact is clear from the report of the conference between Hitler and the Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka in Berlin on 4 April 1941 (1881PS). The report states, in part:
Matsuoka then also expressed the request that the Fuehrer should instruct the proper authorities in Germany to meet as broad-mindedly as possible the wishes of the Japanese Military Commission. Japan was in need of German help particularly concerning the U-boat warfare, which could be given by making available to them the latest experiences of the war as well as the latest technical improvements and inventions. Japan would do her utmost to avoid a war with the United States. In case that the country should decide to attack Singapore, the Japanese Navy, of course, had to be prepared for a fight with the United States, because in that case America probably would side with Great Britain. He (Matsuoka) personally believed that the United States would be restrained by diplomatic exertions from entering 685964-46-56
the war at the side of Great Britain. The Army and Navy
"Matsuoka once more repeated his request that the Fuehrer
risk upon herself of a fight against America ?” (1881-PS) The passages just quoted show not only a realization of the probable involvement of the United States in the Far Eastern conflict that the Nazis were urging, but also a knowledge on their part that the Japanese Army and Navy were actually preparing war plans against the United States. Furthermore, the Nazis knew at least a part of what those war plans were. This fact is revealed in a secret telegram from the German military attaché in Tokyo, dated 24 May 1941 (1538-PS). The attaché reports
the conferences he has had regarding Japan's entry in the war in the event Germany should become involved in war with the United States. In paragraph 1, this sentence appears:
"Preparations for attack on Singapore and Manila stand."
(1538-PS). A review of the Nazi position with regard to the United States at this point, the Spring of 1941, shows that in view of their press of commitments elsewhere and their aggressive plans against the U.S.S.R., set for execution in June of 1941, their temporary strategy was naturally a preference that the United States not be involved in war at that time. Nevertheless they had been considering their own preliminary plans against the United States, as seen in the Atlantic Islands document (376-PS). They were repeatedly urging the Japanese to aggression against the British Commonwealth, just as they would urge them to attack the U.S.S.R. soon after the launching of the Nazi invasion. They were aware that the course along which they were pushing the Japanese, in the Far East would probably lead to involvement of the United States. Indeed, the Japanese Foreign Minister had told Hitler this in so many words, and their own military men had fully realized the implications of the move against Singapore. They knew also that the Japanese Army and Navy were preparing operational plans against the United States. They knew at least part of those plans.
The Nazi conspirators not only knew all these things. They accepted the risk of the aggressive course they were urging on the Japanese and pushed their Eastern allies still farther along that course. On 4 April 1941, Hitler told the Japanese Foreign Minister that in the event Japan were to become involved in war with the United States, Germany would immediately take the consequences and strike without delay. The following is a passage from the notes of the Hitler-Matsuoka conference in Berlin on 4 April 1941:
"In the further course of the discussion the Fuehrer pointed out that Germany on her part would immediately take the consequences, if Japan would get involved with the United States. It did not matter with whom the United States would first get involved, if with Germany or with Japan. They would always try to eliminate one country at a time, not to come to an understanding with the other country subsequently, but to liquidate this one just the same. Therefore Germany would strike, as already mentioned, without delay in case of a conflict between Japan and America, because the strength of the tripartite powers lies in their joined action. Their weakness would be if they would let
themselves be beaten individually.” (1881-PS) Hitler then encouraged Matsuoka in his decision to strike against the United States:
"The Fuehrer replied that he could well understand the situation of Matsuoka, because he himself was in similar situations (the clearing of the Rhineland, declaration of sovereignty of armed Forces). He too was of the opinion that he had to exploit favorable conditions and accept the risk of an anyhow unavoidable fight at a time when he himself was still young and full of vigor. How right he was in his attitude was proven by events. Europe now was free. He would not hesitate a moment to instantly reply to any widening of the war, be it by Russia, be it by America. Providence favored those who will not let dangers come to them,
but who will bravely face them.” (1881-PS) Here, in the passages just quoted, were assurance, encouragement, and abetment by the head of the German State, the leading Nazi co-conspirator, in April 1941. But the Nazi encouragement and promise of support did not end there. Another telegram from the German Ambassador in Tokyo regarding conversations with the Japanese Foreign Minister, dated 30 November 1941, one week before Pearl Harbor, read as follows:
“The progress of the negotiations so far confirms his viewpoint that the difference of opinion between Japan and the U. S. is very great. The Japanese Government since it sent Ambassador Kurusu has taken a firm stand, as he told me. He is convinced that this position is in our favor and makes the United States think that her entry into the European war would be risky business. The new American proposal of 25 November showed great divergences in the viewpoints of the two nations. These differences of opinion concern, for example, the further treatment of the Chinese question. The biggest (one word missing) however resulted from the U. S. attempt to make the three-power agreement ineffective. U. S. suggested to Japan to conclude treaties of non-aggression with the U. S., the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and other countries in order to prevent Japan's entry into the war on the side of the Axis powers. Japan, however, insisted upon maintaining her treaty obligations and for this reason American demands are the greatest obstacles for adjusting Japanese-American relations. He avoided discussing concessions promised by the U. S. and merely mentioned that grave decisions were at stake.
“The U. S. is seriously preparing for war and is about to
close cooperation with the Axis powers.” (2898-PS) Extracts from the handwritten diary of Count Galleazzo Ciano during the period 3 December to 8 December 1941 fill in the picture (2987-PS). These are taken from notes which Ciano jotted down in the course of his daily business as Foreign Minister of Italy. The entries for 3, 4, and 5 December read: