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

Cablegram 511 TOKYO, 21 November 1941, 8 p.m.

SECRET

My No. 560. [1]

Extraordinary session of the Diet has ended and left the situation in much the same state of suspense although the tone of the press is much less violent.

The Government have attempted to use the Diet to arouse popular feeling and with the exception of emphasis in the Premier's [2] speech on the three principles of the Japanese foreign policy official utterances were all cautiously worded. The speech of one interpolator was much more violent, and probably went beyond what the Government intended, and there are signs that the opinion of the Diet was inclined to be ahead of the Government and to favour a show-down with the United States. The Government's attitude all goes to confirm the view that they are genuinely anxious to secure agreement with United States and to avoid at present anything that might prejudice discussions in Washington.

There are signs that the Germans are uneasy about the situation, but at the same time the Japanese Government are continuing their preparations in South China seas and will be in a position to launch an attack on Burma Road or attempt to occupy Thailand should discussions fail.

One important question is how long the Government can hold their ground against the extremists and continue discussions. There will be constant danger that the more extreme military on whom the Germans will exert every sort of pressure may precipitate some coup and commit the Government to action against the Government's wishes.

OFFICER

1 This appears to be an incorrect reference to Officer's cablegram 506 of 18 November (on file AA : A816, 19/304/431) which reported vigorous exchanges in the Diet and the recommencement of mobilisation 'on a considerable scale'.

2 General Hideki Tojo.

[AA : A816, 19/304/431]