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

Cablegram 486 TOKYO, 30 October 1941, 6.40 p.m.

MOST SECRET

My telegram No. 482 and preceding telegrams. [1]

Following is an appreciation of the position formed after discussing the situation with the best informed of my colleagues:

New Ministry is both peace and war ministry. Its outstanding features are:

(a) At its head is a Prime Minister who holds both key portfolios of Army and Interior and so is virtually dictator.

(b) Its predominant feature is the presence in it of men who stand for State development and control of the industry etc. of the country and who have already worked out their ideas in the testing ground of Manchukuo.

(c) It has declared itself for continuance of conversations with United States.

(d) Should its peace efforts fail it can very easily become a war Ministry by dropping the Minister of Foreign Affairs [2] and taking in some more extreme leaders. Whether it does so depends on success or failure of its discussions with United States, probably within the next two months.

(e) Meanwhile by the calling of the Diet and by having pro [sic] active army officers at its head it is working to unite behind [it] the whole country, civil and military, and will employ the time immediately ahead for pushing on with the placing of the country on a war footing.

(f) It has pledged itself to secure the settlement of the China Incident and establish East Asiatic co-prosperity sphere, and so made it difficult to give way much to United States to secure agreement.

2. Yesterday British Ambassador saw Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In general discussion the latter expressed surprise that His Majesty's Government were taking no part in United States-Japanese discussions, emphasized short time available and importance of removing causes of possible clash and repeated all the old arguments regarding security and economic necessity why Japan had gone into South Indo-China. Craigie was left with uneasy feeling that further move southward or into Thailand is being planned and that the Minister for Foreign Affairs is struggling against it.

OFFICER

1 Cablegram 482 of 24 October (on file AA : A981, Japan 181, iv) described Japanese press comment about the govt formed by General Hideki Tojo. Preceding cablegrams about the new ministry were nos 476,477 and 478 of 17, 18 and 19 October(on file AA : A981,Japan 40,v)and 480 of 21 October (on file AA : A1608, A41/1/6, vi).

2 Shigenon Togo.

[AA : A981, JAPAN 178]