Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Cable from the Japanese Ambassador in Berlin to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Tokyo, Secret, 1 October 1941

One year after the conclusion of the Tripartite Pact, German officials expressed their dissatisfaction with what they considered to be the very lackluster assistance their country had received from Japan. In a cable intercepted and deciphered by American code-breakers, the Japanese ambassador in Berlin reported this to his Foreign Ministry in Tokyo.

On this the occasion of the first anniversary of the Tripartite Pact, Foreign Minister Ribbentrop has come to Berlin from the Imperial Headquarters especially and I have had several visits with him. Using this opportunity I, and the other members of the staff, have mingled with people from all classes of society and visited with them. I am endeavoring to sum up all these experiences and analyze the present state of feeling toward Japan held by Germany in this report to you.

1. Ribbentrop said that he had absolute proof that, while reports of the content of the Japanese-American negotiations were withheld from Ambassador Ott, America was in secret communication with England in regard to the Japanese-American negotiations. Even Ribbentrop, who is supposed to understand Japan's position, expressed great dissatisfaction regarding Japan's attitude.

2. That the Foreign Office staff from Weizsacker down and also everyone in general were thoroughly disgusted with Japan was very apparent from their attitude toward myself and other members of the staff. Everyone who feels kindly disposed toward Japan is deeply concerned over this state of affairs. Even those who do not come to the same conclusion that Ambassador Ott did in his telegram are outspoken in their dissatisfaction and expression of pessimistic views. I am trying to take the position in interviews with newspaper correspondents and others concerned with the outside that Germany is cognizant of the Japanese-American negotiations and that they are no indication of an alienation between Japan and Germany.

3. Foreign diplomats and newspaper correspondents of third countries show great interest in the Japanese attitude and seem to consider it in a certain sense as a barometer by which the course of the European war can be judged. However we receive the impression that the greater number feel that Japan is avoiding war because of the impoverishment resulting from the China incident and is taking a pessimistic attitude toward the course of the European war.

4. Even though it might be said that Germany is prepared for these machinations of estrangement by third countries and that she is keeping up the pretense that there is no change in her feelings toward Japan, the fact that the feeling of German leaders and the people in general toward Japan is getting bad is one that cannot be covered. Please bear this fact in mind. If Japan takes a wishy-washy attitude and goes ahead with her negotiations without consulting Germany there is no telling what steps Germany may take without consulting Japan.

Please convey this to the army and navy.


Further Reading
United States, 79 Congress, 2nd Session, Joint Committee on the Pearl Harbor Attack, Hearings, 39 pts. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946), Pt. 12: 48–49. Exhibits of Joint Committee, Exhibit No. 1, Intercepted Diplomatic Messages Sent by the Japanese Government between 1 July and 8 December 1941. Also available at http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/timeline/411001b.html. .
 

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