Vice Minister ŌHASHI 8.oha.1 Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire

Trans. 7‑19‑41

No. 836

FROM: Tokyo                                                                                     July 15, 1941

TO: Berlin                                                                                            # 646.

As the Ambassador in France has already notified you, we have at last commenced negotiations with  France with a firm determination. This marks the first step in our southward advance; at the same time, it signifies a very grave life and death step in our relations with



England and America. We have thrown in our lot with Germany and Italy in harmony with the Tripartite Pact and intend to cooperate with them. Under the form of negotiations a request has come from the French government to the government to which you are accredited to get them to mediate a refusal or an amelioration of our demands. In case they dodge the issue, please ask them to help us from the flank and persuade France to accede to our requests.

Please relay this as instructions to Italy.

Please relay this to France.

Trans. 7‑18‑41

No. 837

FROM: Tokyo                                                                                     July 16, 1941

TO: Hanoi                                                                                            # 1518.


Strictly Secret.

The Imperial Government, cognizant of the recent critical turn of the international situation, in order to carry out the establishment of the Far Eastern sphere of co‑prosperity, has in conference decided that the Imperial forces are to invade the southern portion of French Indochina with the view of securing military bases. On the 14th, formal representations to that effect were presented to the Vichy Government. Though the United States and England will attempt to thwart this, it is the Imperial Government’s firm intention to remove those barriers and to bring about the realization of our aims. Therefore, even though the French Government and the French Indo‑Chinese authorities oppose it, we are going to carry it through.  Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire

With regard to these representations, we are now negotiating so that their reply of assent or dissent will be handed to us on the 20th, Japan time. As far as the Imperial Government is concerned, it makes no difference whether this invasion is carried out peacefully or in force. Our nationals living there we plan to remove to Takao [a] for the time being; therefore, after you have acquainted yourself with this, please make preparations along the following lines:

I. Saigon (on the basis of the former Consular area of jurisdiction).

Item: Recommendations for evacuation. (Though these are not orders, all people are to be evacuated.) This recommendation is to be issued on the 21st: All are to be on board ship by the 23rd. The ship should sail at early dawn of the 24th. However, until this order has been wired, be most careful not to let it leak out.

Item: For the accommodation of all evacuees, the Osaka Shosen steamer, Kanju Maru, scheduled to leave Saigon July 18th, is to be held over at your port. With regard to this matter, all details have been cleared up with the Ministry of Communications.

With regard to the reason for the delay of the sailing of this ship, please give out the reason that it is due to loading and unloading delays. Please take every precaution not to allow the French authorities to learn of our plans.

Item: Have a member of your staff respectfully carry out the Imperial portraits and after the arrival of the boat in Takao, request that they be placed in custody of the Provincial Office. This staff member of yours is to remain in Takao until further orders.

Item: Only the absolutely essential telegraphic codes are to be kept. The rest are to be burned. Wire me a detailed list of those you burn.

Item: Telegraphic material, as well as secret material, are to be absolutely handled in exactly the same manner.


Item: I will further advise you by wire as to the movements of yourself and the members of your offices.

II. Hanoi (on the basis of the former Consular area of jurisdiction). Though as a matter of policy, we are not going to insist upon the evacuation of all nationals, persons in Junka [b] and other distant places are to move into Hanoi.

III. I have already secretly dispatched this to Saigon.

[a] Port in Formosa.

[b]Kana spelling.

Trans. 7‑17‑41

No. 838

FROM: Canton                                                                                    July 16, 1941

TO: Tokyo                                                                                           # 264.

(Secret outside the Department.)

Re my # 255 [a].

The troops to occupy French Indo‑China will leave here the 17th and arrive at SAIGON two weeks later after stopping over on HAINAN ISLAND.

[a] Not available.

Trans. 7‑18‑41

No. 839

FROM: Tokyo                                                                                     July 16, 1941

TO: Berlin                                                                                            # 655.

On the 15th, Vice Minister ŌHASHI invited the German and Italian Ambassadors separately and told them as follows:

“In the name of joint defense of the area concerned, the Japanese Government has decided to demand of the. Vichy Government the right to acquire two naval bases and several air bases in southern French Indo‑China, and also that of occupying that region by the Imperial Army. Furthermore, Japan plans to complete all negotiations relative to these demands without giving Vichy much time—that is by the 20th—so as to prevent any move on the part of the opposition countries. Japan intends to carry out this plan even if French Indo‑China refuses to comply with the demands, or the United States and Britain interfere with its execution. However, this does not mean that Japan is of the mind to occupy French Indochina or to violate her sovereignty, or to break the treaties made with her. This plan is the first step in Japan’s southward advance which Germany has been looking forward to for a long time. In view of the close relation obtaining between Germany and Italy, and in consideration of Japan’s desire to obtain her object in as peaceful a manner as possible, Japan requests that they recommend France’s acceptance of Japan’s demands.”



Both Ambassadors replied that they would communicate this request to their respective governments at once.

Please transmit from Berlin and Rome to France.

Trans. 7‑20‑41

No. 840

FROM: Tokyo                                                                                     July 19, 1941

TO: Vichy                                                                                            # 294.

(Strictly secret.)

Although there were some political alterations recently, it should be unnecessary to state that they in no way shall affect our foreign policy. It should be clear that the Cabinet shake‑up does not make the slightest change in our attitude with regard to French Indo‑China. I mention this fact because there may be some unnecessary confusion if the French government is under the erroneous belief that we intend to soften or change our attitude with the entrance of a new Foreign Minister into the Cabinet.

Please take steps, therefore, to prevent the French from getting the wrong impression.

Trans. 7‑22‑41

No. 841

FROM: Tokyo (Toyoda)                                                                      July 19, 1941

TO: Vichy                                                                                            # 295.

Regarding my # 273 [a]:

Since the military preparations have been completed, the time for embarking on the enterprise has been set for the 24th, regardless of whether the French accept or reject, and orders to proceed will be issued on the 23rd, Japanese time [b]. You will therefore act upon the following:

1. If the French reply to your # 366 [c] is favorable, you will then immediately hand them the note mentioned in my # 276 [d] and secure their consent to my # 293 [e] paragraphs 1 to 5, and advise me by return dispatch as to the results.

2. If the reply to the above is a refusal, or a conditional reply, which will be taken as a refusal (If French conditions are in such phrases as to not alter the sense of our demands, they need not be considered a refusal, but in such a case you may accept them with reservations that the approval of your home government will be necessary) you will then immediately make special effort to cause the French government to reconsider along the following lines and advise us as to results by return dispatch:

“Matters having reached the present stage, we must be free to take such course as we deem necessary, and the military will begin advance into Southern French Indo‑China on the basis of our‑planned action. We desire that orders be issued to the French Indo-China authorities at once that they take all effective and appropriate measures, when our advance is made, as will avoid the necessity of any clash of armed forces. If the French government does not act in harmony with this request of ours and an unfortunate clash of arms should result we of course cannot guarantee that serious changes may not be brought about in the status of French Indo‑China, much as we would regret this. If the


French government does give full consent to our demands (in my # 293 [e]) before the time for issuing the above mentioned marching orders to the military, there is a possibility that the situation can still be cleared up in a peaceful manner by negotiations, and we therefore wish to strongly urge upon the French government that they reflect seriously and reconsider.”

3. In your dispatch reply, giving the final attitude of the French on the basis of the above paragraphs 1 and 2, whatever their attitude is, be sure that your reply reaches us on or before the 23rd, Japan time (taking into consideration differences in time and time required for sending, receiving and decoding the message).

[a] See II, 812 and 813. “Outline of line of reasoning to be used in presenting demands on France for F. I. C. bases. Japan does not want to appear to be forcing the French, but they are determined to accomplish their purpose, peacefully if France accepts, militarily if she refuses.” Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire

[b] 0000 23 July, Zone‑9 (Tokyo time) is 1000 22nd, Washington time, and 1500 22nd, GMT.

[c] Not available 20‑7‑41.

[d] See II, 817. Text of note to be handed the French on presenting the demands for F. I. C. bases.

[e] Not available 20‑7‑41, see II, 843.

Trans. 7‑20‑41

No. 842

FROM: Tokyo                                                                                     July 20, 1941

TO: Hanoi                                                                                            # 187.

(Part 2 of 2) [a].

3. On the 17th, the Ambassador for the second time called on DA [b] and gave him a strict warning to the effect that if, unfortunately, French cooperation is not forthcoming and a reply rejecting our proposal is made, we will take military action in accordance with our plans and preparations (the recent change of Cabinet has no influence whatsoever on this particular policy). At the same time, the Ambassador requested an early reply from the French Government. To this, DA [b] agreed and promised that after careful consideration he would reply by Saturday.

4. Furthermore, yesterday I wired Ambassador Kato the following instructions:

In case the French reply of the 19th is (1) an acceptance of our demands, he should make them accept all our demands after exchanging diplomatic notes with them. If the reply is (2) a rejection or a condition reply (in which case he should regard it as a rejection, he should not accept it and then tell them that Japan has no alternative other than commencing free action and that, in accordance with plans already established, the army will occupy southern French Indo‑China. He should, in that case, ask them to issue an order to the French Indo‑China authorities to take effective and suitable measures in order to avoid clash of forces. He should warn the French Government that in case the French Government does not comply with our request and these measures are not taken and, as a result, an unfortunate incident of a military clash occurs, we cannot promise that there will not be an important change in the status of French Indo‑China. We should inform them that inasmuch as it goes without saying that the Japanese Government does not wish to see any incident occur, the whole question could be settled in a peaceful manner if the French Government recognizes our demands as a whole on the 23rd at the latest. He should strongly urge the French Government to consider and reconsider this question. (3) He should tell them to make all



arrangements so that their reply will reach Japan not later than the 23rd, whether that reply is one or the other of the two kinds mentioned above.

[a] Part 1 not available.

[b] Probably Darlan, Vice Premier of France.

Trans. 7‑24‑41

No. 843

FROM: Tokyo                                                                                     July 20, 1941

TO: Vichy                                                                                            # 296.

(Message to Berlin # 670).

(Strictly Secret. To be handled in Government Code.)

Ambassador KATO informs us by telegram that the French Government says that out of consideration for the Berlin‑Vichy armistice treaty, it will be necessary to confer closely with the Germans on this matter. On this excuse, they are postponing an answer. Therefore, today Vice‑Minister OHASHI called on Ambassador OTT, saying that the Japanese Government has already completed all preparations, and regardless of whether Vichy accepts or refuses, is determined to take certain action. If military action is inevitable, there is no guaranteeing that the status of French Indo‑China will not be affected. This is sure to have a bad effect not only upon Tokyo‑Vichy relations, but also upon Berlin‑Vichy relations. Consequently, will you please advise the French to accept the Japanese proposal. Ambassador Ott replied, “Well, you know we are now at war with Russia, so by what logic do you imagine that we are in a position to take a strong attitude toward Vichy? No, sir, I cannot tell you what attitude the German Government is going to take in this matter. All I can do is say that I will transmit immediately to Berlin what you have told me.”

Will you, too, on the basis of these statements of mine, ask the German Government to advise the French and wire me back what they say.

Trans. Not dated

No. 844

FROM: Vichy                                                                                      July 20, 1941

TO: Tokyo                                                                                           # 388.

Re my # 386 [a].

On the 20th, I conferred with Foreign Minister DARLAN and Council President BUNOA MESIAN (?) (LENOIR MESSIEN). Though, as a result, I have not officially received any reply as yet, the details of why I think they are going to comply with our demands are given in the telegram describing our conversation.

[a] Not available.

Trans. 7‑21‑4


No. 845

FROM: Vichy                                                                                      July 20, 1941

TO: Tokyo                                                                                           # 389.

Re my # 386 [a].

After conferring with DARLAN on the afternoon of the 19th, I received your # 295 [b], and so the morning of the 20th I again met DARLAN and told him that instructions received after the conversation of the previous day showed that Japanese troops will be sent very shortly, and for this reason it is clear that Japan cannot allow him as much time as I said she would allow. I then asked him to issue the necessary orders to the officials in French Indo‑China to the effect that armed clashes should be avoided in order to prevent any possibility of unfortunate incidents, for if any unfortunate incidents occur, we cannot be certain that it will not have a far‑reaching effect on the status of French Indo‑China. As I have previously referred to this matter several times, Japan does not want any such thing to happen. We would like to have the French Government’s acceptance of our proposals by 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, the 22nd. Thus, I urged him to reconsider the question. To this DARLAN replied by asking whether he was right in understanding that what I said consisted of (1) an objection to the French reply given yesterday, (2) a request that an order be transmitted to the authorities in French Indo‑China not to offer resistance, and (3) a repeated demand that France accept the proposals. I replied that he was right, and DARLAN seemed to understand it all very well. He answered that a reply will probably be given tomorrow after conferring with Marshal PETAIN. Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire

[a] Not available.

[b] See II, 841 in which Tokyo advises that the occupation would take place on the 24th regardless of whether France accepts or rejects the proposals.

Trans. 8‑5‑41

No. 846

FROM: Vichy                                                                                      July 20, 1941

TO: Tokyo                                                                                           # 392.

After my conversation with Foreign Minister DARLAN described in my # 389 [a] of the 20th, I talked to BUNOIR MESSIAN. I asked him if he had heard what I told DARLAN the previous night, and he replied that he had just conferred with Colonial Minister PURATON on this matter at DARLAN’s residence, as a result of which a final decision had been reached:

(a) France recognizes Japan’s demands.

(b) Japan shall first of all make a public statement concerning the maintenance of territorial integrity of French Indo‑China.

(c) The French forces will cooperate with the Japanese only in resisting the infringement of third powers and will cooperate in no aggressive schemes whatever.

BUNOIR continued: “You will get an official reply on this matter today or tomorrow from Foreign Minister DARLAN. In the meantime, let me say in connection with the statement mentioned in (b), if France should order its officials to cooperate in this manner without explaining why, we could not expect them to do it and still maintain their honor as soldiers. You Japanese ought to be particularly capable of understanding that, I think, because you have a military code of morals of your own. Furthermore, this statement is



absolutely necessary to satisfy the public mind in France. We expect you to make some sort of public announcement, say like the one contained in Premier KONOYE’s message to Marshal PETAIN. Let me say also that this cannot be done too soon. Now with respect to (c), as I said, France is cooperating with you Japanese militarily purely and simply for defense, and we will not engage in any military collusion whose objective is aggression. I want you to well understand this.”

This is all for the moment.

[a] See II, 845.

Trans. 8‑2‑4

No. 847

FROM: Vichy                                                                                      July 20, 1941

TO: Tokyo                                                                                           # 393.

As to (2) in my # 392 [a], the French authorities might demand a confirmation in the form of a protocol or a diplomatic note or in some other form. In regard also to (2), they might want to insert in the protocol or in the French reply a clause to the effect that the French Indo‑China Army shall not participate in any plans of an offensive nature. They might also ask that the period of validity of the agreement be definitely fixed. In case they make these requests, will you give preliminary consideration as to whether they should be complied with or not, and if they are to be complied with, in what form it should be done. I would appreciate your informing me by return wire.

Relayed to ‑‑‑‑‑.

[a] II, 846.

Trans. 8‑2‑41

No. 848

FROM: Vichy                                                                                      July 20, 1941

TO: Tokyo                                                                                           # 394.

In the light of what you have said in the last part of your # 287 [a], I presume that it is your desire to have the final text of the protocol in the two languages. Today when speed is the prime requisite and under the present situation in which courier service or any other form of reliable service is out of the question, it cannot be said that there will be no misunderstanding on how the Kana spelling should be used. Furthermore, if both languages are used in the final text, the French authorities would probably take a great many days in examining the translation. Therefore, I think there is no other way but to use only the French language for the final text. I would appreciate your giving me your opinion by return message.

[a] Not available.

Trans. 8‑2‑41


No. 849

FROM: Hanoi                                                                                      July 21, 1941

TO: Vichy                                                                                            # 2.

Special Message. Part 1 of 2 of 10 (??).

(Abstract—very badly garbled.)

The following is a digest of the first paragraph. (In French.)

The exceptional facilities which the French Government is disposed to accord to the Japanese cannot under any circumstances have the character of a military occupation.

The Japanese must remain strictly confined to the needs of the military operations. They are subject to French military authorities and entirely under the latter’s control. The Japanese shall, however, be accorded freedom of passage between the point of disembarking and the zone of operations.

(Part 2)

Japanese military activity shall be limited to the territories located north of the Red River. In the zone of operations the French administrative and military authorities shall remain in their posts and in possession of all their powers. The Japanese shall act through the mediation of the French authorities in dealing with the native populations.

The armed Japanese forces landing at the same time cannot under any circumstances, exceed two thirds of the effectives actually mobilized in Tonking, that is, not in excess of 25,000 men.

The Japanese army promises (1) to bear all the costs of transporting, stationing and installing of its personnel and material.

Trans. 7‑25‑41

No. 850

FROM: Tokyo                                                                                     July 21, 1941

TO: Hanoi                                                                                            # 196.

Re my # 191 [a].

After seeing Foreign Minister Darlan on the 20th, Ambassador Kato talked with the Minister of Colonies, and others. As a result of these conferences the French Government agreed:

(1) To recognize Japan’s demands.

(2) To announce officially Japan’s participation in the defense of Indo‑China territory.

(3) That Japan alone, and no third power, shall cooperate with the French Indo‑Chinese army.

Regardless of whatever Foreign Minister Darlan’s formal reply may be, from the viewpoint of the honor of the French Army, and of French chivalry, it is absolutely necessary that the import of Prime Minister Konoye’s message to Marshal Petain be considered, and that this move is inevitable in view of conditions in France.

Consequently, we anticipate Foreign Minister Darlan’s concurrence in our views on the foregoing three points and a public proclamation to that effect.



The details of actual landing points, numbers of troops and places to station them, will be decided upon as soon as the French make the official recognition of our demands.

Keep in touch with Admiral Sumida.Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire

[a] Not available.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: