The Charlotte News

Monday, December 22, 1941


Site Ed. Note: This day, the First Air Fleet returned heroically to Japan from its odyssey lasting 27 days at sea, killing in the process 2,390 people in Hawaii who had done nothing, either through their government or otherwise, to the Empire of Japan, save to exist. On the way back, on December 16, Vice-Admiral Nagumo had ordered two of the six carriers in the Task Force, the Soryu and Hiryu, along with two destroyers, Tanikaze and Urakaze, to head south to Wake Island. That attack began just the previous day, December 21.

Among the pilots who attacked Wake was one Kanai, the pilot who had let loose with exacting, practiced precision the torpedo bomb which found its path into the forward magazine of the Arizona with such deadly results, killing nearly 1,200 men in one shot. He was shot down and killed during the attack on Wake. Moreover, two Japanese submarines collided during the attack and sunk.

"That island is almost bewitched," stated Rear Admiral Matome Ugaki in his diary.

The attack on Wake ended on December 23 with Japan claiming it for the Empire, naming it anew Otori Shiman, meaning Bird Island.

This collateral venture to Wake had been the subject of controversy among the commanders in the Fleet, many thinking it a waste of resources and potentially communicating tactics to the American commanders for a relatively small prize. Nevertheless, the risk was taken.

The remainder of the Fleet dropped anchor in Hiroshima Bay in Japan at 6:30 p.m. on December 23, 11:00 p.m. on the 22d, Hawaii time, fifteen and a half days after the attack ended.

As the Fleet turned into port, men trapped inside air pockets in the capsized West Virginia back at Pearl Harbor etched out onto the bulkheads their last gasping messages, discovered only after the turning of the ship the next spring, the last date inscribed being December 23.

Welders sent down into the wreckage to try to free as many men as possible could on occasion hear tapping, but, because of the grave danger of explosion and consequent killing of more men within the oily water, could do nothing for orders eventually to desist.

Vice-Admiral Nagumo, on the return, expressed his belief that the fate of the Fleet had been guided by the grace of God. Nagumo and his two wave leaders into Pearl Harbor, Fuchida and Shimazaki, were invited to meet on December 26 with the Emperor who lavished praise upon them. The Emperor was eager to hear details of the damage reports on the American ships and airplanes. They brought with them aerial photographs taken during the mission, showing the smoking ships and disarray below. The Emperor asked that the photographs remain, so that the Empress might see them.

Perhaps, the Empress, inspired by these visions, indited yet another poem about them--in the sacred form, entailing a specific number of syllables.

Indeed, we can almost imagine it through the smoke of time:

Blood from the rising sun on American sons,
Caught in our blinding sun God, Ra.

Blood, blood, blood, dripping blood.
Ash on the Sun, Tears, Art Ravenous Death-Stars
For more young blood,
We cheer your homeland throne return, Heroes
Of the Ancient Sea, which drips, drips, drips.

The Honor of your Empress's besmirched
Sacred poem and Her sacred double-blossom Ianus Tree,
Besmirched by the Venomous Demon,
Has been avenged.

Wind, cloud, rain.
Pearl. Midway.
Sunrise! Howland! Otori! Wake!
We Arc our foe, as for ages past.

Stealth, stealth, tiptoe soft, Surprise.
Infinite Wisdom, Infallible Telesm, welcomes
Back Ultimate Living-Sun Heroes
Into Hiroshima!

Today's page features a down-home slice-of-life piece by Tom Jimison, formerly of The News, a piece aimed at unity rather than division by labeling people in words. We do not share the charitable view which Mr. Jimison voices with respect to "capitalists", at least of the type which are prevalent today in large corporations. Perhaps, in Mr. Jimison's time, there was a different stripe of robber-baron extant in the world, those given to genuine philanthropy. The average "philanthropist" we see today does it only for the publicity while they rob everyone else, including those to whom they provide the little bit of symbolic philanthropy they do to make themselves feel holy while robbing.

Mr. Jimison was a former Methodist minister, hence "The Bishop" to The News, defrocked for his unorthodox stands on matters. As we have pointed out, Cash's second biographer, Bruce Clayton, reported that once Mr. Jimison commented that Charlotte was the "lowest-kneeling, loudest-praying, tightest-fisted, hardest-drinking clan of Scotch Presbyterians that ever staggered to the polls to vote dry... They'd crucify Christ again right in front of the First Presbyterian Church if ever he dared to show up here." Sporting a red bow tie, he became a civil liberties lawyer, representing primarily African-Americans and such unpopular causes as the Communist strikers in the Loray Mill strike at Gastonia in 1930. While a reporter at The News and thereafter, he was one of a handful who hung out regularly with Cash at the Little Pep where they would often gather after work to discuss weighty issues over draughts of beer.

Jimison reportedly drank moonshine for his stomach ailment. Whether it got to be a habit, we don't know. But it does somehow sound strangely reminiscent of that piece anent W.C. Fields; so, historians, beware in whom you place strict credence when conducting interviews among the fishermen long after the fact of the catch...

Incidentally, the reference which The Bishop makes to Haywood, though deriving from the other end of the state, is remindful of this.

"Getting Into High" by Hugh Johnson marks the last time the General's column would appear in The News. Mr. Dowd explains parenthetically that, after five years of syndication in The News, Johnson was no longer considered useful as a tick to the New Deal dog, someone who, after having started out as a member of the Administration, the highly visible and proactive Director of the National Recovery Administration, a position which earned him Time Man of the Year honors for 1933, became a New Deal critic with inside information. He also of course became a prime isolationist, lending his name until the previous month to the America First Committee featuring Charles Lindbergh. Johnson was a trained lawyer and graduated from West Point. He was quite intelligent, as routinely demonstrated in his column. If there was any fault beyond encouraging among the majority of the public simple disagreement with his views much of the time, it is that his column was filled too often with personal stories of this or that person in the news. There is nothing more boorish than for someone to believe that just because a person is in the news, his or her personal story related by someone who knows or knew him or her personally is perforce of great and weighty interest to the public. We would rather read about the average person in human interest than human interest about people who are already public personalities and thus subject to scrutiny regularly by the public at large from their public performance. The public generally relates more to the person more like themselves, anonymous, workaday.

General Johnson would pass away on April 15, 1942 at the age of 59. While, candidly, we have found him the most tedious of the various columnists appearing regularly on The News page through the previous four years, we shall nevertheless, being sentimental, miss him. (If that sounds like that we have decided to go on with this project and finish out the entire war, you may be right. How could we stop now, at page 12,755? (or something like that). Times, past being prologue, always need to be apprised of this centrifugally defining period in the country's history and that of the world--a period which impacts and shapes our present lives and foreign policy among nations to this day.)

So, anyway, so long to General Johnson... We hope that he never minded Cash referring regularly to him as "Old Ironpants".

We reproduce below the two telegrams to which Kurusu refers in the November 27 telephone conversation with Yamamoto, as reproduced on Friday. In addition, follows the telegram from Tokyo to Nomura and Kurusu instructing them, on the November 28, Tokyo time, deadline for negotiating settlement, that the Hull points were unacceptable, that negotiations would inevitably therefore be ruptured, but to give the appearance of continuing interest--the instruction to engage in ultimate deception.

We also provide the code from Tokyo which was to be utilized in such telephonic conversations henceforth. Telegrams had become too cumbersome and slow as a means to communicate, as matters moved ever faster after the Fleet proceeded to sea on November 26 at 6:00 a.m.

Note that in this code, neither "south" nor any reference to the sex or health of the child to be born, its birth indicating generally a critical turn of events, is anywhere mentioned; nevertheless these phrases were employed by Kurusu and Yamamoto. Again, therefore, we question why this stress by Kurusu on "south", repeated several times in succession and in two separate places in the November 27 conversation, and then again giving it stress in the November 30 conversation with Yamamoto. As the telegram of November 27 reveals, the President had indeed expressed that day to Kurusu and Nomura consternation over the movement of troops into southern Indochina, giving the indication that a movement into Thailand by Japan appeared imminent.

Why then is there any need to code such a reference to the southern movement by referring to it as the "south, south, southward matter"? Whose snooping ears was Kurusu trying to avoid? Certainly not those of intelligence sources in Washington. Certainly not those in Tokyo. Thus, does it not import to the repeated phrase an alternative to its literal meaning? Else, why employ circumlocution at all?

From: Tokyo 
To: Washington 
November 26, 1941. 
#836. To be handled in Government Code.

The situation is momentarily becoming more tense and telegrams take too long.
Therefore, will you cut down the substance of your reports of negotiations to
the minimum and, on occasion, call up Chief YAMAMOTO of the American Bureau on
the telephone and make your report to him. At that time we will use the following code:
Japanese-(English) Literal Japanese-(English) Code Sangoku Joyaku Mondai Nyuu Yooku (New York) (Three-Power Treaty question) Musabetsu Taiguu Mondai Shikago (Chicago) (The question of nondiscrimina- tory treatment) Shina Mondai Sanfuranshisuko (San Francisco) (The China question) Soori Itoo Kun (Mr. Itoo) (Premier) Gaimudaijin Date Kun (Mr. Date) (Foreign Minister) Rikugun Tokugawa Kun (Mr. Tokugawa) (The Army) Kaigun Maeda Kun (Mr. Maeda) (The Navy) Nichi-bei kooshoo Endan (Marriage proposal) (Japan-American negotiations) Daitooryoo Kimiko San (Miss Kimiko) (President) Haru Fumeko San (Miss Fumeko) (Hull) Kokunaijoosei Shoobai (Trade) (Internal situation) Jooho Suru Yama Wo Uru (To sell the mountain) (To yield) Jooho Sezu Yama Wo Urenu (Not to sell the mountain) (Not to yield) Keisei Kyunten Suru Kodomo Gaumareru (The child is born) (Situation taking critical turn) For your information, telephone addresses other than our Home Office are as follows: Bureau Chief YAMAMOTO: Setagaya 4617 Section Chief KASE: Yotsuya 4793 The Minister's residence: Ginza 3614 The Vice-Minister's residence: Ginza 1022 Army #25344 JD-6841 Trans. 11-26-41 (S)


From: Washington
To: Tokyo
27 November 1941

Re your #842*

The United States has been conferring with the Netherlands on subjects pertaining to U. S. claims and because we asked them to do so. In the midst of these talks, the White House suddenly came forth with the announcement on the 24th, that the United States is occupying Dutch Guiana, with the agreement of the government of the Netherlands, for the purpose of protecting it.

As was made plain in the text of this announcement, the main objective of this occupation was to guarantee accessibility to aluminum produced there, which is vital to the national defense of the United States. Ordinarily, the Netherlands Government would dispatch its armed forces stationed in the Netherlands East Indies for this purpose, but she is unable to do so at present because of the present situation in the southwest Pacific area. For this reason, the U. S. Army is being used to protect the aluminum mines in that area. At the same time, at the invitation of the Netherlands Government, Brazil is also taking part in protecting them.

The Netherlands Foreign Minister stopped in the United States en route to visiting the Netherlands East Indies, and conferred with U. S. government officials. Since then, there has been a considerable increase in the amount of military supplies being shipped to the Netherlands East Indies; the traffic of technicians and experts between the United States and N. E. I., has swung up sharply. From these indications as well as from the history of the Netherlands East Indies, it is believed, that depending upon the atmosphere at the time the Japanese-U. S. negotiations break off, Britain and the United States may occupy the Netherlands East Indies. They will do this, probably, much in the same manner as U. S.-Brazil joint occupation of Netherlands Guiana, in the name of protecting the products of the N. E. I. which are vital to national defense, tin and rubber.

I feel that it is essential that we give careful consideration to this possibility. I made reference to this point in my message #1180**. The gist of this message does not differ from that contained in that message.

JD-1: 6914
(D) Navy Trans. 11-29-41 (X)

*Not available.
**JD-1: 6891 (S.I.S. #25435-36).


From: Washington.
To: Tokyo.
27 November 1941

#1206 (In 4 parts, Part 4 not available)

On the 27th, I, together with Ambassador Kurusu, called on the President. (Secretary Hull was also present.) The resume of our talks follows:

President: "In the last Great War, Japan and the United States were together on the side of the Allies. At that time, both Japan and the United States were given ample proof that Germany failed to comprehend the way the people of other countries think.

"Since these conversations were begun, I am aware of the fact that much effort has been made by the Japanese side, too, by those who cherish peace. I am highly appreciative of this fact. It is clear that the majority of the American people are anxious to maintain peaceful relations with Japan. I am one of those who still harbors much hope that Japanese-U. S. relations will be settled peacefully."

I: "Your recent proposal will no doubt be the cause of painful disappointment to the Japanese Government."

The President: "To tell you the truth, I, too, am very disappointed that the situation has developed in the manner that it has. However, during the several months that these conversations were being conducted, cold water was poured on them when Japan occupied southern French Indo-China. According to recent intelligences, there are fears that a second cold water dousing may become an actuality." (He apparently meant the increase in our troops to French Indo-China and our occupation of Thai.) (See my message #1205*.) "I fully understand that the general public in Japan who has been living in war conditions for the past year, cannot see a parallel with conditions in the United States, which is living under peaceful conditions.

"During all of the time, however, that Your Excellency and Secretary Hull have been conversing, we have never heard of or seen concrete proof of any peaceful intention by the leading elements of Japan. This has made these talks an exceedingly difficult undertaking.

(Part 2)

"Even the suggestion that the present situation be overcome by a 'modus vivendi' would be without any value if in the final analysis the basic principles of international relations of Japan and the United States do not agree. If there is a basic difference, no stop gap measure could carry any weight, it seems to me.

"In my conversations with Churchill on the high seas, for example, it was predetermined that our respective basic policies coincided. Moreover, even the subjects which were to be agreed upon had been clearly defined in advance."

Kurusu: "Judging from the records of the developments of our negotiations in the past, the differences of opinions between Japan and the United States were not differences in the basic principles of each. Rather, the differences arose in the practical applications thereof. For a very simple example Japan has no disagreements to the principle of non-discriminatory treatment of commerce, strongly advocated by the United States.

"However, it is when we consider the immediate application of this principle in China, bringing about a radical and sudden change in the economic situation there, it is only natural that Japan insists upon certain special conditions. I feel that this difference may have been the source of some misunderstanding."

Hull: "By your frequent explanations, we thoroughly understand point. According to advice I have received, however, there are approximately 250,000 Japanese merchants in China at present who followed or accompanied the military. These are engaging in various business enterprises. There have been indications that various incidents have arisen involving the relations between these merchants and nationals of a third country. If you are going to consider the profits of these people, the problem of course will become an exceedingly difficult one."

Kurusu: "Japan's claims are not based on such minor factors, but concern only the various major problems."

(Part 3)

We then went on and brought up the subject which has reference to the President's "suggestions".

The President: "I have not abandoned giving consideration to that matter. However, it is first essential that both Japan and China simultaneously desire that that be done."

We pointed out that from a practical standpoint that would be very difficult to accomplish. To this, the President said:

"In domestic issues, I have had several experiences along the same lines. No doubt, some method will be found in this case, too."

I: "We have, as yet, received no instructions from Tokyo regarding your proposal. I, for one, hope that you, Mr. President, whose statesmanship I respect highly after over thirty years of close acquaintance with it, will find some way that will lead to a settlement."

The President: "To tell you the truth, I have since the end of last week, twice postponed a trip which I was going to take for my health, because of a critical domestic issue, and because of the arrival of Ambassador Kurusu to the United States. I am leaving tomorrow afternoon, Friday, for the country for a rest." (He looked very tired). "I plan to return next Wednesday. I would like to talk with you again then. It would be very gratifying, however, if some means of a settlement could be discovered in the meantime.

(Part 4 not available.)
JD-1: 6915
(D) Navy Trans. 11-29-41 (X)

*Not available.


From: Washington
To: Tokyo
27 November 1941

#1206 (Part 4 of 4) (Parts 1, 2, and 3 previously translated)

In the middle of our talks, Hull, with reference to the cause for the failure to agree upon a modus vivendi, said:

"There are other factors other than those pointed out by the President. Japan has sent vast numbers of troops to French Indo-China with which to keep the military powers of other countries checked. With this advantage on her side, Japan carries in one hand, the Tripartite Pact, and in the other, the Anti-Communism Pact. Armed with these, she demands of the United States that petroleum be made available to her.

"It would be absolutely impossible to reconcile the people of the United States to granting such a demand. As I stated during our last conversations, while we here are putting forth our best efforts in attempting to bring about peaceful settlements of Japanese-U. S. differences, your Premier nor your Foreign Minister nor any other influential person utters not a single word nor moves one finger to facilitate these talks of ours. On the contrary, they insist upon promoting the establishment of a New Order through might. This is an exceedingly regrettable state of affairs."

Parts 1, 2, & 3 see S.I.S. 25495.
JD-1: 6915
(D) Navy Trans. 12-2-41 (2)


From: Tokyo
To: Washington
November 28, 1941.
Purple (CA)

Re your #1189 [a]

Well, you two Ambassadors have exerted superhuman efforts but, in spite of this, the United States has gone ahead and presented this humiliating proposal. This was quite unexpected and extremely regrettable. The Imperial Government can by no means use it as a basis for negotiations. Therefore, with a report of the views of the Imperial Government on this American proposal which I will send you in two or three days, the negotiations will be de facto ruptured. This is inevitable. However, I do not wish you to give the impression that the negotiations are broken off. Merely say to them that you are awaiting instructions and that, although the opinions of your Government are not yet clear to you, to your own way of thinking the Imperial Government has always made just claims and has borne great sacrifices for the sake of peace in the Pacific. Say that we have always demonstrated a long-suffering and conciliatory attitude, but that, on the other hand, the United States has been unbending, making it impossible for Japan to establish negotiations. Since things have come to this pass, I contacted the man you told me to in your #1180 [b] and he said that under the present circumstances what you suggest is entirely unsuitable. From now on do the best you can.

Army 25445
JD 6898
Trans. 11-28-41 (S)

[a] S.I.S. # 25441, # 25442.
[b] S.I.S. # 25435, # 25436.

Here, incidentally, is the front page of December 13, with photographs of three of the new American air heroes in the Philippines, two of whom were the gunners who sank the Japanese destroyers, Haruna and Kongo. One did not return from the mission. And its continuation page. We did not have those pages when we posted the December 13 editorial page.

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