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He branched into an analysis of the situation himself as he sat there on his bed, saying there were three alternatives and only three that he could see before us—first, to do nothing; second, to make something in the nature of an ultimatum again, stating a point beyond which we would fight; third, to fight at once.

I told him . . . . I did not think anyone would do nothing in this situation, and he agreed with me. I said of the other two my choice was the latter one. . . .

[At a War Cabinet meeting at noon] it was now the opinion of everyone that if this [Japanese] expedition was allowed to get around the southern point of Indo-China and to go off and land in the Gulf of Siam . . . it would be a terrific blow at all of the three Powers, Britain at Singapore, The Netherlands, and ourselves in the Philippines.

It was the consensus of everybody that this must not be allowed. Then we discussed how to prevent it. It was agreed that if the Japanese got into the Isthmus of Kra, the British would fight. It was also agreed that if the British fought, we would have to fight. . . . If this expedition was allowed to round the southern point of Indo-China, this whole chain of disastrous events would be set on foot. . . .

It became a consensus of views that rather than strike at the Force as it went by without any warning on the one hand, which we didn't think we could do, or sitting still and allowing it to go on, on the other, which we didn't think we could do—that the only thing for us to do was to address it a warning that if it reached a certain place, or a certain line, or a certain point, we should have to fight.*

The President's mind evidently was running towards a special telegram from himself to the Emperor . . . I said there ought to be a message by the President to the people of the United States . . . reporting what we would have to do if the danger happened. I pointed out that he had better send his letter to the Emperor separate as one thing and a secret thing, and then make his speech to Congress as a separate and more understandable thing to the people of the United States. . . .

The President asked Hull and Knox and myself to try to draft such papers. . . .

Dec. 2. The President is still deliberating the possibility of a message to the Emperor, although all the rest of us are rather against it, but in addition to that he is quite settled, I think, that he will make a message to the Congress and will perhaps back that up with a speech to the country. He said that he was going to take the matters right up when he left us.

Dec. 7. Just about 2 o'clock, while I was sitting at lunch, the President called me up on the telephone and in a rather excited voice asked me, "Have you heard the news? . . . They have attacked Hawaii. They are now bombing Hawaii. . . ."

My first feeling was of relief that the indecision was over and that a crisis had come in a way which would unite all our people.

Re-reading his diary, Henry Stimson summarized:

With the aid of "hindsight," I [have] reached the opinion that the War Plans Division of the General Staff would have placed itself and the safety of the country in a sounder position if it had transmitted to General Short more information than it did. . . .

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