Fall of YONAI Cabinet, Tri-Partite Pact, Imperial Rule Assistance Association.
00-19. These three events are here discussed jointly as they represent the three parts of the main policy to establish a New Order in Greater East Asia under Japan to parallel a New Order in Europe under Germany and Italy. To Japan, the New Order in Greater East Asia simply meant the freedom to be left alone, without hindrance from third powers and restraints from treaty commitments, in her exploitation of Manchuria and China and to advance southward and gobble up the fabulous riches of Indo-China, Indonesia and other countries in the south seas.
a. Events Preceeding YONAI Fall.
OO-20. After formidable German panzer divisions blitzkrieged through the heart of France, MUTO and other Japanese leaders in Tokyo decided to make hay while the Nazi sun was brightly shining. On May 22, 1940, Germany on the prodding of Japanese emissaries in Berlin advised Japan she was not interested in the Netherlands Indies, a declaration taken as a green light for Japan to move in on Indonesia.(a.) After the surrender of France on June 17, 1940, the Four Ministers Conference decided to send a " request" to Indo-China to discontinue aid to Chiang Kai-shek and to use force in case of refusal.(b.)
OO-21. The atmosphere prevailing in Japan at the time was best pictured by Prince KONOYE: " In the spring of 1940, when the overwhelming military strength of Germany had swept across western Europe and threatened, as it appeared, the existence of Great Britain, the question of a Tri-Partite military alliance again became a nationwide topic of great popularity. However, inasmuch as the alliance this time was to be directed against Great Britain and the United States and not against the U. S. S. R. as in the previous year, there is a fundamental difference in nature between the two plans."(a.) KONOYS further disclosed that " anti-Anglo-Saxon sentiments and enthusiasm for a Tri-Partite Alliance were at their height, especially among the military circles. . ."(b.)
OO-22. MUTO was not caught napping. As early as March of 1940 be had the foresight to see the need of dissolving all political parties as a prereqquisite to establishing a totalitarian state in Japan and concluding a military alliance with victorious Germany. On the 20th of that month, MUTO formally advocated on the floor of the Diet the dissolution of the existing political parties. Citing Count TERAUCHI's views on totalitarianism, MUTO suggested that nationalism is a better name for totalitarianism of European conception and should be the guiding principle of the Japanese nation.(a.)
Turning now to the last sentence of paragraph 23 on page 13:
OO-23. ... Parenthetically, Count TERAUCHI whose views on totalitarianism MUTO quoted, was the same TERAUCHI who had been sent in 1939 to Berlin as Japanese official representative to the Nazi Party Conference.(a.)
OO-24. MUTO's diet speech immediately bore fruit. Three days later, Ambassador Ott happily reported to Berlin that there was a noticeable stiffening of Japanese attitude towards England and America.(a.) On April 14, 1940, Count ARIMA broached to KIDO the question of merging all political parties into one. (b.) On May 26th, KONOYE, KIDO and ARIMA dined together over the same problem. (c.) KIDO pointed out that " By July 8, 1940, Prince KONOYE was identifying himself with the establishment of a new political structure, having resigned as President of the Privy Council." (d.)
OO-25. Very understandably, KONOYE thus became the darling of the Army who were exasperated with Premier YONAI for " idly losing an opportunity which would never come again." (a.)Around July 8, 1940, Vice-Minister of War ANAMI assured KIDO that " the army solidly desired for the Prince's emergence as Prime Minister," which made KIDO feel " somewhat uneasy." (b.) On the 9th, HATA asked Premier YONAI's cooperation with the new domestic organization.(c.) On the 11th, MUTO called on ISHIWATA, Cabinet Secretary General, and explained in detail the intention of the Army, " amplifying the intention of the War Minister."(d.) On cross-examination, MUTO said he spoke with ISHIWATA " of my agreement and approval of the direction towards which Prime Minister KONOYE's intentions were directed." (e.)
2-b. Why YONAI Cabinet Fell.
OO-26. The Army, through MUTO and ViceMinister of War ANAMI, finally came around to demand, sometime in the middle of July 1940, the " mass resignation of the Cabinet in order to realize KONOYE's political order," and when it was declined MUTO and ANAMI declared " there was nothing to be done but force the resignation of War Minister MATA."(a.) On cross-examination, YONAI corroborated this, although he thought ANAMI was not there.(b.) MATA told YONAI that the opinions expressed by MUTO and ANAMI were their own personal opinions.(c.)
OO-26a. Premier YONAI disclosed that HATA resigned as War Minister because the army considered his Cabinet weak,(a.) and his Cabinet was considered weak because it did not support the creation of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association and the alliance between Germany and Japan, which at the time were the main questions of domestic and foreign policy. (b.) He said he was against the creation of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association because it would have " meant the establishment of a dictatorship," a " fascist regime" in Japan, along " the same lines as in Germany," under which Parliament, instead of being the organ of deliberation " would become an organ, where the members would simply vote for and applaud any measure demanded by dictatorship."(c.) He stated that the most influential persons in military circles at the time were War Minister HATA, Chief of Military Affairs Section MUTO, and Chief of General Staff SUGIYAMA, all of whom expressed their dissatisfaction with the policy of his Cabinet.(d.) MUTO, by the way, admitted that while Chief of the Military Affairs Bureau he was very active and interested in politics.(e.)
OO-27. On July l6 War Minister HATA did resign. Before resigning, however, HATA first conferred at his office with ANAMI and MUTO, then with the Big Three of the Army with MUTO in attendance, and later with the members of the Supreme War Council, of which MUTO was Chief Secretary. (a.)
OO-28. To drive home his observation that TOJO leaned heavily on the political advice of MUTO, Ryukichi TANAKA cited the case of War Minister HATA who resigned from the Cabinet of YONAI because the Army's views on the Tripartite Alliance was not accepted by the Cabinet. In 1940, TANAKA asked General HATA " why he took such attitude which was really against his ideas and nature," and HATA replied that he was obliged to do so by the influence of MUTO." (a.)
OO-29. KIDO stated the Army wanted a military alliance with Germany and wanted YONAI out. (a.) And the technique employed to bring about the fall of YONAI, was for the War Minister to refuse to agree to a successor.(b.) On July 17, 1940 Ambassador Ott was pleased to inform the German General Staff that in view of the Cabinet change forced by the Army, a speedy transition to a more active anti-English policy was to be expected.(c.)