NEGOTIATIONS BREAK DOWN (Illustration) American History Famous Historical Events Famous People Film Government World War II

Admiral Chuichi Nagumo led the Japanese First Air Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike force, toward the U.S fleet at Pearl Harbor, as seen in this Japanese photo taken November 26, 1941. If negotiations between Japan and the U.S. were successful, the fleet would return home. If negotiations were not successful, planes and pilots traveling aboard the carriers would attack the U.S fleet at Pearl Harbor.


November 26, 1941 marked Japan’s final turn toward war. During a Washington meeting, Cordell Hull told Nomura and Kurusu the oil embargo would continue.

The Secretary then referred to the oil question. He said that public feeling was so acute on that question that he might almost be lynched if he permitted oil to go freely to Japan. (See official Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, at page 385.)

It wasn’t just the oil, though. Among other things, America wanted Japan to recognize the authority of the current Chinese leader, Chiang Kai-shek. The Imperial Government refused. Apparently resigned to the inevitable, Ambassador Nomura made a fatalistic observation.

The Ambassador took the occasion to observe that sometimes statesmen of firm conviction fail to get sympathizers among the public; that only wise men could see far ahead and sometimes suffered martyrdom; but that life’s span was short and one could only do his duty.

Certain his country would not accept America’s most recent proposal, Kurusu wanted to be sure there was no way to bend Roosevelt’s government:

Mr. Kurusu said that he felt that our response to their proposal could be interpreted as tantamount to meaning the end...

In fact, that’s exactly how the Imperial government saw things. They were ready to implement their plan for the South Pacific. On November 26, 1941 the huge fleet left port. Some vessels sailed north. Others sailed south.

Onboard the flagship carrier Akagi, Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo was in command of a well-armed, large contingent of the Imperial fleet. He and his men were sailing north of Tokyo, well outside the shipping lanes. Their destination? Pearl Harbor. The carriers were fully loaded with bombers and fighter planes.

But those ships carried something more. Something fatal. Pilots aboard the aircraft carriers were armed with deadly knowledge. As Yamamoto and Genda planned the attack, they had inside help.

One of Japan’s best-trained spies, Takeo Yoshikawa, had a job at the Pearl Harbor Japanese Consulate. To everyone outside the Imperial high command, he was known as "Tadashi Morimura."

To Yamamoto’s staff, however, he was known as the man who drew meticulous pictures of the harbor and its naval ships.

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Jan 12, 2016

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"NEGOTIATIONS BREAK DOWN" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2001. Jun 01, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips