- 公益財団法人 史学会
- 史学雑誌 (ISSN:00182478)
- vol.94, no.11, pp.1743-1775,1853-, 1985-11-20 (Released:2017-11-29)
In the past the Hiranuma Cabinet has been often referred to in connection with the Japan-Germany-Italy mutual Defense Pact of 1937. This paper puts a new perspective on the well-known 'Complex and bizarre communique' and criticizes the previous trend in treating the Hiranuma Cabinet as incompetent. This paper, through a close examination of both American and British diplomatic data, throws light on Hiranuma's manoeuverings with respect to the U.S. and clarifies the following three statements. First, Hiranuma wished to conclude the Chino-Japanese War immediately and pursue possible ways for peace negotiations with the Chiang Chieh-shih Government. The idea of a peace treaty suggested by American and Britain had been thoroughly discussed by the Hiranuma Cabinet as to whether Japan and China should accept it or not. This discussion led to the disolution of the first Konoe-Communique and inevitably forced Japan to change its attitude. Since their failure in the Trautmann Peace Move they had repeatedly refused peace negotiations conducted through a third party. Secondly, Hiranuma, having predicted that both America enforce economic sanctions against Japan, tried to approach the U.S. positively. At the end of May, 1939, Hiranuma sent a message to President Roosevelt through Ambassador Grew, and held a meeting with Secretary Dooman of the American embassy concerning the possibility of holding an international meeting to discuss methods of resolving the crisis in Europe. There was, however, one condition, that America would call Britain to the meeting and Japan would call Germany and Italy. Hiranuma wished to add to the topics at the meeting truce conditions for the Chino-Japanese War. Thirdly, on the night prior to the start of the European War only Japan and America held the key to the solution of the Far East Problem. Hiranuma's successfully improved relations with America confused Britain, who thereby did not have a chance to impose economic sanctions on Japan. Hiranuma's diplomacy had been supported by his right hand men and he had never hesitated in approaching the American and the British embassies. His approach was decisive and straight to the point. Hiranuma made himself a reputation by suppressing the Communist Movement at the beginning of the Showa Era and by such manoeuvrings as the Anti-Minobe strategy in the Kokutai-meicho-Movement. The times, however, changed drastically during the following decade. Hiranuma was to be stultified by political moderates, but never the less was able form a cabinet which was in line with them. He continued to make his best effort to fulfill their expectations. Considering only the results of his diplomatic manoeuvres, one can observe that there were fewer reactions from America than were expected, although much effect was exercised on Britain and China. However, results are not wholly indicative of history. While the people and the media were thinking only of the alliance with Germany and Italy, Japanese diplomatic policies were moving calmly towards the Pacific.