In response to Hisahiko Okazaki’s Feb. 24 article, “Telling the truth at Yasukuni,” I would like to question Okazaki’s assertions that the Hull note of 1941 was “meant to close negotiations” and that it is “a historical fact that Roosevelt induced Japan to carry out the first strike” in opening the Pacific War. These are his opinions, but they are not facts.

It is, however, historical fact that the Hull note was headed with the words “strictly confidential, tentative and without commitment,” and that the first section of the document bore the title “A draft mutual declaration of policy.” If the American government at the time had really meant to close negotiations, it seems unlikely that it would have chosen such circumspect language.

On the contrary, surely such wording signaled an American desire to open negotiations, however unlikely the outcome, not close them. To claim the opposite strikes me as a misrepresentation of the historical facts as does the implication that the Hull note makes the United States responsible for Japanese aggression. So much for intellectual integrity.

matthew grant

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