tv Lew Paper In the Cauldron CSPAN December 22, 2019 11:00pm-12:01am EST
[applause] in world history like december 7 because of what it meant for the world we live in today in so many ways. we are very fortunate to be honored with a wonderful program with a new book that has just come out. your support makes these programs possible. it's because of members and trustees like you that we can da ohese programs. and last year the program manager we put on 58 programs here at the library, which is very impressive. it really is a way for us to get back to the community because we feel so strongly. we love this area and we are
honoring his wishes. so today as a journalist and at georgetown, he's written a number of interesting books. the book about don larsen's world series, anybody render that? and he then wrote a novel about john f. kennedy fiction and nonfiction book about the combination who essentially built cbs and of course his rise to power and one of the most
fascinating media moguls. another book on blue brandeis allows him to bring a fresh perspective called in the cauldron the american ambassadors stumbled to avoid pearl harbor. this is a very c complicated. oh and a complicated story about how president roosevelt was trying to navigate the transition from america being this neutral country that he wanted to get into this war but of course american policy was forcing it in one way or another. you are going to hear a fantastic story and there will be a book signing afterwards.
[applause] thank you all for coming. before he said he was going to introduce me i had h only one request i said i don't care if it is true or not, make me look good, and i think that he did a great job. but i do want to thank them for the invitation to be here. it's a great honor and i am very privileged and flattered to have received the invitation. being here has a special meaning for me. when i was a little boy my father talked to me all the time about president roosevelt and the reasonn my father talked to me about president roosevelt is because i have been stricken with polio as a little boy, and my father wanted me to know that
it wouldn't prevent me from being a success in life and he had a better example than president roosevelt. ioi was very fortunate mine wast president roosevelt roosevelt. when i got a little older, it was a very special trip and i say i wish my father could be here with me today. i think that he would really enjoy. wbut pearl harbor, we have all seen the film. in the united states house of representatives on decembe
december 81941 is w a date that will live in infamy in japan's surprise attack on the u.s. naval base at pearl harbor. there is no evidence president roosevelt or his cabinet knew in advance specifically that they would attack pearl harbor. but they shouldn't have been surprised that japan would attack the united states. in november of 1941, only a few weeks before pearl harbor, they sent 2 kilograms, the secretary of state warning him that japan was prepared to launch a war against the united states and that the armed conflict would come with dangerous and dramatic. how did he know that?
november g 1941, tall, lean, buy eyebrows, mustache, he'd been an american diplomat for almost 40 years and he had been america's ambassador to japan. he had been an american diplomat for almost 40 years and to japan for almost ten years to the secretary of state in november of 1941. the first factor was the
japanese economy. the united states had economic sanctions on japan in the effort to curb the military aggression in china and southeast asia. the sanctions had crippled the japanese economy. the streets had to be fitted with charcoal engines and imported coffee was also unavailable. it had been replaced by another group about which "the new york times" correspondent said it was better not to ask too many questions. there was a second factor that led them to send it in 1941 and that was the japanese mindset.
who knew that a crippled economy would lead to a sense of desperation among the japanese? led a sense of desperation woult lead to the war was all a part of that spirit that still prevails in japan. we knew that the japanese leaders and violations were suicidal war in the united states was better than the humiliation of succumbing to the american pressure. there is a story that illustrates the japanese mindset. he received word from the american embassy in china about a japanese soldier who'd been captured by chinese troops were fighting there. the japanese soldier came from a well-to-do family and wanted his family back in japan to know he was alive and well and soon
received a reply neither they nor their family or friends were interested and as far as they were concerned that the japanese soldier was dead because of the government. he dishonored his family and his government and there is a third factor that led them to send telegrams in november 1941 and that concerned the leader's ability to control the population. if i was writing a book about nazi germany, i shouldn't have to tell you about the brutality of the government.
secret police were everywhere. surveillance was pervasive. no dissent is allowed and in discreet word utterediscrete woa friend, neighbor, family member, person to find themselves arrested, torn in jail and subjected.oo the interest of th understated f all of this but if japanese leaders issued a command to launch a suicidal war against the united states the japanese people would say that command and they would fight. there was a fourth factor that led them to send telegrams in november of 1941. and that revolved around discussions with just the japanese disgust they were having in washington, d.c. with the secretary of state about a
possible agreement between japan and the united states resolving the differences between the two countries notwithstanding that do or die spirit, the leaders recognized the risk of the war with the united states and said they supported an initiative in the spring of 1941 to have discussions in washington to see if the countries could reach an agreement. for his part of the secretary of state knew there was virtually nono chance for japan and the united states reaching an haagreement. they regarded japan is one of the first international desperadoes in the history of mankind.
he could hav couldn't go directe japanese representatives to those that came in washington, d.c. because in the spring of 1941 america'1940 when america'y capabilities were woefully inadequate and so president roosevelt and the military chiefs urged them to drag them out as long as possible. to give the united states time and to deter or delay any conflict in the pacific for which the united states was not prepared. that is what he did from the spring and fall to 1941. he spent untold hours talking with japanese representatives about an agreement that he knew would probably never come to fruition. by the fall of 1941, the
reported japanese leaders were very frustrated about the lack of progress and the discussions and that theyen were beginning o sense that the united states wasn't really interested in an agreement but time was running out. they made many recommendations to the secretary of state about things they could do that might avoid the war that they saw coming. very few of the recommendations were acknowledged and none were accepted. it goes back to the united states in the specialty in washington, people couldn't believe that japan would directly attack the united states. iter was so much larger in terms of population and resources
people in washington and elsewhere thought it would be utterly stupid for japan to directly attack the united states. and so, we would later write american policy in the months before pearl harbor was completely inflexible and his reporting to the government from tokyo was like throwing pebbles into the lake at night. when pearl harbor occurred as you might imagine, he was very frustrated and very bitter because he felt that the roosevelt administration squandered a chance to possibly avoid war. when pearl harbor did occur, the other members of the american embassy in tokyo were arrested and were taken as prisoners of war. they were all placed in the american embassy in tokyo for about six months while japan and the united states brought out a
diplomatic exchange agreement so that american diplomats in japan could return to the united states and japanese diplomats in the united states could return to japan. during the six months that he was held as a prisoner of war, joseph wrote a 60 page report that detailed his criticism of american policy in the months before pearl harbor. he planned to give the report to president roosevelt and secretary of state when he returned to the united states. but it never happened. when he returned to the united states in august, 1942, he showed the report to the secretary of state. he glanced at the report and immediately saw it criticized the decisions that he had made in the months before pearl
harbor. he demanded that he destroy that report. as an official in the state department, he felt he had no choice but to avoid said he described that report. i should add that there is no evidence president roosevelt knew about the report or its destruction. for his support, he never publicly acknowledged the destruction ofio the report. even when he was asked in a postwarpo congressional hearing whether he had prepared a report upon his return to the united states. thank you for the indulgence. how did i come to write this book about joseph and pearl
harbor? about six months ago, i was going to write a book about america in 1941. franklin roosevelt had been inaugurated for an unprecedented third term as president. that uaw signed its first contract with a car manufactur manufacturer. the new york yankees worked on record gains a record that still stands and of course the attack on pearl harbor. in the course of my research, i came across the name of joseph and his efforts to orchestrate an agreement between japan and the united states to avoid the war he saw coming. i was intrigued and the more i researched, the more i realized
the story had never been told and so i switched gears to tell the story. in, writing this book, i wanted to bring the characters alive for the reader. he is a central figure in this and you see roosevelt standing in the well of the united states house of representatives 1941 saying that december 7, 1941, the date that will live in infamy, and yet as we discussed, here is a man that had been stricken by polio and couldn't walk. i was thinking about it as i was writing the book. you and i get up ino the mornin, we come back, get dressed and go about our day.
that assistancest wasn't going o be provided by his wife, moeanor, he had his own bedroom down the hall in the white house and was almost always traveling. instead, roosevelt relied on a valet. i thought wouldn't it be great if i could find some commentaries about what he was like in those private moments and i was able to find the commentary. i learned most private moments he almost always displayed a disposition. in december 1941 was a big black man who was a chief petty
officer in the united states navy and also a very good looking guy and although he was married,n roosevelt liked to tease him about being a ladies man and every time he would tease him aboutbo being a ladies man, he would respond one doesn't refute the chief executive, mr. president. i wanted to provide that same intimacy. to do that, i talked to many members of the family. the grandchildren, cousins, great grandchildren. they told me many stories that were useful. one stood out because it displayed the diplomatic skills thatat factor. it was january, 1949.
he was asked to provide some remarks at a dinner in a honor ofha general george marshall who was retiring as the secretary of state. general marshall at the chief in world war ii and after the war, truman appointed him as the secretary of state. now in january of 1949, she's going to retire to his farm in virginia with his wife. in the audience was dwight and his wife. i'm sure that he will no he's the one who led the allied invasion of normandy. in his closing remarks, she said all he wants to do is retire to his home in virginia with mrs. eisenhower and as soon as
he said the fact that people begin to let up and he immediately recognized his mistake and quickly said my apologies to the general. at that point general eisenhower blurted out which general. i didn't rely solely on the discussions with his family. i also have access to the documents but none was more important than the diary. he was incredibly disciplined. almost every evening during the week and on weekend and he would write what happened and what has
been said and what he saw in the previous day. i had access to thousands of pages. i knew almost everything he did everything he said and everything he fought in those months before pearlrl harbor. i knew th at the time he got upn the morning. i knew that his favorite scotch whiskey and a new about his deep feelinghas deepfeelings for hisa and in many respects, this book is a love story. hhe was a vivacious woman with long dark hair. she came from a prominent family in boston but have little formal education because the family was always traveling. alice was very smart and she had a lot of opinions and always
wanted to share those opinions with her husband. and he was willing to listen. he pulled his starters he rarely did anything of any consequence without consulting alice. alice was a formidable force in her own right. that was illustrated by a story told by the secretary. that was shortly before pearl harbor. they invited over for dinner the ambassador to japan and his wi wife. they thought she was a nasty
woman and in any event, the social occasions at the embassy in tokyo, they have shown a movie after dinner. the problem was the projector they used to show the movie was often breaking down. the projector and then broke down. when it did, they turned to alice and said isn't it unfortunate that machine of yours is always breaking down and without skipping a beat they said yes but isn't it great that we have no important guests tonight? [laughter] i tried to provide the same in describing the other characters in this drama, both american and japanese. and if you leave the book --
read the book you will see the attacattack at pearl harbor wast merely a clash of governance. it was the product of the personalities, the perspectives of th prejudice of people like u and me. and if you read this book it will change the way you look at pearl harbor. i want to thank you all for coming and if anybody has any questions i would be happy to answer questions anyone might have. i think there's a microphone. [applause] i have a couple of questions. one of the things they are
fairlfairly well known for his resourcefulness. back in those days one of the primary sources of fuel for not only their navy but the army and their domestic use spinach came from the united states. it seems like the british, the germans didn't have a problem getting fuel, the british didn't have a problem getting fuel for their ships and in 1937 the japanese attempted to get the oil consortium agreement and
nothing seemed to ever happen. why couldn't they buy fuel that were still flushed with a wail today, why did they have to come 5,000 miles? >> that's a good question. >> that doesn't pertain to what you were talking about but i can't help but think maybe somewhere along the lines maybe you should think of another fuel source rather than the u.s.. >> i don't want to create a misimpression here, but he saw his role as an ambassador.
he saw it as his mission to promote peace because he'd been in a berlin embassy during world war i and he understood the consequence. he knew what the war abroad, said he was desperate to try to avoid the war. to go to your question, he wouldn't have given any advice about the you are correct in your resourceful and pursued other alternatives to get oil like other places. they also recognize the vicinity of the united states worked with other countries to prevent japan from running around the embargoes and sanctions which
the united states had imposed because then of course the sanctions would be effective and the united statesve government s very much aware of that. >> you were able to see this diary. is there any mention of another person by the way did he keep the diary like that not only when he was in japan to promote his whole time? is there any mentioning of a person by the name of tyler kent? >> you are really testing me now. i can't remember the name quite frankly, for those of you that are interested in the book, you can go to my website.
you can see a video about the book. i know that it doesn't sound much like a blockbuster, but there's a video about the book and i bring it up to you because if you have questions when you leave here today they were aware of what is happening and it wasn't just a fight going on but this was the destruction of horrendousus portions. you said they made certain
mistakes in refusing the paper. is there anything that shows that these were and what do you think has happened? >> the japanese military, they engaged, they were brutal in quite a number of atrocities including where thousands of chinese civilians were raped, murdered, beaten. that was th the army and defeata very bad things, but i would say this but the united states agreed, understood and accepted that, but they were looking out for the united states and didn't want them to become involved in the war if they could avoid it with maintaining their integrity. and in terms of what they w didi will give you my perspective, he
she felt in rich respect the secretary of state wasn't receptive to suggestions which he had made that he thought would avoid a the war. one of the mistakes that he made from his perspective was concerning a meeting. this was in the summer and fall of 1941. he had a stature and commanded respect in japan. he said he was prepared to go to the united states and beat on american soil where roosevelt wanted and he would give the president the concessions to reach the agreement to avoid the
war because he desperately wanted to avoid the war. he truly wanted a diplomatic resolution and prime minister told him if he could meet with roosevelt, he had the support of the emperor. they didn't want roosevelt to meet with prime minister and he convinced him not to meet with the minister. roosevelt wanted to meet with him because he had great confidence in his ability to deal with other people. he met with a one of th the onee foreign leaders during world war ii. in terms of what he had done wrong, he thought he was very inflexible to suggestions that he thought might lead to an
avoidance of the war. did they think japan would never withdraw from china. it's interesting that you bring that up. that's a good point. he had this report that i described a moment ago. he wrote a very long letter to president roosevelt. they went to school together. they knew each other very well.
emperor was revered both wasn't a -- throughout this time. coach hear was engaged in the civilian and military and what they should do. and i will tell you that in the final months when a lot of people in the military were pushing for a war with the united states, this prime minister that i mentioned a moment ago he resigned in 1941 because he couldn't get the meeting with roosevelameeting we new prime minister was very well known in many circles because he was the prime minister of japan attacked pearl harbor. he was a general in the japanese army and there was a lot of pressure from the army which he came to go to war with the united states. and the advertisers said when he
becameam minister in october of 1941. alit was called the right to sty clean message that he was to do everything he could within reasonon to reach a diplomatic resolution of the united states and from his perspective, he thought that he had to abide by that. it didn't work of course in part because, as i say, i think that the japanese rightht here alone felt that they were never going to get anywhere with the united states to reach an agreement, but the bottom line is i can't speak to the comment you made because i never saw that interview that i can tell you that they were willing to stay their hand in response to the request from the emperor that they find a diplomatic resolution during the period of
they had advanced the interests of dealing with it. are there any other suggestions? >> there were a number of other suggestion. he felt that roosevelt should issue a statement that would be well-publicized that roosevelt would explain the benefits that would accrue to japan if they abandon their military policies and adopted a more peaceful jaforces.
he was concerned because a lot of the japanese were controlled by the government and the japanese leaders moved out and had a mistakehave a mistaken vif sentiment in the united states. there were a lot of isolationist movements and whenever isolationist in the united states made statements, they were given great publicityis in japan. so, they were concerned that the japanese have a view of what they were willing to do and whether they could stand up with themselves, said he wanted to counter that and he told roosevelt if you can make a statement to explaint the benefit, i willil make sure through my contacts that this gets a lot of publicity so that everybody, japanese leaders and japanese people can understand the benefits they
would have if they change their policies. that was one suggestion that roosevelt never accepted. i was wondering what was japan's overall strategic plan for the entire and their place in the world. had there been a peace treaty signed, would they have kept expanding throughout and what more have been an eventual? >> nobody can answer that question. i will say this, they thought that there is no guarantee in this business. there are so many factors in this situation is so fluid he couldn't guarantee what the future would hold that he did
think that if they could reach an agreement that japan might get the benefit that it was seeking. you have to remember japan is an soisland nations -- nation of violence. they had a big population. the rights enable them to stay there and they could have stayed there. there was a reasonable chance that there could be he thought
he was a good friend of franklin roosevelt did he not sent a letter not just to him, but his boss and why didn't he speak up, today people would do that, and what is the attitude in 1942. that is a good question and the answer is he did write several dear frank letters and mperiodically. he knew the president was busy with so many things to periodically did write letters to president roosevelt.
beatty for most because he was so purposed on that and they wrote a letter on septembe september 291941 there was a meeting with the japanese prime minister to see if they could reach an agreement. roosevelt gives the letter to the state department tried to reply and they finally got a reply from roosevelt on octobe
secretary and knocks. it wasn't a treaty per se because it had ever been approved by the senate. now my question as early as february 281941, there was a communications client held by these four countries and if they changethatthey changed all of te information. everybody had some skin in the game. did the state department or the embassy of japan have any crossover or exchange of
they were all pretty much in the same boat was the fourth japan or what was he doing at that point? eche started off as an assistant secretary and then became the chief of the far eastern division and in november of 1944, the resigned as the secretary of state and was replaced later with jimmy burns. november 1944, he appointed the undersecretary to position the state department.
until august 151945. he spent a lot of time as the secretary of state was traveling around so much for running a united nations in dealing with a lot of issues that required the secretary to move to different places and when they were out of washington, they became the acting secretary of stat secretd the great irony is that he was the acting secretary of state when the bombs were dropped on hiroshima and nagasaki and then he retired august 15th 1945, shortly after the last drop. at this point he was 65-years-old in those days.
>> a lot of people who are in the embassy were outside of the embassy the offices were turned into bedrooms and people could stayid there. is that your question? they were pretty much confined to the seat he would say they were treated better than ghost prisoners of war. they were in the american and see which i'm in and was crowded, but a very nice and busy, so
they had relatively good treatments and on that score just by comparison, journalists, american journalists who were in tokyo reportingto for the newspaper ty were thrown into jail and tortured and to give you one littleor t story about that nowt you bring it up, they were taking the goal of the embassies and other journalists and they were on the ship as well and there was a delay because the united states insisted on getting some people from northern japan on the ship so
they were leaving to the harbor. a lot of this has been jurors became concerned that it wasn't going to leave and they were going to be taken off the ship back onto the land of japan and one of the journalists said i will jump in the water and drown myself before i go back on the land. [applause] i want to thank you for coming and for your patience. i hope if you read the book you enjoy it and learn something from it. thank you. book signing is in the lobby.
with the level of chaos not only described in this book but by others that come to the white house after watching the white house closely is not something we have seen in many lighthouses before. it is true they have a degree of chaos insofar as what was going on from the oil spills to who knows what but that is a chaos
in terms of what we have seen and how president john governed. >> i wouldn't use the word chaos necessarily. the speed of the crisis has picked up and the regularity of the crisis. but i will say that is also characteristic of the system in general. i mean, things tend not to get results and blow up and be very very hyper partisan, hyper polarized deeply emotional time in the national debate, an and f