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tv   Lew Paper In the Cauldron  CSPAN  December 29, 2019 9:00am-10:00am EST

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strangers, an examination of the mistakes we make in dealing with people we don't know. and i encourage you all to read it, to buy it. >> you have been watching booktv on c-span2. .. if there's any veterans or active-duty servicemen,please rise, we can acknowledge your service . thank you very much. [applause] today is the day that marked the transition of
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america from an isolationist nation to a global superpower and there are few days in world history like december 7 because of what it meant for the world we live in today in so many ways . we're fortunate to be able to honor today with a wonderful program with a new book that has just come out. how many of our members are here, if you're a member, please raise yourhand . thank you very much for your support, it makes the program is possible because of members and trustees like you that we can do these programs and last year cliff lobby was our program manager put on 58 programs at the library which is very impressive. [applause] and again, because of your support we can have these programs for free and it is a way of us to give back to the community because we feel so strongly that fdr loved this area and we are honoring his wishes. and so our speaker today,
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transport is a journalist and taught at harvard and was involved with georgetown but he's also written a number of interesting books . he's the author of perfect which is don larson's book about don larson's world series . anybody remember that? raise your hand. and he wrote a book called promise and performance about john f. kennedy and then interestingly and i think i want to hear about this, he wrote a novel about john f. kennedy . deadly risk about his assassination so hewrote both a nonfiction and a fiction book , there is accommodation . wrote a book called empire on william paley and william paley was the man who built dvs and of course his rise to power parallels very much fdr's period of radio into television and probably one of the most fascinating and certainly most powerful media moguls inamerica . another book on louis
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brandeis, supreme court justice so he has a deep grounding in 20th century american history allows him to bring a fresh perspective to the book here to talk about todaywhich is called in the cauldron . the american ambassador struggle to avoid pearl harbor. this is a very complicated period and a collocated story about how president roosevelt was trying to navigate this transition from america being an isolationist neutral country when he wanted to get into this war , but he didn't want to get into the war with japan as he wanted to get into the war with germany but of course american policy was forcing a decision one way or another so you're going to hear a fantastic story area the book is in thecauldron, there will be a book signing afterwards . please welcome lew paper. >> you all for coming.
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when paul said he was goingto introduce me , i had only one request. i said i don't care if it's true or not, just make me look good. and i think he did a greatjob . but i do want to thank paul and cliff for theinvitation to be here . it's a great honor and i'm privileged and very flattered to have received the invitation . being here as a special meeting for me. when i was a little boy, my father talked to me all the timeabout president roosevelt . the reason my father taught me about president roosevelt was because i had been stricken with polio as a little boy. my father wanted me to know that polio would not prevent me being a success in life. and he had no better example
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of course been president roosevelt's. i was very fortunate. my polio was not as severe as president roosevelt's and later when i got a little older, my father brought me here to the library and museum. it was a very special trip. i was awestruck by the place. and i can only say i wish my father could be here with me today. i think you would really enjoy it. but enough about these personal matters . pearl harbor. we've all seen that film. of president roosevelt, standing in the well of the united states house of representatives on december 8 . 1941. saying that december 7 1941 is a date that will live in infamy . because of japan's surprise attack on the us naval base
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at pearl harbor. there's no evidence that president roosevelt or his cabinet knew in advance physically that japan would attack pearlharbor . but they should not have been surprised that japan would attack the united states. in november 1941, only a few weeks before pearlharbor , joseph grew sent to telegrams , to secretary of state cordell whole . warning him that japan was prepared to launch a suicidal war against the united states and that armed conflict would come with dangerous and dramatic substance, so who was joseph grew and how did he know that western mark in november 1941, joseph grew was 61 years old.
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all, lean , bushy eyebrows, full mustache area he had been an american diplomat for almost 40 years. and he had been america's ambassador to japan, and i'm using this one? kenny perry better now? so i'm glad, i should recognizably long microphone. event joseph grew and then an american diplomat. for almost 40 years. he had been america's ambassador to japan for almost 10 years . there were four factors that led grew to send those to telegrams to secretary of state cordellwhole in november 1941 . the first factor was the japanese economy . the united states had imposed economic sanctions on japan in an effort to curb japan's
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military aggression in china and then southeast asia. those economic sanctions had crippled the japanese economy. rice was being rationed. there was no gasoline forcars . a few cars that traversed tokyo's streets had to be fitted with charcoal engines. in imported poppy was also unavailable. it has been replaced another brew, which the new york times correspondent said it was better not to ask too many questions. there was a second factor that led grew to send a telegram to secretary of state cordell whole in november 1941. that wasthe japanese mindset . grew new that a cripple economy would lead to a sense of desperation among the japanese.
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and a sense of desperation lead to war. it was all part of that samurai do or die spirit that still prevailed in japan. grew new that for japanese leaders, annihilation for a suicidal war in the united states was better than the humiliation of succumbing to americanpressure . there is a story which illustrates that japanese mindset. and in the fall of 1941, groom received word from the american embassy in china about a japanese soldier who had been captured by chinese troops in the fighting there . the japanese soldier came from a well-to-do family. and he wanted his family back in japan to know that he was alive and well. grew past the word on to the japanese government and he
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soon received a reply. japanese government said that neither it nor thisman's family were interested . as far as they were concerned , that japanese soldier was dead. because of the government, any japanese soldier who had allowed himself to be captured had dishonored his family and dishonored his government. there was a third factor that led grew to send those telegrams to cordell whole in november1941 . that concern the japanese leaders ability to control the japanesepopulation . if i was writing a book about nazi germany, i would not have to tell you about the brutality of thegovernment . japan was also a very repressive society. secret police were everywhere. surveillance was pervasive.
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no dissent was allowed and an indiscreet word uttered to a friend, neighbor, family member, a person could find themselves arrested and subjected to horrifictorture . grew understood the upshot of all this. if japanese leaders issued a command to launch a suicidal war against the united states , the japanese people would obey the command and they would fight to the death. there's a fourth factor that led grew to send those telegrams to call in november 1941 . and revolved around discussions which japanese representatives were having in washington dc with secretary of state cordell whole about a possible agreement between japan and the united states to resolve the differences between the
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two countries. notwithstanding that samurai do or die spirit , japanese leaders recognized the risk of war with the united states and so they supported an initiative in the spring of 1941 to have discussions with whole in washington to see if the two countries couldreach an agreement . for his part, secretary of state cordell whole new there was virtually no chance of japan and the united states reaching an agreement. hull regarded japan as one of the worst international desperados in the history of mankind . he subscribed to the view that no promises of the jobs as he called them on paper would be worth anything . but hull could not tell that directly to the pennies representatives who came to washington dc . why?
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because in the spring of 1941 america's military capabilities were woefully inadequate and so president roosevelt and the military chiefs urged hull to drag those conversations out with the japanese as long as possible, to give the united states time to bolster its military capabilities and to defer or delay any conflict in the pacific for which the united states was not prepared so that's what hull did. in the spring through the summer in the fall of 1941, he spent untold hours talking with japanese representatives about an agreement that he knew probably would never come to fruition. by the fall of 1941, he reported to hull from tokyo that japanese leaders were very frustrated about the lack of progress and the
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discussions and that the japanese leaders were beginning to sense that the united states was not really interested in an agreement and that the united states was merely playing for time. but for japan, time was running out. in those months before pearl harbor, grew made many recommendations to president roosevelt and secretary of state cordell hull about things they could do that might avoid the war that grew saw coming. very few of grew's recommendations were acknowledged, none was accepted. why? because back in the united states and especially in washington , people could not believe that japan would directly attack the united states. the united states 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 area
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and so grew would later write that american policy in those months before pearl harbor was completely inflexible and that is reporting to the government from tokyo was like throwing pebbles into a lake at night. when pearl harbor occurred as you might imagine , joseph grew was frustrated and bitter. because he felt that the roosevelt administration had squandered a chance to possibly avoid war. when pearl harbor did occur, grew and the other members of the american embassy were immediately arrested and 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 worked out a diplomatic exchange agreement so that american diplomats in japan could return to the
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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 grew wrote a 60 page report detailed his criticism ofamerican policy in the months before pearl harbor . he planned to give that report to president roosevelt and secretary of state cordell hull when he returned to theunited states . but it never happened. when groom returned to the united states in august 1942, he showed the report to secretary of state cordell hull . hull glanced at the report and hull immediately saw report criticized decisions he had made in the months before pearl harbor . he immediately demanded that grew destroy that report.
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as a subordinate official in the state department, grew felt he had no choice but to agree to hold demands. and so he destroyed that report. i should add that there is no evidence that president roosevelt knew about the report or itsdestruction . for his part, he never publicly acknowledged the destructionof the report . even when he was asked in a postwar congressional hearing whether he had prepared any reports to give to hold upon his return to the united states. >> thank you for that indulgence. so how did i come to write this book? about joseph grew andpearl harbor ? about six years ago, i was going to write a book about
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america in 1941. it was a pivotal year for the country. franklin d roosevelt and then inaugurated for an unprecedented term as president. the uaw had signed its first contract with a car manufacturer . the new york yankees joe dimaggio had safely and 56 consecutive games, a record which still stands and of course, japan attacked pearl harbor . in the course of my research, i came across the name of joseph grew and his effort to orchestrate an agreement between japan and the united states to avoid war he saw coming. i was intrigued and the more i researched, the more i realize that grew's story had never beentold . and so i switched gears to tell that story. in writing this book, i
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wanted to bring the characters alive for the reader. take president roosevelt. he's a central figure inthis drama . when you see roosevelt standing in a well at the united states house of representatives on december 8, 1941, saying that december 7 1941 is a date that will live in infamy, he looks so strong, he sounds so vibrant . and yet as we discuss, here is a man who had been stricken by polio and could not walk. i was thinking about it wheni was writing the book . you and i, we get up in the morning to go to the bathroom, we do our business and we come back, we get dressed and go about our day. roosevelt could not do all that without assistance. and that assistance was not going to be provided his wife
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eleanor. she had her own bedroom down the hall in the white house and more than that, she was almost always traveling. instead, roosevelt relied on a valet. roosevelt had two valleys during his 12 years in the white house . and i thought wouldn't it be great if i can find some commentary from those ballets about what roosevelt was like in those private moments with his ballet and i was able to find that commentary. i learned that in those private moments with his ballet, roosevelt almost always displayed a sweet, amiable disposition. roosevelt ballet in december 1941 was arthur perryman, a big black man who was a chief petty officer in the united states navy. perryman was also a very good-looking guy and although pediment was married,
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roosevelt liked to tease perryman about being a ladies man every time roosevelt would tease him about being a ladies man, perryman would respond one does not refute the chief executive,mister president . i wanted to provide that same intimacy and talk in talking about joseph do that, i talked to many members of his family. his grandchildren, his cousins, his great-grandchildren. they told me many stories that were a very useful. one story stood out because it displayed groomers diplomatic skills and his stature. it was january, 1949. group was asked to provide remarks at a dinner in honor of general george c marshall
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who was retiring as secretary of state. general marshall had been chief of the army during world war ii. after the war, truman appointed him as secretary of state. now, in january 1949, general marshall was going to retire to his farm in virginia with his wife. in the audience was general dwight d eisenhower and his wife maybe. i'm sure you all know that general eisenhower is the one who led the alliedinvasion of normandy . in his closing remarks in honor of general marshall, drew said all he wants to do is retire to his farm in virginia with mrs. eisenhower . well, as soon as he said that, people began to laugh. grew recognized his mistake
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and quickly and coolly said my apologies to the general. at that point general eisenhower blurted out which general ? i did not rely solely on discussions with members of cruise family. i also had access to a lot of documents. no document was more important than grew's diary. this guy was incredibly disciplined. through his long diplomatic career almost every evening during the week and on weekends, he would sit at his desk, his pipe clenched between his teeth, his smith corona typewriter in front of him and he would write out what had happened, what had been said and what he had thought in the previous day. i had access to thousands of pages of cruise diaries.
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i knew almost everything he did, everything he said and everything he thought in those months before pearl harbor . i knew what time he got up in the morning. i knew that his favorite scotch whiskey was johnny walker red . and i knew to about his very deep feelings for his wife alice. and in fact in many respects, this book is a love story. when joseph grew married alice perry in 1904, she was a tall, vivacious, beautiful woman with long dark hair. alice came from a prominent family in boston, but she had little formal education because the family was always traveling. but alice was very smart and she had a lot of opinions and alice wanted to share those opinions with her husband. and he was willing to listen.
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grew told his daughter's that he rarely sends out an important message or communication or rarely did anything of any consequence without consulting alice. but alice was a formidable force in her own right. that was illustrated by a story told by grew's private secretary . it concerned a social evening at the american embassy in tokyo, shortly before pearl harbor. the cruise invited over for dinner to sir robert craigie, the british ambassador to japan and his wife lady craigie, the groom is like sir robert friday, the cruise did not like lady craigie. they thoughtshe was a nasty woman . in any event, at the social occasions atthe american embassy , the grooves would often show a movie after dinner.
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the problem was a projector they use to show the movie was often breaking down. on this particular occasion, as the grooves and the crazies were watching a movie , the projector again broke down. when it did, lady craigie turned to alice and said isn't it unfortunate my dear that that machine of yours is always breaking down ? without skipping a beat, alice turned to the lady and said yes, but isn't it great that we have no important gueststonight . i tried to provide that same intimacy and in describing the other characters in this drama, both american and japanese.and if you read the book, you will see that the attack at pearl harbor was not merely a clash of governments.
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it was the product of the personalities, perspectives and prejudices of people like you and me. and if you read this book, it will change the way you look at pearl harbor. and so i want to thank you for coming and if people have a question, if anybody has any questions i would be happy to answer any questions anyonemight have . just keep it clean. there's, i think there's a microphone. >> i have a couple of of the things that the japanese are fairly well-known for isthere resourcefulness . now, forgive me but we all i
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think pretty much drove here today and we're all aware of the price of gas. back in those days, the japanese, one of the primary sources of their fuel for not only their navy their army and their domestic use pretty much came from the united states. it seems like the british, the germans with their raiders steaming around southeast asia because they didn't have any problem getting fuel for their ships. the british didn't have any problem getting fuel for their ships. in 1937 the japanese attempted to get a oil consortium agreement with southeast portuguese teamwork
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and nothing seemed to ever happen. why couldn't the japanese biofuel from the npi, in other words netherlands, east india in their islands which were still flush with oil today. why do they have to come thousand miles across the pacific and 5000 miles back? >> that's a good question i realize that doesn't pertain exactly what you were talking about but he had been here for 10 years and i can't help but think maybe somewhere along the lines maybe you've got to think about another fuel source. >> group was going to help the japanese in that regard. grew notwithstandinganything i said , i don't want to create misimpression, grew was a patriot and he saw his role as an ambassador, as a representative of the united states, he saw it as his mission to promote peace because he had been in the
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berlin embassy in germany during world war i and understood the consequence of war. he knew what war brought so he was desperate to try to avoid war, not to advance the cause of the japanese but to protect america and to your question, grew would not have given the japanese any advice about that but the japanese you are correct are resourceful and they did pursue other alternatives to get oil like the dutch east indies and other places and they were stymied everywhere that they went. in part, not entirely but in part because the united states also recognized what you just said at united states worked with the dutch east indies and other countries to provide, to prevent japan from running around the embargoes and sanctions which the united states had imposed because if japan could be resourceful and get around it, of course the sanctions would not be effective and the united
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states was very much aware of that. >> i have one other question since you were able to see all of this diary that mister grew kept, was there ever any mention of a person, by the way, did he keep a diary like diary like that not only in japan but through his full-time ? >> yes. >> was there mention of a person by the name of tyler can't ? >> your testing me now. i can't remember the name quitefrankly , but you can go i should say for those of you interested in the book, you can go to my website, lew if you go to my pay website there's a fuller description of the book and you can see some reviews and also you can see a video about the book.
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i know it doesn't sound like a blockbuster that there is a video about the book on the website but the reason i bring it up to this gentleman and for any of you, if you have questions after you leave here today and say i wish i had asked him this or that, go to my website and you can reach me through my website and i promise if you send me the question, i will do my best to answer it promptly. you're welcome, thank you. >> before i lead into the question , please japanese desperados were more than that, there was the rape of nanking was involved and cordell hull and other countries were aware of what's happening in china. this wasn't a mere battle or fight, this was destruction of tremendous proportions. you said that cordell hull had made certain mistakes in his paper. is there any diaries that show what thesemistakes were ? >> you're quite right, the
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japanese military, they engaged in, they were brutal. and they engaged in quite a number of atrocities including was, we call the rape of nanking where thousands of chinese civilians were raped, murdered, the. it was unspeakable. so that was the army. and they did do very bad things really what i would say this, that the united states, he accepted that but he was looking out for the united states and did not want the united states to become involved in a war if they can avoid it with maintaining their integrity and in terms ofwhat he did , hull refused and i'll give you my perspective, grew felt certainly in retrospect that secretary of state hull was
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not receptive to suggestions which grew had made that grew thought would avoid the war. and so in terms of the mistakes, one of the mistakes that he made from gross perspective was concerned a meeting that grew, that the japanese prime minister had requested a meeting with president roosevelt. and this is in the summerand fall of 1941 . and this prime minister had a unique stature and he commanded respect among all the competing factions in japan and he told grew that he was prepared to go to the united states and meet with roosevelt on american soil anywhere roosevelt wanted and that he would give the president concessions to reach an agreement to avoid war because this prime minister desperately wanted to avoid war and in his camp was the emperor.
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japan at an emperor was revered throughout japan and in those days i think the emperor truly wanted a diplomatic resolution. and the prime minister told grew that if he could meet with roosevelt, he had the support of the emperor to stop the fighting of japanese troops in china. hull did not want roosevelt to meet with the prime minister convinced roosevelt not to meet with the prime minister. roosevelt wanted to meet with the prime minister because president roosevelt had great confidence in his ability to deal with other people and he met with a lot of foreign leaders during world war ii so in terms of group about what all did wrong, i think grew thought all was very inflexible and unreceptive to suggestions that grew thought might lead to an avoidance of war.
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>> did grew feel that the japanese word ever restore from china and if not what would be the basis? >> it even japan wouldever withdraw from china ? he thought, it's interesting you bring that up, that's a good point . so when grew was sailing back from japan in august 1942, and he had this report that i described a moment ago that he wanted to give to president roosevelt and secretary of state cordell all, while he was on the ship coming back to america, grew wrote a long letter that would be a cover letter to president roosevelt and this was like a dear friend letter. these guys went to school together so they knew each other very well. so he drafted a dear friend letter on the ship to explain that he was attaching a copy
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of thisreport . and in that letter, he explained that this jeff is the japanese prime minister had said that the chinese troops would be withdrawn except for a small contingent in manchuria. and so that's what grew was told that the prime minister as i said had told grew that the prime minister had the support of the emperor in doing. >> in an interview about 30 years ago when asked if he had bucked the army, i believe he said he would have been assassinated by the army if he had bucked the army. >> i can't respond because i haven't seen that comment. i can tell you the emperor was revered but the emperor was somebody, he wasn't passive receptacle.
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he throughout this time was engaged with both the civilian and military in what they should do. and i will tell you that in the final months, in the fall of 1941, when a lot of people in the military were pushing for a war with the united states, that hero vito, the emperordid not want it . so in when this prime minister i mentioned a moment ago resigned in october 1941 because he could not get the meeting with roosevelt, the new prime minister was a guy named tojo becky, tojo is well known in many circles because he was prime minister when japan attacked from harbor. he was a general in the japanese army. and there was a lot of pressure from the army from which he came to go to war with the united states. and hero vito and his advisers told tojo when he became prime minister in october 1941 that's easy to ignore every policy statement
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japan had adopted previously and was called a white the slate clean message and that tojo was to do everything he could then reason to reach a diplomatic resolution with the unitedstates . and tojo did from his perspective, tojo felt he had to abide by that. it didn't work out of course, in part because as i say, i think the japanese rightly or wrongly felt they were never going to get anywhere with the united states in reaching an agreement but the bottom line is i can't the comments that you made because i never saw that interview but i can tell you that the generals were willing to stay their hand and in response to a request from the emperor that they find a diplomatic resolution. >> good afternoon. thank you for coming.
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question for you, during the training of time that your speaking about, did joseph grew have any communication or a good repertoire with william dodd who was fdr's ambassador to germany at the time? >> that's an interesting comment. because i do discuss that in my book so here's a reason why youshould go by the book . so i do talk about that. god died in i believe 1940 at the age of 70 but in 1941, god's diary was published in the united states and of course, was later used as a basis book by erik larson called in the garden of beasts. when don's book came out, grew was very much aware of who he was because joseph
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grew was the dean of the united states diplomatic corps so he was very interested in seeing what god had to say about germany, in part because grew had served in the embassy in germany and part two, because like don, he was wrestling with a country bent on war . so there are probably, i can't remember. i would say a good 10 to 15 pages of grew's diary that are devoted to his analysis of don's tenure as the ambassador to germany between 1933 and 1937. i don't want to spend a lot of time you're detailing that but the bottom line was that grew had a very low opinion of god as an ambassador and thought he did not serve the country well cause he did not , grew felt that god had not accurately or adequately advanced american interests
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in dealing with hitler. >> i wanted to go back to grew's suggestion to roosevelt and cordell hull, despite the meeting with the prime minister were there other suggestions? >> there were a number of other suggestions. one suggestion that grew made was he felt that roosevelt should issue a statement that would be well-publicized in the united states that grew would have publicized in japan, if roosevelt would explain the benefits that would accrue to japan, if they abandoned their military policies and adopted more peacefulcourses . grew was concerned because they japanese, a lot of the japanese press was controlled by the government and the japanese leaders , the
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japanese president they felt had a mistaken viewabout sentiment in the united states . as you know there were a lot of isolationist movements led by lindbergh and others in the united states and whenever isolationist in the united states made statements, they were given great publicity in japan so grew was concerned that the japanese had a mistaken view of what the united states was willing to do and whether the united states would stand up for itself so he wanted to counter that and he told roosevelt that if you can make a statement to explain the benefits that would accrue to japan, i would make sure to my contacts that this gets a lot of publicity so that everybody, japanese leaders and the japanese people can understand the benefits that they would have if they changed their policies. that was one suggestion that rooseveltnever accepted .
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>> i was wondering what was japan's overall strategic plan for the empire and their place in the world?so had there been a peace treaty that would have been signed, would they have kept expanding throughout southeast asia? would war have been eventual? >> nobody can answer that question. i would say this, that grew thought that thereis no guarantees . there's so many factors and the situation is so fluid so he could not answer your last point first, he couldn't guarantee as to what the future would hold but he did think that if the united states could reach an agreement that japan might
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get the benefits that it was seeking without war, you have to remember that japan is an eye on nation of islands. they have a big population but no resources or fuel resources. china and southeast asia, indochina were very important to the japanese because they were rich in the resources that japan did not have. japan had a legitimate right to be in china. they had a railroad and they had other rights that enabled them to stay there . and they could have stayed there.japan had business interests in china long before there was a war. so i guess the response to your question is grew certainly believed that there was a chance, a reasonable chance that there could be some benefit to japan and peace but i will tell you to go to your otherpoint , as i
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mentioned japanese leaders understood the risk of war with the united states and understood they could not survive in a long war with the united states and admiral yamamoto is the one who devised the strategy to attack pearl harbor and he did it because he said japan can't last in a long war with the united states and the only way we can survive in a war is to deal with the united states a crippling blow at the outset and he thought maybe pearl harbor, an attack at the naval base would do that but even yamamoto in september 1941 says that a war with so little chance of success should not be fought . so there's a possibility that certain elements of japan would have responded to an agreement that would promise the benefits that japan needed. thank you.
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>> one short question was why as mister grew would say a good friend of franklin roosevelt did he not send a letter to mister hall but you ought to understand what i know and why didn't he speak up? today, people who would do that, what was the attitude in 1942? >> that's a good question and the short answer is that grew did write several dear frank letters. he knew the president was busy with so many things but periodically he did write letters to president roosevelt. as they say, dear frank letters. the problem was that roosevelt was primarily concerned with hitler. and roosevelt put most of the decisions on japanese policy
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to hull because he was so focused on that. to give you an example, grew wrote a letter to president roosevelt, one of his dear friends on 1941. to tell him about the things that he thought roosevelt should do including meeting with the japanese prime minister to see if they could reach anagreement. so what happens? the letter comes to roosevelt . roosevelt gives the letter to the state department to draft a supply reply and grew finally gets a reply by roosevelt by the state department on october 30, 1941. by then the horse had left the barn and by then the prime minister's wanted to havethis agreement , had been forced to resign because he could not arrange thismeeting . but grew recognized that but felt there were only so many letters you could write.
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and i guess the question is should he have come back from japan and travel wasn't easy inthose days but that's a good question . >> do you have one more question? don't sell yourself short. >> depends on your answer. you mentioned ambassador grew was the dean of the diplomatic corps. >> yes, but by that i mean he was a senior diplomat. >> there was the existence at that time of something called an a abdalliance . in the southwest pacific. it stands for australia, america, britain and east indies . and this was approved, signed off by fdr, secretary of war and simpson and knox. it was not a treaty per se
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because it had never been approved by the senate . here's my question based on the knowledge and existence of this treaty and as early as february 28, 1941 there were communication lines that were held by these four countries and they exchanged all the code information, all those countries new collectively with the united states. everybody had some skin in the game. the us was short on technologists but we believed we had some shifts but my question is was senator grew aware of this alliance and did the state department and embassy in japan have any crossover or exchange of information with either the navy or naval intelligence,
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do you know? >> that's a good question. the short answer is that grew was a civilian employee so grew and very littlecontact with the military in the united states . but that said, grew was friends with and collaborated with the diplomats from all those countries you mentioned in tokyo. i mentioned that one story for example about his dinner with mister robert craig of the british ambassador. drew and sir robert creggie were very close. grew was on good terms with all the ambassadors or ministers from the united states allies and they exchanged information regularly. they met regularly so anything that they felt they could share, they did. so they were all pretty much in the same boat .
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>> after drew returned from japan did he have a role in us policy towards japan or what was he doing at that point ? >> that's a good question. i guess because he was a loyal employee or subordinate he destroyed that report. grew actually continued in the state department. he started off as an assistant to secretary of state cordell hull and became chief of the far eastern division and thenin november 1944 , he resigned as secretary of state and was replaced by edward and then jimmy burns. and in november 1944, grew was appointed under secretary of state which is the number two position in the state department. during 1945, up until august 15, 1945, grew spent a lot of time as the acting secretary
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of state because the secretary of state was traveling around so much, they were forming the united nations, dealing with a lot of other issues thatrequired the secretary of state to travel to different places and when the secretary of state was outside of washington , grew became the acting secretary of state and the great irony is that grew was the acting secretary of state when the bombs were dropped in here oshima and nagasaki. and then he retired on august 15 of 1945 shortly after the last bomb was dropped . at that point, grew was 65 years old. in those days sick five was considered old, todayit's middle age, right ? but he was 65 years old so he retired. andy he commanded the respect
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of a lot of people which goes back to the story i mentioned about retirement party for general george c marshall. grew was asked to provide remarks at that dinnerbecause of his stature . thank you. >> grew was a pow. was his treatment trains that all after doolittle raiders did the bombing in tokyo and did hehave any connection with some of the prisoners of the doolittle raiders ? >> the short answer is i don't know if he had any communication but they were held more or less incommunicado in the american embassy so they were not out and about and the embassy, it was a very nice of the nicest embassies the united states had but they had two buildings, a transfer and a residence but a lot of the people who worked in the embassy lived outside the embassy before pearl harbor.
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when pearl harbor occurred, all the embassy staff had to be relocated in the embassy, there was not enough room for everybody so offices were turned into bedrooms so that people could stay there. but grew did not have any, i don't think he had any contact with any other prisoners of war, is that your question? they were pretty much confined to the embassy and they didn't have radio communications and were rarely let out of the embassy. >> so the treatment of themselves was not changed ? >> i would say they were treated better than most prisoners of war. they were living in the americanembassy as i mentioned which was crowded , but it was a very nice embassy so they had life relatively good compared to the treatment of other prisoners of war. and on that score, by
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comparison journalists who, american journalists who were in tokyo really reporting for their newspaper almost all the newspaper journalists were arrested as prisoners of war. they were thrown into jail. they were tortured and just to give you one little story about that, now that you bring it up is that on the ship that was supposed to take grew back to the united states, they were taking back all the embassy and other americans and all the journalists, that the japanese let go, they released the journalists and they were on that ship as well and there was a delay because the united states insisted on getting some people from northern japan on the ship so there was a delay in the ship leaving in the yokohama harbor.
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but the passengers were not told why there was a delay so a lot of the passengers became concerned that the ship was not going to leave and they were going to be taken off the ship and taken back onto land in japan and one of the journalists there said i'll jump in the water and drown myself before i'll goback on land in japan . so that should give you some picture of how the japanese treated other prisoners of war. >> can i get around of applause. [applause] >> i want to thank you for coming and your patience and i just hope if you read the book i hope you enjoy it and i hope you've learned something for it. thank you. we have a book signing in the lobby. >> your watching tv with top
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authors every weekend. book tv: television for serious readers. >> this weekend on our author interview program "after words", new york magazine can tribute or thomas chatterton wilson talks about race and identity with quantity anthony area. rich lowry makes his case for the positive contributions of nationalism. computer and information science professors michael kearns and erin roth discuss algorithm design and a look into the trump white house. check your program guide or visit for more information. recently philosophy professor michael lynch spoke in portsmouth new hampshireabout political polarization . here's a portion of his talk. >> convictions have a history. what he meant by that is that often convictions don't start out like identity centered
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values, they start as passing opinions, like the opinion some people have that climate change is not a real thing. that can start as an opinion but become nietzsche said, that tort of opinion can become under the right circumstances hardened into a conviction. something that becomes reflective of that person's identity and the tribes identity that they want to be part of and once something becomes part of your identity in that way, it becomes hard to change it. because that to change it,to change your mind about that is to change your mind about yourself . and therefore, it's not surprising that people will, that's right , pull with guarded convictions, they will go to great lengths to rationalize away evidence and logic. to defend themselves against what they see as athreat .


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