Leon Trotsky

On Japan’s Plans for Expansion

(May 1940)

Written: 1 May 1940.
First Published: Fourth International, Vol.1 No.5, October 1940, p.124.
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Transcriber’s comments:
This letter is a part of a series of letters published in this issue of Fourth International
under the heading of Trotsky’s Last Letters,
D.W., 2002.

May 1, 1940,

My dear Chris,

Do you know what the Tanaka Memorial is? I call your attention to this very important and very much discussed document. It was published in the United States for the first time, I think, at the end of 1923 or during 1924, hardly any later. In what paper? I imagine in one of secondary importance because the most important publications were afraid of the diplomatic importance of the document, especially for the relations between the United States and Japan and they inclined to the version that the document was a forgery. This was not true, the document was not a forgery, it is completely authentic in spite of all the Japanese denials.

Rear Admiral Taussig made an allegation about it before the Senate Committee on April 22, but the New York Times reminded its readers that the “so-called” Tanaka Memorial is, according to the Japanese, a forgery.

I will now prove in the big press that the document whose origins I know very well is authentic. But to help my memory and my personal archives I need an investigation of the fate of the document in the American press: the date and the place of the first appearance; the reaction provoked by the document in the press and public opinion; the discussions about its authenticity, etc. I would even need the English text of the document itself.

Can you spend time for such an investigation which would, in my opinion, be very useful to you, introducing you to Japanese-American relations and preparing you for the coming great events in the Pacific? If you agree, the best way would be to invite a typist for the copying of the document and the quotations. I would be glad to cover the necessary expenses.

With best greetings,
Coyoacan, D.F.

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Last updated on: 22.4.2007