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The Militant, 6 April 1946

Charles Carsten

Stimson Statement Confirms Marxist
Analysis of Roosevelt’s War Plans

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 14, 6 April 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Striking confirmation of Li Fu-jen’s Marxist analysis of War Guilt in the Pacific, an article in the October 1945 issue of Fourth International, is contained in the statement by Henry L. Stimson, former Secretary of War to the Congressional Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack. The Statement released on March 21, 1946, reveals important information hitherto known only to a restricted circle of top Washington officials; Li Fu-jen’s analysis led him to conclude:

“... that President Roosevelt, while proclaiming his love of peace and hatred of war, was embarked on a deliberate course of war with Japan (and Germany) long before Pearl Harbor and that this was the conscious policy of his administration.”

Stimson reveals in his Statement that by the spring of 1941 the Roosevelt Administration had definitely decided to wage war against Japan and Germany. He asserts that Japanese moves in the Far East were a “threat to our safety and interests.”

The only question in Roosevelt’s mind was how far Japan could be permitted to proceed with her expansion in the Far East before it would be necessary to fight.

“Our military advisers,” says Stimson, “had given the President their formal advice that, if Japan attacked British Malaya or the Dutch East Indies or moved her forces west of a certain line in Indochina, we would have to fight for the sake of our own security.”

Cabinet Unanimous

On Friday, November 7, 1941, a month before Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt took a “general poll of his Cabinet” on the question of immediate war with Japan. The Cabinet, Stimson states, voted unanimously for war.

The reason Roosevelt didn’t begin the war at that time was explained by Li Fu-jen, who wrote last October:

“... that Roosevelt’s policy toward Japan was one of systematic pressure to force the Japanese to commit the overt act which could touch off a war explosion.

“Roosevelt was obliged to pursue this strategy,” continued Li Fu-jen, “in order to be able to brand Japan as the ‘aggressor’ and stampede the people of the United States into a war to which a majority of the nation had been steadfastly opposed.

“Defense” Maneuver

“The ‘peace-loving’ President,” declared Li Fu-jen, “had assured the American people that their sons would not be sent to fight in ‘foreign wars.’ This made it necessary that the United States should be ‘attacked’ so that the drive of American imperialism for mastery of the Pacific could be presented in the guise of a war of national defense and survival.”

After years of vehement denial that this was the real course pursued by Roosevelt’s administration, a member of his Cabinet and one of the chief warmongers, Henry L. Stimson, now admits:

“In spite of the risk involved ... in letting the Japanese fire the first shot, we realized that in order to have the full support of the American people it was desirable to make sure that the Japanese be the ones to do this so that there should remain no doubt in anyone’s mind as to who were the aggressors.”

In the October Fourth International, Li Fu-jen further pointed out that:

“Roosevelt understood better than the generals and admirals that the limits of military preparedness under peacetime conditions had been reached and that further delay in plunging the country into war could have only adverse effects on the grandiose plans of American imperialism.”

The primary objective in Roosevelt’s war strategy, stated Li Fu-jen, was to force Japan into striking the first blow and thus bring America into the war before Washington’s allies were defeated by Germany.

Stimson’s statement also confirms this point in Li Fu-jen’s analysis.

“It was vitally important,” Stimson now declares, “that none of the nations who were then desperately fighting Germany ... should be knocked out of the war before the time came when we would be required to go in.”

The warmongers were worried for fear Japan would not strike soon enough. They put additional pressure on Japan through a series of ultimatums. Finally the Pearl Harbor blow fell. Roosevelt publicly denounced it as “a stab in the back.” But in private the President and his Cabinet rejoiced.

“When the first news came that Japan had attacked us,” Stimson discloses, “my first feeling was of relief that the indecision was over and that a crisis had come in a way which would unite all our people. This continued to be my dominant feeling in spite of the news of catastrophes which quickly followed.”

Thus Stimson reveals the ruthless cynicism of Roosevelt and his Cabinet. With their provocative imperialist policies they had succeeded in dragging the country into a war in which countless lives were sacrificed. Roosevelt’s Secretary of War felt “relief.”

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