The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 3817-PS

Dear Mr. von Ribbentrop!

I am using the opportunity of the October couriers to send you a report
again. During the last weeks I had the opportunity to become acquainted
with almost all leading personalities in Japan and to speak extensively
to some of them. I was offered the possibility of becoming personally
acquainted with the North Chinese theater of operations: therefore, I am
in a position to supplement the general report with a special one on
North China.

I was able to convey your regards to Prince Kanin on 14 September-he
commissioned me to thank you most kindly and to express his absolute
accord with your ideas and sentiments.

I hope that my next report — supplemented by many things which would
congest a written report too much — will be made by me personally in
the second half of November, be it in Berlin or London. I hope to bring
along a very clear (although not always delightful) picture of the East
Asiatic situation.


                                                           15 April 1937

To the Office of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the
German Reich, Attention: Oberregierungsrat Boettger.

For the purpose of carrying out my official trip to Japan planned for
the period from July to November 1937, I am requesting the office to
grant the following allowances:

Date 15 June   RM 500.00 in free foreign exchange (pounds or

                                                           [Page 753]

Date 15 June   RM 500.00 in Reichsmark for transfer to the
               Steamship Company (the amount will be paid
               out in Japanese currency).
Date 1 August  RM 1500.00     | To be drawn in Japanese
                              | currency from the bank account
Date 1         RM 500.00      | in Tokyo


                                                 Tokyo, 1 September 1937

To the Deputy of the Fuehrer Reichsminister Rudolf Hess
Harthauserstrasse 48


Dear Mr. Hess:

I am using the courier to send you also personally a short report which
is going to Ribbentrop at the same time. It contains as briefly as
possible a summary of what I could observe and hear over here in four

I am thinking a great deal about my homeland the problems of which, in
comparison with the East Asiatic intricacies, are completed, in the
background of the news picture, and I hope that you will have found
time, indeed. to enjoy a few weeks of rest in your beautiful Isar

With kind regards. also to your wife, I am
                                        Yours faithfully,
                                        [signed : illegible initials]


                                                        1 September 1937
To Mr. Ambassador Joachim von Ribbentrop
German Embassy

Dear Mr. von Ribbentrop:

I am using the courier to send you in a brief report the impressions of
the first four weeks.

I have not as yet spoken to Prince K., he is in the midst of
mobilization. Ambassador von Dirksen has asked me to send you his
cordial regards in return.

England and Spain are completely stepping into the background as far as
news is concerned. however. I see from reports that

                                                              [Page 754]

Woermann is active in the cause of noninterference, I hope that you had
the possibility to find a few weeks of relaxation and care for your

With cordial regards, also to your wife,

                                                       Faithfully yours,
                                                          [no signatures


                     Handwritten notes:
                                                  4 copies, report went
                                                  1. Ribbentrop
                                                  2. Hess
                                                  3. Dierksen
                                                  This is No. 4
                 Japan — end of August 1937
           1. Situation before the China Conflict

The failure of Hayashi’s cabinet (unsuccessful dissolution of the
legislative body) meant a strong set-back for the achievement of the
political aim of the army. The defense economic program, envisaged by
Konoye, which was supposed to balance at least partially the bad
situation of Japan’s raw materials, was a meager substitute for the
out-of-hand external and internal political actions. (Hainan incident;
lost internal reforms.) The financial and economic situation was tense.
The imperial circles as well as the capitalists had gained territory
compared to 1936. Attempts to bring about a settlement with England were
underway (started by Sato, to endanger also the good relations with
Berlin as a price for the English settlement).

           II. Developntent of the China Conflict

1. Cause and Motive.

The tension in the buffer zone between Mandschukuo and China (East
Hopei-Chahar) has existed for years. “Incidents” could happen any time.
The July incident was presumably not caused by Japan. After it had
nevertheless occurred as a local discharge of a general tension, it was
used by the army as a welcome cause to clean up in northern China. It
was hoped this way to be able to bring the continental policy an
important step forward and at the same time to insure the rule of the
army in Japan proper.

2. Presuppositions and goals of the Japanese action.

Foreign politically one started from the point that-

a. The Western Powers were fully occupied by the Mediterranean tension.

                                                              [Page 755]

b. America would restrict herself to theoretical demonstrations.

c. The Red Army would be too weak and the internal situation of the
Soviets generally was too uncertain to interfere.

In military respect, one was convinced of the total inferiority of
China’s troops.

Therefore, one believed to be able to get through with an action in
North-China which was limited in time and in territory, the result of
which was to be the establishment of a North-Chinese Buffer State under
Japanese leadership and cutting off China’s connections to the Soviet
territory. At the same time one hoped to destroy by short blows the
presupposition for a further strengthening of China under

3. Occurrences up to now.

It turned out that this calculation contained a few errors. One had
judged correctly the foreign political situation but the military power
of resistance of a part of the Chinese troops as well as the effect of
the far advance into China, above all, was under-estimated. The
expansion of the conflict to the international nerve center, Shanghai,
and on the South-China-coast (with all dangers of international
incidents) was absolutely contrary to the original program.

4. Results and effects in China

a. Military. North-Hopei and the greatest part of Chahar were cleared
and the participation of Inner Mongolia was at least partially secured.
A narrow strip of land in and around Shanghai was occupied. Ever
increasing forces had to be employed for this, but at the same time it
proved distinctly the superiority of the military performance,
especially through the rapid and high rating military success in the
Kalgan zone and through the commitment of the Air Forces using Kiushu as
a base.

b. Political.. The establishment of an autonomus government in
North-China is still in the beginning stage. No prominent Chinese are
partaking. The rebellion of the autonomous Police Corps in East Hopei
proved furthermore that the hired and the bought Chinese people are not
reliable in case of an emergency.

c. Economical. The total Japanese trade in Middle- and South-China is
dead; a great part of Japanese property has been destroyed.

5. Effects within Japan.

The Army has seized the leadership entirely; Government, parliament and
economy have to obey. The Navy has lost face, too, because it could only
succeed at Shanghai after an Army

                                                              [Page 756]

beach unit arrived for its support. War propaganda is good and
effective. On the other hand one must not draw conclusions from the
seemingly uniform picture as to the lack of high tensions. Imperial
circles are obviously worried about the further development. The economy
and a part of the intelligentsia raise concealed opposition. The
economic consequences show up clearly; difficulties with raw materials,
stopping of foreign trade, sharply increasing prices with the living
standard of the broad masses being very low as it is. For all these
reasons a rapid success is necessary.

6. Foreign propaganda.

With the possibility of complications with third powers (stiffening of
England after the Ambassador in Nanking had been injured) the efforts
toward foreign political safeguarding are increasing. Into this category
belongs the attempt to lure Germany out of her neutrality by proving to
her that the Japanese action would serve the aims of the anticomintern
pact. In contrast to this it must be stated that the unquestionable
increase of Russian and communistic influences in the whole of China is
an immediate consequence of the Japanese action.

                       III. Prospects

If the internal Chinese structure does not produce any surprises (which
cannot be judged in Tokyo), if the Chinese are intelligent enough to
apply the Russian defense measures of 1812, then we must count on a long
duration of the conflict and with a sharp overexertion of the Japanese
forces and a simultaneously resulting Chinese chaos — a result, which
must be unwelcome in every respect to German policy.


                                                       December 17, 1937

Lt. Col. Bodenschatz, Office of the Personal Adjutant of the Col.
General and Minister President,
Berlin W. 8 Reich Air Ministry.

Dear Lt. Colonel:

I permit myself to place the enclosed report at the personal disposal of
the Col. General and Minister President. Only a few copies of this
report are in existence (for the Fuehrer, Hess, Goebbels, Ribbentrop,
Himmler, the War Ministry and the

                                                              [Page 757]

Foreign Office). It is based on personal impressions during the period
of July to November and on exhaustive discussions with pearly all
leading Japanese statesmen and generals.

                                                  Best regards,
                                                  Heil Hitler,
                                                  Yours very truly.


                                                       December 13, 1937

Professor Dr. Langsdorff, Staff Ribbentrop
Berlin W. 8,
Wilhelmstr. 63.

Dear Langsdorff,

Enclosed is a copy of the announced report for your office. Ribbentrop
has his already. I should like to suggest that you give only the inner
circle of chief consultants access to this memorandum which deals with
some ticklish matters.

                                                  Sincere regards,
                                                  Heil Hitler.
                                                  Always yours,


                                             Berlin SW 11, 30 March 1938
                                                Prinz Albrecht-Strasse 8

The Reichsfuehrer-SS,
Chief of the Personal Staff
File No. AR/438
When replying state File No.

Dear fellow party member Dr. Haushofer,

I am sorry that because of the many events of the last months and weeks
and because of a recreational leave I have had in the meantime I did not
find the time until today to express to you my gratitude for the
interesting report on your East Asiatic impressions, which you sent me
in your letter of 13 December 1937. I have submitted it to the
Reichsfuehrer-SS for his information.

With best regards and

                                                  Heil Hitler.
                                                  Your [sgd] (Wolff)


                                                              [Page 758]

                                                        14 December 1937

                   STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL!

Gruppenfuehrer Wolff,
Office of the Reichsfuehrer SS,
Berlin SW

Dear Gruppenfuehrer,

May I place at the personal disposal of the Reichsfuehrer the enclosed
report summarizing my East-Asiatic impressions.

Of course, I am perfectly willing to supplement this report, especially
with regard to personnel in East Asia politics. That would best be done
orally, I believe.

With best regards,

                                                  Heil Hitler!
                                                  As ever, Yours


                                           Berlin W 35, 17 December 1937
                                                      Tirpitzufer 72-76.

Section III.
Chief General Staff of the Army.
Dear Mr. Haushofer,

I thank you sincerely for sending me your summarizing report. It is more
than a matter of speech, when I assure you that it is excellent in my
opinion. It furnishes the General Staff with a very valuable basis for
an estimate of the situation and — what seems more important yet — of
possible developments there.

I should like to discuss some of the points with you some day. There
will not be much time before Christmas. Permit me to get in touch with
you after New Year.

Again many sincere thanks and the Season’s Greetings.

                                                  Heil Hitler
                                                  Yours very truly,
                                                  sgd. v. Tippelskirch.


                                                        13 December 1937

                   STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL!

Colonel von Tippelskirch,
General Staff of the Army, Section III,
Berlin W. 35.

Dear Colonel,

Supplementary to our discussion permit me to send you enclosed

                                                              [Page 759]

an attempt on my part to summarize my East Asia impressions in a report.

     With best regards,

                                                  Heil Hitler!
                                                  Yours very truly,


                                           Berlin W 35, February 2, 1939
                                                          Tirpitzufer 66

Oberquartiermeister VI
General Staff of the Army


Dear Dr. Haushofer:

Enclosed I am returning to you with my sincerest thanks the letter from
Chungking. It is really very interesting and shows possibilities of
development, which one would wish to materialize for the sake of
Japanese interests.

I am also attaching for you the promised report. The report on aviation
contains many particulars, which may not be of interest to you I would
be especially grateful to you for their early return by messenger after
perusal and most confidential handling, as the reports are urgently
needed here.

     With best regards and

                                                  Heil Hitler,
                                                  Yours respectfully

4 enclosures


                                                        13 December 1937

                    STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL

To the General-Admiral Dr. E. H. Raeder
Naval Command
Berlin W 35

Dear General-Admiral:

After my return from East Asia I have taken it upon myself to write a
summary of my impressions, based on my tour in North China and on
numerous conversations I had with the majority of the responsible
personalities in Japanese politics. May I take the liberty to send you a
copy thereof for your personal use.

     With friendly greetings,
                                                  Heil Hitler
                                                  Yours respectfully,
                                                  [signed : illegible