Explore All Options To Be Fully Acclountable

In this installment of our leadership and success series, we explore the fateful November 26, 1941 decision of Secretary of State Cordell Hull to abruptly scuttle what was intended as a 3-month truce arrangement with Japan, and the consequent failure to avert the war which necessarily followed.

The period from August 1941, to December 7, 1941, saw the United States and Japan continue the ongoing discussions to resolve their differences in the face of the growing Japanese threat in the Far East. These conversations had disclosed three crucial points of difference: nondiscrimination in international trade, withdrawal of Japanese troops from China, and Japan’s obligations under the Tripartite Pact, concluded in September 1940 with Germany and Italy.

The growing tension in the course of diplomatic negotiations between the United States and Japan during the months preceding December 7, 1941, led to the modus vivendi proposal, essentially a 3-month status quo arrangement between the United States and Japan to tide the parties over while they continued to talk. Under discussion in November, 1941, it was intended to prevent a breakdown in conversations and pave the way for an agreement covering the entire Pacific area. Securing urgently needed additional time for the United States to rearm was also a vital consideration. It was drafted as a reply to a Japanese proposal of November 20, 1941, but was abruptly abandoned by Secretary of State Cordell Hull and never submitted to the Japanese. Hull subsequently testified before a congressional committee investigating the Pearl Harbor attack that they would have rejected it. Instead Hull’s memo of November 26 was substituted calling, inter alia, for withdrawal of Japanese troops from China and Indochina. This memo was considered by the Japanese as an ultimatum and promptly rejected. The Pearl Harbor attack followed 11 days later, on December 7.

America’s allies (except China) remained interested in the proposal, as apparently was Japan based on inquiries made by Japanese officials at the time it was abandoned. This momentous decision was taken by Hull alone, without consultation with anyone, except Roosevelt, who, while apparently approving Hull’s decision, may have been distracted at that time by news of a Japanese naval convoy steaming southward in the South China Sea. No advance notification was provided by Hull to Army Chief of Staff George Marshall, or to Navy Chief of Naval Operations Harold Stark, both of whom had vigorously pushed for the modus vivendi as a means of securing vitally needed additional time to rearm.

However, an important potential bargaining chip in the negotiations, keeping the Burma Road open and free from Japanese assault, was overlooked when the proposal was abandoned. The Burma Road, China’s vital artery for supplies from the West, was of prime importance to China’s Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. His many entreaties to the United States and Great Britain for air support went unheeded. Keeping the Burma Road open was not only essential to China’s ability to hold off the Japanese but was a vitally important consideration to the United States and its allies as well. Its potential loss was not only a major concern for Chiang Kai-shek but, as admitted by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in an early November message to President Roosevelt, would “hugely augment” the danger to both countries’ interests.

Hull’s November 26, 1941 memorandum to the President recommended that, “In view of the opposition of the Chinese Government and either the half-hearted support or actual opposition of the British, the Netherlands and the Australian Governments, and in view of the wide publicity of the opposition and of the additional opposition that will naturally follow through utter lack of an understanding of the vast importance and value otherwise of the modus vivendi…I will withhold the modus vivendi proposal.”   Hull, as he put it, simply washed his hands of the whole affair and informed Secretary of War Henry Stimson that he was turning everything over to the Army and Navy.   Exhaustion and frustration may have played a significant factor in that decision, as well as his overlooking use of the Burma Road as a potential negotiating option.

Hull’s decision however must be balanced against the Netherlands support for the proposal which was expressed to Hull in a meeting with the Netherlands Minister on November 24.   The British also supported the proposal as Ambassador Lord Halifax had advised Hull.  In fact, Halifax was at a loss to understand why Hull was abandoning it.  Hull’s explanation that he only had the half-hearted support of the British was criticized by Halifax, who reminded Hull of the full British support.  He pointed out that Churchill’s comments, questioned by Hull as not supportive, did not signify lack of support but only concern for the Chinese objections.

Halifax reminded Welles that several days previously, Chiang had expressed concern about keeping the Burma Road open so as not to interrupt the continuous flow of critically needed supplies for China. Halifax specifically pointed out that he had reminded the Chinese Ambassador, Dr. Hu Shih, that only ten days ago Chiang was imploring the United States and British for aid to help keep the Burma Road open and that it seemed to him, Halifax, that the course proposed by Hull “gave positive assurances to the Chinese Government that the Burma Road would in fact be kept open if the modus vivendi agreement with Japan could be consummated.”

This significant conversation demonstrated that Halifax, a key member of a close United States ally, believed keeping the Burma Road open was implicit in the modus vivendi proposal.  He was partially right since it was explicitly provided for. Keeping the Burma Road safe from Japanese aggression had been in fact raised in the modus vivendi provision against Japanese aggression into Southeast Asia.  There is no evidence this was pointed out to Chiang, which might have eased his concerns about making concessions to Japan.  Counterbalancing what Hull termed the “chicken feed” concessions to Japan against providing for the potential defense of the Burma Road might have swayed Chiang to agree to the proposal.

Hull’s aborted November, 1941 diplomatic efforts in abandoning and not presenting the modus vivendi proposal to Japan is a lesson in the failure of accountability for all those who aspire to leadership. By not fully exploring all available options, Hull failed to possibly avert war with Japan, undoubtedly the primary responsibility of his office at the time.

This unfortunate chapter in the failure of American diplomacy is pursued in greater detail in my forthcoming book, “The Pearl Harbor Congressional Cover Up.”

Arnold G. Regardie

 

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BE A PRAGMATIC VISIONARY

In this installment of our leadership and success series, we turn to the oft-maligned presidency of Richard M. Nixon, whose reputation as a communist fighter followed him during much of his political life. Despite this reputation, while president, he had the foresight to pursue and then achieve what amounted to a critical turning point in the Cold War, historic goodwill meetings with China’s communist Chairman, Mao Tse-Tung, and Premier Chou Enlai. This February 1972 meeting opened the door to the political and economic recognition of “Red China,” a country which had been largely shunned internationally since the communist takeover of the mainland in 1949. The epic meeting, “the week that changed the world,” to describe Nixon’s final toast, truly changed relations with The People’s Republic of China – the world would never be the same thereafter.

Nixon’s trip to China was a masterstroke in foreign relations. But to describe Nixon as a visionary would be anathema to how most people would remember him. Some have speculated that the trip was motivated by Nixon’s hope to use better relations with China as a balance against the rising power of the Soviet Union. For over two decades America’s relationship with China had been best described as a frigid, even tense standoff with no contact and no trade of any moment. The absence of diplomatic recognition between the two countries was marked by America’s efforts to isolate China on the world stage. Regardless of the motivation, there was a sudden, dramatic change in the relationship between the two countries marking the unfolding of a new chapter in world history. Diplomats in two countries that had been engaged in open warfare against each other 20 years earlier in the Korean War, where General Douglas MacArthur had once threatened to lead his forces across the Yalu River into Chinese territory, were now drinking toasts to each other as personal contact and conversation replaced hostility amid the ebbing of tensions.

The transition in economic relations between the two countries can best be described as momentous, remarkable in scope. While economic information from the 70s is sketchy, it appears that in 1975 trade between the U.S. and China approximated $14 billion. By 2017 it had exploded to the staggering level of roughly $710 billion. This volume of trade is all the more amazing considering that China, with a communist government, had nevertheless pursued, and is still pursuing, a capitalist, free-market economy, an economy presently ranked second in the world only to that of the United States. The ongoing trade negotiations between the U.S. and China bear mute testimony to the growth of the Chinese economy, an economy, it should be added, which has also furthered a menacing growth in Chinese militarism, which is particularly evident in the South China Sea.

Nixon often appeared to be held in the grip of paranoia. The Watergate break-in, apparently motivated by his needless concern over the forthcoming election, is still considered by many political observers to have been a mystery in view of the fact he won reelection in 1972 in a landslide. His relations with the press could best be described as obsessive, sometimes intense and bordering on combative. But despite his personality quirks, he had the inner strength to cast aside his own personal dislike of communism and replace it with the foresight to recognize the potential political, diplomatic, and economic realities of a meaningful relationship with the world’s largest communist country, population wise.

Some pundits have argued that Nixon’s strength as president lay in his grasp of world politics. His rapprochement with the country once distained as “Red China” was a foreign policy triumph and went a long ways to proving that observation to be true. Any aspiring leader could learn from Nixon’s oft-repeated attitude in retirement, i.e., that only today and tomorrow matter; just look forward and have no recriminations over the past. To coin the refrain from an old ‘40s tune by legendary songwriter Johnny Mercer, “…accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”

Arnold G. Regardie

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ABUSE OF POWER

This is the premier installment of my new weekly series on leadership and success.  It features a cardinal rule for anyone aspiring to leadership – avoid abuse of power at all costs.

This installment focuses on the actions of past President Harry S. Truman, who, as Vice President, succeeded to the presidency following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945.  Truman issued executive orders in 1945 restricting potential information available to a congressional committee investigating the Pearl Harbor attack. These actions, rarely if ever seen before or since by a sitting president, reflected a total disregard for the separation of powers doctrine embedded in our Constitution.  This committee had been authorized by a joint congressional resolution to undertake an investigation of the December 7, 1941 attack by Japanese air and naval forces on the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Truman’s unconstitutional actions left Americans still searching for the complete truth as to responsibility for the Pearl Harbor attack.

The deep shock of the unexpected attack stunned the country and spawned an intense nationwide controversy.  Swept by anger and outrage, the country demanded an answer to the overriding question: why had a great country like the United States been so totally blindsided by the Japanese?   In response, on September 11, 1945, by concurrent resolution, Congress authorized a Joint Committee to investigate the attack and the events and circumstances relating thereto.  The ten-member Joint Committee, five Senators and five Representatives, released its report to the public on July 20, 1946.  In an apparent effort to preserve nonpartisanship, six Democrats, (the maximum authorized by the concurrent resolution), and four Republicans comprised the committee’s political makeup.

The totality of the Joint Committee Report, reached by an 8-2 vote, cannot be completely appreciated without considering the views of the two dissenters, Senator Homer Ferguson, (R-MI) and Senator Owen Brewster, (R-ME)   Their views, although contained in the original Report, were largely downplayed by the print media when the Report was released.  It essentially absolved President Franklin D. Roosevelt and other high ranking Washington officials and military and naval commanders in the field of responsibility for the attack.  But the two dissenting members, in a fully documented 87-page opinion, thoroughly denounced the Report, including its partisanship.

The dissenters reached 21 conclusions of fact and responsibility respecting the evidence before the Joint Committee.  The extensive factual support for their views, based entirely on evidence adduced by the Joint Committee, minimizes any argument that they were merely the product of a partisan attack.  Their final conclusion, that President Roosevelt and other high ranking Washington officials  and military commanders knew, or in the exercise of due diligence, should have known, that Pearl Harbor would be attacked and failed to perform those responsibilities indispensably essential to its defense, deserves serious consideration.

The two dissenting members targeted several aspects of the final report for strong criticism.   They reserved their undoubtedly most scathing attack on the Report for the restrictions imposed by President Truman’s executive orders on potential investigative information otherwise available to the Joint Committee.

Here is the chronology.  On August 28, 1945, President Truman issued an executive order severely limiting the Joint Committee’s power to gain access to the full facts by denying release to the public, except with specific approval of the President in each case, of information relating to status, technique, procedures, results, or degree of success of any “crytptanalytic (sic)” unit of the Government.    A second order followed on October 23, 1945.  Although the President’s new order modifying the first order was less stringent, the Minority objected that this modification left much to be desired because it was limited to the State, War, and Navy Departments and relaxed the secrecy of records only so far as the Joint Committee was concerned while continuing to impose restrictions for individual members, even when accompanied by Committee counsel.  This order also contained the unfortunate phrase, “any information in their possession material to the investigation” (emphasis in original), which provided a cloak for those reluctant to yield requested information.  No subsequent modifying order wholly removed those restrictions.

A November 7, 1945, Truman order relaxed restraints on executives of the Government in order that they may speak freely to individual members of the Committee, but it also closed with the admonition,  “This does not include any files or written material.”

The dissenters viewed these executive orders as tantamount to thrusting an “iron curtain” over the investigation. Truman’s successive efforts to soften the effect of the restrictions suggest that he had second thoughts about issuing them in the first place.  In any event his efforts were not totally effective as the dissenters pointed out.

The following quotation emphasizes significant aspects of the dissenters’ criticism of Truman’s restrictions:

“It was not until October 23, 1945, that President Truman made the [original] order less stringent by a new order.  The modification left much to be desired…By one way or another, control over papers, records, and other information remained in the hands of the majority [Democratic] party members…The relaxation of restraints was often publicized while the continuing qualifications were but little discussed.  The effect was to restrict individual members of the committee in practice while the appearance of their freedom of operations was held out to the public.”

Truman’s actions stand out as most troublesome, amounting in effect to a presidential cover-up of potentially revealing facts about the attack.  Truman of course had ample motivation to cover up information suggesting President Roosevelt may have had advance knowledge of the attack.  It was Roosevelt who agreed to place Truman on the national ticket as vice-presidential candidate in 1944.  Truman, thus, would not have become president but for Roosevelt.

The Minority had strong reasons to complain about President Truman’s restrictions, which effectively negated investigative completeness. They stand out as a clear abuse of executive power.  The specter of a sitting President restricting a congressional investigation into an issue as vitally important to the American people as the Pearl Harbor attack is unparalleled. The restrictions Truman imposed on the investigation provide an apt leadership lesson, i.e., avoid abuse of power.  His actions raise serious doubts as to whether the whole truth about Pearl Harbor will ever be known.  His presidential reputation remains forever tainted.

This opening installment is based on my forthcoming book, “The Pearl Harbor Congressional Cover Up.   A True Account of How A Democratic Congress Misled the American People on the Pearl Harbor Attack, December 7. 1941. Featuring Historic Lessons on the Failure of Leadership to Foresee the Attack, and to Avert War With Japan.”

Arnold G. Regardie

 

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“Fake News” Is Nothing New. The “Surprise” Attack on Pearl Harbor May Be Fake News.

There has been a lot of media talk recently about fake news.  But this is nothing new.  In fact, fake news has been around for as long as there has been news.

Take the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 7, 1941, for example.  Conventional wisdom has it that this was a surprise attack by Imperial Japan on the U.S. Pacific fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor.  But a veritable cottage industry of second guessers has sprung up over the years, books and articles galore, making the argument that President Franklin Roosevelt not only knew about the coming attack ahead of time but did nothing to prevent it so as to form a basis for America to get into World War II.  Roosevelt did this, so the argument goes, to help revive a struggling American economy by putting it on a war footing,  to come to the aid of  America’s allies overseas, notably Great Britain, as well as to protect its own interests worldwide.

Needless to say, the U.S. was swept by anger and outrage over the attack, the prevailing question in effect being, “How could a great country like the United States  have been caught so flat footed?”   Several investigations were conducted into the causes of the lack of U.S. preparedness,  probably the best known being the investigation by a ten-member Congressional subcommittee, five Representatives and five Senators, six Democrats and four Republicans, which began in 1945 and concluded in July, 1946, with the issuance of a 41,000 page report.  The report, signed by eight of the ten subcommittee members, concluded that there had been no dereliction of duty by President Roosevelt,  various cabinet members, or certain members of the Army and Navy, but errors of judgement had been made.  The majority also stated that the Empire of Japan made the attack on its own and had not been tricked or coerced by the U.S. into making it.

However, there was a minority report signed by two Senators which criticized the majority opinion in a scathing, blistering  denunciation.   This dissenting opinion, some seventy-seven pages long, supported chapter, book, and verse, by detailed references to the record before the subcommittee, concluded that Roosevelt and other high officials in Washington were in fact at fault in not being prepared for the attack.  They were also very critical of President Harry Truman, who came into office after Roosevelt died in April, 1945.  They concluded that Truman had obstructed the investigation so that all the facts concerning U.S. preparedness, or lack thereof,  had not come to light.

To this day it appears that all of the facts about the attack have not been made public due to later restrictions on the release of certain government records having been imposed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

Will all the facts concerning U.S. lack of preparedness ever be known?  Was the attack by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 really a surprise attack?  Did President Roosevelt have advance knowledge of it?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Is all of this managed news?  Was the “surprise” attack fake news to cover up for Roosevelt?  Who knows?  But I think the American people are entitled to know the facts, all the facts.

Incidentally, for those of you interested in reading  the majority subcommittee opinion, read my book, “Prelude to Disaster:  How Imperial Japan’s Diplomatic Treachery Led to America’s Greatest Military Disaster – Pearl Harbor.”  It is essentially based on the subcommittee report.  The book is a true account of Japanese diplomatic deception which led up to the Pearl Harbor attack and provides an inside look at the diplomatic exchanges between U.S. State Department representatives and Japanese diplomats while dark clouds of war loomed in the background.  It puts the reader in a position to be an eyewitness to history.  It is available on Amazon and eBay.

©2017 Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

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Elect Hillary? Another Obama? No thanks!

Previous posts to this site have taken the position that Donald Trump is a serious presidential contender, deserving of your support.  Here is more evidence.

As many people now agree, electing Obama was a mistake, a major mistake.  The campaign of Hillary Clinton is clearly dedicated to a continuation of his policies.  Is that what you want, more of the same?  No thank you and let it be repeated for emphasis, no thank you.  Obama’s legacy, which seems to override everything he says and does these days,  can be summed up in one word: worthless.  Obama will go down in history as the most incompetent, the most ineffective president the country has unfortunately ever had.

Here’s the latest evidence, facts, not innuendo, not hyperbole, facts, that Obamacare is proving to be an utter disaster.  In today’s news, the latest blow to the Affordable Care Act is that Aetna Insurance, one of the top-five insurers,  is the latest insurer to withdraw its plans from coverage, citing losses aggregating $400 million since 2014.  This development comes after Humana and UnitedHealthcare have previously withdrawn.  It has also been reported that there have  been double digit premium increases for many of the carriers which will continue to sell through exchanges such as Covered California next year.   Dropping out of Obamacare by the carriers is attributed to too many sick people and not enough young healthy people seeking coverage.

All of which brings to mind  what Nancy Pelosi famously said in so many words back around 2009, i.e., “We have to pass this bill [Obamacare] to find out what’s in  it.”  This comment is undoubtedly the most irresponsible statement ever uttered by a member of Congress.  Well Nancy, now you know.  Read it and weep.

But Obama’s election was urged by the liberal media saying in effect, the country simply has to elect a man of color, a minority member, as the first minority president, to prove it’s a true democracy.  And Obama, an eloquent speaker, was elected, in large part by lying to the American people.  But that’s another story which we’ll save for another day.  Well, now they’re saying it again, i.e., the country has to elect a woman, Hillary, as the first woman president.

Remember that old saw, fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  Well, lets not make the same mistake again.  Hillary as president would be calamitous for the country, not to mention the free world.  She is grossly incompetent, lacks judgment, temperament, leadership skills and experience, is also corrupt and a world-class liar.  She has no business running for any public office, much less the presidency.  But the liberal media is backing her largely because she’s a woman, as it backed Obama largely because he was a minority member.

Donald Trump has promised repeal of Obamacare as part of his presidency, one of the many reforms he has promised, all of which deserve serious consideration.   This is yet another of  long list of reasons why Trump deserves to be elected.

Arnold G. Regardie©2016.  All rights reserved.

 

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TRUMP CARES – By Helping Job Creation, Helping To Feed Starving Kids, Making A Difference

Trump knows business, having enjoyed  an ultra-successful career as a business person.  He knows jobs, having created thousands of jobs during his long career.  Trump has learned how to deal with people, all kinds of people during this time.  He understands finance and economics and how to negotiate deals.  He knows business, and who can deny that being president, running the country, is like running a big, very big, business. So his experience in business has prepared him for the presidency like no political job ever could.

Trump has also endorsed a network marketing business in past years, not currently since he entered the presidential race, which in turn  supported a charity that helped feed hungry children.  By endorsing this business he helped people to improve their lives by helping them to own their own business, create more time for themselves and become independent, and in the process helped to provide food for starving kids, all as part of his effort to help people get a new start in life.  It’s what Trump is all about.  This was nothing new for him.  He had been doing it for years.  It’s what he called, rightfully so, making a difference.   I have personal knowledge of all that, being a member of that network marketing business myself.  So TRUMP CARES.  He cares about people, he cares about the country, he cares about you.

No one can take any of that away from him, not for a moment, certainly not Crooked Hillary, who knows nothing about job creation, nothing about finance or economics, nothing about making deals, or about success in anything.  She is corrupt, incompetent,  and a world-class liar.  She should hang a sign around her neck that says, “I am a fraud – don’t vote for me.”  For once in  her life, she’d be telling the truth.  Hillary has also collected money, millions of dollars from foreign powers paid into the Clinton Foundation over the years, for her services, her favors, as Secretary of State.  You know what that makes her?  They have a name for it, not used in polite company.  I don’t have to say it.  But facts are facts, they are things, as John Adams argued in the famous Boston Massacre trial of 1770.  You have to deal with them.  This entire scheme is an arrangement that just reeks of corruption and is well deserving of an FBI investigation in and of itself.

Yet Crooked Hillary still  claims she is qualified to be President.  Amazing!  Of course, she’s getting help, lot of it, from the liberal, very liberal, mainstream media.  They are crooked too, as claimed by Trump, and rightly so.   They have a duty to report news accurately, but they don’t.  They distort everything so far as Trump is concerned even falsify things, and they shouldn’t.   It’s an abuse of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press.  But they are scared to death that Trump will win.  They should be scared, because he will win.

Copyright©2016.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

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Trump’s Business Savvy Will Translate Well Into The Presidency

Donald Trump, a first time politician,  is without doubt a champion of private enterprise.  This is what America was built on, not socialism.  Tell that to Bernie Sanders.  “[Private enterprise] has made this country great,” he remarked several years ago, long before he decided to run for president.   Now, he wants to return the country to the greatness it previously enjoyed, greatness reflected across the board, not just in the great wealth of its people but the highest living standard in the world.   You can create a good life for yourself as an entrepreneur as he well knows,  “an unbelievable life” if you do well.

Trump has been successful as a commercial real estate developer including hotels and golf courses around the world.  He is also a best selling author, e.g., “The Art of the deal,” (admitting inter alia to being skillful at overcoming obstacles), and a successful television producer, i.e.,”The Apprentice/Celebrity Apprentice.”    He has a track record of successful accomplishments.  Where are Hillary’s?  Trump believes in hard work, taking care of the people who work for him, continued self-improvement, and to never, never give up.  He is a devotee of making a difference in the lives of others.  These characteristics reflect his spirit and are qualities which will translate well into what is seen as an effective presidency.

Copyright©2016. Arnold G. Regardie

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