Roosevelt and Konoye
WHILE THE PRESIDENT BY NOVEMBER, 1941, HAD PROVEN that American losses in the Battle of the Atlantic would not lead him to break his antiwar pledge, the Axis leaders gave him no chance to show whether he would also adhere to his pledge if Japan attacked territory of the Netherlands or Great Britain.
Ample evidence exists to prove that Roosevelt feared a Pacific war because it would interfere with the primary task of defeating Hitler by aiding Britain and Russia. He and Hull faced the final diplomatic encounters with the Japanese determined to avoid giving Japan any justification for war. But they were equally firmly determined to avoid appeasement of aggression at the expense of the territories and rights of third powers. The Hull-Nomura talks prior to the Atlantic Conference had convinced Roosevelt that the Japanese government would be satisfied with nothing less than American diplomatic, political, economic and moral cooperation with Japan in its program of domination over China and conquest of territories to the south. Therefore the most that could be hoped for in the new round of talks was postponement of new Japanese aggressions.
As for administration estimates of where the blows were likely to fall, it appears certain that a transpacific raid to Hawaii was considered to be less likely than undercover sabotage of the fleet there by Japanese agents, while main blows were directed against Thailand and Singapore. On June 17, 1940, when the Fall of France caused fear in Washington that Japan would burst out in