Date of Award

Spring 1967

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Rice, Herbert


During negotiations with Japan in 1941 President Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and the State Department did all in their power short of appeasement to prevent war with Japan. All historians do not agree with the above statement. The revisionists, Charles A. Beard, Charles C. Tansill, and George Morgenstern to name a few, lay the entire responsibility for United States entry into World War II at the feet of President Roosevelt. Their evidence Is taken from newspapers, documents, and memoirs. However, historians of ·the internationalist school among whom are William L. Langer, Herbert Feis, and Basil Rauch, using the same sources draw the opposite conclusions. This thesis attacks the problem using Information available to President Roosevelt and the State Department. The use of newspaper articles and the voluminous Pearl Harbor investigation has been avoided purposely since these sources contain certain Information not directly available to the participants. Although realizing it is possible that lack of communication hampered the State Department this element has been avoided here and no blame is placed on anyone. The documents, In my view, prove the willingness of the President and the State Department to keep the United States out of war and their unmistakable intentions to avoid another Munich. While there are three phases in the negotiations, there are also three topics imperative in any consideration of the problem. The preliminary phase extended from January until April of 1941; the middle phase from May until October 17, the day of the resignation of the konoye, Cabinet; the final phase from the advent of the Tojo Cabinet to fateful December 7. During each of these phases it is necessary to consider the efforts toward peaceful relations, the growing tensions and the sanctions against Japan in order to obtain a clear picture of the advent of the United States entry into World War II. This thesis takes each of the above time elements and major happenings in the attempt to conclude the great debate: "Did the administration sell the United States down the river?".