The McCollum Memo-Provoking Japan into war.

History of Sorts

McCollum_memo_Page1

On October 7, 1940, Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum of the Office of Naval

Arthur_H._McCollum_Portrait Intelligence submitted a memo to Navy Captains Walter Anderson and Dudley Knox (whose endorsement is included in the following scans). Captains Anderson and Knox were two of President Roosevelt’s most trusted military advisors.

McCollum wrote that it would be in the interest of the U.S. to go to war with Japan before Japan could provide support to Germany and Italy in their war against England, and before Germany and Italy could take action against the U.S. on behalf of Japan.

However, McCollum realized that it would be politically impractical for Roosevelt to declare war: “It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the Japanese to modify…

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