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Ambassador Nomura, Kichisaburo

Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura, born 1877, became the last Ambassador to the United States before the outbreak of war in 1941. He was genuinely keen to discover a basis for preserving peace, but was isolated from political developments in Japan. In accordance with instructions he arranged to see US Secretary of State Cordell Hull (Hull, Cordell) at 1300 Eastern Standard Time on 7 December, 0630 in Hawaii. He was to present a long message rejecting American terms and, in effect, declare war before the attack on Pearl Harbor actually took place. It has been said this was to satisfy the misgivings of Emperor Hirohito (Hirohito, Emperor). In the event the Americans decoded the dispatch, using MAGIC, before the Japanese in Washington could do so. Nomura delayed the meeting by half an hour to allow his decoders to complete their work. By the time the meeting took place the attack had begun, and Hull dismissed the ambassador with accusations of duplicity. Nomura died in 1964.

See also: espionage; Hull, Cordell; MAGIC; Purple

You can find out more about Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura in the following Osprey book:

CAMPAIGN 62 Pearl Harbor 1941