10 Dec. 45

I then skip again in the German text, and continue with what appears in the English translation:

"Matsuoka then introduced the subject of German assistance in the blow against Singapore, a subject which had been broached to him frequently, and mentioned the proposal of a German written promise of assistance.

"The RAM replied that he had already discussed these questions with Ambassador Oshima. He had asked him to procure maps of Singapore in order that the Führer — who probably must be considered the greatest expert on military questions at the present time — could advise Japan on the best method of attack against Singapore. German experts on aerial warfare, too, would be at her disposal; they could draw up a report, based on their European experiences, for the Japanese on the use of dive-bombers from airfields in the vicinity against the British Fleet in Singapore. Thus, the British Fleet would be forced to disappear from Singapore immediately.

"Matsuoka remarked that Japan was less concerned with the British Fleet than with the capture of the fortifications.

"The RAM replied that here, too, the Führer had developed new methods for the German attacks on strongly fortified positions, such as the Maginot Line and Fort Eben-Emael, which he could make available to the Japanese.

"Matsuoka replied in this connection that some of the younger expert Japanese Naval officers, who were close friends of his, were of the opinion that the Japanese Naval forces would need 3 months until they could capture Singapore. As a cautious Foreign Minister, he had doubled this estimate. He believed he could stave off any danger which threatened from America for 6 months. If, however, the capture of Singapore required still more time and if the operations would perhaps even drag out for a year, the situation with America would become extremely critical; and he did not know as yet how to meet it.

"If at all avoidable, he would not touch the Netherlands East Indies, since he was afraid that in case of a Japanese attack on this area, the oil fields would be set afire. They could be brought into operation again only after 1 or 2 years.

"The RAM added that Japan would gain decisive influence over the Netherlands East Indies simultaneously with the capture of Singapore."
On the 5th of April, about a week after the conference from whose minutes I have just quoted, Ribbentrop again met with Matsuoka and again pushed the Japanese another step along the