Tag: Mamoru Shigemitsu

“When you have to kill a man…”

“When you have to kill a man…”

Churchill was crit­i­cized for his extreme­ly respect­ful let­ter to the Japan­ese Ambas­sador to Britain in Decem­ber 1941, when inform­ing him that their coun­tries were at war. Churchill’s response to crit­ics was, “After all, when you have to kill a man it costs noth­ing to be polite.” Did he actu­al­ly have the man killed?  —W.H., New York

Shigemit­su (with cane) on USS Mis­souri, Tokyo Bay, 2 Sep­tem­ber 1945 (Wikipedia Commons)

No. Churchill was writ­ing in the abstract, and did not actu­al­ly pro­pose to slay the Ambas­sador. Fol­low­ing the usu­al diplo­mat­ic pro­to­col, Mamoru Shigemit­su (Ambas­sador to the Sovi­et Union 1936–38 and to Britain 1938–41) was hand­ed his pass­port and giv­en unim­ped­ed pas­sage back to Japan.…

Read More Read More