217 Mr A.T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 446 LONDON, 10 September 1939, 3.48 p.m.

Dominions Office have advised the High Commissioner [1] of the following items which it is thought may be of interest.

'It has been learnt from an entirely reliable source that the Japanese Consul-General at Sydney [2] has communicated with his Government to the effect that precautionary measures taken in Australia immediately on outbreak war were stricter than the situation appeared to call for. He mentioned an announcement by Mr Hughes [3] that belligerent rights would be fully exercised and also referred to stringent regulation of neutral subjects and shipping and to measures taken for control of export of wool wheat and metals. He went on to suggest that this meant that the United Kingdom, fearing a future blockade by Japan, will exercise full belligerent rights in relation to Japanese subjects and shipping in the Pacific and China as well as Australia, and is attempting to use the occasion for the expansion of British rights and interests'.

STIRLING

1 S.M. Bruce.

2 Masatoshi Akiyama.

3 W.M. Hughes, Attorney-General and Minister for Industry.

[AA:A981, AUSTRALIA 39, i]