111 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 197 LONDON, 21 March 1940

FOR PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL SECRET

Your [sic] cablegram 5th February [1]-have taken action in accordance with instructions your cablegram 25th January [2] and position is King's approval can now be obtained at any moment.

Owing to King's absence from London until week commencing 1st April I cannot take action until then but matter could be dealt with by direct cable through Governor General. [3]

As ordinary procedure after obtaining King's assent is immediately to approach Government concerned thus setting machine in motion which leads to public announcement, am doubtful if in view of following facts desirable expedite obtaining of His Majesty's approval.

JAPAN. If our announcement of intention to establish Legation at Tokyo followed closely on creation of Wang's Government [4], which anticipated may happen any day, it would be interpreted as endorsement of Japanese action and would create a bad impression particularly here and in the U.S.A. Temporary postponement would appear desirable.

CHINA. As creation of Wang Government, with at least a possibility it may become the predominant Government in China, is imminent, suggest that we might be wiser to postpone declaring our intention to credit a Minister to any Government until we see how the position develops.

I suggest for your consideration whether the best course would not be to postpone for the moment action with regard to Japan and to postpone for later consideration in the light of developments the appointment to China. [5]

BRUCE

1 Bruce appears to be referring to his own cablegram printed as Document 42.

2 Document 27.

3 Lord Gowrie.

4 Wang Ching-wei established a government under Japanese sponsorship at Nanking on 30 March 1940.

5 This cablegram was dispatched following a meeting between Bruce, R. A. Butler (U.K. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) and Foreign Office officials on 20 March 1940.

(See note on file AA: A2937, Legations: Exchange of Ministers with Japan.)

[AA: A2937, LEGATIONS: EXCHANGE OF MINISTERS WITH JAPAN]