164 Department of External Affairs to Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States

Cablegram 43 19 April 1940, 11.02 p.m.

Your telegram No. 62. [1]

Minister concerned [2] absent from Canberra for the week-end.

Meanwhile following is the text of reference to Netherlands East Indies made by Minister for External Affairs in view of international situation in House of Representatives this morning.

[3]

'Any large scale invasion of Netherlands it will surely be appreciated would affect status Netherlands East Indies, a territory at our back door and our closest neighbour, whose fate is of immediate and vital concern to Australia.' Minister for External Affairs also cited Hull [4] and Arita [5] declarations, former with gratification. [6]

1 Document 160.

2 John McEwen, Minister for External Affairs.

3 For the full text of the speech see Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol. 163, pp. 202-9.

4 U.S. Secretary of State.

5 Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs.

6 A minute on this cablegram by F. K. Officer, Counsellor at the Australian Legation in Washington, suggested that in view of its contents and of the wording of the second paragraph of Casey's cablegram 62 a reply should be delayed until after Casey had seen the U.S. Under-Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, on 22 April.

There is no record, however, that any reply was sent.

[AA: A3300, 16]