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

Cablegram 70 LONDON, 26 January 1940, 7.06 p.m.

SECRET. FOR THE PRIME MINISTER

THAILAND. Your telegram No. 20 of 19th January to the United Kingdom Government. [1] Domei newsagency has stated that Wang Ching-wei's Government [2] will be recognised by Germany and Italy whilst 'gesture' expected from Thailand.

The British Minister at Bangkok [3] considers it likely that Japanese have rejected non-aggression pact offered by the Thai Government (simultaneously with latter's offers to the United Kingdom and France) because they hope for something better in the shape of promise by the Thais to recognise the Wang Government.

Thai Foreign Office state that no proposal to that effect yet received from Japanese. The British Minister has, however, impressed on them unfortunate consequences if Thailand were thus to align herself with the Axis.

The Minister is urging the United Kingdom Government that the possibility of Thai agreement with Japan over China makes it more than ever desirable that the United Kingdom should themselves conclude non-aggression pact with Thailand and should do so quickly. He points out- (a) If the United Kingdom and French both reject Thai offer, Thailand will be more likely to give Japan what she wants.

Japanese-Thai agreement over China without a non-aggression pact with the United Kingdom would deal disastrous blow at British and French prestige.

(b) On the other hand if the United Kingdom accepts pact and Thailand is still willing to come to an agreement with Japan the United Kingdom and France will lose much less face than if they had no pact at all.

He urged the Secretary of State [4] to employ argument (b) with the French Government. I am stressing to the United Kingdom Government your interest in the matter as shown by your cable No.

20 and urging that the United Kingdom should immediately enter into pact and exercise strong pressure on French to do the same.

[5]

BRUCE

1 See Document 17, note 2.

2 This Japanese-sponsored government was established at Nanking on 30 Mardi 1940.

3 Sir Josiah Crosby.

4 Lord Halifax.

5 On 8 February 1940 the External Affairs Officer in London, A. T.

Stirling, reported that the U.K. Ambassador to France, Sir Ronald Campbell, had been instructed to represent to the French Foreign Office that the outcome of the negotiations with Thailand was of direct interest to the Commonwealth Govt, which was pressing the U.K. Govt to expedite the matter. (See Stirling's cablegram 107 on file AA: A981, Thailand 20.)

[AA: A981, JAPAN 174, i]