431 Dr C. J. Pao, Chinese Consul-General in Australia, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Letter SYDNEY, 24 June 1940

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

I appreciate very much your reply [1] to my letter [2] in which I conveyed my Government's desire to collaborate with Australia in adjusting matters in the Pacific for die maintenance of law and order and to exchange diplomatic representatives with your great country simultaneously when you are ready to do so with Japan. I conveyed your reply to my Government as mentioned in our previous correspondence and also in our conversations.

According to press reports in Sydney, the appointment of an Australian Minister to Japan is imminent. But I have a feeling that you are confronted with difficulties in your realisation of a policy in the Pacific which would not be interpreted as jeopardising Sino-Australian relations. When I wrote to you last, I also sent a letter to the Minister of External Affairs conveying my Government's desire, but so far I have not received a reply.

[3]

I quite appreciate the delicate nature of the matter. I am a Chinese and naturally I do things which a good Chinese citizen should do. I represent my country in this happy land and it is my duty therefore not only to work for my country, but to serve your Government and your people to the best advantage of Sino- Australian relations which will enhance mutual co-operation and assistance.

The appointment of an Australian Minister to Japan without simultaneously sending one to China may, if I may be allowed to speak as your good friend in a personal way, pacify the Japanese from the Australian point of view. But as an Oriental I know Japanese and I doubt whether they would not misinterpret Australia's attitude as merely conciliation. In other words, Japanese action has always been based upon the reaction of others and would not give consideration to reasons. Conciliation, to Japan, not like to China, where it is considered as a virtue, is weakness, and it is the weak spot which Japan is seeking all the time.

The situation today in the Pacific is very serious. Accurate information is essential. The adaptability of a policy depends upon whether it is suitable to the new circumstances or not. it is this time that China should not be underestimated and China's assistance which has already been given to Great Britain must not be under-valued. Why should Sino-Australian relations be ignored at this moment and why should we give a chance to Japan to misinterpret our relations. If Japan says that Great Britain must cease to help China or else she would fight, China would ask will Japan stop advancing southward if Great Britain should cease to help China. What is Japan going to fight with? A million and a half Japanese soldiers are tied up in China. More than one hundred and fifty warships of all descriptions are around some Chinese coastal cities and should they be ordered to move it means that China will immediately re-capture those cities. I have been informed that should Japan attack Indo-China, my country would consider advancing from Kwangsi and Yunnan border where 450,000 Chinese troops, very well equipped and full of high spirits, are stationed.

Sino-Australian relations may not be as urgent as relations between Japan and Australia. This is an old conception. Even if so, why should Australia do a thing which would not be good for herself in the long run and yet jeopardise our relations. My Government, as I informed you before, would consider the appointment of an Australian Minister to Japan without simultaneously sending one to China as contradictory to the policy of Great Britain and Australia towards China.

I know the question is not as easy as one thinks. It involves money and personnel also. I do not think money is the important question. Suppose you establish two legations at Tokio, and Chungking simultaneously, it does not involve whether you should appoint Ministers simultaneously or not. If you have a Minister to Chungking who is entrusted to act as a Minister to Tokio also or you have a Minister to Tokio and a Charge d'Affaires in Chungking, it would help to eliminate difficulties of personnel and yet justify Sino-Australian relations. It is not a personal [sic] question. In early days Australia's Far East policy was shaped by that of Great Britain. But today Great Britain's Far East policy depends upon Australia's attitude. This is very important to my country and the future of the Pacific.

Would you really consider this matter and help me and my country? I think it is important for me to see you and the Minister of External Affairs personally. I will fly to Melbourne tomorrow. I know you are very busy but as the matter is very urgent I must put China's view clearly before you both. My Government is pressing me for immediate reply and I should not make inaccurate reports. I would appreciate very deeply if you would give me an interview on Tuesday afternoon or evening or any time on Wednesday at any place. [4]

C. J. PAO

1 Document 82.

2 Document 72.

3 Document 323. A letter of acknowledgment dated 7 June 1940 (on file AA: A461, K703/1/4) was in fact dispatched to Pao by Lt Col W. R. Hodgson, Secretary of the External Affairs Dept.

4 No record of such a meeting has been found.

[AA: A461, K703/1/4]