Far Eastern situation.  We entirely agree with you on the
(a) The delicacy and danger of the situation.
(b) The desirability of obtaining a clear indication of the United
States policy in the Far East.
(c) The desirability, if circumstances allow, of retaining the
United States fleet in the Pacific.
(d) The extreme undesirability of any act or omission on our part
which might have the effect of unnecessarily precipitating trouble
with Japan in our present situation.
(e) The undesirability of any attempt to haggle with Japan.
(f) The undesirability in the best interests of the British
Commonwealth of involvement of United States in a war in the Far
(g) The probable futility of the suggestion that in the present
circumstances Japan might be induced on the lines proposed to
offer the restoration of territorial integrity and independence of
On the other hand we are most sceptical as to whether Japan would
in the existing situation be persuaded to make a satisfactory
tripartite declaration as to status quo in the Pacific or whether
such a declaration if made would have any value at all unless
accompanied by a full United States guarantee, which would seem
unlikely at the moment.
Again we cannot bring ourselves to believe that the offer of
mediation that you propose, in the absence of United States
collaboration, offers any substantial promise of successful
results. Nor are we convinced that a simple acceptance of the
present Japanese demands would be morally right or even
politically expedient. Indeed we are inclined to feel that an
acceptance of the Japanese demands or an offer of mediation
between Japan and China might well be interpreted by the Japanese
as a plain indication of the weakness of our position and of our
readiness on that account to sacrifice the Chinese and the
principle of resisting aggression for the purpose of endeavouring
to protect our own interests. We are at present inclined to feel
that an appearance of continued confidence is more likely to be
effective with the Japanese than any step which might be
interpreted as a display of weakness. On the whole, however, we
are inclined to defer formation of any definite judgment on this
most difficult problem until it has been possible to ascertain the
result of the approach which has already been made by His
Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to the United States
A copy of this telegram has today been despatched to the Secretary
of State for Dominion Affairs. 
1 Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. III,
2 Lord Caldecote.
[AA: A1608, A41/1/1, xi]