14 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister
Cablegram 520 LONDON, 6 July 1940, 2.52 a.m.
MOST IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL MOST SECRET
JAPAN. Chiefs of Staff appreciation strongly stressing
impossibility of facing war with Japan was before the War Cabinet
when reply further considered this afternoon. Discussion
apparently inconclusive but understood that majority view
necessary to give way on Burma road. As I believe a positive
policy such as I have always advocated is best course, I made a
last attempt even at this eleventh hour by putting in a memorandum
which I made clear expressed solely my personal views down the
(i) If we do not give way there is danger of war.
(2) If we do give way probably not the end of Japanese demands.
(3) Give Craigie  instructions to put the position with
absolute frankness down the following lines:
(a) We desire good relations and broad settlement.
(b) Cannot merely agree to Japanese demands because of the
reactions of our own people to acquiescence in dictation and the
effect on the United States.
While anxious for good relations with Japan we cannot purchase
them at the price of losing American goodwill which is vital to us
in our desperate struggle in Europe.
(c) If we did agree by no means certain would lead to the
accomplishment of Japan's major objective, i.e., liquidation of
(d) If we do not agree and war resulted Japanese position
(a) though heavily engaged elsewhere the British Empire could
still be troublesome.
(b) Danger of United States declaring war. While United States
[public]  opinion bitter[ly opposed] to war in Europe large
section regard Japan as danger in the Pacific Ocean and at any
moment might swing in favour of hostilities.
(c) Damage financial and economic embargo of [sic] United States
and British Empire would inflict.
(d) If we defeat Germany we would be strong enough to enforce
retribution for any blackmail imposed on us now.
(e) If Germany defeated us and the Far Eastern position had not
been stabilized Germany would certainly come into the Pacific
(4) Having put reasons why trouble now would not suit Japan or us
Craigie should be authorized to suggest a broad settlement down
the following lines:
(1) United Kingdom prepared to use best endeavours to bring about
a settlement in China provided that Japan prepared to agree to
reasonable terms which safeguarded China's independence.
(2) If Japan prepared to agree to such terms and a settlement with
China can be effected the United Kingdom Prepared-
(a) To afford financial assistance by way of loan up to an agreed
amount on favourable terms if requested to do so.
(b) To co-operate in the rehabilitation and development of China
and to agree to preferential opportunity for Japan in respect to
supply of consumption goods to China.
(c) To endeavour to obtain co-operation of the United States in
respect to (a) and (b).
(d) To discuss with Japan the stabilization of territorial
position in the Far East and to endeavour to obtain the co-
operation of the United States, the Netherlands and France in a
(e) To assist in ensuring to Japan vital necessities in raw
(f) To agree to the open door in non-selfgoverning territories and
to discuss with Governments concerned increased opportunities for
Japan in self-governing parts of the Empire.
(d) might involve handing over some islands to Japan and (f) the
giving up of advantages British manufacturers have enjoyed in the
colonial Empire. If the war is lost these are immaterial. If war
is won the world will be constituted on so changed a basis that
the former will probably be immaterial and the latter is almost
certain to be the agreed settlement of the colonial problem.
Repeated to Washington No. 32.
1 U.K. Ambassador to Japan.
2 Words in square brackets have been inserted from Bruce's copy on
file AA: M100, July 1940.
[AA: A981, FAR EAST 31, ii]