183 Mr R. R. Sedgwick, Official Secretary of U.K. High Commission in Australia, to Mr F. Strahan, Secretary of Prime Minister's Department

Letter 2/114 CANBERRA, 30 October 1940

SECRET AND URGENT

I am directed by the High Commissioner [1] to refer to the Commonwealth Government's telegram No. 524 of the 9th October [2] on the subject of the announcement of the postponement of Sir John Latham's departure for Tokyo, and to Sir Robert Craigie's telegram No. 56 of the 7th October [3], indicating that the Japanese are deliberating as to the appointment of a Japanese Minister to Canberra.

2. The United Kingdom Government note that the announcement attributed the postponement of Sir John Latham's departure to the uncertainty of the political situation in Australia. They assume, however, that the Commonwealth Government have also had in mind the question whether, internal political considerations apart, it would be desirable for Sir John Latham to proceed to Tokyo at the present juncture. From this point of view, the moment when Japan has signed a political, economic and military alliance with the axis powers would not appear to the United Kingdom Government to be a suitable one for so distinguished an Australian to go to Tokyo to represent the Commonwealth Government and to inaugurate direct diplomatic relations. On the other hand, they do not feel that this consideration would apply to the arrangement under which they understand that some members of the legation staff, including Mr. Keith Officer, are to proceed to Tokyo to make the necessary preparations for opening the legation.

3. The High Commissioner has been requested by his Government to convey their views on this matter to the Commonwealth Government.

R. R. SEDGWICK

1 Sir Geoffrey Whiskard.

2 On file AA:A461, A703/1/2.

3 The U.K. Ambassador to Japan's cablegram (in fact numbered 5606) is on file AA:A461, A703/1/2.

[AA:A461, A703/1/2]