197 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 373 WASHINGTON, 12 November 1940, 9.30 p.m.

I saw Secretary of State [1] today and handed him Prime Minister's message of congratulations for the President. [2]

He told me confidentially that the Administration has under consideration list of items, the export of which to Japan may shortly be rendered inexpedient 'by reason of the necessities of the American rearmament programme.' When I asked whether American fleet units would visit Australia and/or Singapore in near future, he avoided direct reply by saying that he believed more fruitful deterrent action would be larger concentration United States naval vessels at Manila and larger numbers British and Australian fighting and bombing aircraft at Singapore 'even if you had to get the aircraft from us'. He asked me not to take this as a formal proposal from him but merely as a private indication of his personal state of mind.

Secretary of State said that we all had to contemplate the possibility of a Japanese-Russian arrangement under which Japan would be relieved of her anxiety regarding Russia and even agreement on respective spheres of influence in China.

Chiang Kai-Shek's [3] proposal for closer relations with United States (and with Britain) has apparently resulted so far only in United States rehearsing all the things the United States had already done to aid China. Additionally United States is sending Chiang Kai-Shek fifteen American aircraft.

I said that if Chiang Kai-Shek's recent appeal to United States and Britain was genuine reflection of China's situation, then we had to face grievous thought of possible inability of China to resist much longer, which Secretary of State agreed would be calamity for all of us.

Secretary of State showed anxiety to learn British naval and commercial shipping situation which obviously had relation in his mind to Far Eastern situation. I said no doubt British Ambassador [4] would bring back coordinated story on this in few days time.

Secretary of State said we must ail three discuss this on British Ambassador's return. [5]

1 Cordell Hull.

2 R. G. Menzies's message on President Franklin D. Roosevelt's re- election is on file AA:A3300, 46.

3 Commander-in-Chief of Chinese armed forces and member of Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang.

4 Lord Lothian.

5 This cablegram was repeated to A. T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, as no. 113.

[AA:A3300, 40]