293 Commonwealth Government to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 91 13 February 1941,

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Censorship authorities intercepted message dated 31st January between Head Office Mitsubishi and Sydney instructing all dispensable employees to return to Japan. As the message was in clear language and known to be open to censorship, this may be only bluff.

The Japanese Consul-General [1] on 11th February, in referring to exodus from other parts, stated that no Japanese were returning from Australia. On the other hand we have evidence that Japanese vessels leaving here February and March are booked out with Japanese women and children and that there were only two Japanese passengers on ship arriving in Australian waters this week.

Further, Commonwealth Bank has received a number of applications for withdrawal of funds for Japanese women leaving Australia.

Japanese Consul-General complained of statements by leaders here which he described as alarmist and of press reports of Japanese hostile intentions as calculated to prejudice friendly relations.

He was particularly incensed at delaying tactics in regard to Japanese shipping, claiming these were not based on any reasonable ground and only caused annoyance and monetary loss without achieving any apparent definite object.

Incidentally, Japanese Consul General, now acting as Charge d'Affaires, is actively going ahead with establishment of Legation, part of advanced staff of which is on the way from Japan. He states Minister [2] would leave Tokyo on March 1st.

1 Masatoshi Akiyama.

2 Tatsuo Kawai.

[AA:A981, JAPAN 115A]