332 Sir John Latham, Minister to Japan, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 113 TOKYO, 4 March 1941, 6.55 p.m.

My telegram No. 112. [1]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs on day of publication took steps to inform both the British and United States Ambassadors [2] that he had been misquoted and that his answer had been to the effect that Japan claimed a right to the settlement of her nationals in these islands as she did in any other part of the world, and that he had defined, as quoted, area in which it would be particularly reasonable that Japanese should be given facilities for settlement in order to exclude Australia and New Zealand. He had said nothing suggestive of the idea that white races should hand over these territories to Asiatics but only that they should practise a more liberal policy towards Japanese immigration which was a vital matter for Japan.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs has given above explanation I do not propose to take up matter myself but will advise Japanese Foreign Office that I would have taken it up had it not been explained so promptly.

LATHAM

1 Dispatched 3 March. It read: 'On March 2nd press reported Minister for Foreign Affairs [Yosuke Matsuoka] as stating in reply to question in the Diet, begins: Oceania 1,200 miles from the North to the South and 100 [sic] miles from the East to the West should be opened for the resettlement of Asiatic peoples;

resources in the area are capable of sustaining from 600 million to 800 million people. We have a natural right to settle in the region; white men occupying Oceania are due to return it to the Asiatics. Ends.' See file AA:A981, Japan 185B, i.

2 Sir Robert Craigie and J. C. Grew.

[AA:A981, JAPAN 181, iv]