334 War Cabinet Minute
MELBOURNE, 5 March 1941
SPEECH BY MR. MENZIES AT THE FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION LUNCHEON IN LONDON
The Acting Prime Minister  referred to press references to the speech made by Mr. Menzies  at the Foreign Press Association luncheon, which appeared to have been interpreted by some local newspapers and by public opinion in some quarters in Australia as one of appeasement towards Japan. Messrs. Curtin  and Beasley  had also approached him and stated that, in their opinion, Mr.
Menzies had created the unfortunate impression in his speech that the warning given to the public of Australia by the Advisory War Council on 13th February had not been justified.  War Cabinet did not concur in this view.
The Acting Prime Minister stated that he proposed to despatch the following cablegram to Mr. Menzies, and this was approved:-
'Your speech Foreign Press Association luncheon has been interpreted here by some newspapers and certain public opinion as one of appeasement of Japan.
'Such newspapers recapitulating support they gave to warnings issued by Government and War Council on Pacific position a fortnight ago.
'Japanese Consul-General  seized opportunity publication of your speech to tell public here that warnings issued by Australian Government unjustified.
'Think that necessarily abbreviated accounts of your speech published here have given rise in some quarters to wrong impression. Cabinet consider this should be cabled to you as a guide to reactions.'