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

Cablegram 241 WASHINGTON, 31 March 1941, 6.26 p.m.

SECRET

Repeated to London 37, and to Tokyo 15.

In accordance with diplomatic practice, I called on the Japanese Ambassador [1] today. He made the following observations:

(1) That his mission was to endeavour to keep peace.

(2) That the Japanese Navy was behind him.

(3) That Japan had enough trouble on her hands.

(4) That nothing of importance would result from Matsuoka's [2] visit.

I then called on Sumner Welles. [3] He showed me a confidential telegram from a reliable American source overseas to the effect that Prince Paul of Yugoslavia had visited Hitler secretly at Berchtesgaden on 11th March. Latter in the course of argument for Yugoslavia joining with the Axis said Germany would attack Russia in June or July. On my enquiring the degree of reliability of this remarkable information, Sumner Welles said all he could say was that it fitted in with information from other quarters. He said that he believed it possible that Hitler's motive in getting Matsuoka to Berlin was to discuss the possibility of a conjoint German-Japanese pincers movement on Russia.

Sumner Welles was very pleased with the result of the visit of the American warships to Australia. On my enquiring if a similar visit was possible to Darwin he said that they had this and other naval activities in South-West Pacific under consideration, but that they did not propose to do anything more until after the result of Matsuoka's visit was clearer.

Sumner Welles expressed high regard for the Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs [4] who will be visiting Australia later.

CASEY

1 Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura.

2 The Japanese Foreign Minister was then visiting Berlin.

3 U.S. Under-Secretary of State.

4 Dr E. N. van Kleffens.

[AA:A981, FAR EAST 21A]