504 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 415 LONDON, 14 June 1941, 2.30 p.m.

MOST SECRET

Your telegram of 23rd May No. 313 [1] paragraph 4. Further consideration has been given to question whether move of Australian forces to Koepang and Ambon could take place prior to outbreak of hostilities with Japan.

Apart from whether Netherlands Government would agree in the absence of definite assurance of British support in the event of Japanese attack on the Netherlands East Indies, such a move would be regarded in Japan as a challenge in present circumstances. As immediate measure therefore it is undesirable. We do not necessarily go so far, however, as to preclude it until hostilities break out. A change in the general situation might conceivably occur before this, which would provide necessary opening without present objections.

In the meantime we fully agree that all preparations for reception of Australian forces should be made unobtrusively in advance with the Netherlands authorities.

WAR WITH JAPAN]

1 Document 465.

[AA: A2937, NO. 1. THE PACIFIC. 11TH FEBRUARY UP TO OUTBREAK OF