507 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 449 LONDON, 17 June 1941, 8.15 p.m.

PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL

Repeated to Washington 58.

Hankey [1] gave farewell lunch to the Japanese Ambassador [2] and asked me to support him. Only three of us present. Conversation not unlike those I had with the Ambassador when you were in London. [3] Ambassador reiterated his desire for a better understanding and indicated that while in Japan he would counsel moderation. Both Hankey and I, while emphasizing that we desired a better understanding with Japan, told the Ambassador in the clearest way that the stumbling block to doing anything to this end was Japan's partnership in the Axis and more particular[ly] [4] Mr. Matsuoka's [5] speeches.

I once more pointed out to the Ambassador that in my view Japan had landed herself in an extremely unpleasant position from which the only way to extract herself was to keep out of getting embroiled in the present struggle. I stressed two unpleasant alternatives that faced her if she did not, to the effect that if she came in on the Axis side she would arouse hostility in the British Empire and America in which atmosphere it would be very difficult for her when the Allies had won, and if by any mischance Germany won all that Japan would have to look forward to would be Nazi domination in the Far East of the same type as in Europe.

Ambassador as usual took it all very well and did not in words dissent.

For the first time in my conversations with him I sensed a suggestion of hostility on his part towards Matsuoka. This impression was confirmed in a conversation I have since had with the Dutch Minister [6] who told me that when the Ambassador came to say goodbye to him he had shown quite clearly his strong personal dislike [of] Matsuoka.

BRUCE

1 U.K. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

2 Mamoru Shigemitsu.

3 See Documents 320 and 35O.

4 Corrected from Bruce's copy on file AA: M100, June 1941.5 Japanese Foreign Minister.

6 Jonkheer E. Michiels van Verduynen.

[AA: A981, JAPAN 181, iv]