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

Cablegram unnumbered 28 August 1940,

Your telegram No. 700 [1] and No. 279 to Whiskard. [2] Please communicate following to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs [3]:-

Commonwealth Government is grateful for expression of views contained in telegram 279 to United Kingdom High Commissioner and I wish to give complete assurance that points raised have been and will continue to be under our close attention. In broadcast speech on occasion of announcement of Sir John Latham's appointment 18th August Minister for External Affairs [4] used the following language:

'With Australia represented in the United States by Mr. Casey and in Japan by Sir John Latham, with the United States of America represented in Australia by Mr. Gauss, and shortly Japan to be represented by her Minister, we may feel assured that there now exists the basis upon which can be founded happy relationship and peace. Our great objective is peace, above all peace with our neighbours; and towards this end complete understanding of respective viewpoints and problems is an essential requirement. To hope that such complete understanding can be established between countries so geographically remote by mere correspondence or communication through intermediaries is to expect too much.

Direct diplomatic representation has been a need which is now fulfilled.

Because of our utterly indissoluble bond with Britain her European problems will ever be our problems. A threat to Britain is a threat to us. But it is natural and indeed right that in considering Australia's own international life we should think first of our position in the Pacific. It is upon this stage that our destiny is set. Here, Australia and with us New Zealand have a direct and primary responsibility.

We are now giving clear evidence that we acknowledge this definite and individual responsibility in Australia's external relations.

It would scarcely be explicit enough to say that our policy will always remain consistent with British Foreign policy. Our policy is and will continue to be so woven into the pattern of British Foreign Policy that it can be said that we make our contribution, exercise our influence but do not duplicate, or contrast with British policy.

And so Britain's Foreign Policy becomes Empire policy in the fullest sense of the term.' Similarly in reply to a question in the House of Representatives on 20th August the Minister for External Affairs said- 'The appointment of an Australian Minister to Tokyo will in no sense alter the very closest collaboration between the Governments of Australia and the other dominions and the Government of the United Kingdom, in reference to all matters affecting foreign policy, and especially Far Eastern policy. The Government of Australia doubtless will be better informed by reason of this direct representation in Japan. Certainly it will be more intimately and more immediately informed, in relation to matters of interest in the Far East. The reciprocal appointment of a Japanese Minister in Australia will add to the effectiveness of the exchange of information. As to the actual devising of Empire policy, I can say that the policy of close consultation and collaboration which has been followed in the past will be continued.'

1 See Document 77, note 6.

2 Document 77.

3 Lord Caldecote.

4 John McEwen.

[AA:A981, FAR EAST 14A]