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

Cablegram 969 WASHINGTON, 14 November 1941, 11.40 p.m.


I saw Sumner Welles [1] today. He confirms that they believe Kurusu [2] has no different instructions to those [possessed] [3] by Nomura. [4]

I asked him if he thought I was right in believing Japanese-Anglo- American relations were heading fairly rapidly towards a break. He said he believed this to be so. He said that he believed that the Japanese Government were under definite necessity of providing some justification to their own people after four years of national effort and sacrifice. They were so far 'out on a limb' that he did not believe they could get back.

Sumner Welles says that he could not believe that Japanese will agree to evacuate China completely and nothing less will satisfy United States.

If the Kurusu discussions came to nothing, he believes that the Japanese will prepare themselves for a major attempt on the Burma Road and he thinks it unlikely that this operation will be carried through without infringing on Thailand and Burma.

I asked if it were not possible for Japan to attempt to cut Burma Road in China without treading directly on American or British toes. Without saying so directly, I inferred from his reply that United States would not sit idly by and watch China's life-lines being cut 'any more than the United States would be indifferent if the Japanese sought to deny us access to Vladivostok'.

1 U.S. Under-Secretary of State.

2 Japanese special envoy to the United States.

3 Corrected from the Washington copy on file AA : A3300, 99.

4 Japanese Ambassador to the United States.

[AA : A981, JAPAN 178]