140 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, and to Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs

Cablegram 1053 WASHINGTON, 29 November 1941, 8.47 p.m.


Following our telephone conversation I saw Secretary of State [2] today.

I asked if he would have any objection to my acting as follows: I suggested that I should endeavour through third party to get Kurusu. [3] to ask to see me or me to call on him. I would then say apparently the United States, Japan, British countries and Netherlands East Indies were drifting to war.

Whilst we and our friends were not seeking war we would fight with cohesion and vigour if we had to. No doubt Japan was aware of what she would face, what part Russia would play and what the United States and the rest of us would do. It was not my place to enlighten him on these matters, but it must not be thought that we had let things get to the present stage without planning and thinking ahead. Still all this need not happen. I realize relations between Japan and the United States had become such that neither side could initiate further approach to the other. I was in a rather different position and, although I was not acting at suggestion of either British or American Governments, I would be glad to act as an intermediary if he (Kurusu) had any proposal.

I told Secretary of State that I was not seeking his approval of such a proposal but that I did not want to take such a step behind his back. I merely wanted him not to object to such an attempt.

Secretary of State was appreciative of the proposal and indicated that he had no objection, although if he were charged publicly with connivance in proposal he would have to deny knowledge of it.

He went on to say that he believed that situation had gone beyond diplomatic stage, and that so far as United States was concerned, matter was now up to Army and Navy.

He said that he believed that Japanese were intent on active aggression and that either present Japanese Government or one that would probably succeed present Government would make aggressive moves probably on a wide front in the near future. His own view was that Japanese would not be content to nibble off a little bit here or there but would move in great strength and without warning in several directions that were important to them at the same time.

He gave no positive indication as to what the United States would do, although he used the term 'we' in the sense of the United States and British countries.

I have been trying, through the only [reliable] third party that I know who is trusted by the Japanese Embassy, since seeing the Secretary of State, to bring about the above meeting with Kurusu, but so far without success. I believe the wrong effect would be created if I were to approach the Japanese Embassy direct. I am still trying.


1 Words in square brackets have been inserted from the Washington copy on file AA : A3300,99.

2 Cordell Hull.

3 Japanese special envoy to the United States.

[AA : A981, JAPAN 178]