146 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 1057 WASHINGTON, 30 November 1941, 11.58 p.m.


I saw the Secretary of State [2] this evening and showed him a copy of my telegram No. 1055 [3] and informed him of the conversation in detail. I had seen the British Ambassador [4] beforehand and so was able to say to the Secretary of State that the British Ambassador's view and my own was that our respective governments had complete trust in his handling of the situation and that if he was able to revive the conversations directed towards a temporary agreement with Japan on any terms that he believed reasonable our governments would back him. Even at this late hour our governments had keen anxi[ety] and desire that the conversations may be salvaged.

The Secretary of State is to see Kurusu [5] and the Japanese Ambassador [6] at 10 a.m. to-morrow December 1st at their request.

The Secretary of State clearly has no real hope that the situation can be saved. He believes that the Japanese are even now, practically speaking, on the march.

The Secretary of State was still very bitter against the Chinese.

It appears that, in addition to the President [7] having been very impressed with the representations of the Chinese, the Secretary of Wars and others used their influence in Cabinet here on the side of the Chinese. This finally sealed the fate of the Secretary of State's modus vivendi.

The Secretary of State cannot see any advantage in the British Ambassador seeing Kurusu. The British Ambassador tends to agree with this. It is unlikely that Kurusu would have any viewpoint to put forward that he did not put to me and if by a bad chance such a meeting became known publicly, much damage might be done.

I ended by saying to the Secretary of State that the major policy decision that the United States Government would take to-morrow was one that would influence the history of the world.

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

2 Cordell Hull.

3 Document 144.

4 Lord Halifax.

5 Japanese special envoy to the United States.

6 Admiral Kicbisaburo Nomura. Casey reported on 1 December (cablegram 1060 on file AA : A981, Japan 178) that this meeting had taken place but that the Japanese had no further instructions from Tokyo or any response to the U.S. memorandum. Hull had reasserted the minimum American position.

7 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

8 H. L. Stimson.

[AA : A981, JAPAN. 178]