168 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 1095 WASHINGTON, 6 December 1941, [3.37 p.m.] [1]


Reference P. M. Dept. telegram 140. [2] Situation at present is that Far Eastern situation is largely if not entirely in the hands of the President who is said to be still working on his proposed message to the Japanese Emperor. As I understand it this message will have some sting in it, but will not in itself constitute the 'warning'. Dependent on the terms of the Emperor's reply, the President will then send his warning and presumably warnings of all the rest of us will follow.

As to an American assurance to Thailand, State Department has been emphasising to the President the constitutional difficulty of such a step.

Secretary of State [3] has been trying to get the United States army and navy to show naval and air activity in the Gulf of Siam in order to hearten Thailand.

The President has to watch out that his activities, prior to the Far Eastern situation reaching a breaking point, do not enable his opponents here to say that 'the United States is acting in advance as if already an ally of Britain' which would increase his political difficulties.

I have consulted the British Ambassador [4] who does not believe there is anything immediate that we can say or do to advantage.


1 Matter in square brackets has been corrected/inserted from the Washington copy on file AA:A3300,100.

2 Evatt's cablegram 140 of 6 December (AA: A981, Japan 185B, iii), transmitted through the Prime Minister's Dept, read: 'The whole matter now seems to turn on whether Japanese reply to Roosevelt's question can reasonably lead to further negotiations or whether it should be rejected out of hand. I take it you will keep close watch on the position to ensure that no honourable chance of averting is overlooked. In doing this our obligations to the President for his leadership should be stressed. Will you express the hope of this Government that he persevere with his noble task.' 3 Cordell Hull.

4 Lord Halifax.

[AA: A981, JAPAN 185B, iii]