24 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
Cablegram 486  CANBERRA, 30 July 1941
MOST SECRET IMMEDIATE
Your telegram 515. 
Now that joint action has been taken by the United States and British Empire countries, I urge that the position that will arise if serious Japanese reactions are provoked should at once be taken up and pressed with the United States.
We feel that this is a matter which does not permit of delay and that everything should be done to make it clear to the United States Administration that we all regard the question as of vital importance.
If the Americans feel in their hearts that in the event of war- like retaliation by Japan they could not remain aloof from the conflict, surely they can be made to see that a plain indication by them to Japan at this stage would probably avoid war.
I recognise the traditional reluctance of the United States to enter into outside commitments in advance, but where the commitment seems inevitable there is everything to be gained by promptly accepting it and everything to be lost by delay.
There is an apprehension in our minds and in the minds of leading members of the Opposition that the dangers in the Pacific are more dimly perceived elsewhere than by ourselves. We, vividly conscious of those dangers, are still convinced that the United States Administration is in the best position to dispel them. The faintest drift in our handling of the Japanese problem may mean that Japan will engage in policies from which at a later stage she cannot withdraw without a serious loss of face.