482 Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, to Mr A. T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London
Cablegram SL12 CANBERRA, 5 May 1942
Following for Evatt  from Curtin.
Please see telegrams D.226  and No. 393  from Dominions Office to US.
Negotiations for mutual repatriation of Japanese and British Commonwealth (except Canadian) officials and non-official Japanese nationals have almost reached finality. We are concerned, however, that Japanese Government is refusing our request for inclusion of Bowden and staff from Singapore  and Ross from Dilli.  You will recall we assured Bowden we would insist on his inclusion in any scheme of exchange.  Position is, so far as Australia is concerned, that if scheme as now proposed is accepted, we would be repatriating to Japan all Japanese non-officials interned in Australia totalling 1,120 and all diplomatic and consular staff and officials totalling 23. In return, Japan would repatriate to Australia personnel of Australian Legation, Tokyo, totalling 8, and probably a proportion only of Australian nationals in Japan, total number of whom is believed to be less than 45. We think that reasonable arrangement in view of large disparity of numbers both officials and non-officials would be for Japanese to include Bowden and staff of 2, as well as Ross. Difficulty is that if we insist on inclusion of Bowden and Ross we may prejudice scheme either in its entirety or at least so far as Australian exchange is concerned. On the other hand, acceptance of the scheme as it now stands would result in Bowden and staff being detained for the duration of the war. I may add that enquiry regarding welfare of Bowden and staff was made through Argentine Government on 23rd February last and two reminders have been sent, but Japanese have not deigned to reply. 
Glad if you would consult appropriate United Kingdom authorities and let me have your views as to our most appropriate course.