Your telegrams 497  and 498. 
1. In view of fact that we received cablegrams from Bowden up to
February 10th, and advice that he stated on the day before the
actual capitulation took place he proposed to remain, we are not
satisfied with the Japanese statement that he left Singapore for
the N.E.I. about the end of January. 
However, as there is a doubt about his present whereabouts, and as
Ross is outside Japanese control , we are prepared to proceed
with exchange scheme as a whole, on lines and on basis of
priorities originally suggested.  As, however, scheme
contemplates further ships at a later stage we would insist that
the Japanese be specially requested to agree to the repatriation
of Bowden and his staff as soon as their whereabouts become known.
2. As Free French have agreed to surrender Japanese from New
Caledonia for whom priority has been requested, we have
reconsidered this question. As military position in relation to
New Caledonia has substantially altered recently with the arrival
there of American forces and in regard to which internees probably
cannot be so well informed, we now withdraw our previous
1 Document 2.
2 Dispatched 6 July (FA:A3195, 1942, 1.26571). It expressed
concern at the Commonwealth Govt's proposal to exclude from the
exchange plan Japanese from New Caledonia held on behalf of the
3 See Document 2, note 1.
4 See Document 2, note 2.
5 Between 27 August and 9 September two Japanese ships arrived at
Lourenco Marques carrying some 1800 U.K. and Dominion nationals
from Japan, Manchuria, Japanese-occupied China, Indo-China and
Thailand, while three British ships arrived with an approximately
similar number of Japanese who had been interned in the British
Empire. Among the Australians repatriated were the staff of the
former Legation in Tokyo and their families.
[AA:A981, CONSULS 13, ii]