11 Memorandum prepared for Delegation to Imperial Conference
REVIEW OF RELATIONS WITH PARTICULAR COUNTRIES HAVING SPECIAL
SIGNIFICANCE VIS-A-VIS THE UNITED KINGDOM OR PARTICULAR DOMINIONS
The memorandum began with a detailed account of Anglo-Japanese
relations from 1933 to early 1937, including negotiations for an
Anglo-Japanese agreement in 1936-37.
In a minute of 21st January the Minister for External Affairs 
raised the question whether there was any contribution which the
Australian Government could make to the British Government as to
its views on the suggestions recently made by Japan for an
agreement with Great Britain. The Minister expressed the view
that, while Great Britain and Australia are bound by their
obligations to the League and China, the approach made by Japan
should none the less be encouraged.
My [sic] Minister for External Affairs submitted the following
'Better relations between Great Britain and Japan and even a
understanding-perhaps in general terms, somewhat on the lines of
the recent Anglo-Italian pact-are most desirable from the point of
view of Australia.
It is a question whether Japan's attitude as exemplified in the
London Naval Conference  I the various Peking incidents, the
Keelung incident , and the recent pact with Germany , is not
such as seriously to discount her protestations of a desire for an
agreement. In view of the reports of the Ambassador in Tokyo, I am
inclined to think the desire is a sincere one. It must be noted,
however, that the policy of the military party in Japan does not
always run on parallel lines with that of the Government. In fact
it has often been the antithesis in recent months. From
information received from various sources, it is somewhat doubtful
if the militarists in Japan, apart from several of the Higher
Commanders, would welcome any close understanding with Great
Britain. Indeed, they are using the alleged antagonism and
obstruction of Great Britain to Japanese aspirations and policy in
Eastern Asia as one of the justifications for their rearmament
programme, and the elimination of this source of propaganda might
not serve their ends.
The proposed terms of the British Government's reply to Mr Yoshida
 are probably not calculated to discourage him, although a
general impression remains after reading the despatches that the
reception of the Japanese advance was somewhat lukewarm.
It seems highly desirable, that a cablegram be sent to the U.K.
 stating that the Australian Government is closely following
the situation and considers that it is advisable, from the point
of view of Australian policy, that more friendly relations and a
closer understanding should be established between Great Britain
and Japan.' 
1 Sir George Pearce.
2 ? The.
3 The Japanese delegation withdrew from the London Naval
Conference on 15 January 1936 because other powers at the
Conference refused to concede her the right to naval parity. Japan
formally announced her decision not to adhere to the London Treaty
on 29 June 1936.
4 Throughout 1936 there were anti-British incidents in Japanese-
controlled areas of China and Manchuria. At Keelung three British
seamen were arrested and assaulted by police on 7 October 1936,
and a naval officer was insulted when he requested their release.
5 Japan and Germany signed the Anti-Comintern Pact on 25 November
6 Shigeru Yoshida, Japanese Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
7 See Document 12.
8 Memorandum prepared in Department of External Affairs.
[FA : A2938, REVIEW OF RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND JAPAN]