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208 Mr Torao Wakamatsu, Japanese Consul-General in Sydney, to Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister

Letter SYDNEY, 24 May 1938

With reference to the decision of the Commonwealth Government to
prohibit the export of all iron ore from Australia, which decision
I conveyed to my Government upon the receipt of your letter of May
18th [1], I now have the honour to state, under instructions from
my Government, that, in view of the traditional amicable relations
between Australia and Japan, the Imperial Japanese Government
deeply regret the above-mentioned decision of the Commonwealth
Government, as, taking into consideration the actual conditions in
relation to the Australian domestic demand and export trade in
iron ore, and various aspects of the mining work at Yampi Sound,
it can only be inferred that this drastic measure is aimed
principally at Japan.

In regard to the Yampi Sound enterprise, I am instructed to
communicate to you the view of the Imperial Government that this
question is one of such gravity that it cannot be solved simply by
reimbursement of the investments, and the Imperial Government
cannot understand why the Commonwealth Government, despite their
former assurances, have decided to adopt such a drastic measure
without any domestic emergency having arisen to justify the
subversion of the development work at Yampi Sound, in connection
with which a huge amount of Japanese capital has been invested,
with the approval of the Governments of Australia and Japan, in
the hope of contributing to the mutual prosperity of the two

It is the most earnest desire of my Government, therefore, that,
in the interests of the maintenance of friendly relations between
our two countries, and also in the light of the significance of
freedom of trade, especially of free access to resources, the
necessity for which has not only been recognised by most of the
countries in the world, but which has also been earnestly urged by
certain Powers as a practical means of achieving appeasement in
the world, the Commonwealth Government will reconsider their
decision, particularly as it does not appear that any thorough and
practical investigation has yet been made which furnishes the
peoples of both Australia and Japan with concrete evidence of the
realities of the situation.


1 Document 203.

[AA : A981, AUSTRALIA 90]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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