Skip to main content

Historical documents

138 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1049 WASHINGTON, 29 November 1941, 12.13 a.m.


Reference my 1045. [1]

(1) I saw Secretary for War [2] and General Miles, head of United
States Army Intelligence, today. Following is summary of relevant
United States Army Far East information up to date.

(2) Whilst probably a substantial number Russian troops have been
transferred from Siberia to European Russia, leaving the Japanese
with forces superior to Russian in Manchuria-Siberian theatre,
this superiority is believed insufficient to encourage Japan to
attack with any confidence in the north.

(3) Japanese are known to have withdrawn troops from Central China
and embarked them for southward destination in recent weeks.

(4) A naval task force (see my tel. 1044) [3] is being built up at
Taiwan (Formosa) and Hainan. This is believed to consist of 3 or 4
battleships (this is possible but not certain), 3 aircraft
carriers, 11 heavy and 5 light cruisers, 47 destroyers, 16
submarines, and attendant auxiliary craft. This force thought not
yet ready for concerted action but is believed to be in course of
concentration. Its Commander is still in Japan.

(5) Japanese land forces in Japanese mandated islands have
increased in recent months from 5,000 to 15,000 men, together with
about 100 aircraft of all types and 'the fourth fleet, a mixed
naval force of second class units'.

(6) There appears to have been substantial reinforcement of
Southern Indo-China both from overseas and at expense of Japanese
forces in Northern Indo-China.

Conservative estimate is at least 7,000 Japanese troops now in
Southern Indo-China. Aircraft and military equipment has been
landed in Southern Indo-China over the last two months in
substantial quantities.

(7) There are believed to be about 50,000 troops on Island of

(8) Japanese are reliably reported to be working on naval and air
base at Kompongson -bay on Gulf of Siam since September 27th. (9)
They believe that there is evidence that Japanese are prepared to
use chemical and probably bacteriological warfare whenever and
wherever they deem it necessary or profitable to do so.

(10) United States Military Intelligence concludes 'from foregoing
it appears evident that Japanese have completed plans for further
aggressive moves in South-Eastern Asia. These plans will probably
be put into effect soon after armed services feel that the Kurusu
[4] mission is a definite failure. A task force of about 5
divisions, supported by appropriate air and naval units, has been
assembled for execution of these plans. This force is now en route
southward to an, as yet, undetermined rendezvous. This division
(United States Army Intelligence) is of opinion that initial move
will be made against Thailand from sea and overland through
Southern China. It is further believed that the Japanese are
uncertain of the reaction of the A.B.D. [5] Powers to this move
and therefore have organised in sufficient strength to cope with
any opposition they might initially encounter from those Powers in
the South China Sea.'
(11) United States Navy has sent precautionary war warning
telegrams to the Commanders of the United States Pacific and
Asiatic fleets. War Department has sent out similar warnings.

1 Document 133.

2 H. L. Stimson.

3 Dispatched 28 November. On file AA : A981, Pacific 8, ii.

4 Japanese special envoy to the United States.

5 Australian-British-Dutch.

[AA : A981, JAPAN 178]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top