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

Cablegram 634 WASHINGTON, 14 August 1941, 12.35 a.m.

SECRET

Reference Prime Minister's [1] telegram No. 91. [2]

I saw the Secretary of State [3] today and made clear to him the
degree of importance that you put on Thailand. I said that whilst
it was perceived that joint British-American statement to Japan
would probably be necessary to deter her from further southward
expansion with any certainty, yet, although no decision had yet
been made, your minds were moving in the direction of a forthright
warning to Japan even if United States was unable to be associated
with such a warning, and that you were moved to consideration of
such a serious step by the realization that the pass would
virtually be sold in any event if Japan were to become installed
in Thailand. I said that you were in telegraphic discussion with
Britain on the above and that, whilst I had no instructions to
speak to him officially on matters, I thought he would wish to
know how your minds were working so that he might advise the
President [4] immediately on his return of the seriousness with
which you regard the Thailand situation. The Secretary of State
said that he would discuss with the President on his return on
August 15th.

The British Ambassador [5] and Duff Cooper [6] were present at the
above conversation.

I subsequently saw the Secretary of the Navy [7] and spoke to him
on similar lines to the above. He said that he and some of his
colleagues in the Cabinet had been advocating to the President
that joint British-American stand against any further Japanese
moves south or west from Indo-China was absolutely essential if
war in the Far East were to be averted and that they proposed the
pursuance of this vigorously with the President on his return.

Colonel Knox needs no stimulating on this.

Apart from above, I pursued the question of further air and
submarine reinforcement of Philippines with Secretary of Navy
which he said he would investigate.

No doubt it will have occurred to you that what has taken place at
Vichy may mean the French fleet being made available for the Axis
[8] and that Japan may be counting upon this to be sufficient to
stop reinforcement of Singapore by British capital ships. This
possibility is clearly in mind of the Secretary of Navy who
mentioned the possibility of United States having to move some of
the naval strength from the Pacific to the Atlantic in the future.

CASEY

1 R. G. Menzies.

2 See Document 39, note 1.

3 Cordell Hull.

4 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

5 Lord Halifax.

6 U.K. Minister of State for Far Eastern Affairs resident in
Singapore.

7 Colonel Franklin Knox.

8 Casey was referring to rumours that new Franco-German
negotiations would secure for the Axis powers the control or use
of ports in France and French North Africa.


[AA:A981, JAPAN 185B, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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