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52 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government

Circular cablegram M273 LONDON, 28 August 1941, 9.12 p.m.


My circular M.268 of August 27th. [1] We have now given further
consideration to question of action which it would be appropriate
for us to take in respect of Japan to reinforce the warning which
has been delivered to that country by the United States

In his broadcast of 24th August, the Prime Minister [2] made it
clear that we should range ourselves at the side of the United
States if the latter became involved in war with Japan, but we
feel that it is desirable to warn the Japanese Government on our
own part and directly that, apart from our support of United
States, we should be compelled in the interests of security of our
own territories to take counter measures in the event of further
Japanese expansion.

We should prefer to link our own warning specifically with that
given by United States, but this we feel would require the
concurrence of the latter. We should also prefer to adhere to the
wording elaborated at the Prime Minister's recent meeting with
President Roosevelt unless United States Government see serious

In these circumstances, His Majesty's Minister at Washington [3]
has been instructed to inform United States Government that we
should propose to request His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo [4] to
address the Japanese Government in terms of formula (1) contained
in my immediately following telegram. If United States Government
on other hand would prefer that we did not specifically mention
the warning conveyed to Japan by them, we should propose that our
communication should follow terms of formula (2), text of which is
also contained in my immediately following telegram. [5]

In either case, it is proposed that the communication should be
made orally though an Aide Memoire of what is said might be
communicated to Japanese authorities.

We are making it clear to the United States Government that our
communication would be subject to the concurrence of His Majesty's
Governments in the Dominions. We hope that the Dominion
Governments would agree in principle with the line which we
propose to take and would also be prepared to make similar
communications to Japanese Government or authorize us to do so on
their behalf.

We will telegraph further as soon as we receive reply from His
Majesty's Minister at Washington as to the United States
Government's attitude. In the meantime we shall be grateful to
learn whether you concur generally in the action proposed.

1 On file AA:A1608, A41/1/1, xxiv. It reported that the U.S. Govt
had on 17 August made two communications to the Japanese
Ambassador to the United States (Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura)
warning Japan against any further aggression and indicating
readiness to seek a general settlement in the Pacific area
provided the Japanese Govt would provide a clear statement of
present objectives.

2 Winston Churchill.

3 Lord Halifax.

4 Sir Robert Craigie.

5 Circular cablegram M274 of 28 August is on the file cited in
note 1.

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