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55 Sir John Latham, Minister to Japan, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 414 TOKYO, 1 September 1941, 3.55 p.m.


My telegrams 404 and 409. [1]

I propose in the course of the next few days to seek an interview
with the Minister for Foreign Affairs [2] and discuss the whole
situation from Australian point of view. I would point out the
absence of any foundation for the allegations of encirclement of
Japan or of Australia being a party to any encirclement and that
on the contrary Australian actions in reinforcing her air defences
and helping to strengthen the garrison at Malaya have been brought
about by Japan's successive moves southward, first into North then
into South Indo-China, the latter after most categorical denials
by the Foreign Office that such a move was contemplated. Australia
has no desire to increase the tension or worsen the relations with
Japan and it would obviously be foolish for us to seek to do so,
but a move by the latter would be followed most certainly and
naturally by counter moves by Great Britain [3] and her partners.

But if Japan ceases to make forward moves and shows willingness to
discuss ways to relieve the tension she will find Australia very
willing to cooperate. I will have no suggestion to offer beyond
that withdrawal from South Indo-China would have of course very
great effect in restoring the situation and that persistent
southward advance propaganda is necessarily inimical to peace but
will say I am very ready to receive and discuss any proposal the
Minister for Foreign Affairs may wish to make.

I would be glad to have any suggestions as to any other points I
might make.


1 Dispatched 25 and 27 August. On file AA:A981, Japan 185B, ii.

2 Admiral Teijiro Toyoda.

3 The original was here annotated 'word mutilated'.

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