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

Circular cablegram M308 LONDON, 19 September 1941, 10 p.m.


My Circular M.285 of 2nd September. [1]

We have now given full consideration to the question whether it
would be desirable to convey a formal warning to Japan as to the
consequences which would follow any further encroachments on their
part in the Far East.

It will be remembered that in his broadcast of 24th August the
Prime Minister [2] referring to the menace created by Japan's
latest expansionist activities said 'it is certain that this has
got to stop' and added that if the efforts of the United States to
bring about an amicable settlement in the Far East failed 'we
shall of course range ourselves unhesitatingly at the side of the
United States'. This followed communication by the United States
Government of a memorandum to the Japanese Ambassador at
Washington [3] which closed with a warning in terms given in my
telegram [M]. [4] 268 of 27th August. [5]

A subsequent discussion with the United States Secretary of State
[6] indicated that the United States Authorities would prefer that
we should not link up any warning on our part with theirs but that
they would prefer us on the other hand to adopt a formula which
would be as wide as theirs and would omit mention of the word

We have ourselves reached the conclusion in the present
circumstances no useful purpose would now be served by issue of a
warning by us at once so wide and so relatively vague as that of
the United States. We feel that this would add nothing to the
warning conveyed already in the Prime Minister's broadcast and may
even detract from its force. The broadcast made clear both our
attitude towards the Japanese expansionist policy and our complete
support of the United States and has, we feel sure, been taken by
the Japanese Government as complementary to the United States
warning. Unless therefore events show the need for something more,
we consider it better to let the matter rest where it is.

We should propose therefore that the United States Government be
informed accordingly. It is however important that the United
States Government should be given no grounds for thinking that we
had not taken action in this matter fully corresponding to their
own. We propose therefore to word our communication so as to
indicate that if they thought that we could usefully make any
further statement we would do so but that in our judgment it was
undesirable to add anything at this stage to the Prime Minister's

We should be glad to learn as soon as possible whether His
Majesty's Governments in the Dominions concur in a communication
being addressed to the United States Government on the above
lines. [7]

1 On file AA:A981, Japan 185B, ii.

2 Winston Churchill.

3 Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura.

4 Corrected from the London copy in PRO: DO 114/113
5 See Document 52, note 1.

6 Cordell Hull.

7 The Commonwealth Govt's concurrence was conveyed in cablegram
628 of 24 September (on the file cited in note 1) with the
following comment: 'It has been our view for some time that
psychological opportunity for warning contemplated in your earlier
telegrams had passed, especially in view of United States
reluctance to have the warning linked with that given by them to
the Japanese Ambassador at Washington.'

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