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80 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr V. G. Bowden, Official Representative in Singapore

Cablegram 3 CANBERRA, 13 October 1941


For Latham on arrival. [1]

I agree with views expressed to you by late Government in
cablegram of 4th October that it is desirable you return to your
post as soon as possible. [2]

Although I would personally welcome consultation with you, I am
inclined to view, on account of wrong construction which has been
placed on visit to Australia [3], that it might be advisable for
you to adhere to your original proposal of visiting Singapore

We understand governor [4] has returned from India and Duff Cooper
[5] will return on 17th to Singapore.

However I propose to raise matter in War Cabinet on Wednesday and
will wire you before the 17th, the date of your proposed departure
from Singapore. [6] In any case, you should come direct to
Australia and not stay over in Batavia.

Kind regards.


1 The Minister to Japan had left Tokyo on 26 September, arriving
in Singapore on 14 October for talks with U.K. authorities. He had
intended (at the suggestion of Sir Frederick Stewart, then
Minister for External Affairs) to proceed to Australia for further
consultations. See cablegrams 255 of 11 September and 440 of 18
September on file AA:A981, Australia 193.

2 See the Fadden Govt's unnumbered cablegram on the file cited in
note 1. The cablegram did, however, instruct Latham to proceed
direct to Australia for consultations before returning to Tokyo
via Singapore.

3 Sections of the press in Japan had seen Latham as going to
Singapore to receive orders from British authorities bent on
obstructing Japan's plans for East Asia. See cablegram 464 of6
October from F. K. Officer, Charge d'Affaires in Japan, on file
AA:A1608, A41/1/6, vi.

4 Sir Shenton Thomas, Governor of the Straits Settlements.

5 U.K. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, then in the Far East.

See Document 75, note 1.

6 The War Cabinet agreed with Evatt (see cablegram 8 of 15 October
on the file cited in note 1) but, in the event, Latham became ill,
came on to Australia and was still convalescent when the Legation
in Tokyo was closed in December.

[AA:A981, AUSTRALIA 193]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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