230 Evatt to Hodgson
Cablegram EC15 LONDON, 26 June 1943, 6.30 p.m.
IMMEDIATE PERSONAL SECRET
Your L.36 Japanese exchange. 
Following is correspondence with the Secretary of State for
1. Letter from the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to me
'I understand that your Government have asked you to look into the
question of the proposed exchange of internees with the Japanese.
This matter has become extremely urgent as the American exchange
is scheduled to take place at Goa on about 20th August and unless
we move quickly, our own exchange which we had hoped could take
place at the end of July might have to be postponed until after
the American exchange. In the hope of saving time the Foreign
Office have now drafted the enclosed telegram to His Majesty's
representative at Berne for communication to the Japanese.  You
will see that it has been drafted in anticipation of agreement of
the Commonwealth Government to the Japanese proposals and I should
be glad to know whether in fact you are prepared to agree to its
despatch in its present form. If so any reservations or additions
the Commonwealth Government might wish to make on such subjects as
withholding individual Japanese on security grounds or Mr. Bowden
 and his staff could most conveniently form the subject of a
separate communication upon the drafting of which we should like
your advice.  I also enclose a separate draft telegram about
If however the Commonwealth Government are unable to withdraw from
the views expressed in earlier telegrams  the enclosed note
would be sent on behalf of all Governments other than the
Commonwealth Government whose views could be set out in a separate
I should be most grateful if you could let me know at a very early
date whether you agree with this draft note; I need not say that
if you would like a talk about the matter I would be glad to
arrange a meeting at which opportunity you and I and the Foreign
Secretary might get together. I would however stress the
importance of the time factor; time is now so short that it is I
am afraid true to say that every day that can be saved is of real
2. This letter crossed with a letter of 18th June from me to the
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs:-
'My Government has telegraphed to me asking that I should
personally take up with you the question of the second exchange of
officials and civilians with Japan.
You will recall that as early as September last the Commonwealth
Government informed the United Kingdom Government that the first
exchange had been overwhelmingly in Japan's favour and that in any
further exchange the Commonwealth would insist on the inclusion of
all Australian civilians from areas covered by the first exchange
plus Hong Kong. We asked also for the repatriation of all
Australian officials and non-officials from New Guinea, Nauru and
other Pacific Islands.  We have reason to believe that our
officials have been transferred northward by the Japanese and are
now in the areas covered by the second exchange.
We assumed that our proposals would in due course be submitted to
the Japanese Government.
I understand that at the present stage the U.K. Government
considers time to be the overriding factor in negotiations and
that delay may lead to a break-down involving an adverse effect on
the persons to be repatriated especially women and children in
Under the circumstances I am prepared to agree that Australia
should take part in the exchange provided that our right to refuse
repatriation of individual Japanese on security grounds is
reserved and a request is included for the repatriation of Mr.
Bowden and his staff of two from Singapore.
I also request that the Japanese be asked to include in the
exchange any Australian officials from Mandated Territories and
other Pacific Islands who have been transferred northwards into
the areas included in the present exchange.
In view of the fact that this exchange no less than the first is
overwhelmingly in favour of Japan I must ask very emphatically
that in any future arrangements greater regard should be paid to
the Australian point of view and the interests of Australian
Nationals in Japanese hands. Unless this is done I fear that we
shall be forced to consider separate exchange with Japan.'
3. The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs reply to me of 22nd
'Thank you for your letter of 18th June.
I note that you are prepared to agree to Australia's taking part
in the exchange provided that your right to refuse repatriation of
individual Japanese on security grounds is reserved and a request
is included for the repatriation of Mr. Bowden and his staff from
I also note your request that the Japanese be asked to include in
the exchange any Australian officials from Mandated Territories
and other Pacific Island[s] who have been transferred northward
into areas included in the present exchange.
The Netherlands Government have stated that if any other
Government is not prepared to accept the Japanese proposals in
their present form they will be forced to reconsider the whole
matter and we shall therefore have to inform them of the
Commonwealth Government's reservations, more particularly of the
last. I hope however that they will not withdraw their agreement
and that we shall thus be in a position to send out further note
to the Japanese. My letter of 18th June which crossed yours
contained a draft of the proposed communication to the Japanese.
As a matter of convenience we suggest that your special
reservations should be communicated in a separate note (to which
reference would be made in the principal note).
I trust that you will agree that if unfortunately the Japanese
should reject any of the Australian requests, the Commonwealth
Government will nevertheless be prepared to continue with the
exchange on the basis of
the original Japanese proposals. I am sure that we are all anxious
to avoid further delay with its consequent ill effects upon the
4. My reply to the Secretary of State of Dominion Affairs of 23rd
'Thank you for your letter of 22nd June.
I note your suggestion that our reservations should be
communicated in a separate note to the Japanese to which reference
would be made in the principal note and I am in agreement with
this. I feel sure that you will be able to adjust the matter with
the Netherlands Government so that they will not withdraw their
In the last paragraph of your letter you refer to the position
which would arise if the Japanese should reject any of the
Australian requests and expressed the hope that the Commonwealth
Government would nevertheless agree to continue with the exchange
on the basis of the original Japanese proposals.
I do not think that we should take this fence before we come to it
but I can promise you an immediate answer from the Commonwealth
Government in such an eventuality so as to avoid any delay which
might have ill effects upon the internees.'
[AA:A989, 43/460/10/2, i]