74 Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister, to Mr Torao Wakamatsu, Japanese Consul-General in Sydney

Letter 5 October 1937,

In the absence of my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs [1], who is at present in the outlying districts of Western Australia, I have the honour to acknowledge your letter of the 1st October, 1937 [2], in regard to reports in the Australian press of proposals to boycott Japanese goods.

As you are no doubt aware the Sino-Japanese dispute is now before the League of Nations, and an Advisory Committee has been authorised by the Assembly to examine all the factors relating to the situation which has arisen and to report to the Assembly this week.

The Commonwealth of Australia, being a State Member, vitally interested in Pacific questions, has accepted an invitation to be represented on this Committee.

On behalf of the Commonwealth Government I have publicly expressed our disagreement with any action which may prejudge the case by suggesting that an economic boycott be imposed against one of the parties to the dispute.

The Government holds the view that any measures taken for the settlement of the dispute should be the outcome of collective agreement and action, and should not be a matter for unilateral action by any one nation. In statements which I have made during the present political campaign, I have endeavoured to emphasise this point of view.

I feel you will appreciate that the Commonwealth Government desires most earnestly that no untoward developments win prejudice the friendly relationships which exist between our two countries, and that a settlement of this unfortunate dispute satisfactory to an concerned may be effected at the earliest possible moment.

J. A. LYONS

1 Sir George Pearce.

2 Document 73.

[AA : A981, CHINA 114, ix]