91 Mr M. MacDonald, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, U.K. High Commissioner to Australia

Cablegram 182 LONDON, 30 October 1937

Confidential. My telegram No. 75 [1] of today to Commonwealth Government. As you will no doubt have realised the position of the United States had to be kept very fully in mind in preparation of survey of position contained in our telegram Circular B.114. [2] It was felt desirable not to leave United States Government in any doubt as to the full implications of alternatives.

With this in mind we think that it would be as well for you to explain verbally and most confidentially to the Prime Minister [3] that the chief reasons for our sending so full a preliminary statement to Washington (see last paragraph of my telegram Circular B.113 [4]) were as follows:-

On one hand we did not wish to discourage tendency of United States as evidenced by recent speeches to emergence from isolation and on the other hand we wish to guard against a repetition of our experience in 1932 when she maintained quite unjustifiably that only our reluctance to take effective action had prevented her from giving full support to the League.

We feel sure that the Prime Minister will readily appreciate the importance of these two considerations and particularly (in view of the present international situation) of the former.

1 Document 92.

2 Document 83.

3 J. A. Lyons.

4 Document 82.

[AA : A981, CHINA 116]