2 Mr R.G. Menzies, Attorney-General and Minister for Industry, to Mr J.A. Lyons, Prime Minister

Letter MELBOURNE, 5 January 1939

I have read the letter addressed to you by Professor A. C. V. Melbourne. [1] I thoroughly agree that the granting of credits to China by the United Kingdom should not be a matter solely for the Government of the United Kingdom, though I should doubt whether the granting of such credits would be regarded by the Japanese as a casus belli.

Melbourne's solution, of accrediting an Australian Minister to Japan, is not one that I like; my feeling is that if each Dominion begins separately to accredit diplomatic representatives to foreign powers, grave divisions in our foreign policies will begin to appear and a serious blow will have been delivered at British unity. My feeling is that the right course is for us to direct an urgent despatch to the British Government, pointing out that we have a direct and vital interest in the Japanese position and that in consequence we expect that, before any decisions of policy in relation to advancing money to China or otherwise are made, we will be given the fullest opportunity of expressing our views.

ROBERT G. MENZIES

1 See Document 1.

[AA: A1608, B41/1/6]