226 Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered LONDON, 14 September 1939, 8.26 p.m.

IMMEDIATE PERSONAL MOST SECRET

Wool. Your telegram September 13th. [1] Representations made to you by the Consul-General for Japan [2] have been discussed with the United Kingdom Government. They entirely agree as to the desirability of meeting the Japanese request in the interests of good relations and subject to proper guarantees that no wool supplied will reach enemy countries. No difficulty so far concerning sale of merino from the United Kingdom point of view but they would be reluctant to agree to any substantial part of crossbred being supplied Japan. Our information is that Japan's purchases in the past almost exclusively merino, is this correct? Assuming satisfactory arrangement for sale to United Kingdom of the whole of the clip, contract would contain provision as to the portion to be made available to Japan. General agreement in discussion that it would be desirable to make available proportionate quantities to meet Japanese requirements during the period of two or three months whichever you desire, with an intimation that all endeavours will be made to arrange further proportionate deliveries at intervals up to 30th June, at the same time express expectation that circumstances will admit such future deliveries. Intention behind the line of action suggested is, in view of Japan's obvious desire to ensure supplies of our wool, to keep some hold on her during the next few months. Do you concur? Cable reply. [3]

BRUCE

1 Document 224.

2 Masatoshi Akiyama.

3 No direct reply has been found, but see Document 265.

[AA:A1608, 137/1/5]