365 Mr F.K. Officer, Australian Counsellor at British Embassy in Washington, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 78 WASHINGTON, 16 November 1939

VERY SECRET

In my telegram No. 75 of 13th November [1] I reported the anticipations in the United States press of an attack on Holland.

Since then there have been several articles suggesting that in such an event Japanese would attempt to seize the Dutch and British East Indies. This was followed by reports that the Administration was watching the situation. At a chance meeting last night the Dutch Minister [2] referred to these reports and went out of his way to emphasize that he believed them entirely unfounded. He doubted if the Japanese planned such an attack but in any case Java and the Dutch East Indies were well able to defend themselves even if Holland was at war in Europe. He then referred very hesitatingly to proposal for exchanges of views between Australia and Dutch officials at Batavia.

Minister's object may have been no more than to stress lack of foundation for reports of impending attacks on Holland or East Indies which Dutch Government no doubt considers undesirable. But it is possible that he was hinting at need for initiation of very informal exchanges of views in Batavia. [3]

OFFICER

1 Not found.

2 Dr Alexandre Loudon.

3 This cablegram was repeated to A.T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, for S.M.

Bruce, High Commissioner, and R.G. Casey, Minister for Supply and Development.

[FA: A3195]