66 Mr A.T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 81 LONDON, 31 March 1939

In continuation of my telegram No. 76 [1], Sir Horace Wilson [2] referred the matter to the Admiralty and I saw the First Lord [3] and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff [4] this afternoon. They have undertaken to furnish a statement of the position assuming Japan joined in against us at once, but cannot do so before early next week. I said that I wanted to telegraph immediately and asked in the meantime for basis for assumption that Japanese delay in participation to which Lord Stanhope replied as follows.

'I think it extremely improbable that Japan will come in, owing to commitment in China, the immense distances involved and the grave risk of undertaking such an operation while there is a British fleet in being and there is a possibility of intervention by some other power.'

STIRLING

1 Not found.

2 Special adviser to the U.K. Prime Minister.

3 Lord Stanhope.

4 Rear Admiral T.S.V. Phillips.

[AA: A981, DEFENCE 59, i]