76 Sir Thomas Inskip, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, U.K. High Commissioner to Australia

Cablegram 98 (paraphrase) LONDON, 29 April 1939, 11.30 p.m.

SECRET

Reference my immediately preceding telegram [1] Following is draft telegram to His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia.

Begins. Your telegram of 3oth March, No. 34 [2], Secret. It is regretted that an earlier reply has not been sent to your telegram under reference, but it was considered desirable to obtain the views of His Majesty's Ambassadors at Washington [3] and Tokyo [4] in order to assist His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in their consideration of the proposals of His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom are grateful for opportunity afforded for expressing their views and are confident that proposal does not in any way involve any departure from the principle of maintaining close cooperation between the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. So far as the establishment of an Australian Legation at Washington is concerned, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom do not expect any difficulty on the part of the United States Government, and for their part, they welcome a proposal that holds in prospect the strengthening of the diplomatic representation of the British Commonwealth of Nations in the United States. As regards the last clause of your telegram under reference, in their view, whilst it is not strictly speaking necessary that His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia should intimate to the United States Government that the simultaneous establishment of a United States Legation in Australia would be welcomed, there would appear to be no reason why such an invitation should not, if they so wished, be given on behalf of His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia.

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom desire to offer the following observations so far as the appointment of an Australian Legation at Tokyo is concerned:-

First, in view of the commercial and other relations between Japan and Australia, the creation, in ordinary times, of an Australian Legation at Tokyo would serve a useful purpose and promote friendly relations between the two countries.

Secondly, however, at the present moment times are not normal: in the view of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, the Japanese Government wish to see the establishment of an Australian Legation because they think that they could use it to weaken the Imperial bond, and they would use its establishment now as evidence that Australia did not share the views of the United Kingdom on the present happenings in China. (In this connexion it may be mentioned that Japanese have done their best to magnify the significance of the visit paid recently to Yokohama by the U.S.S. 'Astoria' conveying the remains of the late Japanese Ambassador at Washington, and have endeavoured to use this as proof that American sentiment is friendlier to Japan than in fact it is.) Thirdly, the establishment of a Legation in Washington first would be more of a compliment to the United States than the establishment of Legation at Washington and at Tokyo at the same time. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom fully appreciate the arguments put forward by His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia regarding the desirability of establishing missions at both capitals, and in normal conditions would have welcomed the proposal. For the reasons explained above, however, they cannot disregard the possible consequences of the establishment of separate Australian diplomatic representation in Japan at the present juncture and, therefore, hope that His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia will in all the circumstances feel able to defer such a step until a more propitious moment.

The procedure adopted in the case of such appointments following established precedents would be as follows (a) As soon as His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia had decided to establish the proposed Legation or Legations His Majesty's approval would be sought informally.

(b) His Majesty's Ambassadors would obtain informally the views of the foreign Governments concerned.

(c) If the foreign Governments agree, they would be approached officially by means of a note from His Majesty's Ambassador.

(d) When His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia had decided upon the name of the Minister, the name in question would be submitted informally to His Majesty for approval, unless this has already been done under (a) above.

(e) The name of the person proposed would be submitted informally to the foreign Government in question.

(f) The formal agreement of the foreign Government to the individual would be obtained.

(g) When agreement is obtained, the name would then be submitted formally to His Majesty the King and letter of credence and commission would be prepared.

1 Document 75.

2 Document 63.

3 Sir Ronald Lindsay.

4 Sir Robert Craigie.

[PRO:FO 372/3319]