77 Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, U.K. High Commissioner to Australia, to U.K. Dominions Office

Cablegram 80 (paraphrase) CANBERRA, 3 May 1939

SECRET

Your telegram No. 97 of the 29th April [1] regarding Commonwealth representation at Washington and Tokyo, premature disclosure here was due not to official statement, but to leakage-see my letter to Stephenson of the 19th April. [2] Lyons [3] was greatly upset and persuaded the press not to publish, but presumably they regarded themselves as absolved by his death! Yesterday I gave the Prime Minister [4] a copy of the draft embodied in your telegram No. 98. [5] He said that he agreed entirely with the considerations set out therein regarding Tokyo. He had already had it in mind as soon as a suitable man could be found that the Commonwealth Government should go forward with Washington appointment and asked the United Kingdom Government to let it be known in Tokyo that they were considering the appointment there and would approach the Japanese Government through His Majesty's Ambassador when they had made up their minds. The matter would thus remain in the air until a suitable occasion if any arose to bring it to earth again.

The Prime Minister went on to say that in his view, if and when a Minister was accredited to Japan, one should also be accredited to China.

He will not expect any reply now to Lyons' telegram of the 30th March No. 34 [6] but will communicate further as soon as possible.

1 Document 75.

2 Not printed.

3 J.A. Lyons, Prime Minister until his death on 7 April 1939.

4 R.G. Menzies.

5 Document 76.

6 Document 63.

[PRO:FO 372/3319]