152 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr A. Eden, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 156 17 April 1940,


We would infer from your recent cablegrams that attack on Netherlands by Germany is believed in many quarters to be imminent, in which case any attempt to alter status of Netherlands East Indies becomes of vital concern to Australia.

In course of conversation President Roosevelt and his principal advisers on several occasions in recent years have expressed view to Australian senior Ministers that United States could not remain indifferent to development of this nature in Pacific and would be forced to intervene. [1] Recent developments and policy of neutrality may have caused reversal of opinion, but it seems to us most important to ascertain at as early a stage as possible what the present view of the Administration is. To this end, and if not already done, we suggest that British Ambassador [2] be requested to discuss question with United States authorities in order to ascertain their present attitude and possible action.


1 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. II, Document 82 and Attachments.

2 Lord Lothian.

[FA: A3196, 0.2262]