155 Sir Robert Craigie, U.K. Ambassador to Japan, to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 53 TOKYO, 3 October 1940, 4.50 p.m.


Following from Mr. Hard. [1]

Conclusion of alliance between Japan Germany and Italy brings nearer possibility of hostilities in the Pacific and hence day when it may be necessary to evacuate British subjects from Japan, especially those of military age or having qualifications useful to the Allied War Effort.

(2) The Embassy's evacuation scheme had envisaged Canada as the first stop, with Honolulu as temporary reception centre for refugees pending the arrival of shipping for onward transportation, and discussions with Canadian and the United States authorities to this end are proceeding. Previous intention had been that refugees would proceed to the United Kingdom gradually.

(3) The Embassy feel however that the Commonwealth Government might be willing to accept some refugees from Japan for the duration of the war (always supposing that necessary transport can be found) and the Embassy here have asked me to inquire whether this would be considered.

(4) Embassy feel in the event of evacuation being necessary, Australia might be the more attractive proposition from the refugees' point of view since they could probably find useful employment for the duration of the war or an opening in armed forces more easily than in Canada.

(5) Advantage from our point of view is that among British subjects here are many who could make a useful contribution to our war effort. Further, it can confidently be expected that after the war most British subjects here would want to return here where their interests lie so that they are unlikely to keep anybody out of a job in post-war period.

(6) I would be glad of advice as to what answer I should return to the Embassy's suggestion which is put forward very tentatively.



1 Assistant Government Commissioner in Japan.

2 This cablegram was repeated to the U.K. Foreign Office as no.


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