162 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, U.K. High Commissioner in Australia

Circular cablegram Z291 LONDON, 7 October 1940, 11.30 p.m.

IMPORTANT MOST SECRET

Please give the following message to the Prime Minister [1]- BEGINS. Recent reports from His Majesty's Ambassador at Washington [2] show a stiffening of United States attitude and suggest possibility of arranging for some form of concerted reaction to German-Italian-Japanese Pact.

In recent conversation with His Majesty's Ambassador, Mr. Cordell Hull [3] threw out the idea of private staff talks between the United States, United Kingdom, Dominion Governments concerned and Dutch authorities on the Far East question. We have welcomed this suggestion and have indicated that we should like these to be held at the earliest possible date.

His Majesty's Ambassador has been informed that any other suggestions for coordinated reaction to Japanese-Axis Pact which the United States Government may feel able to put forward will be most sympathetically considered here. We share the view, which is evidently gaining ground among members of the United States Administration, that any steps taken should be such as would not increase Japanese pressure on the Dutch (Please see in this connexion paragraphs 2 and 3 of my Circular telegram D. 503 [4]).

Question of parallel declarations by the United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Dutch authorities giving some form of guarantee for insular territories in the Pacific south of the Equator was mentioned recently in discussion between His Majesty's Ambassador and the Australian Minister at Washington [5] with Mr. Hull and we have authorised His Majesty's Ambassador to elucidate this proposal in further discussion with Mr. Hull.

Question of possible visit by United States Squadron to Singapore has also been considered by the United States authorities but, as indicated in my Circular telegram M.64 of 5th October [6] they are not in favour of this at present.

1 R. G. Menzies.

2 Lord Lothian.

3 U.S. Secretary of State.

4 Dispatched 7 October. See file AA:A1608, B41/1/9, i.

5 R. G. Casey.

6 Dispatched 6 October. See file AA:A1608, A41/1/1, xiv

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