207 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 389 WASHINGTON, 22 November 1940

I saw Hornbeck [2] today.

He is convinced that Japanese are concentrating at Hainan and Southern Formosa so as to be ready to move by sea to an unknown destination which may possibly be Saigon or Camranh Bay.

He clearly regards it as most urgent that Manila be reinforced by American submarines and Singapore by British and/or Australian aircraft which he believes might well discourage any contemplated expedition.

He has altered his view as to the desirability of visit by substantial ships of United States Navy to Australia and/or Singapore. Now thinks Singapore visit provocative unless decision previously made that America is going to fight. Thinks Australian visit without purpose, as most useful place for U.S. naval units would be much further north if Japan started some adventure.

Above corresponds with paragraph three of my telegram No. 373 (No.

113 to London). [3]

Hornbeck also believes that British action to increase forces at Singapore would stimulate United States Administration to strengthen their forces at Manila. If Administration believes (as he hinted they do) that British are complacent regarding Singapore they will be equally complacent regarding Manila.

Hornbeck is very sensitive about being quoted so please preserve anonymity of above. [4]

1 Inserted from the Canberra copy on file AA:A1608, A41/1/1, xv.

2 Adviser on Political Relations, U.S. State Department.

3 Document 197.

4 This cablegram was repeated to the External Affairs Office, London, as no. 116.

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