338 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr A. W. Fadden, Acting Prime Minister

Cablegram 17 LONDON, 6 March 1941, 10.49 p.m.

Following is text of statement I have to-day made to Press:

'In view of the fact that some misapprehension appears to exist in Australia as to true nature of my recent speech on Pacific, I desire to recapitulate substance my statement as follows:

(1) I entirely agree with Australian Advisory War Council's opinion that war is entering its most difficult phase and that greatest possible Australian war production is therefore imperative.

(2) There are circumstances in Pacific, notably Japanese adherence to a pact of some kind with Axis powers, which give rise to anxieties about Pacific.

(3) It would be a blunder, if, simply for this reason, we resigned ourselves to inevitability of hostilities with Japan.

(4) This means that a policy of drift is dangerous. Grown up nations ought to be prepared talk to each other about their differences in frank and constructive way.

(5) This does not involve what is known as "appeasement". On contrary it is realistic. Attitude of Australia is that she resents and will resist aggression and it would be mistake for any power to believe that she is not prepared fight for those things she regards as vital.

(6) I have therefore emphasised that while we are entirely prepared to be friendly and co-operative, we are resolutely pushing on with our own defences and with effective contribution to defence of Singapore.

(7) I made no suggestion that any declaration or policy by Australia was the product of fear. On the contrary, I stated that our foreign policy is not product of this element at all. A vigorous and comprehensive insuring of your property and interests is not a sign of fear but of vigilance.

(8) There is no difference between the view I have expressed in London and those I have read here as being expressed by Mr. Curtin [1] and I should regard it as a misfortune if public discussion in Australia proceeded on any other basis. There has certainly been no misapprehension in the minds of my audiences here.

(9) In brief I have always understood and maintained that Australia's Pacific policy is one of peace unless it is necessary to go to war to resist an aggressor.'

MENZIES

1 Leader of the Opposition and member of the Advisory War Council.

[AA:A3195, 1941, 1.3491]