342 Mr A. W. Fadden, Acting Prime Minister, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister (in London)

Cablegram 218 8 March 1941,

URGENT SECRET

Charge d'Affaires Japanese Legation [1] in submitting names of staff of Legation informs Commonwealth Government that Japanese Government are appointing Military, Naval and Assistant Military Attaches to Legation. [2]

He has been informed that question is under consideration, that policy of Commonwealth Government in regard to appointment of combatant service attaches is one of mutual agreement and reciprocity.

In informal discussion with Charge d'Affaires he states Japanese Government takes view that such appointments are normal recognized staff of Legation.

In present conditions, we are not at all anxious to have these attaches who are sure to cause suspicion and public misunderstanding.

We could have good reply that we are not in position owing to war conditions to reciprocate, that owing to obvious military restrictions activities of attaches would be circumscribed and abnormal, and in the circumstances it would be wiser to defer consideration. However, as we have already agreed on exchange of Naval Attache with United States, it might be necessary to accept Naval Attache.

Would be glad if you would discuss with United Kingdom authorities and give your views early.

1 Masatoshi Akiyama, formerly Japanese Consul-General in Australia.

2 See Akiyama's letter of 3 March to Lord Gowrie, Governor-General of Australia, on file AA:A981, Japan 120, i.

[AA:A981, JAPAN 121]