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

Cablegram 188 LONDON, 12 March 1941, 6.25 p.m.

URGENT FOR THE ACTING PRIME MINISTER FROM THE PRIME MINISTER

MOST SECRET

Your telegram No. 218. [1] My view coincides with yours that under the present circumstances it would be most undesirable to have Japanese Service Attaches in Australia.

I agree that the line to take with the Japanese Legation is that our policy in this regard is one of mutual agreement and reciprocity. We should point out that after the war we will of course be very glad to receive Japanese Service Attaches and to send our own Service Attaches to Tokyo, but that at the present time, owing to war conditions, we do not wish to extend our Service staffs abroad.

I do not think however that we should use the second argument which you mentioned, i.e. that owing to military restrictions activities of Attaches would be circumscribed. The Japanese would no doubt reply to this that they maintain five Military, three Naval and one Air Attache in London.

I consider that it would be unwise to agree to accept a Naval Attache as this would open the door for further demands. I do not think that the Japanese can reasonably hold against us the exchange of Naval Attaches with the United States. We had an Australian Minister in United States and an American Minister at Canberra for a considerable time before the exchange of Ministers with Japan.

Have discussed matter with United Kingdom authorities and they agree with our view.

1 Document 342.

[AA:A981, JAPAN 121]