403 Sir John Latham, Minister to Japan, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 186 TOKYO, 15 April 1941, 7.35 a. m.

SECRET

[On 13 April in Moscow the Japanese Foreign Minister, Yosuke Matsuoka, signed a five-year Neutrality Pact with the Government of the U.S.S.R.]

Repeated to Washington 27. My telegram 185 to Canberra. [1]

Not yet clear whether agreement means end of Russian assistance to Chungking. Japan, if it can rely on agreement, is freed from fear of attack by Soviet, should it move southward, and so risk of southward adventure is increased. But outcome of present hostilities in Balkans and Egypt probably will be awaited. Best preventive is that in my telegram 184 [2] viz. certainty that attack on Singapore or Netherlands East Indies will mean intervention by United States.

LATHAM

1 Dispatched 14 April. It read: 'Press this morning all welcome news Japan-Soviet Pact.' See file AA: A981, Japan 169, iii.

2 Dispatched 13 April. See file AA: A981, Japan 185B, i.

[AA: A981, JAPAN 185B,i]