419 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Mr Cordell Hull, U.S. Secretary of State

Letter 72/41 [WASHINGTON], 22 April 1941

I have the honour to refer to the conversation of this morning between yourself, the British Ambassador and myself, during which Lord Halifax and I submitted on behalf of our respective Governments that urgent consideration be given to the issuing of a declaration by the United States of America, the British Commonwealth and the Netherlands that the vital interests of all these countries would be affected by any further major move Southward by Japan.

As intimated during our conversation, His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia is much concerned at the situation which may arise in the Pacific following upon the signature of the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact and the events of the past few weeks in the Eastern Mediterranean area. My Government feels that there is a strong possibility that Japan may decide that the near future represents a favourable moment in which to undertake some Southward enterprise, and believes that the necessary forces for such a Southward move are already concentrated and available for use.

It is against the above background that I have received telegraphic instructions from the Prime Minister of Australia (the Right Honourable R. G. Menzies) who is in London, and from the Acting Prime Minister (the Honourable A. W. Fadden) in Australia- to join with the British Ambassador in representing the above- mentioned viewpoint to you, and to ask that you would be so good as to consider making, on behalf of the United States Government, a public statement as to the identity of interests between your Government, the relevant Governments of the British Commonwealth and the Government of the Netherlands, in respect of the area towards which a Japanese Southward movement might be directed.

I need hardly say that my Government will await with great interest your decision in this matter. [1]


1 Casey reported to Canberra on the conversation with Hull referred to in this document in cablegram 299 of 22 April. The U.K. Govt's instructions to Halifax with regard to the joint declaration were conveyed to the Commonwealth Govt in circular cablegram Z142 of 23 April. See file AA: A1608,N41/1/1.

[AA: A3300, 211]