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

Cablegram 289 TOKYO, 12 June 1941, 4.47 p.m.

SECRET

My telegram No. 288. [1] As it is important to give extremist elements no excuse for picking a quarrel with the Netherlands East Indies, particularly on basis allegations of encirclement, I urge that no public statement be made at present offering or suggesting Australian support or assistance to Netherlands East Indies and that press should exercise great discretion. [2]

LATHAM

1 Dispatched 11 June. It read: 'Strong pressure being brought to bear on the Japanese Government by Germany and the army extremists to attack the Netherlands East Indies on grounds that the Netherlands East Indies refuses to accept Japan's trade proposals and is opposed to the new order. Cabinet said to be divided in opinion. 'See file AA: A1608, A41/1/6, v.

2 The Commonwealth Govt repeated the substance of this cablegram to the U.K. Dominions Secretary, Lord Cranborne, in cablegram 365 of 13 June. See file AA: A1608, N41/1/1. On 18 June Latham reported in cablegram 301 (AA: A3830, 1941, 1569) that it seemed that 'proposals for attack on Netherlands East Indies have been at least postponed'.

[AA: A981, FAR EAST 26A]