97 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 761 LONDON, 3 September 1940, 9.23 p.m.

FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

Repeated to Washington No. 55.

JAPAN. Craigie [1] in cable of 30th August, after pointing out that nearly half of Burma Road three months gone, again refers to question of general settlement and says: 'proposal to discuss such a settlement has not yet been put to the present Japanese Government, partly because the situation has been so unpromising, partly because I have not yet received your final instructions;

but I should like to raise this point with the Minister for Foreign Affairs [2] early in September.' Had long conversation with Halifax [3] this afternoon in which I asked what policy the United Kingdom Government had in mind with regard to the Burma Road on the expiry of the present agreement, was an attempt to arrive at a general settlement still contemplated and if yes what were the United Kingdom Government's proposals for such a settlement. From Halifax's reply it was dear that while the whole question was under general consideration of the Foreign Office no action has yet been taken to co-ordinate differing views held and to lay down a definite policy with a view to obtaining a cabinet decision. With regard to a general settlement he indicated that while he did not believe Japanese in their present mood would play, proposals for such a settlement were being prepared by Far Eastern section.

Discussion with the head of this section [4] when summoned showed that, while the various departments concerned had been consulted, no progress had been made or concrete proposals evolved.

I urged that it was most dangerous for Craigie to raise the question of wide settlement unless we were clear we desired to pursue such a policy and had definite proposals to implement it, and that with regard to both policy and proposals it was essential that we should be on [side with the United States]. [5]

As a result of the conversation am hopeful that Halifax is personally taking hold of the question which has been dealt with by Department since Burma Road settlement with a view to consideration by the War Cabinet in the near future.

Notwithstanding this hope, I feel further stimulus desirable and suggest that you should cable asking for early information of the views of the United Kingdom Government as to position on termination of three months period, as full consultation as to policy to be pursued essential.

BRUCE

1 U.K. Ambassador to Japan.

2 Yosuke Matsuoka.

3 U.K. Foreign Secretary.

4 H. Ashley Clarke.

5 Inserted from a corrected text received on 4 September. See cablegram 762 on file AA:A1608, A41/1/1, xiii.

[AA: CP290/7, BUNDLE 2,6]