138 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1049 WASHINGTON, 29 November 1941, 12.13 a.m.


Reference my 1045. [1]

(1) I saw Secretary for War [2] and General Miles, head of United States Army Intelligence, today. Following is summary of relevant United States Army Far East information up to date.

(2) Whilst probably a substantial number Russian troops have been transferred from Siberia to European Russia, leaving the Japanese with forces superior to Russian in Manchuria-Siberian theatre, this superiority is believed insufficient to encourage Japan to attack with any confidence in the north.

(3) Japanese are known to have withdrawn troops from Central China and embarked them for southward destination in recent weeks.

(4) A naval task force (see my tel. 1044) [3] is being built up at Taiwan (Formosa) and Hainan. This is believed to consist of 3 or 4 battleships (this is possible but not certain), 3 aircraft carriers, 11 heavy and 5 light cruisers, 47 destroyers, 16 submarines, and attendant auxiliary craft. This force thought not yet ready for concerted action but is believed to be in course of concentration. Its Commander is still in Japan.

(5) Japanese land forces in Japanese mandated islands have increased in recent months from 5,000 to 15,000 men, together with about 100 aircraft of all types and 'the fourth fleet, a mixed naval force of second class units'.

(6) There appears to have been substantial reinforcement of Southern Indo-China both from overseas and at expense of Japanese forces in Northern Indo-China.

Conservative estimate is at least 7,000 Japanese troops now in Southern Indo-China. Aircraft and military equipment has been landed in Southern Indo-China over the last two months in substantial quantities.

(7) There are believed to be about 50,000 troops on Island of Hainan.

(8) Japanese are reliably reported to be working on naval and air base at Kompongson -bay on Gulf of Siam since September 27th. (9) They believe that there is evidence that Japanese are prepared to use chemical and probably bacteriological warfare whenever and wherever they deem it necessary or profitable to do so.

(10) United States Military Intelligence concludes 'from foregoing it appears evident that Japanese have completed plans for further aggressive moves in South-Eastern Asia. These plans will probably be put into effect soon after armed services feel that the Kurusu [4] mission is a definite failure. A task force of about 5 divisions, supported by appropriate air and naval units, has been assembled for execution of these plans. This force is now en route southward to an, as yet, undetermined rendezvous. This division (United States Army Intelligence) is of opinion that initial move will be made against Thailand from sea and overland through Southern China. It is further believed that the Japanese are uncertain of the reaction of the A.B.D. [5] Powers to this move and therefore have organised in sufficient strength to cope with any opposition they might initially encounter from those Powers in the South China Sea.' (11) United States Navy has sent precautionary war warning telegrams to the Commanders of the United States Pacific and Asiatic fleets. War Department has sent out similar warnings.

1 Document 133.

2 H. L. Stimson.

3 Dispatched 28 November. On file AA : A981, Pacific 8, ii.

4 Japanese special envoy to the United States.

5 Australian-British-Dutch.

[AA : A981, JAPAN 178]