14 Commonwealth Government to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 467 [1] CANBERRA, 23 July 1941

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

Your M.172. [2]

Commonwealth Government is fully in accord with conclusions set

out in paragraph 4 of your telegram under reference. [3] As you

are aware, we have always attached highest importance to gaining

assurance of collaboration of United States in course of action in

restraint of Japan. Now that the United States Government has

decided to adopt severe measures in event of Japanese move in

Indo-China, we feel strongly that whole object of our policy in

Far East over past year would be negatived if British Empire now

lagged behind United States in effectiveness or determination of

its own counter measures, and same consideration would apply to

any attempt at this stage to dissuade United States from

proceeding to contemplated lengths. We emphasise, however, need in

our opinion for utmost frankness in present exchanges with United

States Government in sense of paragraph 4 (3) in order that there

can be no possibility of misunderstanding. [4]

1 Repeated to the Canadian and South African Prime Ministers and

to the N.Z. Acting Prime Minister as nos 4, 52 and 272; and to the

Ministers to the United States and Japan as nos 75 and 4.

2 Dispatched 22 July. On file AA : A981, Far East 20B, i.

3 This paragraph stressed the U.K. Govt's belief that it was

important to co-operate in measures which the United States

proposed to take against Japan if it occupied Indo-Chinese bases.

4 Paragraph 4(3) read: 'That if we are called upon to go to

lengths which involve plain risk of war with Japan, every effort

should be made to obtain the clearest possible indication from

United States that we can count without reservation on their

active armed Support.'

[AA : A981, FAR EAST 20B, i]