148 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 113 LONDON, 1 December 1941, 9.39 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

KRA ISTHMUS

Your telegram 763 of 1st December. [1] At a meeting this morning the Prime Minister [2] stressed the importance of not seizing the Peninsula without United States backing even if such backing were only moral support.

His line was that to anticipate the Japanese on the Peninsula, if the Japanese had not attacked Thailand elsewhere, would give handle to isolationists in the United States to maintain that we were aggressors thus weakening our claim to American support if the Japanese attacked Thailand. The Chiefs of Staff view as to the strategic importance of the Peninsula is that its seizure by the Japanese would be serious but not too serious if political considerations precluded our anticipating them. The above may be some background to the telegram the Dominions Office sending tonight. [3]

BRUCE

1 Document 143.

2 Winston Churchill.

3 See Document 147, note 6.

[AA : A981, JAPAN 178]