155 Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, to Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, and to Sir Frederic Eggleston, Minister to China

Cablegram 369/1041/30 CANBERRA, 3 December 1941

MOST SECRET PERSONAL

1. A few days ago the Far Eastern Situation was almost out of hand. Hull [1] seemed to have almost given up hope. Even now of course it is very bad.

Throughout the affair and despite discouragement, the Commonwealth Government and its representatives abroad have struggled hard- (a) to prevent breakdown of talks, especially during period before ships' arrival at Singapore.

(b) to encourage U.S. to retain diplomatic initiative on behalf of democratic powers.

(c) to have determined in advance what plans should be adopted in event of various types of Japanese aggression, and (d) to encourage and persuade United States to follow her diplomatic leadership and initiative by armed resistance to aggression when it takes a crucial form.

2. It is now obvious that our efforts have not been without some measure of success. I desire to thank you for your assistance. I am sure that you will continue your efforts remembering that Australia will feel the first impact of a war against Japan in the Pacific and therefore she does not wish to become a pawn in the game. Our object is to struggle hard for peace in the Pacific so long as that does not mean that Japanese aggression will merely be turned from one important democratic bastion against another, and so long as the democratic powers can be persuaded to preserve a solid front. Failing peace, our object is to have the same solidarity in armed resistance to Japanese aggression.

I have sent similar message to Casey Eggleston Bruce.

Chungking only:

Reference your 21. [2] We appreciate point of view contained therein. Views and decisions of War Cabinet on whole question are contained in telegrams 763 and 765 to United Kingdom Government [3], which I am repeating to you.

EVATT

1 U.S. Secretary of State.

2 Document 154.

3 Documents 143 and 153.

[AA : A981, JAPAN 178]