17 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, and to Sir Frederick Stewart, Minister for External Affairs

Cablegram 559 WASHINGTON, 25 July 1941, 2.17 a.m.

MOST SECRET

For the Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs.

Sumner Welles' interview continued. [1]

I pointed out to him that there was a possibility that stringent economic action might bring Japanese retaliation by force of arms on British or Australian or Dutch territories and not on American, and enquired if it would be possible for the immediate implementation of the naval arrangements of which you know under which American warships should take over some of the responsibilities of the British Navy in the Atlantic and thus enable substantial force of British capital ships etc. to go to Singapore. [2] Sumner Welles said this was a matter for the United States Navy Office in the first place. I am in consequence seeing the Secretary of Navy [3] tomorrow July 25th and am working in line with the British Embassy and the British Naval Staff here in this regard.

CASEY

1 Casey had reported the first part of his interview with the U.S.

Acting Secretary of State in cablegram 558 of 24 July (on file AA : A981, Far East 20A, ii).

2 These arrangements grew out of the United States-British staff conversations held at Washington from 29 January to 29 March. See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. IV, Document 455.

3 Colonel Franklin Knox.

[AA : A981, FAR EAST 20A, ii]