171 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State 171 for Dominion Affairs, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Circular cablegram DW1005 LONDON, 7 December 1941, 10.30 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

Following for the Prime Minister.

A report timed 5.40 p.m. G.M.T. today has been received from the Commander-in-Chief China I that the Japanese were attempting to land from five ships at Kota Bharu (on the East Coast of Malaya immediately South of Siam-Malaya frontier). [2]

1 Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Layton.

2 War Cabinet considered this cablegram on 8 December and agreed 'that the situation should be accepted as involving a state of war against Japan'. See AA:A2673, vol. 9, minute 1557 and Documents 172 and 174.

Shortly before 1 p.m. on 8 December a cablegram (no. 1098 on file AA:A1608,J39/2/1)was received from R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, advising that Japanese aircraft had bombed Hawaii and Manila and that although the U.S. Congress had not yet formally declared war the situation was 'indistinguishable' from war.

[AA:A1608, J39/2/1]