22 Sir John Latham, Minister to Japan, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 366 [1] TOKYO, 29 July 1941, 12 noon

My telegram No. 363. [2] Although Japanese Government are probably surprised at the speed of the American and British reaction to their contemplated occupation of South Indo-China, we must recognise that it has failed to prevent it [3] and that Japan will prepare now for her next step. This is likely to be the 'protection' of Thailand for in recent weeks Japanese press has depicted Thailand as well as Indo-China as the 'victim' of an American-British encirclement plot.

British Government should consider without delay how to prevent this. There is I understand already a non-aggression pact with Thailand. [4] It should be emphasised in Parliament, in press and on the wireless that the British Commonwealth of Nations has no plans made or forces concentrated against Thailand, but that it has reinforced and will continue to reinforce so as to be able to take appropriate action against any attempt by any other Power to occupy Thailand in whole or in part under the pretext of protecting Thailand against non-existent threat from us. In accordance with Prime Minister's [5] telegram No. 8 [6] we should secure as a preliminary but without delay the most complete co- operation and support of United States.

I saw Thai Minister [7] yesterday and made concrete suggestions to him as to resisting Japanese encroachment for which he expressed his gratitude.

LATHAM

1 Repeated to the High Commission in London as no. 55.

2 Dispatched 27 July. On file AA : A1608, A41/1/6, v.

3 Japanese troops had landed in Indo-China on 28 July.

4 The Anglo-Thai Treaty of Non-Aggression had been signed at Bangkok on 12 June 1940.

5 R. G. Menzies.

6 See Document 16, note 1.

7 Phraya S1 Sena.

8 Sir Frederick Stewart (Minister for External Affairs) subsequently informed Latham (cablegram 221 of 5 August on file AA : A981,Japan 185B, ii) that the Commonwealth Govt had cabled the U.K. Govt 'in sense of your views urging that every effort should be made without delay to enlist co-operation of United States in this matter'.

[AA : A981, JAPAN 174, ii]