322 Mr V. G. Bowden, Official Representative in Singapore, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 125 SINGAPORE, 9 February 1942, 6.45 p.m.

CLEAR THE LINE PRIORITY S.O.S. MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

(1) Command Headquarters reported at 15.40 hours Singapore time confused fighting proceeding near Tengah aerodrome. They appear to have no clear view of situation but 12th brigade has not yet been committed. Boats have been seen descending Skudai creek and have been engaged by A.I.F. artillery.

(2) Fitchett and Stokes (A.B.C. observers) are convinced final Japanese assault will be made not later than Wednesday February 11th and see no hope such an assault can be held. The views of these two men have been formed independently and are based entirely on their assessment of military situation.

(3) It appears significant that February 11th is greatest Japanese patriotic festival of the year namely anniversary of accession of their first Emperor Jimmu and it can be taken as certain that they will make a supreme effort to achieve capture of Singapore on this date.

(4) There is just possibility that I may have opportunity of getting away with Wootton and Quinn [1] on a cargo steamer tomorrow and I would appreciate immediate advice as to your views in this connection. Should I not receive it before ship sails however I propose using my own discretion basing my decision on facts of situation as then known.

(5) Wootton would appreciate your communicating fore-going to Murphy. [2]

(6) Have destroyed all recyphering tables except E.A.2. It may be necessary to destroy this at any time tomorrow but propose to retain pages one to 20 with all indicators as long as possible.

BOWDEN

1 Bowden's Commercial and Political Secretaries respectively.

2 Secretary of the Commerce Dept.

[AA:A981, AUSTRALIA 237B]