42 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 527 CANBERRA, 13 August 1941

SECRET

His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia has had under consideration for some time the question of some official representation at Singapore. [1] As a centre of growing political importance, as a focal point of Imperial communications, a clearing house for political intelligence, and with growing commercial contacts, Singapore has great significance for Australia. The presence in Malaya of Australian Military Forces and R.A.A.F. units also renders it essential there should be an official representative to establish liaison with Imperial and local authorities.

Consequently the Commonwealth Government has decided to appoint at Singapore an official representative who would be called on to exercise functions covering political, intelligence, information, commercial and administrative matters. It is proposed to appoint Mr. Bowden, the present Commonwealth Government Trade Commissioner at Shanghai, to the position of official representative.

It is also proposed to appoint a commercial secretary and a political officer to his staff.

Assuming that these proposals are concurred in by the United Kingdom Government [2], I would be glad if the appropriate steps could be taken to inform the Governor of the Straits Settlements [3], along with a request for his assistance and co-operation in the establishment of the mission. In this latter aspect, it would facilitate matters if the Colonial Secretary [4] could be authorized to communicate direct with the Commonwealth Government.

[5]

MENZIES

1 For consideration of this question by the Economic and Industrial Committee of Cabinet see agendum E14 of 9 July and minute E14 of 14 July in AA : A2708, vol. 3.

2 Cranborne's concurrence was received in cablegram 599 of 23 August (AA : A3195, 1941, 1.15810).

3 Sir Shenton Thomas.

4 Lord Moyne.

5 Bowden took up duty in Singapore on 29 September. He was assisted by A. N. Wootton (Commercial Secretary) and J. P. Quinn (Political Secretary).

[AA : A3196, 1941, 0.11734]