88 Mr R. G. Casey, Minister to the United States, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 865 (extract) WASHINGTON, 17 October 1941, 12.25 a.m.

MOST SECRET

I saw Admiral Turner, Director of [War Plans] I United States Navy, October 14th. On my asking for his views on the possibility of Japanese undertaking southward offensive he said he thought it would take the Japanese considerable time to make the necessary large scale preparations. Their belief was that there were only about 40,000 Japanese in Indo-China and that work on Camranh Bay and on air fields in Indo-China was long way from completion.

Recent Japanese trend was towards the reinforcing of their forces in Manchuria even at the expense of their forces in China, and not towards the south.

On the other hand Japanese had a chain of stepping stones (with air fields) in islands southward from Tokyo and were working hard on Saipan 50 miles north of Guam. There was also Japanese air strength at Palau island.

On my telling him of the President's [2] tentative suggestion that R.A.A.F. might consider operating from North Borneo [3] he suggested that R.A.A.F. might even consider the possibility of using air fields in the Philippines although he admitted that this was a matter for U.S. Army.

In senior American service quarters here there is fear that Japan may attack Russia shortly. General belief is that the United States would maintain neutrality in such an event so long as American and British interests were not also attacked.

[matter omitted]

1 Words in square brackets have been corrected from the Washington copy on file AA : A3300,99.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 See Document 79.

[AA : A981, FAR EAST 26A]