52 Extract From Casey's Diary

19th February, 1954

I saw Nishi (Japanese Ambassador) and his Counsellor, with Plimsoll, and gave him our note and the terms of the 'provisional regime' for pearling off our northern coast of the Northern Territory. After we'd done the official part of it, I asked if we could talk quite informally and personally as 'Casey and Nishi', to which he agreed. I then gave him copies of an article by Calwell in Truth of four days ago, in which he blamed the Government for being pro-Japanese whereas the Labour [sic] Opposition was 'anti-Japanese'. [1] I said that he knew that we had an election in May-and that he understood what politics were.

I directed his particular attention to the last two paragraphs which were to the effect that if Labour won the election, they would know how to deal with the Japanese. Nishi got the point-in fact I didn't leave the subject until I was sure that he had got it. His Counsellor made notes of what I was saying. I was careful not to say that the situation would be any different after the election.

1 An article by A.A. Calwell, Deputy Leader of the Federal Labor Opposition, entitled 'Soft Talk to Japs Is No Good', was published in the Melbourne newspaper Truth on 13 February. It began: 'The Menzies Government is pro-Japanese, although the great majority of Australians are anti-Japanese and are appalled at Mr Menzies 'attitude.' The second last paragraph read: 'Of the three parties Labor is the only one which can be relied upon not to give way to Japanese cajolery, bluff and blackmail'.