In the absence of my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs
, who is at present in the outlying districts of Western
Australia, I have the honour to acknowledge your letter of the 1st
October, 1937 , in regard to reports in the Australian press of
proposals to boycott Japanese goods.
As you are no doubt aware the Sino-Japanese dispute is now before
the League of Nations, and an Advisory Committee has been
authorised by the Assembly to examine all the factors relating to
the situation which has arisen and to report to the Assembly this
The Commonwealth of Australia, being a State Member, vitally
interested in Pacific questions, has accepted an invitation to be
represented on this Committee.
On behalf of the Commonwealth Government I have publicly expressed
our disagreement with any action which may prejudge the case by
suggesting that an economic boycott be imposed against one of the
parties to the dispute.
The Government holds the view that any measures taken for the
settlement of the dispute should be the outcome of collective
agreement and action, and should not be a matter for unilateral
action by any one nation. In statements which I have made during
the present political campaign, I have endeavoured to emphasise
this point of view.
I feel you will appreciate that the Commonwealth Government
desires most earnestly that no untoward developments win prejudice
the friendly relationships which exist between our two countries,
and that a settlement of this unfortunate dispute satisfactory to
an concerned may be effected at the earliest possible moment.
J. A. LYONS