Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
17 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand
The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the Governor-General of New Zealand
Circular telegram. Burma Road. Following for Prime Minister:
We greatly value the views which you have furnished in reply to my Circular telegram of 4 September [No. 14], and these have been most carefully considered. Since my telegram was despatched there have been two major developments, (a) the Japanese entry into Indo-China,1 and (b) the German-Italian-Japanese pact;2 and the matter is also being discussed in the light of these developments between His Majesty's Ambassador at Washington and the United States Secretary of State. The latter stated, (a) the United States Government hope that the road will not remain closed after 17 October; (b) cancellation of page 29 the agreement before 17 October would be needless provocation; and (c) in order to avoid a second crisis three weeks hence the best course would be to notify the Japanese Government at once of our intention not to renew the agreement.
His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo is in favour of this course and does not consider that it would lead to war with Japan. His view is that if the Japanese decide to challenge the British Commonwealth to war it will be on a wider calculation of issues than this.
The War Cabinet considered the matter today and came to the conclusion that in the present circumstances there was no alternative to the adoption of this course. We are confident that your Government will concur in this view. It is accordingly proposed that the decision would be announced by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons next Tuesday in the sense that the agreement was concluded for a [group mutilated–definite?] period and there has been no provision for renewal, and in any case, in view of recent developments, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom would have felt unable to agree to a renewal if this had been in question.