Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III
23 — The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
The Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs
Your Circular telegram of 5 April. The views of His Majesty's Government in New Zealand are in general as follows:
1. They are and always have been firmly opposed to any policy of appeasement with Japan. In their opinion Japan's attitude towards the Axis and towards us respectively will be governed by her appreciation of her own interests, and will be affected, if at all, only to a negligible extent by any attempt on our part to conciliate. Indeed, it is their view that a resolute show of determination is on the whole more likely to avoid hostilities than any attempt to conciliate.
2. At the same time His Majesty's Government in New Zealand realise that the circumstances are now exceedingly delicate and that any unnecessary irritation at the present juncture would be unwise. They feel, therefore, firstly, that action such as is now contemplated should be taken only in the event of the ‘Japanese move to the south’, which these measures are intended to follow, being sufficiently unequivocal and important, and, secondly, that the action is made in co-operation with or with the knowledge and sympathy of the United States of America.
3. Of the two proposals set out in the Secretary of State's telegram, His Majesty's Government in New Zealand prefer the denunciation of the Anglo-Japanese Commercial Treaty, leaving the question of placing Mitsui, Mitsubishi, or Okura on the Black List for subsequent consideration.
4. Should notice of termination of the Anglo-Japanese Commercial Treaty be given, His Majesty's Government in New Zealand will undertake to take a similar step with reference to their trade arrangements with Japan, but it will be understood that in the present circumstances New Zealand–Japanese trade has now become negligible.