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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume III

33 — The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the acting Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to the acting Prime Minister of New Zealand

18 July 1941

My telegram of 17 July. Japan.

We are grateful for your telegram of 16 July [No. 29], and note that in the event of it becoming necessary to proceed with the denunciation of the Commercial Treaty His Majesty's Government in New Zealand would wish to take steps at the same time to terminate the trade agreement between New Zealand and Japan. We greatly welcome this decision, which would add to the effectiveness of our intended action. The effect would, moreover, be further enhanced by the simultaneous denunciation of the Indo-Japanese Convention, 1934, of which the Government of India have authorised us to give notice.

2. As regards procedure, notice of the termination of the Commercial Treaty would be given to [sic] His Majesty's Ambassador, Tokyo, in a formal note addressed to the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs. The formula which would be used is that, owing to present conditions, the treaty did not carry out the objects for which it was concluded. A separate note would be presented at the same time dealing with the denunciation of the Indo-Japanese Convention.

3. If desired by the New Zealand Government, His Majesty's Ambassador could be authorised also to address a note on their behalf giving notice of the termination of New Zealand's trade agreement with Japan, and if this course is desired it is suggested that to save time a telegram (which might be repeated to me) should be sent direct to His Majesty's Ambassador as soon as possible informing him of the exact words which the New Zealand Government would wish to be used.

4. Alternatively, the New Zealand Government may prefer to give notice of termination themselves through the Japanese Consul-General page 43 at Wellington,1 and in that event we would propose to telegraph to you at the same time as instructions to act are telegraphed to His Majesty's Ambassador.

5. We should be grateful for a very early reply indicating which of the above courses the New Zealand Government prefer.2

1 Mr N. Nakafuji.

2 The New Zealand Government replied on 20 July that it would give notice of termination, ‘if and when the occasion arises’, through the Japanese Consulate-General in Wellington.