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

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

page 74

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

22 November 1941

My telegram of 20 November [No. 65], paragraph 3. Japan.

The following is the text of a telegram giving our comments, which was sent yesterday to the Chargé d'Affaires at Washington:

‘We greatly appreciate the manner in which Mr Hull handled Mr Kurusu, and feel that his forthright statement of the principles on which any settlement acceptable to the United States must be based can have done nothing but good. We are in complete agreement with the United States Government that nothing should be ceded to Japan except in return for recognition of those principles, and concrete action in accordance with them.

‘2. We find it difficult to believe that any Japanese Government could withdraw from Indo-China on the compromise terms suggested by Mr Kurusu, and can only wait the outcome of the matter of reference to his Government. But if the Japanese Government were prepared in fact to move their troops out of Indo-China, this would not only transform the situation to the benefit of all countries now threatened by their presence there, including China, but would also be prima facie evidence of a genuine desire to go some considerable way to meet our point of view. Our first reaction is, therefore, that unless the Japanese offer were accompanied by unacceptable conditions regarding the future position of Japan in Indo-China it would be worth while to respond, provided that this can be done in such a way that there is no semblance of abandoning China or disinteresting ourselves in the ultimate settlement of the China Incident on the basis laid down by the United States Government, which, of course, we entirely support. We should ourselves prefer that no relaxation of economic pressure should take effect, even on a limited scale, without some kind of understanding regarding that settlement, and this seems likely to be the view of the United States Government also.’