Mr A.T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 497 LONDON, 26 September 1939, 3.54 p.m.


The following has been received by the High Commissioner [1] from the United Kingdom authorities.

It has been learned from a very secret but entirely reliable source that the Japanese Government have circularised certain of their representatives abroad, including the Consul-General at Sydney [2], in connection with Japanese requirements of raw materials, stating that in the present circumstances as a result of the European war they find it necessary to re-examine the whole field of their import policy and investigate the possibilities of changing import sources where necessary as a means of ensuring supplies of necessaries. The Japanese representatives are in general asked to do what they can to prevent measures of prohibition or limitation of export of commodities essential to Japan and, where such measures have been imposed, to take steps to secure exemptions. In particular, the Consul-General at Sydney has been asked, in respect of commodities for which Japan especially counts on Australia, viz. ordinary pig iron, scrap iron, lead and lead ore, zinc and zinc ore, to investigate quantities that can be supplied to Japan, prices and price prospects and the possibilities of using foreign ships and other methods of transport. He had also been asked to give careful attention to circumstances which might make it difficult for Japan to secure raw materials, such as preferential supply to, or increased orders from, belligerents e.g. purchase of the whole of Australia’s wool clip by the United Kingdom.

Similar instructions issued to the Japanese Minister at Pretoria [3] in respect of nickel, wool and tanning materials.



1 S.M. Bruce.

2 Masatoshi Akiyama.

3 Ken-ichi Okada.


[AA:A981, JAPAN 181, ii]