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Wednesday, 17 December 1941

Senator DARCEY (Tasmania) .- I feel sure that there is not a man or woman in Australia who does not realize the gravity of our present situation. Some years ago, I read the opinion of a high military authority that the Japanese soldier was the most desperate in the world. 'I recall the siege of Port Arthur. European military experts declared that Port Arthur was impregnable, yet the Japanese, advancing over thousands of their own dead, took that outpost by assault. lt was then the opinion that no European nation would have attempted to take such a position. However, under a treaty Japan was subsequently cheated out of the territory which it won. Only last week the Japanese Premier, General Tojo, said that in the 2,600 years of Japan's history it had never been defeated. Some weeks ago I read that 30 troop transports, convoyed by a small number of warships, had left Japan for Indo-China. That brought to my mind an incident which occurred many years ago in Great Britain. The late Kaiser having claimed to possess the greatest army in the world, decided also to have the greatest navy. When the first units of his navy were completed he paid a courtesy visit to Great Britain to see King Edward VII. At that time Lord Fisher was First Lord of the Admiralty, and he attended the reception given to the German visitors. It is reported that a few days later Lord Fisher called upon King Edward VII. and said " Your Majesty, the Kaiser has said that he intends to have a fleet at least equal to ours. No doubt when he accomplishes that aim ho will find some excuse to attack us. As a precautionary measure I suggest that we should sail to Germany and sink his ships while they are in the harbour ". Of course, such action was not countenanced, but I feel sure that had Lord Fisher been in charge of the British navy at this juncture the 30 transports mentioned would not have been permitted to reach Indo-China. The British ships would have sailed in and sunk them. Under the agreement with Indo-China Japan was permitted to have only 30,000 troops in that country, but now wc learn that they have over three times that number in that country. The

Japanese soldiers are good fighters because they believe that it is a groat honour to die for their country, and that such action will ensure the fullest happiness in the hereafter. All possible steps should be taken to ensure that the British troops in Malaya and other territories threatened by Japan have all the equipment and aircraft support that they require. I am sure that honorable senators on both sides of the chamber realize the extreme danger of the situation, and that they will do all they possibly can to assist Australia's war effort.

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