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Thursday, 11 August 1904

Mr CROUCH (CORIO, VICTORIA) asked the Treasurer, upon notice-

Inreference to the statement of Major-General Hutton in the Perth Town Hall, as reported in the West Australian newspaper of the 2nd instant, to the following effect : - " As to the probability of any nation wishing to invade Australia, he would remind them of the extracts from Chinese and Japanese newspapers which had been appearing in the Australian press, and from which it could be seen that the people of China and Japan were casting longing eyes upon the rich Northern Territory of Australia. Further, he had it from no less an authority than the Japanese Admiral who visited Australia some twelve months or so ago that such was the case."

1.   Has any report of this intimation from the visiting Admiral (Admiral Kamimura) been made by. General Hutton to the Minister of Defence, or to other official authority?

2.   If so, has the Prime Minister any objection to placing such report on the Library table?

3.   If not, will he cause General Hutton to make a full and complete report of the Japanese warning, and its surrounding circumstances?

4.   Will he cause representations to be made to the British Government and to the Japanese Government as to the implied threat on the part of the latter in its Admiral's statement?

5.   Will he ask the presumably friendly Ja panese Government to make a distinct repudiation of the statement of its Admiral, who, during his visit, officially represented his nation?

Mr WATSON - The answers to the honorable and learned member's questions are as follows: -

1.   No.

2.   Answered by 1.

3.   Major-General Sir Edward Hutton will be asked for an explanation of his statement. 4 and 5. It will not be desirable to make any representations as suggested. The mere fact of a foreign power being said to cast " longing eyes " upon our territory can scarcely be construed into a threat; and no good could result from taking official notice of such informal remarks, even if made.

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