Menzies, Fadden, Curtin and the Japanese Envoy


In 1941, fear of Australia becoming embroiled in war with Japan led to unusual, sometimes secretive, personal relationships between Australia's three prime ministers of that year - Robert Menzies, Arthur Fadden and John Curtin - and the new Japanese envoy to Australia, Tatsuo Kawai.

Kawai's relationship with Curtin was by far the most intense, and friendly contact between their families continued for decades after.

'...the two men became increasingly close, baring their hearts to one another and exchanging opinons.'

- the relationship between Tatsuo Kawai and John Curtin in 1941, as described by Tsuneo Hattori, friend of Kawai and Melbourne Consul.

Fear of Japanese Expansion
Desperate Private Diplomacy
Confidential Warning of War
The Onslaught: Conflict with Japan
The Aftermath: Friendships Rekindled



Author: Bob Wurth
Web design: Sue Grey-Smith
This resource is available as a travelling exhibition
Published by John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library © 2009