Counterfeit Japanese Invasion Money (JIM) was produced by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) during WWII ! Evidence of this comes from three letters among a large package of official files (copies) I received from the Senior Archivist, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The RBA is the successor to the CBA, which operated during WWII. It also included a note division, which was equivalent to our Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
The first letter was sent from the Netherlands Indies Commission to the Governor, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, on 5 October, 1942:
In order to effectively prosecute the war against Japan the Government of the Netherlands East Indies considers it essential to have at its disposal supplies of currency similar to that issued by Japan for circulation in the Netherlands East Indies.
The need is urgent and we have to request you to arrange to supply us as soon as they can be printed with the following quantities of notes which resemble as closely as possible the specimen notes handed to your Melbourne manager.
1/2 Gulden 12,800 pieces
10 Cents 30,000 pieces
5 Cents 10,000 pieces
1 Cent 10,000 pieces
When completed we would be glad if you would deliver the notes to the order of Dr. R. E. Smits as they may be required by him.
Signed by Dr. J. E. van Hoogstraten, Chief-Commissioner"
The second letter was a simple cover letter from Dr. Smits, Managing Director Javasche Bank to the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). It recommended approval of the basic request. But of interest on this letter is a hand written note apparently written by the Governor of the CBA. It reads:
"I saw Mr. Chiffley [finance minister] at Canberra on 30/9/42. I told him of Dr. Smits wishes including his views regarding absolute secrecy. Mr. Chiffley raised no serious objections and he fully appreciated that action of this sort is necessary in war; and that the Axis is already doing what we propose to do. He is satisfied for us to go ahead and he will leave the whole matter in our hands." [Initialed on 5/10/42]
The third letter is proof-positive that the official counterfeits were printed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. This letter was sent from the Netherlands Indies Commission to The Manager, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, on 20 January, 1943:
Referring to our letter dated 5th October 1942 to the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Sydney, we beg to inform you that our stock of the special notes you have printed for us, is nearly exhausted. This paper has proved to be very useful and we request you to print for us the same quantity as in October.
When completed we should be glad if you would deliver the notes to our commission as they may be required.
Signed: Ch.O. Van der Plas, Chief-Commissioner"
These counterfeit notes were copies of the first of the three series of JIM which were issued by Japan for the Netherlands East Indies (NEI), usually referred to as "Regeering" notes.There is more to follow from the remainder of these files. For example, there is also a discussion in these files, of privately produced JIM counterfeits, also produced in Australia during the war.