139 Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister, to Mr N. Chamberlain, U.K. Prime Minister

Repeated to High Commissioner in London Cablegram unnumbered 17 March 1938

SECRET

Referring to your cable regarding the proposed recognition of inclusion of Austria in German Reich [1], my Government feels doubts about so prompt a de jure recognition, having regard to a sensitive public opinion, the fact that Plebiscite not yet taken, and further fact that recognition so long refused to Italian conquest of Abyssinia, with consequent deterioration of British/Italian relations.

Fully appreciating the difficulties of discussing matters of this kind by cable under circumstances of urgency, we would suggest earnestly that in view of Australia's vital interests as a loyal member of the British Commonwealth, determined to co-operate with Great Britain but desirous of fully appreciating each move as it occurs, Mr Bruce [2], as a former Prime Minister of Australia, with extensive knowledge of international affairs, should be admitted to full confidential consultation with yourself and the Foreign Secretary [3] so that your views may be expressed to my Government in Australia and our views may be conveyed to you either directly or through Mr Bruce effectively during the actual process of formation of British policy.

Such procedure would, of course, be supplementary to and not in substitution for the present methods of communication.

LYONS

1 Document 138.

2 High Commissioner in London.

3 Viscount Halifax.

[AA : A981, GREAT BRITAIN 8B, ii]