251 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered GENEVA, 12 September 1938

PERSONAL MOST SECRET

Although position at the moment shows little change and negotiations are continuing between Sudetens and Czechs, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in conference with Dominion Representatives [1] pointed out in view of possibility of immediate action being required necessity for greatest rapidity in communication to Dominions in certain contingencies and speediest decisions on their part. He envisaged certain circumstances arising which might leave very limited time for consultation and desired provide for fullest and at the same time speediest exchange of information and views. As result arrangements have been made by which High Commissioners will be fully and progressively advised of situation and reasons leading to decisions of United Kingdom Government. This will be in addition to direct communication between United Kingdom Government and Dominion Governments. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs stressed that this is all at the moment entirely precautionary.

Suggest you take similar precautionary measures in Australia to ensure Cabinet will be available for decisions should necessity arise.

At the moment I am in Geneva but I have made arrangements to fly back to London immediately if necessary.

BRUCE

1 On 12 September 1938 Malcolm MacDonald, acting for the Dominions Secretary (not Viscount Halifax, Foreign Secretary) met representatives of the Dominions (See PRO : DO 114/94) Australia was represented by J. S. Duncan, Official Secretary to the High Commissioner's Office. Duncan subsequently informed Bruce in Geneva of the substance of the discussion and suggested that Bruce should send a message to Australia (See AA: AA1970/559, item 5).
[AA : AA1970/556, ITEM 6(2)]