283 Lt Col W. R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs, to Mr F. K. Officer, Australian Counsellor at British Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 40 27 September 1938,

Your 58. [1] Personal for Officer. Since Parliament met last week Commonwealth Government after closest consultation with United Kingdom Government and Bruce [2] have not made any statement whatever so as to preclude discussion which might aggravate present delicate situation. All parties have loyally conformed with this view.

Commonwealth Government has notified United Kingdom Government of its whole hearted support in present efforts for peace and concurrence in policy laid down speech Prime Minister March 24 [3] and reaffirmed speech Simon [4] on 27th August but has not gone beyond public statement to this effect.

Statement mainly narrative and factual will probably be made tomorrow after further consultation Bruce to-night following on return Wilson [5] from Germany. You will appreciate to-morrow will be probably decisive. I should venture that opinion here still divided though definitely hardening in favour stand against aggression.

HODGSON

1 Document 282.

2 S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London.

3 Neville Chamberlain's speech; see Documents 154, 156, 158, 159, 160.

4 Sir John Simon, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

5 Sir Horace Wilson, special adviser to Neville Chamberlain, was sent on 26 September to present Hitler with a memorandum requesting an orderly settlement of the Czechoslovakian question.

He was also charged with delivering an oral message, that 'if, in pursuit of her Treaty obligations, France became actively engaged in hostilities against Germany, the United Kingdom would feel obliged to support her'. This oral message was not delivered until 27 September.

[AA : A981, CZECHOSLOVAKIA 18, ii]