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

Cablegram unnumbered LONDON, 7 November 1938, 6.14 p.m.

PERSONAL FOR HIMSELF SECRET

Since our telephone conversation [1] I have exhaustively discussed with the First Lord of the Admiralty [2] the question of a capital ship in Eastern waters and have put forward a formal request that the British Government should give to Australia a private undertaking that as soon as the King George class begins to come to hand a capital ship will be allocated to Eastern waters and should be available for and should spend a reasonable amount of time in Australian waters.

Present position is that the matter is now under consideration at the Admiralty and the First Lord has promised a reply within the next few days. [3]

BRUCE

1 No record of the substance of this conversation has been found.

2 Earl Stanhope.

3 In an unnumbered cablegram dated 25 November 1938, received 26 November, Bruce told Lyons that the First Lord had promised 'to let me have reply early next week' to the request (see AA : A1068, N51/1/6).

[AA : A1608, N51/1/6]