220 Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 449 LONDON, 11 September 1939, 7.59 p.m.

FOR PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

War Cabinet further discussed today subject of my telegram No. 441 [1] and I understand at meeting tonight is considering desirability of asking Dominions for expression of their views.

News from Poland is considered slightly more satisfactory but personally I am not optimistic. British Military Attach Warsaw [2] and Head French Military Mission express the view that everything depends on whether Poles reconstitute the front south-east of Warsaw thereby ensuring communications with Roumania.

With reference to Russian military delegation, Ambassador at Moscow [3], while repeating reasons for Russian military activity previously set out (see External Affairs telegram No. 447 [4]), feels possibility can by no means be excluded that preparations are being made for occupation of Polish territory under guise of assisting movements of the Polish people against their Government under excuse of serious incidents on Polish-Soviet frontier. He points out that population in certain Polish frontier districts live in conditions so deplorable as to incline them to welcome inclusion in the Soviet Union.

For your personal information, I understand Ministry of Economic Warfare has faced the War Cabinet up with the necessity of immediate steps being taken to limit imports to Italy which would be of assistance to Germany. I was shown most comprehensive evidence which pointed to the clear conclusion that Italy in respect to such supplies is playing the German game.

BRUCE

1 Document 216.

2 Lt Col E.R. Sword.

3 Sir William Seeds.

4 Not printed (On file AA:A981, Soviet Union 35, ii).

[AA:A981, GERMANY 67, ii]