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

Cablegram 628 LONDON, 8 November 1939, 6.30 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE FOR PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

[On 7 November 1939 King Leopold III of the Belgians and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands offered their good offices to act as intermediaries and explore with each of the belligerent parties separately the possibility of reaching an agreement. The offer coincided with the massing of German troops on the Belgian and Dutch frontiers and German press attacks on the two countries.]

Peace move by Dutch Belgian sovereigns entirely unexpected and form of reply causing some anxiety.

Reasons for move variously suggested:

(1) Fear of an immediate invasion of Netherlands;

(2) Pressure from Germany as part of their peace offensive;

(3) Genuine desire by King of Belgians to bring about peace, precipitancy being due to fear that irretraceable step might be taken at any moment.

In my view mixture of (1) and (3) probably right. (2) is unlikely as improbable our representatives in respective countries would not have heard if such pressure attempted.

BRUCE

[AA: A981, WAR 45B, ii]