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

Cablegram 630 LONDON, 8 November 1939, 7.22 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE FOR PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

War Cabinet considered Dutch-Belgian peace move and decided Prime Minister should make interim reply at Lord Mayor's lunch tomorrow.

[1] Was contemplating Dominions should be advised immediately of this decision. I have urged that form of even interim reply important as imperative Germans should be given no possible argument in support of their propaganda campaign that continuance of war is due to the intransigence of the Allies and that the Dominions are entitled to know substance of what proposed to say.

In consequence effort being made to get form of statement which was not considered by the War Cabinet this morning settled in time for cabling to you tonight.

BRUCE

1 Owing to the indisposition of the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, this reply was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir John Simon, who said that while the U.K. Government did not want to continue the war a day longer than necessary, he was not very hopeful of a satisfactory response from the German Chancellor. See U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to Commonwealth Government, circular cablegrams D70 and D71, 9 November 1939, not printed (on file AA: A1608, A41/1/1, v).

[AA: A981, WAR 45B, ii]