392 Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr R.G. Casey, Minister for Supply and Development (in London)

Cablegram unnumbered 28 November 1939,

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

Reference cablegrams relative despatch of Division overseas, Cabinet has decided and I am announcing to House tomorrow that this Force, which was raised for service at home or abroad as occasion might require or permit, will proceed overseas when it has reached a suitable stage in its training. It is anticipated that this will be early in New Year. After further training overseas it should be able to take its place in a theatre of war in European Spring. Further advice will be forwarded regarding equipment which will be taken but Government is averse to shipment of artillery or any other material needed for maintenance of our militia forces, unless it is capable of rapid replacement. In view of reasons which decided reversal of decision to despatch Air Expeditionary Force, it is not proposed to despatch Army Co- operation Squadron. I would add for your personal information that there are doubts as to attainment of satisfactory degree of organization, training and outfitting of Force for commencement of shipment by middle of December, and Government feels that time table proposed in cablegrams has not been prepared with adequate regard to local considerations, not least of which is that further local training of our Force affords period for clarification of international situation without prejudicing our strength here or subsequent co-operation when Force is ready to take field. It is suggested you consult with United Kingdom Government and New Zealand representative regarding co-ordination of shipping requirements for our Force with New Zealand arrangements.

MENZIES

[AA: CP 290/6, ITEM 35]