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

Cablegram 27 LONDON, 11 January 1940, 6.27 p.m.


My telegram No. 9. [1] In view of strong reaction by Norway to

communication (Dominions Office No. 7) [2] and change of attitude

by Sweden, who now strongly opposed, stopping of Narvik iron ore

supplies being re-examined by Cabinet. Following are material

points for consideration. Stoppage of supplies from Narvik the

only port of shipment from the northern field for the next four

months no doubt troublesome but probably not really serious to

Germany. Unless possible to stop shipment from Lulea when that

port reopens action against Narvik would be of relatively small


In addition following have to be borne in mind.

(1) Would cause bitter resentment in Norway and Sweden.

(2) Would conceivably lead Norway to feel compelled, in order to

protect her neutrality, to resist by force our action in her

territorial waters.

(3) Would antagonise opinion in neutral countries particularly the

United States with its large Scandinavian population.

(4) Would afford a pretext of some appearance of justification for

Germany either to take armed action against Sweden or to take her

under German protection.

Because of relative ineffectiveness and political and military

consequences, wisdom of action against Narvik supplies at the

moment would appear doubtful. So much importance attached here to

cutting off German supplies of Swedish iron ore that serious

consideration being given to the question of bringing Sweden into

the war on the Allies' side.

Prime Minister [3] strongly urged that before attempting to do

this either by provoking Germany to attack or inducing Sweden to

declare war, we must be certain that the United Kingdom and France

are in a position to render sufficient aid to prevent Germans from

overrunning Sweden.

I have also urged that in considering the question of what aid

could be given to Sweden the possibility of a move by Germany

and/or Russia in the Danubian and Balkan countries, necessitating

the United Kingdom and France establishing an eastern front with

further drain on man power, supplies and shipping, must not be



1 Document 3.

2 See circular cablegrams D6 and D7 of 5 January 1940 on file AA:

A1608, A41/1/1, vii. They reported in greater detail the

information contained in Document 3.

3 Neville Chamberlain.

[AA: A981, EUROPE 30, ii]