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

Cablegram 207 LONDON, 27 March 1940, 8.15 p.m.

MOST SECRET FOR THE PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL FOR HIMSELF

As the time would not permit your receiving and replying to my telegram 205 [1] before meeting Supreme War Council tomorrow I have this afternoon seen the Prime Minister [2] and put the various points raised in it to him. I also put to him the views set out in my telegram 190. [3] I made it quite clear that all the views expressed were my own and that I had not been authorized by you to raise any of the points. His reaction was very strong that I was doing less than justice to the United Kingdom Government. We had a long conversation covering the points raised in my telegram in particular the Finnish episode and importance of south-east European position in particular Turkey. The Prime Minister's attitude was that everything possible had been done with regard to Finland and that the Government was alive to the position in regard to south-east Europe and Turkey and everything possible was being done. I maintained that there were lessons to be learnt from the Finnish episode and continued to press the possibilities of more energetic action in regard to south-east Europe. While the Prime Minister was in no way weakened in his defence of Government's past and present actions I think some of points I stressed will stick and that the conversation was useful.

At the commencement of conversation Prime Minister was clearly resentful of criticism implied in views I expressed but happily this disappeared in the discussion and interview ended in a most friendly atmosphere.

His obvious preoccupation was lest I had created in your mind an unfavourable impression of the United Kingdom Government's conduct of the war.

I accordingly at the end of the interview again stressed that what I had been saying represented my own views, had been put forward solely in the hope of helping him and that he could reply completely on the co-operation and support of Australia.

I therefore suggest that you take no further action.

1 Document 116.

2 Neville Chamberlain.

3 Document 105.

[AA: A981, WAR 45, iv]