19 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, 19 to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram [44] [1] LONDON, 15 January 1940, 9.47 p.m.


Dominions Office cabling you full information as to action by the King of the Belgians using Roger Keyes as intermediary indicating the King's preparedness to invite the United Kingdom and France to send troops into Belgium subject to certain assurances. [2] United Kingdom's reply in my view not good and with regard to the King's third point, language most unhappy if it is desired that the King should issue invitation.

French are definitely of the opinion that it would be advantageous to the Allies to move forward into Belgium, have indicated that prepared to accept the King's points and annoyed at the United Kingdom's chilly response.

Chiefs of Staff both in France and here consider would greatly strengthen Allies if Belgium invited them to send troops on grounds the line which would be occupied Antwerp Namur would considerably shorten the front which, with addition of Belgian divisions, would represent an improvement to the Allies' strength equal to forty divisions. In addition many exceptionally valuable aerodromes would be obtained.

For your personal information in my view reason for the character of the United Kingdom's reply is that the War Cabinet is divided as to the desirability of moving into Belgium and thus almost certainly immediately provoking major operations.


1 The copy cited was not numbered. The number has been taken from the copy on file AA: A1608, A41/1/1, vii.

2 See Document 20.

[FA: A3195, 1.345]