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

Cablegram 310 LONDON, 8 May 1940, 11 p.m.

MOST SECRET IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER

There has been nothing during the last few days beyond what the Dominions Office sending plus the views I have already expressed.

I have been pressing for discussions with a view to preparation of appreciation referred to in my telegram 302 [1] but owing to pressure of general situation and debate in the House of Commons [2] have been unable to make progress.

Reference debate, opinion here has been hardening since the Prime Minister's statement last Thursday. [3] The Government and particularly the Prime Minister in extremely difficult position and while the Government will probably have substantial majority in division which now challenged I feel the possibility of dramatic political developments in future cannot be eliminated.

Norway. Notwithstanding better reports today as to prospects of capturing Narvik in the near future my doubts and anxieties already conveyed persist.

Netherlands. Latest reports discount the probability of early attack but disquieting reports are being received as to likelihood of move in South-East Europe.

Italy. Latest reports confirm that immediate action unlikely and more reassuring information as to the Spanish attitude has been received from the Ambassador at Madrid. [4]

BRUCE

1 Document 208. See also Bruce's note of conversation on 4 May 1940 with Lord Hankey, U.K. Minister without Portfolio, on file AA: M100, May 1940.

2 See House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, fifth series, vol.

360, cols 1073-196, 1251-362.

3 For Chamberlain's statement see House of Commons, Parliamentary Debates, fifth series, vol. 360, cols 906-13.

4 Sir Maurice Peterson.

[AA: A981, EUROPE 30, iii]