226 Mr A. Eden, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 143 LONDON, 10 May 1940, 12.02 p.m.

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

Thank you for your telegram No. 208 [1], which is receiving urgent consideration.

So far as U.S.2 is concerned, matter has been considered by the War Cabinet who felt that, having regard to the latest information, it was desirable that the convoy should on arrival at Aden proceed to Suez as originally planned. This would of course still be subject to reconsideration if circumstances should show marked change. In that event, the wishes of the Commonwealth Government as to communication to them have been noted.

As regards the security of convoy against sea attack, the existing escort may be regarded as adequate in all circumstances. As regards protection against air action between Aden and Suez, [there will be] some protection by fighter aircraft from Aden and again when the convoy would be approaching Suez, but not in between when the convoy would be out of range of our fighters and bomber type of aircraft would be unable to protect it adequately.

It was on account of this that Cabinet recommended diversion should the general political situation indicate immediate risk of Italian hostility.

The more general questions raised in the latter part of your telegram are under close consideration here and I shall hope to telegraph further as soon as possible.

1 Document 215.

[FA: A3195, 1.3113]