250 Commonwealth Government to Lord Caldecote, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 228 17 May 1940,


Your cablegram of 15th May, 151. [1]

His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia still has doubts as to the wisdom of diverting U.S.3 to the United Kingdom and before agreeing to this course, which would mean the splitting of our forces, would appreciate early advice of the possibility of completing the training of troops in the North West of India.

If your estimate in cablegram 138 of 4th May [2] is borne out that Red Sea route can be reconstituted within the first three months of war with Italy, training could be carried on during this time and there would appear to be no difficulty in re-establishing the Division when the Red Sea is cleared.

Would you therefore please advise us of the capacity of India to accommodate, train and equip these troops and whether such a course holds any advantages in the release of British troops in India for service other theatres.

Also, please furnish your views on alternative of training in South Africa if the Government of that Dominion should be willing for troops to embark [sic] there.

This cablegram has been repeated to New Zealand and South Africa.


1 Document 245.

2 Document 210.

3 This cablegram was dispatched following War Cabinet consideration of Document 245 on 16 May 1940 (See AA: A2673, vol.

2, Minute 278).