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

Cablegram 360 LONDON, [?27] [1] May 1940, 9.15 p.m.


I have not seen the appreciation of the Chiefs of Staff on which views sent to you in 'Z' cable [2] were based so unable amplify.

In my view it is impossible for you to form a judgment without having before you a military and economic appreciation and no doubt you will cable asking for such information as you require.

I set out below certain points I would like to send you information on but up to date I have been unable to obtain it. If you would desire them dealt with I suggest you cable raising them as this will force the United Kingdom Government to deal with them. No. 3 I regard as of the utmost importance and I know it has not received serious consideration.

1. Is the possible French collapse due to (a) lack of leadership political or military;

(b) failure of army and/or civilian morale.

If (a) Can anything be done to avert collapse either by change of leadership and/or influencing of public opinion including army, navy, air force.

2. In event of French collapse would it be- (a) The laying down of its arms by French Army, the withdrawal of the Government from France and the continuation of the struggle in French overseas territories and by the French Navy;

or (b) The capitulation of France and her exit from the war.

3. In the event of a French collapse how is it contemplated presenting the British case to the world so as to prevent the French creating the impression that her capitulation was due to the withdrawal of the B.E.F. and inadequacy of British support which would have a disastrous effect particularly in U.S.A.


1 This cablegram was dated 28 May 1940. The contents of Menzies's cablegram 242 (Document 294) suggest, however, that it was dispatched on 27 May.

2 Document 292.

[AA: M100, MAY 1940]