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

Cablegram unnumbered 28 May 1940,

MOST SECRET

Queries contained in Dominions Office cables 158 [1] and 164 [2] and in yours of May 21st [3], 22nd [4] and 23rd [5] have been considered and following decision reached [6]- 'The diversion of 49 Hudsons to United Kingdom and despatch of Hudson Squadron to Singapore is agreed to. Hudson Squadron could proceed by air provided sanction to refuel in Dutch East Indies is obtained. Owing to our commitments in trained personnel to maintain numbers 10 and 3 Squadrons overseas, as well as Hudson Squadron at Singapore and necessity of continuing Empire Air Training Scheme, it is not possible to make further trained personnel available at present time. In view of above reductions to our Air Defence and necessity of adequate reconnaissance in Island areas of New Guinea and Solomons, two additional flying boats are required and must be obtained from Qantas Empire Airways. It is recognised that this will require some reorganisation in air mail arrangements to England by substitution of land type on portion of route, but this must be accepted.' It will be necessary for Hudsons to make one stop in N.E.I. to refuel, preferably Sourabaya. Suggest Foreign Office seek permission of Governor-General [7] for landing and also notify Craigie [8] so that he could allay Japanese doubts should landing be commented upon. Would like information regarding permission to land as soon as possible.

MENZIES

1 In Series FA: A3195, 1.3424.

2 On file AA: A2937, Imperial Defence. (Cablegram 158 and 164 dealt with possible changes in aircraft production and the Empire Air Training Scheme in the light of the European war situation.) 3 In series FA: A3195, 1.3469. It reported that the U.K. Govt had prohibited the export of aeroplane supplies even to the Dominions.

4 In series FA: A3195, 1.3490. It reported that the supply of aircraft for the Empire Air Training Scheme was likely to be disrupted and foreshadowed the U.K. Govt's request for the forty- nine Hudson aircraft.

5 Document 268.

6 The decisions were taken by War Cabinet on 28 May 1940. (See AA:

A2673, vol. 2, Minute 289.) 7 Dr A. W. L. Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer.

8 U.K. Ambassador to Japan.

[FA: A3196, 0.3280]