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

Cablegram unnumbered 26 January 1940,

MOST SECRET

In view of forthcoming location of 2nd A.I.F. in Palestine for completion training and equipment with modem weapons we should be glad to have earliest possible an appreciation of military situation in Near and Middle East. In particular we should like information as to possible employment of Australian troops in those theatres either on active operations or temporarily on internal security duties in relief of more fully trained British troops. We should be grateful also for information as to anticipated rate of provision of modern weapons and equipment for 2nd A.I.F. [1]

MENZIES

1 This cablegram was dispatched following a decision of War Cabinet on 25 January 1940 (see AA: A2673, vol. 1, Minute 132).

Bruce's file copy (on AA: M100, January 1940) was minuted at 10.30 a.m. on 27 January: 'Saw Oliva Stanley at the War Office and arranged with him to refer the questions to the Chiefs of Staff for examination, with the understanding that when they have considered the matter I shall have a private talk with them with a view to determining the form in which the information asked for should be prepared.' On 30 January Bruce reported: 'Saw the Secretary of State for War last Saturday and the points raised by you now being examined by Chiefs of Staff.' (See Bruce's unnumbered cablegram in series FA: A3195,1.699.)

[FA: A3196, 0.512]