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

Cablegram 405 LONDON, 11 June 1940


As indicated in D.W. information very limited. Broadly position appears to be that main German attack is east and west of Soissons where the French are fighting well and German progress not as great as might have been expected in view of Divisions employed and the weight of the attack. Elements across the Seine near Rouen not in strength and while thrust here serious, how serious dependent on developments in main attack. My own view is that the Germans will reach Paris but am now more hopeful that this will not result in French collapse. The Prime Minister [1] gone to France and probably staying two or three days to discuss methods of continuing French resistance to assure them of maximum assistance and generally to try and stiffen them.

Italy's entry for the moment has hardened French opinion but I feel that this will weaken if Italy exercises any effective pressure.

Reference second paragraph of my telegram No. 398 [2], action being taken tonight.

Roosevelt's speech last night [3] has encouraged French. The Prime Minister has cabled Roosevelt expressing appreciation and reiterating urgent necessity of destroyers, aeroplanes, guns, etc.

Now hoped to obtain release of up to one hundred reconditioned destroyers.

SPAIN. Position most obscure. The food situation is without doubt serious and I am strongly urging help with regard to this as well as economic assistance referred to in Dominions Office telegram D.247 [4] should be used as lever to ensure neutrality.


1 Winston S. Churchill.

2 Document 356.

3 See Document 364, note 4.

4 On file AA: A1608, A41/1/1, x.

[FA: A3195, 1.4146]