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

Cablegram 202 LONDON, 12 June 1940, 10.55 p.m.


As the Dominion Governments will have appreciated, the success of the German attack in Northern France has produced a situation in which an attempted invasion of this country possibly in the near future has to be taken very seriously into account with practical effects on the disposition of all available military land forces in the United Kingdom. The policy which it had hitherto been hoped to follow in respect of Dominion troops while training in this country was to allocate them to areas primarily selected on grounds of suitability for training purposes and entirely without reference to the possibility of the troops in question having to be used as part of the available defence of the country.

The altered situation with which we are now faced has necessitated reconsideration of the disposition of the Australian and New Zealand contingents which will very shortly be arriving in this country. It had of course been hoped to locate these contingents and to make all the arrangements connected with their arrival here with the continuation of their training solely in view and the eventuality of completely self-contained and fully trained Australian and New Zealand higher formations. As the situation now is, it is necessary to make such arrangements for the location of contingents as will best suit the needs of the time. Every effort will of course be made to arrange for continuation of their training on the most effective lines including so far as possible avoidance of dispersal but there is no alternative to locating contingents in any district in the United Kingdom where, having regard to the stage of training already reached and the high quality of the troops, they will be best placed to carry out whatever defensive role it might be necessary on occurrence of an emergency to allot to them. We are confident that in the circumstances His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia and His Majesty's Government in New Zealand will raise no objection to this.

The fullest possible information will of course be given to the Dominion Governments as arrangements are decided on and the closest touch maintained.

[FA: A3195, 1.4195]