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

Cablegram [428] [1] LONDON, 15 June 1940, 11.09 p.m.


Latest reports show that all organized French resistance breaking down and although no definite information available my own view is that there is now little chance of France continuing the struggle and an armistice will be asked for within 24 to 48 hours. This possibility involves the problems of evacuating British forces removal of vital material destruction of supplies and French industrial capacity all of which are being dealt with as effectively as time permits. Action is also being taken to endeavour to prevent the French fleet falling into German hands.

Darlan [2] is sound and prepared to co-operate. Danger is that the French Government might order the fleet to return to French ports and some units might obey.

To obviate this every effort is being made to get ships into British or British-controlled ports e.g. Eastern Mediterranean, Alexandria, where they could be detained.

Impossible to speculate on the developments of the next day or two. Can only advise you of events as they arise.

Roosevelt impressed by the Prime Minister's report of meeting with French at Tours on Thursday. [3] Has again shown his anxiety re navy by statement 'surely we appreciate the necessity of preserving the British and French fleets.' The Prime Minister has sent Roosevelt this afternoon a strong message of which I have not seen text including statement that only action now can be decisive.

Owing to critical position have cancelled arrangements to meet U.S. 3 and remaining London.


1 The number has been inserted from Bruce's file copy on AA:

AM100, June 1940.

2 French Chief of Naval Staff.

3 See Document 377.

[FA: A3195, 1.4327]