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

Cablegram unnumbered 17 June 1940,

Please convey the following message to Mr. Churchill [1]:-

Your personal message to me set out in No. 179 [2] contains such a clear and courageous analysis of the future possibilities that I conveyed it to my colleagues who have, in common with myself, been immensely fortified by it.

Last night I announced to the Australian people great extensions of our war activities and we are this week, asking Parliament for unlimited authority.

You will find us willing to do everything that men can do. All that I ask is that you should let us know as soon as possible exactly what scope you see for Australian troops abroad and in what theatres of war and how we can be assisted, as we will need to be assisted for some time, in the all-important matter of equipment.

I suppose it is impossible at present, but great comfort would be given to this country if some conference could occur between us and other Prime Ministers on the general strategy of Empire Defence, assuming that the Empire is to fight alone.

You will be glad to know that with each reverse the rate of enlistment in Australia increases and we are now taking in men for the A.I.F. at over 30,000 per month.

Your two messages to the French Government [3], upon which we fully realise time did not permit you to consult with the Dominions, have our entire approval. We hear turnouts that Reynaud [4] has resigned and no doubt this indicates that the proposed Franco/British union will not be achieved.

But while we have our own local problems of citizenship, notably under the White Australia policy, which would particularly affect our attitude towards non-European French citizens, the general principle of the suggested arrangement is one the value of which we can readily see and the substance of which we can warmly approve.

Gloomy as the outlook may be, and easy as it is for us at a distance to formulate policies for others, may I once more make it clear that the decision of Great Britain to fight on is one which all Australians would make in similar circumstances, and that we are prepared to follow you into whatever sacrifice victory may demand. [5]

1 U.K. Prime Minister.

2 Document 388.

3 See Documents 377 and 391.

4 French Prime Minister.

5 Bruce was instructed to deliver this message to the U.K.

Dominions Secretary, Lord Caldecote.

6 The number has been inserted from the Prime Minister's Dept outward cable register (FA: A3637).

[FA: A3196, [0.3882] [6]]