403 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Prime Minister's Department

Cablegram [443] [1] LONDON, 18 June 1940

MOST IMMEDIATE

My telegram No. 442. [2]

(1) In the event of French resistance being continued in the colonies and forces kept in the field, can these forces be supplied and kept on operational basis, in particular armies in Syria and Morocco.

(2) If they can- (a) From what sources could supplies, equipment, munitions, food, etc. be drawn? (b) What naval and air dispositions would be necessary and from what bases would they operate? (c) Is provision of necessary naval co-operation dependent on the retention of the French fleet in whole or part? (d) Would forces in the French colonies have to remain merely on the defensive or could they take the offensive? (3) If French resistance in the colonies is not continued, could we retain naval forces in the Mediterranean- (a) If substantial part of the French fleet in German and Italian hands;

(b) If French fleet sunk;

(c) If French fleet in our hands.

(4) If we could retain naval forces in the Mediterranean- (a) On what ports would they be based;

(b) How effectively could we prevent increase in Italian forces in Libya and embarrass maintenance of existing forces by denial of necessary supplies.

(5) If we cannot retain naval forces in the Mediterranean- (a) Could we continue an effective blockade of supplies to that sea and if so on what ports would our ships be based;

(b) Could we maintain land and air forces in Egypt and/or Palestine.

BRUCE

1 The copy of this cablegram circulated in Canberra was numbered 433. The correct number has been taken from Bruce's file copy on AA: M100, June 1940. The time of dispatch was recorded as 10 a.m., but it appears more likely that it was sent at 10 p.m.

2 Document 404.

[FA: A3195, 1.4433]