425 Lord Caldecote, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, U.K. High Commissioner in Australia

Cablegram unnumbered LONDON, 23 June 1940, 7.54 p.m.


Please give the following message to the Prime Minister [1] from the Prime Minister [2] in reply to the message contained in the former's telegram to Bruce of 17th June [3]- Your message announcing the determination of Australia to give an the assistance in her power comes as a great encouragement to us in this stem time. I am grateful for the measures which the Commonwealth Government are already taking and we shall appeal with confidence to them for what we want in future.

I wish that it were possible for us and the other Prime Ministers of the Empire to meet in council in order to thresh out the problems which he before us all. I hope that the difficulties which have prevented this being arranged in the immediate future will be overcome before long.

I am glad that, although there was not time to consult you about our messages to the French Government, they meet with your entire approval.

We shall, of course, inform you [as soon as possible] [4] of the best use as we see it of the magnificent troops which form the Second Australian Imperial Force.

Although, as you will appreciate, the position at the moment is as obscure as it is grave, I should like to say how greatly we [here] are fortified in our resolution by having with us an Australia brigade group. Their first task will be to defend the Mother Country. The more the better. I know well how anxious you are to see the early reconstitution of the whole of the Australian Military Forces. Much depends on the relative importance assumed by the home and the Middle East theatres of war, and by any other specially dangerous spots. I need hardly say that the position is being watched and studied day and night, and that the earliest possible communication will be made to you. We have by no means excluded offensive action next year after the defence of this island has been made good. You may rest assured also that the needs of the Australian Imperial Force in respect of equipment, wherever they may be fighting, will be provided to our utmost ability.

1 R. G. Menzies.

2 Winston S. Churchill.

3 Document 392.

4 Words in square brackets have been inserted from the Dominions Office copy in PRO: DO 35/1003, i.

[FA: A3195, 1.4583]