135 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Lord Caldecote, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 501 24 September 1940,


Repeated to Prime Minister of Canada [1], No. 2, Prime Minister of New Zealand [2], No. 17, Prime Minister of South Africa [3], No.


With reference to your cablegrams Nos. 350 and 352 of 19th and 21st September respectively [4], relative to the despatch of the A.I.F. Contingent in the United Kingdom to the Middle East, His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia has decided to form a fourth A.I.F. Division (to be designated the 9th Division) constituted as follows:-

(i) The contingent of A.I.F. troops in the United Kingdom to be the nucleus;

(ii) Units of Corps troops already formed in Australia to be utilised towards the completion of the Division, and to be replaced by further recruitment in Australia;

(iii) Reinforcements already existing in Australia to be sent abroad to complete the Division and to be organised as units in the Middle East.

In accordance with the above decision, the present objective of the strength of the A. I.F. is an Army Corps of four divisions with Corps troops.

A further cablegram will follow regarding the shipping requirements for convoys for the A.I.F. consequent upon the above decision.


1 W. L. Mackenzie King.

2 Peter Fraser.

3 Lt Gen J. C. Smuts.

4 On file AA:A1608, A41/1/1, xiii.

[AA:A3196, 1940, 0.6969]