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

Cablegram 843 LONDON, 26 September 1940, 12.42 p.m.

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET FOR THE PRIME MINISTER

DAKAR. Have made strongest protest that developments and decision to withdraw were not communicated to you prior to public announcement. I made every effort yesterday afternoon to obtain information but up to 7 when I cabled you could ascertain nothing.

Have since ascertained that reports were received in early afternoon and War Cabinet decision taken at five. This position due to lack of appreciation of importance of Dominions by the Prime Minister [1] who issued instructions that information not to be disclosed except to the War Cabinet, and feebleness of Secretary of State for the Dominions. [2]

Even now despite several first class hates this morning I cannot ascertain measure of damage to our ships although I believe H.M.S.

Barham and H.M.S. Resolution both hit in addition to H.M.S.

Cumberland already reported and possibly H.M.S. Renown as a result of bombing at Gibraltar. Notwithstanding Dominions Office telegram Z.259 [3], which only sent to cover Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs' failure to obtain information, I suggest you cable strong protest emphasizing the necessity of keeping Dominions informed not only of decisions prior to public announcement but of facts, e.g. damage to ships.

BRUCE

1 Winston S. Churchill.

2 Lord Caldecote.

3 Document 140.

[AA:A1608, A41/1/1, xiii]