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

Cablegram unnumbered 29 September 1940,

MOST SECRET FOR THE PRIME MINISTER [1] HIMSELF

We are very disturbed in regard to the Dakar incident which has had unfortunate effect in Australia. First, as to matter of substance: It is difficult to understand why attempt was made unless overwhelming chances of success. To make what appears at this distance to be a half-hearted attack is to incur a damaging loss of prestige. Second, as to matter of procedure: It is absolutely wrong that the Australian Government should know practically nothing of details of engagement and nothing at all of decision to abandon it until after newspaper publication. I have refrained from any public criticism but privately can tell you that absence of real official information from Great Britain has frequently proved humiliating. Finally, must say frankly that Australian Government profoundly hopes that difficulties have not been underestimated in Middle East where clear cut victory is essential.

MENZIES

1 Winston S. Churchill.

[AA:A3 196, 1940, 0.7157]