160 Mr W. S. Churchill, U.K. Prime Minister, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered LONDON, 6 October 1940


I am deeply grateful for your generous message. [1] Forgive me if I responded too controversially to what I thought was somewhat severe criticism. I am having an account prepared of the Dakar incident, in all its stages, which I will send for the confidential information of yourself and your colleagues. I do not propose to defend myself at any length in Parliament, as such a spectacle would only gratify the enemy. I am deeply grateful for all that Australia has done under your leadership for the Common Cause. It has been a great comfort having some of the Australians here during these anxious months. I greatly admired their bearing and spirit when I inspected them. They had just received 24 good field guns. They are soon going to join the rest of the Australian Army in the Middle East, where they will probably be in the forefront of the fighting next year. We shall do everything in our power to equip them as they deserve. For the moment it seems that the situation in the Middle East is steady. Should the armies engage near Mersa Matruh the forces available during the next month or six weeks would not appear to be ill-matched in numbers.

This should give a good chance to General Wilson [2], who is reputed a fine tactician, and the excellent troops he has. The Londoners are standing up magnificently to the bombing, but you can imagine the numerous problems which a ruthless attack like this upon a community of 8 million people creates for the administration. We are getting the better of our difficulties and I feel confident that the act of mass terror which Hitler has attempted will fail, like his magnetic mines and other deadly schemes. All good wishes personally for yourself

1 Document 158. On 8 October Bruce cabled to Menzies: 'I gather that your quite admirable cable has had an excellent effect.' See cablegram 894 On file AA:A1608, A41/1/1, xiv.

2 Lt Gen Sir Maitland Wilson, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, U.K. forces in Egypt.

[PRO:DO 114/113]