270 Mr A. W. Fadden, Acting Prime Minister, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister (in Gaza)

Cablegram 35 5 February 1941,

MOST SECRET IMMEDIATE

Your cablegram B.A.53 of 4th February. [1] Following is for personal information of Prime Minister from the Acting Prime Minister:-

Proposals made in your cablegram of 29th January despatched from Singapore [2] were discussed with Chiefs of Staff. In view of your desire that conversations at Singapore should be held at once, Commander-in-Chief Far East was asked whether proposed arrangements would affect his forthcoming visit to Australia or whether he had in mind in discussions with you that conversations would take place on his return. [3] He replied that he thought more certain results would be assured by adhering to his original programme to visit Australia before conversations take place at Singapore. [4] This has been agreed to and he will be in Australia as the guest of the Commonwealth from 8th to 18th February. Staff conversations will commence at Singapore on 22nd February. Colvin [5] will attend and Army and Airforce will be represented by senior officers, for example the Deputy Chiefs of Staff, but actual representatives not yet decided.

2. You will recall that invitation to send representatives to Netherlands East Indies was received from Dutch and approved prior to your departure. [6] Chiefs of Staff considered that proposed conversations at Singapore should not affect despatch of representatives to Netherlands East Indies. Their mission is of exploratory nature, and instructions to them provide that no matters of major strategy or policy are to be discussed but that detailed information may be exchanged on various points. It is proposed that, upon completion of discussions in Netherlands East Indies, Service representatives should proceed to Singapore to furnish information for the purposes of the broader discussions there. War Cabinet has approved of above proposals [7] and representatives will leave for Netherlands East Indies on 7th February.

1 Document 268.

2 Document 261.

3 See unnumbered cablegram to Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke- Popham of 31 January (AA:A3196, 1941, 0.1264).

4 See Brooke-Popham's cablegram 15348 of 1 February (AA:A3195, 1941, 1.1550).

5 Chief of the Naval Staff.

6 See Document 254.

7 See AA:A2671, 49/1941 and AA:A2673, vol. 5, Minute 745 of 4 February.

[AA:A3196, 1941, 0.1455]