299 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr A. W. Fadden, Acting Prime Minister

Cablegram 128 LONDON, 14 February 1941, 7.35 p.m.

FOR ACTING PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET PERSONAL

Your telegram No. 681. [1] Chiefs of Staff appreciation on the Far East, summary of which Dominions Office will cable you, shows first reinforcements for the Far East will be drawn from India as the quickest and from a shipping point of view the easiest source.

Subsequent reinforcements if required would be drawn from wherever available. Point which I have stressed strongly being recognised- that Australia with her commitments for home defence and in Middle East not in a position materially to increase the contribution already made.

Canadian Expeditionary Force in England numbering some 60,000 are regarded as part of common pool to reinforce anywhere and further troops coming to hand in Canada for the Expeditionary Force would be similarly available and could, if necessary, be shipped direct from Canada to any theatre of war. I gather that despatch to the Far East would be very welcome to troops in England who are becoming restive under inactivity, particularly in face of Australian achievements in the Middle East, but I have no information as to the attitude of the Canadian Government but have little doubt that they would agree that the utilisation of Canadians was the most effective and expeditious method of reinforcing the Far East.

BRUCE

1 Document 286.

[AA:A1608, AA27/1/1]