479 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 388 LONDON, 31 May 1941, 5.40 p.m.

MOST SECRET

Commonwealth of Australia telegram 313 of 23rd May [1] paragraph 3, and New Zealand telegram 192 of 21st May paragraph 2. [2]

The views of the American-Dutch-British Conference on strength of United States Pacific Fleet have been noted, though it might be observed that in making this recommendation the American-Dutch- British Conference went outside their terms of reference (see paragraph 4(b) of my telegram 11th April C. of A. 248, N.Z. 135 [3[).

Our view when considering the United States suggestion for the transfer of substantial proportion of their capital ships to the Atlantic was that such a move was likely to have political effect which would outweigh purely strategic considerations.

1 Document 465.

2 This paragraph is summarised in Document 465, note 8. The cablegram is on file AA: A816, 37/301/88.

3 On file AA: A2937, No. 1. The Pacific. 11th February up to Outbreak of War with Japan.

[AA: A3195, 1941, 1.9020]