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

Cablegram 363 12 June 1941,

MOST SECRET MOST IMMEDIATE

I appreciate greatly your cablegram of 11th June [1] and the assurances in your cablegram of 31st May [2] that everything possible will be done to strengthen the air forces in the Middle East. I am delighted to learn of the success that has followed your bold stroke relative to convoys.

2. I would be greatly strengthened in my handling of the position here if I could be given specific figures in respect of aircraft and tanks and have your authority to communicate the information to members of Advisory War Council who of course are under an oath of secrecy. You will have gathered from my earlier messages how greatly the War Cabinet and War Council feel as you do the paramount importance of these essential needs for our forces in the Middle East.

3. A statement on the following lines is suggested- (1) ARMOURED DIVISIONS- (a) Number of Divisions and present stage of preparedness for operations;

(b) Total strength of tanks in Middle East in broad classes;

(c) Prospective strength aimed at and rate of reinforcement for achieving it or maintaining present strength.

(2) AIR FORCES- (a) Number of Squadrons by classes;

(b) First line strength of aircraft for each class of Squadron;

(c) Contemplated strength of Squadrons and first line strength and rate at which it is expected this strength will be built up;

(d) Total number of aircraft at present in Middle East including first line strength;

(e) Number of aircraft at present en route;

(f) Anticipated monthly rate of future deliveries.

MENZIES

1 Document 497.

2 Document 478.

[AA: A3196, 1941, 0.7918]