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

Cablegram unnumbered CANBERRA, 8 August 1941

(To be re-transmitted from London to Mr. Churchill immediately.) Delighted to know that this meeting between yourself and Roosevelt is taking place. [1] It will have stimulating effect all over the world. You will I think have a great opportunity of influencing his mind in the direction of dramatic action. My own impression in America was that the natural process of developing public opinion had gone about as far as it would and that the next stage depended on Roosevelt whose personal prestige would assure him a majority for any vigorous course. If this is right you of all men can give him what he needs.

I hope you will seize the opportunity not only to deal with the Atlantic and European problem but also to clarify the Far Eastern position. I do not think that there is any doubt that firm and unequivocal attitude by the United States is the one thing that will deter Japan from continuing on a course leading to war. If Japan enters the war or by threat of our vital interests compels the British Empire into war the effect upon the disposition of Australian forces of all arms may be far-reaching and certainly you would have a naval problem of the gravest character.

The Far Eastern position is thus seen not as a remote incidental matter but as something crucial and intimate. On this matter also I found Roosevelt extremely sympathetic but reluctant to be too precise; and yet precision and firmness are the real antidote to Japan.

I am sure that you have these matters in mind but I just want you to know that in Australia and no doubt in New Zealand these aspects of your discussions will be closely watched and the outcome most anxiously awaited.

Kindest regards and good wishes.


1 Menzies had been informed by both Churchill and S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, of Roosevelt's secret invitation to Churchill to meet him 'somewhere in Newfoundland' (see circular cablegram Z256 and cablegram 618 of 6 August), Bruce subsequently informed Menzies (cablegram 627 of 7 August) that he had persuaded the U.K. Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, to cable Churchill urging the importance of a thorough discussion of the situation in the Far East and advised Menzies to do likewise. All cablegrams are on file AA : A1608, N41/1/1.

[AA : A3196, 1941, 0.11482]