280 Mr P. Liesching, U.K, Acting High Commissioner to Australia, to Lord Stanley, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 186 27 September 1938,

IMMEDIATE SECRET AND PERSONAL

Following for Harding [1] Begins. I saw the Prime Minister's message this afternoon [2] (telegram No. 96 [3]) in draft shortly before he [4] telephoned first to Mr Bruce [5] and subsequently to Mr Chamberlain. [6] It is primarily the work of Menzies [7] and Casey [8] and as such is obviously entitled to all the respect due to authoritative views which can only be expressed by Ministers.

Nevertheless I am here to form the best opinion I can with the numerous contacts open to me and I do so with a full sense of responsibility. The Prime Minister's telegram was drafted some hours before the Cabinet (with the significant exception of Mr Hughes [9] who is ill today but has been successful in resisting earlier proposals to telegraph unreserved approval of concessions beyond the limits indicated in my telegram No. 184 [10]) had seen Dominions Office telegram Circular B. No.279 [11] and appreciation of His Majesty's Ambassador at Berlin. [12] 1 could hardly believe that it should have been sent, as it was, after those telegrams had been studied and should purport to represent general opinion here. I feel bound to record my considered view that Mr Lyons' message is very far from representing the core of Australian majority opinion, except as regards its first paragraph, and that it would be condemned by public sentiment here as an insulting under-estimate of their appreciation of immediate and ultimate issues involved.

1 Sir Edward Harding, Permanent Under-Secretary, U.K. Dominions Office.

2 This refers to 26 September, when presumably this cablegram was drafted.

3 Document 278.

4 J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister.

5 S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London.

6 Neville Chamberlain, U.K. Prime Minister.

7 R. G. Menzies, Attorney-General.

8 R. G. Casey, Treasurer and Minister in charge of Development.

9 W. M. Hughes, Minister for External Affairs.

10 Document 270.

11 Not printed.

12 Not printed. The U.K. Ambassador was Sir Nevile Henderson.

[PRO : FO 371/21777]