132 Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 336 LONDON, 16 August 1939

SECRET FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST PERSONAL

[From the end of July 1939, Bruce and A.T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, sent to Australia reports suggesting increased German activity in Danzig and on the Polish frontier, including considerable movements of German troops. They reported also that Poland had reinforced her frontier, and that in an atmosphere of incidents, reprisals and mutual recriminations, there was a general fear that the deteriorating relationship between German and Polish leaders could at any time precipitate open warfare. (See AA: A981, Germany 67, i and ibid., Germany 83B, iii.)]

Reference Ciano's visit to Hitler [1], the latter's conversation with Burckhardt [2] and activity of the Pope [3] in trying to bring about a settlement and avoid war, think it would be valuable if you sent a personal cable to the Prime Minister [4] saying that you had observed all these developments with great interest expressing your confidence that the Prime Minister will leave no stone unturned in his endeavour to take advantage of them, particularly in persuading the Poles to adopt a reasonable and restrained attitude and assuring him of your cordial support and confidence.

BRUCE

1 Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Foreign Minister, met Adolf Hitler, the German Chancellor, at Berchtesgaden on 12 and 13 August 1939.

2 Carl J. Burckhardt, League of Nations High Commissioner at Danzig. His interview with Hitler took place on 11 August, and was reported in circular cablegram B272 from U.K. Dominions Secretary, 15 August 1939, not printed, on file AA: A981, Germany 67, i.

3 Pope Pius XII.

4 Neville Chamberlain.

[AA: A981, GERMANY 55]