139 Lt Col W.R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs, to Mr A.T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London

Cablegram unnumbered 22 August 1939 [9.53 a.m.],

Press reports here that German official report announced to effect that Germany has agreed to sign non-aggression pact with Russia and that Ribbentrop [2] is flying to Moscow immediately. Ascertain position immediately and reply urgently shortest possible time.

HODGSON

1 For evidence of times of dispatch and receipt of this cablegram see cablegram 52 from External Affairs Department to Stirling, sent 23 August 1939, not printed, on file AA: A981, Germany 72B, i, and Document 141. When an early reply was not received from Stirling, Hodgson sent a second cablegram on behalf of the Government asking urgently for information. When still no reply was received, a third cablegram was dispatched (printed As Document 140). The Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies, at 3 p.m.

Australian time rang the High Commissioner in London, S. M. Bruce, who returned immediately from Paris to London to await developments. The terms of the Russo-German pact were not released, however, until 24 August. (See AA: A1608, A41/1/1, iv and Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August 1939, p. 15.) 2 Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister.

[AA: A981, GERMANY 72B, i]