165 Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Prime Minister's Department

Cablegram 364 LONDON, 29 August 1939, 5.28 p.m.

SECRET

ITALY

Count Ciano [1] spoke last night to the British Ambassador at Rome [2] with great anxiety about press statements in whole London evening press to the effect that in the event of war Italy might remain neutral and even desert her ally. He asked that this might be stopped. The Ambassador has urged Foreign Office again most earnestly that British press should be discouraged from discussing Italy's attitude lest political action United Kingdom Government in regard to Italy be completely nullified. This most important.

Please take every possible precaution in Australia. [3]

1 Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Foreign Minister.

2 Sir Percy Loraine.

3 On 30 August 1939 the Prime Minister, R. G. Menzies, asked Australian newspaper editors to refrain from commenting on the possibility of Italian neutrality (See AA: A981, Italy 60B).

[AA: A981, ITALY 30, iii] BRUCE