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

Cablegram 390 LONDON, 2 September 1939, 7.41 p.m.

FOR PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

Your telegram of 2nd September. [1] Fully appreciate your feelings. Position, however, from midnight yesterday to noon today was no new development owing to the whole period being occupied with conversation in close contact with the French as to the period which should elapse before actual state of war created between Germany and the United Kingdom and France. Since my telegram No. 387 [2], Position has further developed, see Dominions Office cable No. B.319 [3], in that the French have indicated that they desire the period of delay should be forty- eight hours and not few hours indicated by me. Grounds given for this are that the General Staff like it in order to enable the evacuation of big towns and mobilisation to take place unhindered.

Cabinet now sitting to consider this.

Most confidential. Impossible to interpret exact significance of French attitude but doubt exists here as to whether the French suggestion of forty-eight hours genuinely due to reasons given or whether it may not be based on reports as to German disaffection and indecision making them reluctant to bring the situation to an unalterable position by acts declaratory of war.

BRUCE

1 Document 185.

2 Document 186.

3 Sent 2 September 1939, not printed (on file AA: A981, Germany 83B, iii).

[AA: A981, GERMANY 83B, iii]