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

Cablegram 476 (extract) LONDON, 18 September 1939, 8.16 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE FOR PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

U.S.S.R. action. [1] Position still Most confused. I gather that war cabinet this morning decided no useful action could be taken.

Following views are of interest: U.S.S.R. British Ambassador Moscow [2] urges strongly that United Kingdom should not declare war on U.S.S.R. in which he sees no advantage. He feels rupture of relations without going to war even more undesirable. His advice is to retain British and French Ambassadors at Moscow with possibility direct access Molotov [3] when Soviet-German friendship begins to wear thin.

He points out that Soviet invasion of Poland will entail their keeping large army on a war footing outside Russia consuming food and petrol and thus reducing German hopes military or food supplies.

BRUCE

1 The U.S.S.R. invaded Poland on 17 September 1939.

2 Sir William Seeds.

3 V.M. Molotov, Soviet People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs.

[AA:A1608, A41/1/1, iv]