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

Cablegram 510 LONDON, 29 September 1939, 7.35 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE FOR PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

Extremely difficult to obtain any clear appreciation of the significance and probable consequences of the German-Soviet declaration. [1] There is a feeling that statement 'in the case of war being continued, joint consultations will take place between the German and Soviet Governments on the subject of necessary measures' is probably very much less than the Germans wanted to obtain and that a military alliance or actual armed assistance by Soviet to Germany is unlikely. Personally I am not prepared to express an opinion in view of rapid and startling character of recent developments.

I have been trying all day to extract the considered view of the War Cabinet and also an appreciation of the General Staff as to military position which would be created in the event of Russia declaring war and cooperating with Germany in military action. I am quite dissatisfied with what I have obtained. It would help me greatly if you cabled to me urgently asking me to obtain such view and appreciation and also information as to reply it is proposed to make if and when the pronouncement made in statement issued today is followed by definite action.

BRUCE

1 Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the U.S.S.R. Communist Party, met in Moscow on 27 and 28 September 1939 to negotiate the partition of Poland and cession of Lithuania to the U.S.S.R. On 28 September they issued a statement suggesting that the settlement of the Polish question had cleared the way for an end to the war between Germany and the United Kingdom and France.

[AA: A981, GERMANY 72B, i]