394 Mr R.G. Casey, Minister for Supply and Development, to Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram C49 LONDON, 28 November 1939

FOR PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

My present plan is to leave London with Brodribb [1] evening of 6th December, sailing by flying boat On 7th December from Southampton. The Foreign Office disagree NorthCott [2] and Bostock [3] travelling flying through neutral Italy and Greece so they are travelling a day ahead of schedule in Australian Sunderland to Alexandria, having thirtysix hours at Cairo discussing preliminary arrangements with Commander in Chief of the Middle East [4] then joining my flying boat. Please cable early if there is anything you wish me to wait here for that would necessitate alteration of the above.

Reference your telegram just received [5] regarding the despatch of Division and suggestion that mid-December proposal is based on inadequate regard to local considerations, see Northcott's cable to Squires of 6th November [6] and Squires reply of 21st November.

[7] Actual shipping position has now changed and present proposal is that subject to arrangement with New Zealand Government our first Brigade group and New Zealand Brigade group should make up convoy leaving Melbourne-Sydney about 2nd January instead of mid- December and that remainder of our Division make up second convoy early in March. It appears to me that this proposal largely satisfies training outfitting and broad considerations that you mentioned. See details of cable from Northcott to Squires today.

[8]

Northcott will discuss Field Artillery and other equipment situation with War Office tomorrow. Full consultation is taking place between us United States Government [sic] [9] and New Zealand representative regarding shipping.

CASEY

1 N.K.S. Brodribb, Controller-General of Munitions Supply.

2 Maj Gen J. Northcott, Deputy Chief of the General Staff.

3 Group Capt W.D. Bostock, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff.

4 General Sir Archibald Wavell.

5 Document 392.

6 Document 332.

7 Not found.

8 Not found.

9 This appears to have been a ciphering error for 'United Kingdom Government'.

[DEFENCE: SPECIAL COLLECTION II, BUNDLE 5, AUSTRALIAN CO-OPERATION IN THE 1939-45 WAR: DESPATCH OF FORCES OVERSEAS (M.6.(d))]