11 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister
Cablegram 27 LONDON, 11 January 1940, 6.27 p.m.
FOR THE PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL FOR HIMSELF MOST SECRET
My telegram No. 9.  In view of strong reaction by Norway to
communication (Dominions Office No. 7)  and change of attitude
by Sweden, who now strongly opposed, stopping of Narvik iron ore
supplies being re-examined by Cabinet. Following are material
points for consideration. Stoppage of supplies from Narvik the
only port of shipment from the northern field for the next four
months no doubt troublesome but probably not really serious to
Germany. Unless possible to stop shipment from Lulea when that
port reopens action against Narvik would be of relatively small
In addition following have to be borne in mind.
(1) Would cause bitter resentment in Norway and Sweden.
(2) Would conceivably lead Norway to feel compelled, in order to
protect her neutrality, to resist by force our action in her
(3) Would antagonise opinion in neutral countries particularly the
United States with its large Scandinavian population.
(4) Would afford a pretext of some appearance of justification for
Germany either to take armed action against Sweden or to take her
under German protection.
Because of relative ineffectiveness and political and military
consequences, wisdom of action against Narvik supplies at the
moment would appear doubtful. So much importance attached here to
cutting off German supplies of Swedish iron ore that serious
consideration being given to the question of bringing Sweden into
the war on the Allies' side.
Prime Minister  strongly urged that before attempting to do
this either by provoking Germany to attack or inducing Sweden to
declare war, we must be certain that the United Kingdom and France
are in a position to render sufficient aid to prevent Germans from
I have also urged that in considering the question of what aid
could be given to Sweden the possibility of a move by Germany
and/or Russia in the Danubian and Balkan countries, necessitating
the United Kingdom and France establishing an eastern front with
further drain on man power, supplies and shipping, must not be
1 Document 3.
2 See circular cablegrams D6 and D7 of 5 January 1940 on file AA:
A1608, A41/1/1, vii. They reported in greater detail the
information contained in Document 3.
3 Neville Chamberlain.
[AA: A981, EUROPE 30, ii]