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

Cablegram 28 LONDON, 11 January 1940, 8.35 p.m.


I had strongly represented to the United Kingdom Government points

included in My telegram No. 27 [1] and had been led to believe

that the War Cabinet this morning would decide against immediate


Now learn that while Cabinet divided, the Secretary of State for

Foreign Affairs [2] being the strongest opponent, the majority in

favour of proceeding immediately with stoppage of Narvik supplies

by action in Norwegian territorial waters and decision to this

effect may be taken tomorrow morning.

In my view the importance of such a decision cannot be exaggerated

and that it should be taken without fullest consultation with the

Dominions would be an outrage.

I have put this to the United Kingdom Government as strongly as I

can but in view of the fact that Winston Churchill [3] with

considerable support in Cabinet is fighting for an immediate

decision it is imperative that you support me. I suggest that you

cable the Prime Minister [4] immediately down the lines that in

view of the importance and possible repercussions of decision to

take action in Norwegian territorial waters to cut off German

supplies of iron ore you request that no decision should be taken

by the United Kingdom Cabinet before the Dominions have had an

opportunity to express their views and asking that you should be

fully informed of arguments in favour of such action, and should

be supplied with a summary of the appreciation of the General

Staff as to assistance that could be rendered to Norway and

particularly to Sweden in event of such action leading to an

attack by Germany on one or both of these countries. Imperative

that you cable immediately as the War Cabinet meets 11.30 a.m.

tomorrow (Friday).


1 Document 11.

2 Lord Halifax.

3 U.K. First Lord of the Admiralty.

4 Neville Chamberlain.

[AA: A981, EUROPE 30, ii]