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.
MOST SECRET MOST IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER HIMSELF MOST
included in My telegram No. 27  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  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  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  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.
1 Document 11.
2 Lord Halifax.
3 U.K. First Lord of the Admiralty.
4 Neville Chamberlain.
[AA: A981, EUROPE 30, ii]