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

Cablegram 272 LONDON, 25 April 1940, 4.09 p.m.

MOST SECRET FOR THE PRIME MINISTER

TIMOR. Apart from any developments with regard to the western area, Oil Concessions has been specifically obliged to carry on prior to November next [1] under eastern concession. As failure to carry out these obligations might force the Portuguese Government under pressure from Japan to cancel the concession and would also place the Commonwealth Government in embarrassing position vis a vis the United Kingdom Government owing to the latter having backed Oil Concessions diplomatically at the request of the Commonwealth Government, I have questioned Dodson. He assures me that Oil Concessions is in a position to carry out all obligations under concessions but I cannot free my mind of the impression that Oil Concessions in order to do so is relying on co-operation with one of the big concession concerns or assistance through financial house here, the obtaining of either of which in my view is doubtful.

Please advise not later than Monday next whether Dodson's assurance is justified.

BRUCE

1 Bruce's file copy read '. . . Oil Concessions has specific obligations to carryout prior to November next...' (See AA: M100, April 1940).

[AA: A981, TIMOR (PORTUGUESE) 22, v]