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

Cablegram 333 LONDON, 17 May 1940, 1.52 a.m.


Report by the Prime Minister [1] from Paris [at 9 tonight] [2] indicates that the position most grave.

German break through Mezieres Sedan greatly extended and while has been effected with armoured divisions with air support, supporting troops and supplies being rapidly brought up. Time still available for counter-measures before this support arrives but evidence points to Gamelin [3] being unequal to the task confronting him and may be superseded. The Prime Minister by his personality and force has had a tremendous effect in Paris and has greatly altered the position. On his urgent representations the War Cabinet here has agreed to send large fighter and bomber reinforcements to France for next two or three days to endeavour to obtain local air superiority while the French re-establish the position.

In my view seriousness of the position cannot be exaggerated.


1 Winston S. Churchill.

2 These words have been inserted from Bruce's file copy on AA:

M100, May 1940.

3 Commander-in-Chief of the French Army.

4 The number has been inserted from the Prime Minister's Dept inward cable register (FA: A3635).

[FA: A3195, [1.3311] [4]]