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

Cablegram unnumbered LONDON, 23 May 1940, 9.29 p.m.

PERSONAL SECRET

McBride. [1] Response of United Kingdom Government is a noncommittal one, that they would of course welcome the visit.

Notwithstanding this, my view is that in fairness to the United Kingdom Government and McBride, the visit should be postponed.

In the present circumstances it is quite impossible to conduct any fundamental discussions with British Ministers and the best that can be done is to deal day by day with urgent questions which cannot be postponed. This position, I feel, will continue and may become intensified. If I am right, McBride would be forced to spend considerable time here achieving little in regard to the subject matter of his mission and living under conditions which may well be extremely unpleasant. The risks of his actual journey also cannot be entirely ignored.

For the above reasons I feel postponement desirable. If, however, you consider he should come I need hardly add that I will give him every assistance and help in my power. [2]

BRUCE

1 See Document 216. Menzies reiterated his intention to send McBride to London in an unnumbered cablegram dispatched to Bruce on 21 May 1940 (on file AA: CP290/6, 67).

2 On 24 May 1940 Menzies replied: 'After further consideration in the light of your comments we feel that visit should be postponed for a few weeks until time more suitable for British Ministers.' (See unnumbered cablegram in series FA: A3196, 0.3190.)

[FA: A3195, 1.3530]